A First Look at the Heart of Fire Novel

Find out more about the second official Sea of Thieves novel from author Chris Allcock!

It’s hard to miss Larinna, especially now that she’s taken to beckoning you over whenever a new Adventure awaits. What some players might have missed, though, is that the Bilge Rat leader’s tumultuous arrival on the Sea of Thieves was first chronicled in the Athena’s Fortune novel, initially released in 2018 (and now available as a delightful audiobook).

That story charted the adventures of two crews separated by history, shining a light on the first days of the Sea of Thieves as seen through the eyes of Ramsey – or the Pirate Lord, as he’s more commonly known today – and providing context and lore for the plunder and places you experience yourself when exploring, like Cursed Chests and the fabled Shores of Gold.

Since then, the likes of Madame Olivia and Sir Arthur Pendragon have taken the spotlight in their own expanded universe stories (including comics and tabletop RPGs) but a second full novel has always been a popular request. Well, lore-hungry fans can now don their narrative napkins in anticipation of Heart of Fire, the new novel published by Titan Books that shares its name with a Tall Tale because we like to confuse wiki editors.

Heart of Fire Novel Teaser Trailer: Official Sea of Thieves

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When the chance came to take up my author’s pen once more and dream up the story for a second novel, it seemed sensible to once again focus on the mysteries of days gone by, exploring events that players couldn’t just sail out and experience for themselves. Having already elaborated on the origins of the Gold Hoarder, it was pretty obvious who needed to play the villain this time around…

Yes, as the name rather heftily implies, Heart of Fire details the rise and fall of Captain Flameheart, pulling back the curtain on the events that led to him being defeated and deprived of a physical form, almost 10 years before pirates (with a little help from Pendragon) unwittingly revived him. The story portrays Flameheart in all his skeletal glory, wreaking havoc on the waves aboard his flagship, the Burning Blade.

I was also very keen to retain the two-crew structure from Athena’s Fortune, since it allowed me to explore a range of perspectives and show how different pirates perceive the same thing in different ways. This time around, of course, I also had a living game world full of players and my own experiences to take inspiration from, so I decided to tackle the eternal question – what makes peaceful exploration and adventure fun for some pirates, while others are drawn towards the thrill of combat?

From there, the core story structure was born: two ships separated not by history, but by different views on what it means to be a pirate on the Sea of Thieves, finding themselves on opposing sides as a result. For the crew that would stand against Flameheart, I was drawn to Eli Slate and the crew of the Morningstar – firstly because we’d glimpsed them briefly during the Tall Tales, but secondly because Slate is a very different kind of captain to Ramsey, and I thought he’d make a good foil for Flameheart.

The second crew are new characters in the lore, drawn together by circumstance, but also by a shared belief that the arrival of trade and commerce is eroding the freedom of the pirate life, just as it did elsewhere in the wider world. This crew’s vocal opinions have left them pretty much outcasts, and they make the decision to join with Flameheart and restore what they see as true freedom to the Sea of Thieves. As someone who tends to avoid conflict in the game, this was a great opportunity to get into the head of a very different, but no less important, kind of player.

Finally, there’s the reason both these ships are setting sail: rumours of a weapon capable of defeating Flameheart once and for all. Their crews become embroiled in a race to find this mysterious power and claim it for themselves, which (because this is Sea of Thieves) naturally leads to the kind of epic, ocean-spanning voyages you’d expect as their two vessels hurtle towards an inevitable confrontation. And through it all, the Burning Blade is nearing…

I’ve done my best to pack Heart of Fire with the kind of revelations about the Sea of Thieves, and the people who dwell there, that fans have come to expect – while still making sure that readers who aren’t as familiar with the game aren’t left scratching their skulls. It’s given me the chance to answer some of our fans’ burning questions (while raising plenty of new ones) and cast Captain Flameheart in a whole new light, ready for future events.

I’m thrilled to be able to talk about this new novel at long last, and if you’re as excited about Heart of Fire’s upcoming release as I am, good news – it’s set to be released on August 16th, and the ability to pre-order a copy is just a click or two away. Happy reading!