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Thursday, 1 April 2010

A new legend

No, it's not an April Fool. Jamie has written a novel and it's published today by Boxer Books. If you don't believe it, order your copy right here (UK) or here (America). In fact, even if you do believe it you should still buy one; Jamie is counting on you for his beer money.

Corvus Gunnarson is a hero in the Conan mold. He returns home after a period of exile to find his parents murdered and his two sisters captured by the ruthless warlord Wulfric Coldblood. Corvus swears an oath of vengeance and sets out to find Wulfric and rescue his sisters. His quest takes him on a journey from the fjords of Norway to the shores of Saxon England and beyond. On his journey he encounters giant sea serpents, pillaging armies, devious tricksters and shape-shifting berserker werewolves.

It's the first of a planned epic series. And, as this excerpt shows, there's a definite flavor of the Fabled Lands in the action sequences:

There were two more loud cracks in quick succession. Lightning bolts flashed down to strike the sea and the water steamed and boiled. It began to bubble, though there was no more lightning. It seemed like the storm was easing off now, fading away as fast as it had come. Certainly the rain was beginning to ease. But the bolt-struck waters nearby continued to roil and boil. Great bubbles rose up and burst into the air, releasing a foul stench of rot, like the breath of a hundred drowned sailors. The clouds parted a little and in the growing light Corvus could see something dark and indistinct rising up out of the depths.

Suddenly a great serpentine head broke the surface of the sea. Great gouts of water cascaded down its scaly ridged skull and the sides of its sinuous and heavily muscled neck. A hulking body - scaled, greenish, pitted with barnacles, finned and tailed like a demon-whale - came up behind it. It raised its head and uttered a rumbling roar that shook Corvus and Orm to their very bones. Its eyes, black and soulless like those of the squid, were wet and cruel and they glittered evilly. The sea-rot stink as of men long drowned filled the air with foulness.

‘Aieee!’ shrieked Orm at the top of his voice, ‘Jormungand, it is Jormungand!’

‘Jormungand!’ thought Corvus. Jormungand was the world serpent, the worm that eats its own tail, the gigantic sea serpent that would kill Thor himself at Ragnorak, the last battle of the Gods at the end of time. This was bad. Especially if Orm believed it – he didn’t believe in stuff like this normally. They were doomed!

Corvus looked up at the great beast, as its head reared up over the small boat. Well, if he was going to die, he would go to Valhalla fighting with the last drop of his blood. Quickly Corvus plucked the long knife from his belt and began to saw at the rope that held him to the mast. If only they’d realized the true nature of the threat. Instead of lashing themselves down, they should have been…. what? What could they do against this thing? He glanced over at Orm. The old man was desperately working at his bonds, his eyes staring in unbelieving terror at the sea-serpent.

As Corvus broke free, the diamond-shaped head of the sea dragon flashed down, great maw gaping, rows of sword-sharp shark-teeth glistening in the sun. Its jaws closed around Orm and the mast, snapping it like driftwood. Orm shrieked in agony. The serpent took him up into the air, and bit deep. His chest burst asunder, spraying blood and entrails, soaking Corvus in gore. Orm’s head fell one way, his legs another. Greedily the vile beast gulped down the rest of him as Corvus scrabbled for his axes, wiping bits of the dead man off his face and arms.

Read on in the first Corvus novel, Oath of Vengeance. "A thrilling epic of bravery, honour and revenge," say the skalds. "By Odin's lost eye, if thou purchasest but a single book this year, let it be this one!"

Verily, that was a word from our sponsor; Abraxas resumes tomorrow. And you Dragon Warriors players get ready, as we'll have some Tamorian magic for you in a week or two.

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