The Engen Universe — a shared fictional continuity between three different series of novels and many short stories — is host to some strangeness: monsters, demons, and unbelievable turns of circumstance. But some things about the Universe — and how it came to be — are weirder and more shocking than others! Here are the Top Five weird things about the Engen Universe, we think. [Some spoilers ahead.]
5. The Black Womb books were written out of order: Always a source of confusion for fans of the series, despite being a stickler for continuity, Matthew LeDrew has often stated personally and through his “From the Author” segments of the books, that they were written in a very different order from which they are being published and occur internally. For the record, the books starring Black Womb / Xander Drew were written in the following order (assuming the numbering continued unbroken into the Xander Drew series): 1, 3, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. This means that the first book written was Black Womb and the latest in terms of when he wrote them was the latest book published Sinister Intent, but that some of the other books, even those not yet published, were written long ago.
4. The Infinity Series is unnumbered: Despite being only three books long with a few short stories currently, creators Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis often refer to Infinity as the “flagship” series of the Engen Universe. Novels in the series are slow to emerge because of the meticulous nature of how the authors work together to craft them, but there series has been left unnumbered both to reflect the “infinite” nature of it and to allow other books to fit in between when necessary.
3. Blackheart is the only character with “shared” creator credits: Despite the collaborative nature of The Engen Universe, who created which characters and concepts is still set in stone… except for the character of Blackheart. Originally appearing as an antagonist in the fourth Black Womb novel Roulette by Matthew LeDrew, the character was adopted into the first three Infinity novels by Ellen Curtis, who took the character in such a wildly different and iconic direction that she is now credited with the creation of the character.
2. Gavin was supposed to be dead: Due to some artful phrasing at the conclusion of Ellen Curtis’ seminal short story The Tourniquet Revival, fellow Engen-creator Matthew LeDrew was left with the impression that the antagonist Gavin was meant to be considered alive — or at least that there was a loophole in the phrasing that implied he could be. He then went about planning the novel The Tourniquet Reprisal to see the characters return, while Curtis was busy with her edits of Infinity. LeDrew was long into the drafting process before Curtis alerted him to her original intent, and the two came to an agreement on the character’s use.
1. There are mysteries hinted at in Black Womb that have yet to be solved: The Black Womb series is at this point known for two things: it’s mysteries, and its tendency to pull the rug out from under its readers regarding those mysteries. Series creator Matthew LeDrew has stated that he wanted the reveals in the third book, Smoke and Mirrors, to cause readers to go back to the first novel in the series with a more critical eye, and to teach them not to necessarily trust the information he was giving them at face value. As such — and as a direct result of the books being written out of order — Black Womb and its sequels are filled with hints and setups to mysteries that won’t be solved for years down the line. A few astute readers have picked up on this and have correctly deduced some of the intents, but several of the largest hints remain hidden between the lines.
Do you agree with our list? What are some other shocking things about the Engen Universe? Comment below! 🙂