The Summer Sale Continues with Heir to the Sundered Crown

The Summer Sale is already in its third week and this week book 1 in the Sundered Crown Saga is on sale for just 0.99p/c.

First in a series: The Kingdom of Delfinnia is plunged into darkness after its royal family is assassinated. When Luxon emerges as the first wizard in a century, he’ll have to join a band of noble allies and fulfill his destiny as the prophesied hero. Perfect for fans of Raymond E. Feist!

PUBLISHER DESCRIPTION

A realm torn asunder by civil war will give rise to a hero. The Kingdom of Delfinnia is in chaos. After Assassins kill the king and his family, the barons now battle one another for the crown. Unknown to them, one heir yet lives. As the civil war worsens, dark things begin to stir in the vast Eclin mountains.

Horrors long thought destroyed have returned and led by an ancient evil begin to march upon the war-torn kingdom. Meanwhile, in the mage city of Caldaria and as all hope seems lost, a young man named Luxon will discover his powers. The first wizard for a century, he is the man who will one day be known as the Legendary and the hero will give the realm its greatest king.

Sent on a quest to find the hidden heir, Luxon teams up with the legendary monster slayer, Ferran of BlackMoor, the deadly yet beautiful Witch Hunter Sophia Cunning and the noble Knight of Niveren, Kaiden of the Marble shore.

Together they travel the realm battling deadly monsters, assassins, and the most feared enemies of them all, the servants of the dark lord Danon himself, the evil N’Gist cult.

The Heir to the Sundered Crown is a heroic fantasy tale filled with action, battles and magic that will ignite the imagination and set the stage for an epic confrontation between the light and the darkness.


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

SPFBO Author Interview: Rune S. Nielsen

SPFBO 7 is currently underway and to help give some visibility to the authors taking part I’ve opened my author interviews up to them. Today I interview fantasy author Rune S. Nielsen.


  • Hi Rune S. Nielsen tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write.

A long time ago in a galaxy called the Milky Way, in a small yellow brick house in the western part of the Kingdom of Denmark, lived a young boy who obsessed over superhero comic books. And also, any kind of sci-fi and fantasy content he could get his grubby little paws or excited eyeballs on.

Besides being an overjoyed consumer, the boy kept coming up with ideas and stories, and as the boy was me, I just happen to know that he wanted to get these out. Share his excitement with everyone.

I did some drawing and writing, then found an outlet in the wonderful world of roleplaying games, and later when he grew up, I became a journalist and got to write articles and do TV news. My love of beer then sent me to work for a decade at one of the world’s biggest brewery groups, Carlberg. Where we for instance told people, “Did you know that a study shows that one beer actually enhances your problem-solving skills but that two or more decreases the same skills?”

Despite the fine frothing beer, there was still something missing.

However, the dream of writing books never faded, and last year I finally published my first epic fantasy novel, Doomsayer Prince.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The vivid imagination. The relationships between the characters. The wonder of discovery. The differences and similarities between our world, society, and norms, and that of the imagined places.

But honestly, my first book could have been sci-fi. I love both genres about equally, and for most of the same reasons.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

Currently, I am working on two new books. One coming out this Christmas, the other a year later. And a roleplaying game set in the world I created for Doomsayer prince.

When I began, I knew little about how to write novels. Had I known just how difficult creating a huge epic fantasy was, I would have begun with a short story. Instead, I wrote what I loved—a brick-thick fantasy novel. Kind of crazy, but I loved it. The difficulties I had were many. I had to learn a lot of new skills. And yes, I’m a journalist, but being an author is quite different. The pacing, style, and sheer numbers of hours spent on one project differ from the faster-paced life of a journalist.

Another issue was/is language. I’m a Dane and we speak Danish. For me, English is a second language. I, therefore, use a lot of mental energy on trying to fool everyone into believing that writing English comes perfectly naturally to me.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

Nuanced, intelligent characters with goals and feelings. The kind you can relate to.

