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. 


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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


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Writing Fantasy – Keeping it Real? Part Two – Armour

In the first post of this blog series, I wrote about one of my main issues with the use of swords. If this part I’m taking a look at the way armour is often described in fantasy novels and depicted in the movies.

Women’s Armour

Let’s get the obvious issue out of the way. Women’s armour. Now before someone gets in touch saying that women never fought in battle, wrong. There are quite a few historical examples of women dealing out death on the battlefield with the best (or worst) of the fellas. Don’t believe me? Check out this long list of female warriors. As a fan of Byzantine history, Sikelgaita the wife of the Norman Duke of Apulia is a particular favourite.

In fantasy, women warriors are often depicted as wearing, well not a lot. Half the time their armour is there to make them look sexy or stylish. It’s very rare that a movie or novel has them wearing effective protection. Check out this video for an example –

As I did in the first part of this blog series, let’s pit a female warrior dressed in typical Hollywood style armour against our nameless knight.

*

Fresh from his encounter with the now very dead warriors, our hero continues on his quest. The road leads him through a thick forest that he knows has a river running through it. The only way across is to cross the old stone bridge. A favourite spot for bandits. Sure enough, as he reaches the bridge, a lone figure stands in the road. To the knight’s surprise, the heavily armed bandit is a woman wielding a sword and buckler.

“Halt. To cross this bridge you must pay the toll,” the woman demands.

As before the knight chuckles to himself and shakes his head in amusement.

“What’s so funny?” the woman said, her tone full of confusion. The knight should be afraid.

The knight draws his sword and raises his shield.

“I bet I can beat you in two moves,” he declares.

The woman’s eyes widen in surprise at the arrogance on display.

The knight’s confidence is not misplaced for the woman is wearing what can only be described as the worst set of armour he has ever seen. More bikini, then a suit of protection. The woman is highly vulnerable.

The two fighters square up to one another. The woman swings her sword at the knight who is too slow to block the attack. The blade strikes his plate armour with a clang. Aside from a scratch to the plate, the man inside the armour is unharmed. The woman rains blows upon the knight. Most connect but thanks to the steel suit the sword cannot reach the meat inside. The woman begins to tire.

“A sword is not the best weapon to use against one as well protected as I” the Knight says with a laugh. The woman swings again, but this time the knight deflects the tired blow with his shield and thrusts his sword forward. Unlike the Knight, the woman in her bikini armour has little in the way of protection. The sword stabs deep into her exposed flank to slay her out right. She crumples to the ground dead.

“Your flanks, throat and groyne were totally exposed. You’re not wearing a helmet nor gauntlets. I could strike anywhere, and the result would be the same,” the knight critiques, a hint of sadness in his voice.

“Now this an example of a good set of armour” –

*

Now I’m no armour expert, but it is pretty obvious that quite a few armours I’ve either seen in the movies or in books just aren’t realistic or effective. It may be the fantasy genre, but some basis, in reality, needs to come through. (Unless of course, you use magic a lot. Magic can always provide a workaround to this sort of thing!)

In the next part of this series, I’ll be taking a look at creating magic systems.

Is there anything specific you’d like me to cover? Let me know in the comments, or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter and please sign up to the newsletter

 

 

 

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Writing Quest Part 5 – Happy Easter

Another week, another bout of little in the way of writing done :(. Doing a rebrand for a company is a bit of a knackering job (as in exhausting). Being a copywriter can be a tough job.

I went to London midweek to meet a few of the executives at the company I work for and the list of jobs to do has only grown. Luckily, I have the next week off to try and finally crack on with Quest and get more done on the Nightblade.

In the wider world events remain grim. The terrorist attack on Brussels happened the day before my trip to London and security was high. These incidents just show how cowardly those murderers are, targeting innocent men, women and children, all they will achieve is to make us more determined to beat them.

Friday saw the release of Danon http://amzn.to/1XPPlnH Normally I would concentrate on doing a launch and promotion, but alas due to other commitments this has been a bit lacking. Go and get a copy now or sign up to the newsletter! To celebrate, War for the Sundered Crown http://amzn.to/1MEiz2X is free to download until Monday.

I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!

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Dragons…Everyone Loves Dragons

Dragons are the creatures that probably most typifies the fantasy genre. They come in all shapes and sizes, their abilities vary greatly from tale to tale and they can be mindless monsters or gentle scolars. Also helps that they are also freakin cool…

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I posted this pic on Facebook author page earlier today and it inspired me to write this blog post on everyones favourite fantasy creature.

Wikipedia describes them as:

‘A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies, and the Chinese dragon, with counterparts in Japan (namely the Japanese dragon), Korea and other East Asian countries.[1]

The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, particularly with the cross-cultural contact of recent centuries. The English word dragon derives from Greek δράκων (drákōn), “dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake’

In the first part of the Sundered Crown Saga, Heir to the Sundered Crown, dragons are  relatively unheard of, they are mythical beasts that were said to have been banished by the first men to another dimension (the void, home to the god Vectrix). The cause of their banishment? The first men feared the creatures power and were afraid that they would all be devoured. After their banishment the dragons adapted to their prison, in the void they were immortal and bided their time.

The greatest of the dragons was the dragon king Umbaroth. The size of a castle with scales the colour of pure silver he did his best to guide his kind. It wasn’t until a nameless mage inadvertedly opened a breach to the void that the dragons began to hope that they would return to their original homelands. Alas, they did not have the power to do so and before they could attempt to leave the void the first wizard Aljeron sealed the breach. Millenia would pass before the void would open again, this time something came in. A great war had been waged in Esperia. It was a conflict between Zahnia the Great and Danon, the enemy of man. Danon was exiled into the void where he quickly set about plotting his escape. He tricked the dragons into assissting him, he needed their power. More millenia passed until thanks to Danon’s plotting a teenage boy named Luxon ended up in the void. He too was tricked by the dark one, and his power was used (along with the dragons) to open a portal back to Esperia. With the breach open Danon and the dragons escaped the void. Only Umbaroth had seen through the dark ones trickery. He too escaped, but not before saving Luxon.

The dragons in the saga are huge with bodies that are covered in armoured scales. Only the most powerful of magic and weapons can harm them. They are also highly intelligent with the ability to talk.

What is your favourite fantasy novel that has dragons in? Are you a writer or artist with your own take on the most favourite of fantasy creatures? Let me know in the comments section.

Book 2 in the saga War for the Sundered Crown is available to buy on ‪#‎Kindle‬ now at http://geni.us/B015JPB310/

Both books are free for those with Kindle Unlimited!

You can also buy them in paperback –

Heir to the Sundered Crown http://amzn.to/1XDSxlg

War for the Sundered Crown http://amzn.to/1RiVFDs

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