I’ve based the religion of the Isles generally on that of Sumer: the sacred triad of Inanna, Dumuzi, and Ereshkigal. The words of power, however, are the voces mysticae of the documentary magic common in the Mediterranean Basin during classical times. This was the language spoken to the demiurges who would in turn intercede on behalf of humans with the Gods.
I have no personal religious beliefs, but many very intelligent people believed that these voces mysticae were effective in rousing spiritual powers to affect human endeavors. I prefer not to pronounce them aloud. Readers can make their own decisions on the subject.
As usual in the Isles series, the literary allusions in this novel are to classical and medieval writers of our own world. I won’t bother to list the correspondences here, but the reader can rest assured that they exist.
I’ll mention one further point. I almost always have a photograph or a painting beside me while I work on a scene. That helps me give touches of reality to the fantasy worlds I’m creating. As one example among many, this time I used a copy of Les Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, an illuminated manuscript from around 1411 A.D.
Readers familiar with horses will know that sidesaddles now put the rider’s legs to the left. If those persons will check August of Les Trés Riches Heures, they’ll see that two of the three women riding have their legs to the right.
While I do make mistakes, I suggest that this shouldn’t be the first assumption readers make when they find something that surprises them.