All my characters have some of me in them, my prior experiences in life. Like some of the flight sequences, are inspired by my skydiving. Some are inspired by the experiences of others that I have come across in some form or other and still remember.

I would say the same goes for any writer. Why? Let me tell you a cool story.

During the writing of Doomsayer Prince, I went to a lecture. An accomplished scientist who researches the brain for a living was talking about the human memory. I might just have signed up because I thought it was funny that his last name is the same as the name of a Danish fish. I’m getting sidetracked. The memory does that to us.

According to “Mr. Goat Fish,” everything we come up with, inventions, new ideas, and so on, all directly stems from our memory.

According to him: when we humans want to create something “new” we don’t. Not 100%. What we do is take one or more things from our memory and combine them in different ways.

I had a hard time accepting this. My mind rebelled against the mere thought. No, I am creative! I am! Then he talked about the slow pace of new inventions and ideas. It’s typically someone inventing one little thing, then another improves it, and another, and then we all hail one person for “the discovery” of the light bulb or the theory of evolution, or whatever. When in fact it was not one person, but a series of smaller inventions or ideas leading up to someone finally either nailing it or finally getting the message out to the rest of us.

Thing progress in baby steps, we mistake for leaps.

What does that mean for a writer? So, if you want to create a new fantasy monster, you might begin by thinking ‘I want something scary and big for my new book.’ This might lead you directly to ‘dragons.’ But you did that last year. You don’t want that, and this must be new. Feel different!

What could such a monster be like? You then pick something from your memory and combine it with other things you remember. Like what if it has the head of a Geiger alien mixed with a hammer shark? Won’t people see what I did there? I’ll make it white so people can’t see that the black alien inspired it. And instead of the rounded shape of the hammer shark’s face, I’ll give this one reversed pyramid shapes. Does it have wings like a dragon? No, it becomes too much like a dragon, and if I remove the wings, it looks like a dinosaur. What to do? I’ll give it octopus tentacles but filled with needles that suck blood from its victims.

A dragon, mosquito, octopus, alien, shark mash-up. That’s new!

Is it? Well, it might be. What you have made could be a unique combination, but since all the parts are a mash-up of what you know, there are bound to be other works out there with something not so different in them. We all tap into many of the same shared fantasy experiences after all. Like LotR, Harry Potter, or Magic the Gathering.

Yes, as an author you can kid yourself all you like, about writing “new stuff nobody has ever seen before,” and sure, each book differs from all other books, but all of us creatively mash stuff together from our memory to form something that we feel is “unique enough,” but still “same enough” to fit into one or more genres.

The genres for me are different mashes of the author’s memories. Flavored for a specific taste.

When authors are bad at the mashing (or lazy) that’s when the reviewers complain about it feeling too much like a lot of other things they have read/seen/played. That’s why it helps if we know and truly love something. Then we instinctively know which flavors to add to our books.

Or maybe that’s not quite right? Perhaps even completely wrong. What do you believe?

Many authors (including me) feel that we at times get inspiration from somewhere outside of ourselves (no, I’m not talking about beta-readers.) We feel that ideas or words flow into us from some greater and wiser source.

Throughout the years this sort of influence has had many names like muses, guardian angels, genus loci, God…

Believe what you will, but for me, this does not discredit what “Mr. Goat Fish” talked about. Any outside inspiration still must go through our brain, pass through a filter that is us. The same with alien influences or drugs. They might influence your thinking but if YOU write it, it still comes from you and passes through your memory. If you don’t believe me, then think about the letters, we store each of them in our memory (yes, someone taught you to write long ago.)

Trying to get out from under the “shadow of my memory,” I invented a few tricks during the writing of the Doomsayer Prince. All to try to make the characters and the plot less a slave of my memory and hopefully more interesting.

I set up a list of “mental rules” for each character, a guideline to their behavior, and whatever I came up with I checked it with the rules and made sure their arc made sense.

I created randomly distributed “mess up my script bombs.” To help me write in a way that came less from my memory and more from some “other place.” Hopefully making the plot more exciting and unpredictable. I used a lot of time to smooth the rough edges.

