Tuesday 30 July 2013

Wow, terrific review - thanks Indigo Prime

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read just got better! 4 July 2013

By Indigo Prime

Return to a familiar yet unfamiliar world in the company of friends you came to know in Legacy of the Eldric, the first book in the Prophecy of the Kings trilogy. You'll never guess what will happen next! This book brings you 'up close and personal' with dragons. Close enough to smell them! More than that you'll feel the danger that lies in trusting these powerful beasts, even as they seem to offer the chance of survival.

I daren't say any more for fear of ruining this fabulous book!! You'd better read it for yourself - you won't be disappointed.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Terrific review - Legacy of the Eldric, fantasy

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! 4 July 2013
By Indigo Prime http://www.amazon.co.uk/

"I finished this book over a month ago but I have not forgotten how gripped I was by it. The story starts in an understated and unpretentious fashion but before you know it you're hooked! Kaplyn, the central character, is a likeable young man for whom the reader cannot help but feel some affection. He and his travelling companion, Lars, gain more depth and personality as their characters mature through their many challenges and experiences. There's never so good a lesson as one learnt through hardship and adversity. This book provides the young men with plenty of opportunity for learning life's lessons.

As well as developing compelling characters, David Burrows treats his readers to a great story. It is so good to find a book where you can't guess what will happen next!

I found it difficult to put the book down, then was cross with myself for not making it last once I'd finished it! I recommend this book, but be warned; you'll be reaching for the second book in the trilogy as soon as you've finished this one!"

Saturday 27 July 2013

Amazing review - thanks, more to come...

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!

By Indigo Prime - http://www.amazon.co.uk/

This review is from: Prophecy of the Kings Omnibus (Paperback)

I loved this book. A great story which has all the elements readers look for in a Fantasy novel. More than just another Fantasy trilogy, this book takes the reader to more than just 'another world'. The reader is transported to another realm and once there discovers new worlds. This story should not be underestimated. Initially the tale is a simple story of a young man embarking on a 'coming of age' journey. Without a hiccough the traveller finds himself drawn into a complex and intriguing situation involving distorted time and other magic! Don't take my word for it - read it for yourself! You're bound to enjoy David Burrows' books if you like Fantasy.

Short fantasy story - Terror Unleashed

Tarsis awoke with a start as the nightmare faded from his half-woken mind, glad for once that his memory failed him. Rising from his sweat-drenched bed, he walked over to the window and drew back the curtain no more than a couple of fingers width, flooding the room with welcome sunshine. He shivered as a cool breeze caressed his naked skin, but he ignored the cold; his mind was already working as he watched people in the street below going about their daily business, ignorant of the fact that they were being observed from the small window set high in the narrow-fronted building.
Idly, Tarsis watched them for a brief moment before deciding what he would do with the remainder of the day, playing an age-old game of guessing the wealth of individuals and the whereabouts of their concealed purses. Finally, he stepped back from the window, looking up as he did so for the position of the sun. It was mid-morning and the realisation made him sigh. He had barely slept and even though he was tired he recognised that sleep was banished. Burglary was not an ideal career, but at least it kept him from the poor-house.
Turning from the window he retraced his steps to the discarded clothing upon the floor. He dressed swiftly, pulling on his day clothes. His leggings were ripped at the crotch and looked beyond repair eliciting a sigh of despair. He considered buying a new pair, but decided not to. His money was far better spent on ale and gambling. A brightly coloured linen under-shirt was followed by his best woollen tunic, which was heavily patched and in parts threadbare. He tied his tunic about his waist using a stout leather belt from which dangled an even stouter purse. He had a reputation to keep and it would not do to have his purse stolen. Only then did he allow himself the opportunity to look at his night’s takings, spread out upon the table.
It had been a good night’s work. The jewellery would not fetch a high price. It never did. There were too many people involved with the disposal. At least the money he had stolen was his. Three silver calder and twenty coppers would last him for a few weeks if he was frugal - and a few days if he was not.
As he assessed the sum his eyes alighted upon one of the two gold rings he had found and for a moment his heart almost failed. Involuntarily he took a step backwards as though the additional distance would render him safe. There was no mistaking the faint blue aura that marked it as a magic-user’s ring. He had heard the tales often enough, but had never knowingly sought one out. He was not a fool to court with death.
Clearly he had already touched the ring for it to now be on the table and he surmised that it must be safe to handle. Dispose of it then — that at least was a safe option. He rejected that idea almost immediately, knowing that he would not get rich by being cautious. He licked his lips as he considered what might happen should he decide to keep it. He had heard rumours about magic rings many of which were bad for the thief and usually involved a curse. On the positive side though it might render him invisible, which for a thief would have enormous benefits. He imagined himself sneaking into a shop — in broad daylight — and helping himself to the takings and a smile hovered on his lips.
He knew that if he delayed he would be hours considering his options. Riches favoured the brave, as his father was fond of saying. He snatched up the ring and jammed it on the index finger of his left hand. Damn the consequences!
It fitted snugly and for a moment he admired the workmanship, lost in thought. When nothing changed, his confidence that nothing unpleasant was going to happen grew. He went to a small mirror hanging on the wall, but was hugely disappointed to see that he was still visible. He looked back at the ring: the glow marking it as a magic ring had faded, which was as expected — after all sorcerers did not want to announce to the world what they were.
For some reason he was reluctant now to take it off and decided that he would wear it when he went out. Perhaps it simply brought the user luck and after the recent few months he knew that he needed some.

