As we approach the publication date of A Nation of Tyrants, the second book in The Shadows of Freedom series, we thought you, our readers, might enjoy hearing some of the music that inspired our writing. Get ready to enter the atmosphere of the novel!

“Lost at Sea” by Marie Miller

A Nation of Tyrants has a completely different setting from In the Shadows of Freedom. We make a transition from woods to waterfront. Amanda finds herself looking upon the ocean, which becomes a kind of symbol for the contrasting way that she and Ethan view the world. The song also speaks to their relationship: is Amanda becoming “lost at sea” as she seeks to help Ethan?

“Glowing” by The Oh Hellos

We actually had four songs by The Oh Hellos that we listened to over and over again while writing A Nation of Tyrants: we are always inspired by the group’s poetic lyrics and eclectic sound! But we decided to pick just one to share with you. I feel that this song perfectly encapsulates Ethan’s struggle and feelings in this novel. He has lost just about everything: his career, reputation, money. Yet, he’s determined not to lose his ideology—as lonely and dark as it may be, just like the feeling of this song. In the end, I’m feeling more and more there won’t be any end …

There is another great lyric—When Atlas shrugs whose back is breaking?—that reminds me of a conversation Ethan had with Amanda in the first book, standing outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Pointing across the street to the statue of Atlas, Ethan lauds man and his abilities: that man can even hold the weight of the world on his back. But the reality is that, if man attempts that on his own efforts alone, his back will inevitably break. In this book, we see Ethan’s back figuratively begin to break.

“Afraid of Love” by Beta Radio

If “Glowing” speaks to Ethan’s perspective, I feel that “Afraid of Love” is Amanda’s song for this second book. Sometimes it is so difficult to understand ourselves. What is my true motivation? Am I acting out of self-interest, disguised as some lofty, altruistic goal? Am I pursuing my own will or God’s Will? Amanda is intent on helping Ethan change for the better, but exactly how far should she go to do that … and what if helping Ethan puts her own soul at risk? I’m too afraid I’ll fall from the cloud of my distractions to the lowlands of my soul. If Amanda really examines what lies deep inside her soul, what would she see? So I’m not feeling around to being brave. What is love? If not forever … Is it love?

“Running Up That Hill” by Placebo

In the climax of A Nation of Tyrants, Amanda and company find themselves running through downtown Boston, escaping from danger. It is as though they are running up a hill, struggling and trying to reach the top vantage point of safety and refuge. Yet, their attempt at escape draws them into another, unforeseen danger. You don’t want to hurt me, but see how deep the bullet lies. Unaware that I’m tearing you asunder. There’s a thunder in our hearts, baby. So much hate for the ones we love. What happens when the person who should love you—who should protect you and help you—hates you instead? Has Ethan been running up a hill the top of which he will never reach? The eerie, jarring, and haunting feel of this song captures this moment perfectly.

Coming May 17, 2022!

Add these songs to your playlist and crack open A Nation of Tyrants, coming May 17, 2022! More info on our homepage!

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