Shadows of Illyria: Phantoms of War

Fantasy Fiction for a Warrior Generation.

The World of Illyria

Enter a fantasy world of brutal reality.


The six races of Aarden play in intricate role in both the world itself and the religion. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and despite each races sense of superiority over the others, there are is no one dominant race, each holding some card the other is missing.


Owing to the multitude of environments, unique and varied wildlife are found throughout the Illyrian Continent. True to the nature of men, most of the more fearsome creatures have been domesticated for use as tools of war.


Outside of Illyria lays the world of Aarden, a land dominated by the six continents inhabited by the six races. Like the races, these lands are as unique as their inhabitants offering a varied experience to any world traveler.


The religion of Aarden is the one unifying factor of the six races. Though interpretation and allegiances to the gods vary from race to race, the simple fact that these  beings can and do intervene in the world of Aarden have left no doubt to the inhabitants as to the validity of their existence. 

About the Author

Combat Veteran turned author.

Translating Trauma into Words

Beginning at an early age, I always loved the written word. Indeed, I’ve by writing short-stories and novellas from as far back as 6th grade. However, like most authors, I lacked the appropriate motivation to truly inspire my writing. For me, it would take five years of Army service and 15 months in combat in Iraq before I would find the muse, I needed to set my works apart. Eventually, what would begin as an effort to ease the burden of PTSD by applying words to paper, would evolve into a passion. I would like to think that the unique perspective I bring to my fiction sets it apart from many of my talented colleagues. Truly, I hope that the words I pen will serve to inspire you as much as they have sedated my war-torn mind.

JM VanZuiden Signature

Please check out some of my other works. I write Dark Fantasy, Horror, Dark Thrillers, and Poetry.


No spam – just the rantings and ravings of author JM VanZuiden.

The Religion of Aarden

The Religion of Aarden

The religion of Aarden holds a unique place amongst its people as a result of the direct impact the gods have played upon their history through direct intervention.

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Critics Reviews

Critic’s perspective on Shadows of Illyria: Phantoms of War.

I recommend this book to people who like horror and fantasy.

Jeyran Main

…we learn about this fantastical world and history…full of invasions and battles…mythical creatures and magic, this book is a complete package.

Tavleen Kaur

More reviews coming soon…


Where to Buy My Books

Available from your favorite retailer or buy it direct from Aarden Press and save!