If you read the Doomsayer Prince, let me know if you think I made it more unique than most books.

  • For any wannabe writers out there, what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Keep writing. Don’t expect anyone to do you any favors. Stay positive.

  • What writing tricks do you utilize to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

See no. 5.

I also use a fancy app to track all my ideas and structure the plot. It’s Causality by Hollywood Camera Works. It’s made for tv shows but it’s just wicked smart and works fine for novels.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

A plotter. HARD MODE.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

The next book (working title: A Company of Adventurers) will be out this Christmas. It’s a new beginning but still fantasy. For the first time, I’m writing together with another (the fabulous British author, Chris Paton! He writes under a bunch of pennames in various genres, this one will be under Bran Nicholls.) We are having so much fun and I’m allowing myself to be loose (doing some pantser moves here and there.) It’s so great to have a colleague after spending years writing on my own.

Around Christmas, the following year, I’ll release the sequel to Doomsayer Prince titled Arch of the Zhi’el. I’m not sure when the roleplaying game will be ready. It’s kind of massive in its own way.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

A mix. Not too dark, not too bright. Not too naïve, not to jaded. Luckily, there’s plenty of space in the middle to tell a great story.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

You might expect me to say Star Wars (based on my answer to the first question.) It’s not, though.

Lord of the Rings, that’s my answer.

Don’t get me wrong. They are all significant works. Then again, if you had a time machine, went back, and killed Tolkien, I’m not sure there would be a Harry Potter or a Star Wars. Or that they would have been successes. That’s how big an influence LotR still has today.

Follow Rune via-

https://runesnielsen.com

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318760974938958

Thanks for taking part!

You are welcome 😊


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

https://www.amazon.com/M.S.-Olney/e/B00LE9XEBS?ref=dbs_mng_calw_1

Voyage for the Sundered Crown Audiobook out now!

I am delighted to announce that Voyage for the Sundered Crown is now available to get in audio format and as per usual the excellent Joseph Tweedale has smashed it out of the park!

This is the definitive way to experience the Sundered Crown Saga and Joseph does an amazing job at bringing all of the characters to life in a way that only audio can.

You can get your copy on Audible, Itunes and ACX.

Win an Audiobook Code!

To celebrate the books release I’m giving away 10 codes. All you have to do to be win one is post a review of any of my books on Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo or Barnes and Noble take a screenshot and send it to matthewolney9@gmail.com.

All qualifying entrants will then be added into a draw with the winners announced via the <a href=”http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p>All qualifying entrants will then be <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/groups/212672018752900″>added into a draw with the winners announced via the </a>Sundered Crown Facebook Group.</p> Sundered Crown Facebook Group.


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

The Summer Sale 2021

If you’ve been following me for a few years then you’ll know that every year I hold a Summer Sale to give you excellent folks new books to read throughout the holidays and with this blasted Covid virus still about who knows whether we will all be put into lockdown again. To that end here is the schedule for the book promos and their sale prices. Enjoy! And please leave reviews of any books you do choose to get. 

Sale begins June 1st

1st to the 6th – Danon (FREE)

7-13th – The Nightblade (0.99p/c or FREE if you sign up to the Newsletter)

14-20 – Heir to the Sundered Crown (0.99p/c)

21-27 – War for the Sundered Crown (0.99p/c)

28th – 4th July – Quest for the Sundered Crown (0.99p/c)

5-11 – Voyage for the Sundered Crown (0.99p/c)

12-18 – The First Fear (0.99p/c)

19-25 – The Temple of Arrival (0.99p/c)

26- 1st August – Terran Defenders: Genesis (0.99p/c)

2- 8 – Terran Defenders: Rebirth (0.99p/c)

9-15 – Blood of Kings (0.99p/c) 


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author Interview: Ron L. Lahr

In today’s author interview I speak with US fantasy author Ron L. Lahr about what he’s working on and why he enjoys the most about the fantasy genre.


