The Glen Cook Instrumentalities of the Night What Does It All Mean Thread


Well-Known Member
May 24, 2006
I've just bought the third book in the series and I'm re-reading the first two to remind me what happened. I think I'm finally coming to grips with what's happening where to whom in Cook's alternate history.

For those who haven't read the books Cook has taken many events from a broad period of medieval history and condensed them into a short period, so far, of a couple of years. He's also changed all the names, used some historical figures and added magic. What he hasn't done is provide a map or any kind of key so readers can get a grip on what's happening or relate it to our real history. No doubt Cook doesn't want those events to be taken literally or prejudice the reader but the books are fiendishly complicated and an idea of the correspondences really helps and, I think, makes the books more pleasurable and interesting to read. Some knowledge of medieval history is definitely a bonus.

Anyway, here are some of the corrspondences, as I see them. Feel free to disagree or add others.

Dreanger -The Caliphate centred on Egypt
Lucidia - The Caliphate centred on Damascus
Andoray - Norway
The Connec - The Languedoc region of Southern France
Firaldia - Italy
Calzir - Part of Southern Italy in Muslim hands, Apulia region
Shippen - Sicily
Santerin - England
Arnhand - France
Eastern Empire, Rhun - Byzantine Empire
Grail Empire - Holy Roman Empire
Brothe - Rome
Khaurene - Toulouse
Navaya - Northern Spain, possibly Castille
Platadura - Barcelona
Aparion - Genoa
Sonsa - Venice
Dateon - Pisa
Viscesment - Avignon

Great Sky Fortress - Asgard
Gray Walker - Odin

Chaldereans - Christians
Pramans - Muslims
Devedians - Jews
Dainshaukin - Orthodox Jews
Maysaleans - Cathars or Albigensians

I don't know enough about Popes to know who Sublime might have been based on. Indala al-Sul al-Halaladin is presumably Saladin. Immaculate is one of the anti-Popes. The Sha-lug are probably Mamluks but also resemble the later Janissaries. Tormond may be based on Raymond VI of Toulouse.

I've got ideas for some of the other places/people but these I'm fairly confident about.

By the way, I've done this from memory, so some of the spellings may be a bit off. I've already caught a couple.
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What a great resource!

The only thing I would question is that Calzir is probably the Barbary Coast, as they were known for their piracy. Adding on to your list:

1. Dreanger -The Caliphate centered on Egypt
2. Lucidia - The Caliphate centered on Damascus
3. Andoray – Norway
4. The Connec - Southern France
a. Khaurene – Toulouse
b. Viscesment – Avignon
c. Antieaux - Lyon
5. Calzir - Barbary Coast
6. Santerin – England
7. Arnhand – Northern France
8. Eastern Empire, Rhun - Byzantine Empire
9. Grail Empire - Holy Roman Empire, Germany
a. Plemenza – Milan?
10. Firaldia – Italy
a. Brothe – Rome
b. Aparion – Genoa?
c. Sonsa – Venice?
d. Dateon – Pisa?
e. Shippen – Sicily
11. Navaya - Northern Spain, possibly Castille
a. Platadura – Barcelona
12. Artecipia – Corsica/Sardina
Damnit. I really hate the internet sometimes. I wrote this big informative spiel and I went to send it and it erased it all.

Oh well it was probably too long anyways. I'll throw out my bigges points:

Brothe could be Constantinople. Rome doesn't have the waterways that Istanbul does. It would make more sense looking at it. Wiki Constantinople and look at the old picture of it. It won't let me post links. :)

Calzir is stated as an island in the Mother Sea numerous times. Could be Sicily, Crete but my guess is Cyprus. Would make sense for them attacking Brothe also.

Lucidia/Criveldia/Direcia/Firaldia are areas/territories and not specific places.

Place the Vieran Sea and you place where a lot of the other stuff is. Is it the Black Sea? The Aegean? Sonsa is on the Western side of it and The Eastern Empire is on the Eastern side of it.

Lucidia/Indala/Qasr Al Zed is the Northern Kaifate. Encompassing from what I gather Morocco if he's fighting Peter of Navaya at the strait of Gibralter? To Syria. So if Gordimer/Dreanger is southern they would be Saudi Arabia?

Andoray would just be all of Sweden/Finland/Norway since nothing else is mentioned up there.
Iceland is specifically stated.

