Bol-tan is back. I’m a busy man so this is going to be short and profane, like most of the things I write, say or do.
The Prophet’s Dreams – latest in the epic fantasy series Sorrow – is released on Friday 5 April and is now available to pre-order from Musa Publishing. The story is really heating up now and it is all kicking off in Temeria, you can see the blurb and excerpt below.
I have managed to have a fairly productive Easter break, which was welcome following a brutally debauched weekend in my co-writer, David Pilling’s place the week before. His dad, John, makes the best pork-pies in the world. Fact.
The March 2013 stories from The 900 Club have been posted! The obligatory two-word phrase for March was “loose ends” and once again I thoroughly enjoyed reading my esteemed colleagues’ work. This really is proving to be a meeting of some very creative minds. Five free, and very different, short stories for you, folks. Read them. Read them all.
Finally, David Pilling and I will be organising a fantasy fiction blog hop for the weekend of May 3-6. That’s the May Day weekend if you’re in the UK. Is it May Day elsewhere as well? I don’t know because I’ve spent half my life in a field and the other half in the pub – and all of it up to my nostrils in dog shit. The title for the hop is “Heroes & Villains” and we would like to invite fantasy/speculative fiction writers to blog about the characters in their stories. More details to follow very soon…
A prophet’s dream is a warrior’s fate.
An uneasy peace has descended over the World Apparent. The Winter Realm and the Old Kingdom are recovering from the cataclysmic events of the Twelfth Reconquest, while in the south, the Djanki and the Sharib retreat to lick their wounds from the battle at Temple Rock. To the east, the divided Empire of Temeria is nearing the end of a long civil war, in which rival Generals have fought like mad dogs to seize the long-vacant Imperial Throne.
The battle at The Field of the White Bull ends in bloody chaos and treachery, and Felipe is left fighting for his life. Meanwhile, Colken wanders the desert of Eastern Temeria in search of clues to the whereabouts of Sorrow, and the Prophet Naiyar is having some disturbing dreams…
Colken stood at the bowsprit with this cloak wrapped around him and stared at the line where the ocean met the stars. The ink-black sea seemed to swallow light, like a bottomless void, making the glow of the stars above it almost intolerable.
His people had believed that those stars were their Gods, and that the Gods would plant a child in a Djanki woman’s belly once every fifty years. They believed that when they chose that child as a living God and hunted him to his death, he too would become a twinkling light in the night-sky, watching over them for eternity.
That was until the prophet Naiyar had been born. He had escaped Colken and his hunting party and turned the tribe’s ancient beliefs to dust. At the same time he had opened Colken’s eyes and made him long to break free of his tribal restraints. Naiyar had woken in Colken a desire to leave the jungle and travel the world, to find adventure, and Naiyar had granted him his freedom. Then Colken had been captured by pirates and forced to serve aboard the Jagged Blade.
Gradually dawn crept into the sky, leaving the heavens a washed out, pale blue. The breeze had dropped, the sea was calm and it felt to Colken as though the cog was stationary, the only movement he could feel was the gentle rocking from side to side. Even the crew were silent. The only sound was the ocean sloshing gently against the hull and the creak of the rigging.
The empty sky weighed heavily on Colken; it seemed to challenge him to prevail, to beat the odds that were stacked against him, find the child and hope the Raven Queen wouldn’t kill him regardless. At the same time the vast arch of the sky mocked him by reminding him of the empty space in his chest, the space left by his stolen heart.
It dawned on him then that his task was hopeless, for if he delivered an innocent child into the hands of such an insane tyrant, what right did he have to life? What kind of man would that make him? The Djanki had a rough code of honor, and this went against everything he had been raised to believe.
The more he thought about it the angrier he became. He glared at the indifferent sky, as though daring it to rain, and drew strength from his rage.
It occurred to Colken at that moment that the Raven Queen had blundered. She believed she had chosen the right man for her impossible errand; powerful, determined, the greatest warrior she had ever seen. But in her greed and desperation she had over-looked something which, although alien to her, was innate and natural to Colken. He was a warrior, a true warrior, he feared no-one and fought for the simple beliefs he held close. And every time he did so he gladly risked his own life.
The Raven Queen had not sent a huntsman, she had sent a guardian.