  • Hi Ron L. Lahr, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write? I am married with two grown daughters, which is what affords me the time to write. I love reading, gardening, cooking, baking and working on old cars. I have wanted to be a writer since I can remember and started during high school. I chose to stop writing and get a degree and a career to support my family. Now I have the opportunity to get back at it.
  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre? Fantasy is my favorite genre to read and write. It has been since I read the Lord of the Rings in junior high. There are many things I love about it, the sense of wonder, good versus evil, and honor mattering.
  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? My current project is the Kathaldi Chronicles, an epic fantasy trilogy. Dirk, a thief and sarcastic jerk, is the narrator of the story. He and some friends end up accidentally fighting an ancient evil to save the world. The first two books, Children of Kathaldi and Assassins of Kathaldi, are out on Amazon as ebooks and book one is also available as a paperback and an audiobook on Amazon and Audible. I am just finishing up the first draft of the final book, Destroyers of Kathaldi, so it should be out by the end of the summer.  The challenge of writing this trilogy was finishing the third book during the pandemic. With everything else that has happened over the last year it took me much longer to finish the third book than I thought. I like to think that I’ll be back on track very soon.
  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them? I enjoy writing all sorts of characters but my favorite is the narrator of the Kathaldi Chronicles, Dirk. He’s a thief, scoundrel, sarcastic jerk, braggart, and believes himself to be quite the ladies man. However, he is also a loyal friend willing to put his life on the line for you. He’s funny, mean, and gets to say things I would never say in a million years. That is definitely fun to write.
  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned? The biggest thing for me is to just finish the first draft before you start rewriting and editing. Get something done and then work on making it perfect, or at least better.
  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track? I’m awful at meeting deadlines so any tricks I use are worthless. I need some new tricks!
  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)? I am a hybrid. I do create an outline and write pages of notes but the finished story has a lot more stuff in it. Sometime my characters just say or do something while I’m writing that I hadn’t ever thought of and I almost always go with it, even though it can mean a lot of extra work to ensure it fits with the rest of the story. I’d say I’m one third plotter and two thirds pantser.
  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres? All of that and more! I have plans for new series, I will be releasing some humorous books and stories, and I have more plans for the Kathaldi Chronicles, including some anthologies where I write a few short stories and the rest are by other authors, and more books with Dirk and other books that cover different time periods and characters. I’m a planning fool!
  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach? I prefer good to triumph over evil but I don’t mind if it’s a close call and lots of good guys die in the attempt. There can be a fair amount of dark and I don’t mind a bit.
  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars? This is a tough one because I love all three of these. Lord of the Rings has probably had the most influence on me, the books, although I loved the movies, too. The Harry Potter books were about the only thing my oldest daughter would read and we eagerly awaited the publication of each one and then when the movies came out it was our special thing to go see them together. She gave me the Blu-Ray set for Christmas one year. And Star Wars? I was a kid when Episode IV came out and it changed everything for just about everybody.  I simply cannot choose. It’s like trying to choose between your own children – impossible!

(Please include any social media links – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.)

Amazon series page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089GW4FVW

Amazon for Children of Kathaldi (book 1): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089FNJHB7

Audible for book 1: https://www.audible.com/pd/Children-of-Kathaldi-Audiobook/B08KHSZXRG

Amazon for Assassins of Kathaldi (book 2): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KNW5TT9

Free audiobook of a prequel short story: https://talltaletv.com/dirk-goes-to-church

Website: www.Kathaldi.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Kathaldi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LahrRon

Email: RonLodellLahr@gmail.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8508877.Ron_Lahr

To join my email list: https://bit.ly/39FIcSu

Patreon: www.patreon.com/RonLahr


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

PRE-ORDER Heroes of the Sundered Crown & The Crimson Blade

Hi all, I hope you’re well. Some big news! Heroes of the Sundered Crown, Book 5 in the Sundered Crown Saga is now available to pre-order on Amazon and other major retailers.

To give me enough time to get it finished and as polished as I can (I’m a one man band remember!) I’ve set the release date for December 21st 2021. 

Pre-order your copy via the link below. 

