To research OATH BREAKER, I needed inspiration for the Deep Forest, which had to feel utterly different from the Open Forest where, until now, the story had been set.  So I travelled to the last remnant of primeval lowland Forest in Europe: the Bialowieza Forest in Poland.

In Bialowieza I saw the zubron (a hybrid of cattle and European bison), as well as boar, tarpan (a kind of wild horse), and too many species of bird to list.

During my hikes in the Strictly Protected Area of the Forest, my guide pointed out a number of lightning-struck trees, one of which bore a strange, snake-like scar from the strike, which inspired an incident in the story.

My guide also showed me two magnificent beaver dams and lodges, which allowed me to imagine Torak’s hiding-place during the great forest fire.