I'm not sure on the exact details but I would say Navaya is Spain since he's fighting at Gibralter with the Muslims.

Grail would be Germany and Denmark for sure possibly including Belgium/Netherlands/Austria/Switzerland/Czechoslovakia.

Grolsachers could be Hungarian/Romanian/Polish/Austrian/Czechoslovakian or even Swiss.

Eastern Empire would be Russia I think. Or Kievan Russ with Rhun being Kiev.

The Hu'ntai At throws me off because it sounds like Attila the Hun which would be Hungaria to Russia but the Eastern Empire is more prevalent so I'm going to assume they're actually Mongolians following Gengis Khan.

So where is Ghargarlicea and Tsistimed the Golden?

Also Shippen can't be Sicily, can it? I'll have to go back and reread the start of the book where Else comes from Dreanger to try and figure out some placement there. I'll come back later and report.
SPOILERS: This gets a little spoilery as I try to match places with events.

So he goes to an island named Staklirhod... Could be any of them. Maybe Sicily? Then to Sonsa which is north of Brothe. Venice could make sense and Brothe would be Rome. Western side makes more sense though since they invade it later when they're bordering Connec along with Viscesment.

My best guess is Sonsa = Genoa or maybe Nice or Marseille. Depends on how far his troops are marching from one area to the other which we never get a handle on or how far west you can go while still calling Rome south.

Shippen is a small island on the way to mainland Calzir. Minorca and Majorca would make the most sense. Also possibly Corsica and Sardinia.

My thought is Lyon and Avignon need to be flipped for Antieux and Viscesment.
While bordering the Connec with Viscesment to the north. The river they cross would be the Rhine making Avignon=Antieux and Marseille could be Castreresone. Montpellier could also be Castreresone.
Lyon would be Viscesment. Sheavanalle is also unaccounted for.

Here's an odd one that doesn't really come up often: The Andorayans go down the backside of the Firaldian Penninsula to Hoyal the easternmost military headquarters of Alameddine. What is Alameddine?
Rather than address each confusion, I'll add a list. I've read quite a bit about this time period and late Middle Ages/early Rennaisance Europe. I'll address some of the more obscure and less obvious ones:

Shartelle: Acre
Sonsa: Genoa
Aparion and Dateon: Venice and Pisa, not sure which is which
Platadura: Barcelona
Stalklirhod: Cyprus
Shippen: Sicilly
Creveldia: Greece
Artecipia: Sardinia and Corsica, one island because of lower sea levels
Santerin: England, again joined to the mainland because of low sea levels
Arnhand: Norman France
Friesland: Denmark; it's another name for it as well
Hovacol (King Stain's kingdom): Hungary
Alameddine seems to be the Hapsburg lands, but not certain.
Ghargalicea is Persia. The whole bit of about the bows and the fact it's East of Lucidia.
Hun T'ai At: Mongols

Sublime: Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia
Bronte Doneto: Though Cesare Borgia was Rodrigo's son, he is most like this individual
Indala: Obviously Saladin, Cook really didn't even change the name much
Peter of Navaya and Isabeth: Ferdinand and Isabella
Gordimer: Mamluk named Aybak is the most likely
Brotherhood of War: Templars
Black Rogert: Robert De Sable
Tsitimed: Genghis Khan
King Stain: Seems to be an oblique reference to Vlad III; but only because he's connected to the Supernatural
Johannes Blackboots: Rudolf I
Anne of Menand: Diane De Poitiers; who was not queen but the only figure who fits.
Raymond Garete: Raymond of Toulouse

Timing and correlation:
Cook took great liberties in bringing most of the movers and shakers of the Crusades era to all living at the same time. The result is a hot mess but also and entertaining read. As a result, none of the characters meet the same fates or live the same lives they did in history.
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If I may, I think that Johannes Blackboots is King Henry VIII, mainly because of his children.
After Blackboots dies the line goes:
Lothar: Edward VI (both sickly boys who are expected to die any day now), and do die young.
Katrin: Mary I (aka "Bloody Mary", both try to force the kingdom back to the orthodox faith, have many health issues including tumours, false pregnancies etc, and both have a love/hate relationship with their younger sister who will succeed them)
Helspeth: Elizabeth I (aka "the virgin queen" because she never married. Both are stable personalities who bring order and power back to the kingdom)

Also they rule the Grail Empire. Pretty much a big hint you're looking at England.

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