Introducing the Crimson Blade

The world and lore of the Sundered Crown Saga expands in the Crimson Blade. Discover how the order of assassins came to be and how they came to serve the N’gist. Read the synopsis and preorder below.


Killers, Murderers, Assassins.

The Crimson Blades strike fear into the hearts of all who cross their path. 
When Valyn, a low born merchant, sees his wife and children murdered by the Knights of Niveren for wielding magic, he embarks on a quest for revenge that will cut a bloody swathe through the Kingdom of Delfinnia.

As he embarks on his deadly quest for vengeance, he will be embroiled in the realms criminal underworld and encounter an ancient evil that promises him the power he seeks to enact his bloody retribution.

With the Crimson Blade in hand, Valyn will become an unstoppable killing machine but in exchange, he must sacrifice everything, including his soul. 


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

The First Fear on Sale for just 0.99p/c

It’s sale time again folks, this time my epic fantasy The First Fear is available to buy for just 0.99p/c from Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo and more retailers.

Here’s the blurb to entice you into getting yourself a copy. If you love creative world building, super powered beings and plenty of action this is the book for you!


The Supreme rules the world.

For years beyond counting the people have lived in fear and served her will while she reigns with an iron fist. Her servants the Venerable Chamber and her feared Hollowed stalk the land hunting those who may have the Power to challenge her. The Empowered Ones.

Once, they defended the world from all terror using their abilities to harness emotions into supernatural abilities. Now only a few remain, but hope is not yet lost.

Elian, a young man living at the edge of the Imperium discovers he too possesses the Power with devastating consequences for both himself and the people he loves. Forced to flee from the Supreme’s most deadly agent The First Fear, Elian encounters a ragtag band of rebels known as the Liberators and a group of Gifted led by the charismatic Empowered One, Vavius who believes that the key to overthrowing the Supreme lies in the ruins of the ravaged lands of the once mighty Kingdom of Aeranyth.

Can Elian survive long enough to develop his newfound abilities and help them turn the tide against the Supreme or will he die trying?

Reviews for The First Fear

“Fans of Sanderson will love this one.” – The Bookwyrm speaks
“This was such a great book! LOVED it!!! Highly recommend!” – Amazon reviewer
“Really good ideas and a fun read!” – Amazon reviewer
“Amazing world building” – Amazon reviewer


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Easter Sale – Unconquered: Blood of Kings for just 0.99p/c

Flash Sale for the Easter Weekend! – If you love history, battles and heroic characters Unconquered: Blood of Kings is the book for you. Get your copy for just 0.99p/c from – books2read.com/u/bxejqd

The final clash of Saxons and Vikings!

As the kingdom teeters on the edge of chaos, King Edward the Confessor dies without an heir, sparking off events that will see three of the most powerful men in Europe fight to the death for Christendom’s greatest prize, the crown of Saxon England.

Rebellion, war, love and loss will test the strength and faith of Osfrid Hunweldsen, a noble who fights to save his family from the hands of tyranny and the coming invasion of the kingdom. It is 1066, the blood of Kings shall be shed.

Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author Interview: S.E Anderson

In today’s author interview I chat with fantasy author S.E Anderson about her writing journey and her future projects. Join us around the campfire.


  • Hi, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

I’ve been telling stories since I was a kid. I think it runs in the family: my dad could invent a whole novel with subplots on the spot and would distract my sister and I while hiking with these incredibly complex tales. I was telling stories before I could even read, making my parents do all the writing for me. My brain just thinks in stories.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The worldbuilding. I love trying to imagine the big “what if?” questions that arise when people are subjected to different norms and challenges than what we face every day. It’s fun to push the limits of reality and see what can be!

