Burned Oak is a hard-boiled barbarian story, sort of a forensic/crime approach to a sword and sorcery tale. It's set in the city of Jericho, formerly the walled city of Holthar, built by time-travelling environmentalists who felt it necessary to 'cage' mankind inside a walled city to limit his impact upon the environment. Eventually the walls fell, hence its name change. I've always felt that fantasy could be about more than rescuing damsels in distress or quests for magic mcguffins, and wanted to write something that would be pertinent to our world today. Burned Oak explores the emotional fallout, in adults, from childhood abuse. Oak, the main character, wants to die, but suicide is not something his sense of honour will allow him to do. When a fatal hex -- spontaneous human combustion -- is placed upon him, he suddenly finds he is not as eager to die as he believed. I loved the idea of the guy's sword hanging in the air a moment when he gets tackled.