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

I recently had the fortune of being involved creating an anthology of YA stories. While we were open to many genres, many of them were fantasy, including my own contribution (though it’s more Urban Fantasy). We did this to keep the pandemic from getting to us, and it worked! It kept all of us focused and goal oriented. The book truly is a labour of love and I’m so thrilled to be putting it out into the world. It came out February 15th.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I like characters who don’t have life figured out – because let’s face it, who does? Characters who are sure of themselves only to have their foundation shaken, or ones who haven’t yet realized the potential that’s within them. Big change leads to big growth, and I love following them on their journey. As to how much of myself I put in them. It depends on the character. But I feel like each one represents a facet of me, whether I’d like to admit that or not. Who are you, my therapist?

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

To just keep writing. I’m sure they hear this all the time, but it’s so true. An object in motion stays in motion. And how do you learn to write well if you don’t write at all? Take the plunge, and just keep swimming.

Wow, my metaphors are mixed. You see? This is what happens if you step away from writing for too long.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

Word count goals, mostly. I don’t have any magic life hacks here. Just nose to the grindstone some days, even if it might feel tedious.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

My first drafts are always a pantsed up mess. But as soon as I put the last period in my draft, I’m off to the drafting board to make the plot actually make sense!

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I have a new duology I’ve been cooking up for the fast four years, but I’d also like to try more contemporary YA with fantasy elements. I have a lot of stuff I want to explore. The only hard part if knowing I’ll never write everything I want to write!

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I switch it up. I like more exploratory stories, to get me out of my apartment. A lot of wide arching fantasy and scifi, plus a bit of nonfiction here and there. 

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Star Wars OG trilogy for pure watchability, LoTR for a long binge read.

Author Page: ‪https://www.facebook.com/seandersonauthor/

Website: ‪seandersonauthor.com

Twitter: ‪https://twitter.com/sea_author

Book: ‪http://bit.ly/KSTAR


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Announcing Heroes of the Sundered Crown Book 5 in the Sundered Crown

Hi all I’m delighted to announce book 5 in the Sundered Crown Saga- Heroes of the Sundered Crown. I’m working away on the book and am hoping for a release sometime in the Autumn of this year.
The fleet of Yundol longships powered through the water towards the shore. On the clifftop, beacons burst into life as the approaching invasion force was sighted by the enemy. Standing proud at the bow of the lead Yundol ship was Ricard of Champia. His greying hair and beard blew in the wind, and his green cape fluttered wildly behind him. His eyes were fixed on the beach. 
For too long he’d been exiled from the Kingdom that was rightfully his. After his defeat and escape from Bison, he’d spent six months overseas seeking aid to strike back at Danon. He had travelled across the continent of Yundol, the home of Delfinnia’s once most feared foes to find support for his war. Most of the Yundol chieftains had scoffed at him; some had even threatened to kill him. Many of the Yundol warlords bitterly remembered the defeats Ricard had inflicted during their failed invasion decades earlier. Despite that, the promise of gold had proven too appealing for some, and before long, he’d mustered a formidable force of mercenaries. 
The cost made him wince; his treasury was now empty; he’d gambled everything on taking the Sundered Crown for himself. Yundol horns blared across the choppy black waters, and the warriors that had once spilt blood across Delfinnia prepared to do so again. The warriors roared, their savage voices carrying in the wind. A thousand men to take the Marble Shore, a thousand of the most dangerous men alive. He adjusted his sword belt and took the helmet offered to him by his squire. He looked back down the row of burly oarsmen and nodded to his trusted lieutenant the elderly Vizar. The fighting men of Champia were packed onto the ship’s deck and bristled as they sighted the stunning white beaches ahead Marble cliffs shining in the early spring sunshine. It was the first time many of them had seen the mainland in months and signalled that they were returning home. Vizar caught his eye and gave Ricard a reassuring smile. The older warrior walked over to him.
 “The men are eager for battle my lord. Let us hope these Yundols are just as good at killing as I remember.”
Ricard nodded before putting on his helmet.
 “Today we take the Marble shore, tomorrow the Kingdom.”
 The horns sounded again signalling for the fleet to increase speed. The warriors hastily strapped on their armour and prepared their weapons. With every oar stroke, the Yundol warriors shouted their battle cry.
 “Death! Death! Death!”
The longship surged forward, and Ricard drew his sword from its scabbard. Behind him, his warriors prepared themselves. Ricard frowned as he spotted figures appear on the clifftops. There were thousands of them!
Arrows suddenly lashed down like hail onto the vulnerable ships. Ricard swore. As they drew closer, the figures became more apparent. All wore black armour, and each was armed with the lethal Sarpi composite bow and barbed arrows. The deadly projectiles struck the ship eliciting screams from warriors and oarsmen unlucky enough to be struck. Just as quickly as it had begun the arrow storm stopped. Then, with a sudden jolt, the ship struck the beach using the furiously rowing oarsmen’s momentum to skid high up the sand. It was the favourite tactic of the Yundols and one that often took a foe by surprise. Ricard leapt over the side of the ship, raised his shield, and roared for his men to follow. The sand was deep and challenging to traverse. Warriors disgorged from the beaching ships, and the Sarpi unleashed another arrow storm.  Dozens of warriors fell to the Sarpi arrows. Ricard’s eyes widened. On the cliff tops, he could see catapults being rolled into place. He watched in horror as the Sarpi quickly loaded the weapons and launched pots of burning pitch down onto the beaching ships. One Yundol longship took a direct hit, erupting in flames that engulfed the warriors on board. Burning men fell screaming over the sides only for their heavy armour to drag them down into the churning sea. 
Ricard rallied his men, and they rushed to him to form a shield wall. He crouched under his shield as another volley of arrows struck. His arm shook under the impact. All around the air was filled with the screams of the wounded and dying, but the Yundol warriors pressed on up the beach. They continued their war chant using their shields as cover from the maelstrom raining down on them. A horn blared from the cliffs causing Ricard to lower his shield. His eyes widened and a knot of dread wormed in his guts. Massing at the top of the steep incline at the top of the beach were hundreds of heavily armoured horses. Their thick black armour covered the animals from head to hoof and sat astride them were Sarpi warriors clad in thick plate armour the colour of darkest night. 
“Spears!” Ricard bellowed.
The Yundols sheathed their swords and axes and hastily formed a phalanx of spear points. With expert skill drilled into them by Ricard, the warriors grouped together until they were three lines deep. Each wielded a long spear and lapped their shields over their neighbours. The Sarpi cavalry surged forward like a black tide to sweep down the dunes. Sand sprayed in all directions, and the ground shook. 
 “Brace!”
The first of the horsemen thundered closer, lowering their long lances, and picking targets to slay. 
With devastating impact, they hit, the Yundol spears having little effect on the charging enemy’s thick armour. Men were skewered on lance points by the dozen, Vizar among them. Ricard was battered to the ground, but he quickly rolled to escape the stamping iron shod hooves of a Sarpi horse. He came up from the roll, threw his shattered spear aside and drew his sword. Despair filled him. All along the beach, the cavalry swept aside the army he’d spent months and the last of his fortune gathering. The dead lay in the now blood soaked sand and bodies floated on the grisly tide. Several of the longships were ablaze to send smoke drifting high into the sky. The lucky ones had managed to force their way back into the sea and were now desperately turning tail to flee back into open water.
 “Niveren no,” Ricard despaired. More horns sounded, this time from across the water. Ricard spun to see a small fleet of Sarpi warships round the headland and move to cut off his forces. The Yundols were trapped. He watched in horror as fire arrows launched into the dull sky and fell like rain on the beleaguered Yundol vessels. The ships caught alight, the screams of the doom sailors drifting on the breeze. All around him, his men were being butchered the cavalry charge having smashed any semblance of disciplined resistance. All of his hopes and dreams of liberating Delfinnia and taking the crown had been extinguished within moments. 
In his heart, he had always known it had been a fool’s dream but seeing his men cut down the realisation of all he had done dawned on him. The thunder of hooves came from behind him, he closed his eyes. A broken man. 

Buy the Sundered Crown Saga

The Nightblade (Prequel)

Heir to the Sundered Crown

War for the Sundered Crown

Quest for the Sundered Crown

Voyage for the Sundered Crown


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.