The tavern was small and dingy. Clouds of smoke from numerous pipes and a partially blocked chimney filled the air. To Tarsis this was home and he revelled in the musty atmosphere and the reek of stale-ale soaked carpet. He worked his way through the crowd to a narrow door at the back of the room and without pausing swiftly slipped through. Carack looked up from his work and scowled at the smaller man before removing the two gold amulets he was studying from the table and placing them in the drawer furthest from Tarsis. In a way the older man was acknowledging the younger man’s skill and the realisation brought a crooked grin to Tarsis’ lips.
‘Greetings, Carack,’ he offered in a hopeful but friendly manner. Carack grunted something unintelligible and offered Tarsis a seat. Gratefully Tarsis sat as he pulled a small pouch from within his tunic. The spoils from the previous night spilled upon the table n a flash of gold, silver and copper.
‘Poor takings,’ Carack intoned matter-of-factly, sadly shaking his head. His lank, grey hair swung in time with his head, but his eyes never left Tarsis’. Tarsis was not perturbed; this was a ritual he had grown accustomed to.
‘People don’t leave their riches out anymore,’ he answered the older man, shaking his head solemnly. ‘Three nights takings and that is all I have to show for it.’ He threw up a hand in despair.
Carack’s eyebrows raised and for a moment Tarsis suspected that the other man knew that he had visited the ‘Hen and Weasel’ only yesterday, selling his previous night’s takings.
Carack remained silent, fingering a gold necklace with an exquisite topaz set in a platinum clasp hanging about his neck.
‘I’ll give you forty calder for this,’ he announced after a respectable pause.
Tarsis nearly fell off his seat with surprise, but professional that he was, he masked his features and gave Carack a bland look. ‘Done, and the other items?’ he asked rather hopefully.
Carack pawed the other items, which looked small and insignificant in his massive hands. ‘Three calder and five coppers for the rest. Not a penny more.’
It was a good deal, possibly three times as much as Tarsis had hoped for, which was twice as much as he usually received. He kept his mouth shut, afraid that he would break the spell of the deal.
Tarsis accepted the coins and beat a hasty retreat before Carack realised his error. He was elated and as he made his way through the tavern he considered his ring. Perhaps it was bringing him luck after all!

That night Tarsis stood within the shadow of a doorway across the street from a house that had been his intended target for many years. It was a large house belonging to a wealthy merchant whom he often followed in the vain hope that he would find some vulnerability he could exploit. Many a night he had stood at this exact spot staring at the large dwelling, trying to summon the courage to enter. Merchants were a bad lot. They employed night watchmen to guard their wealth, an act which was despised by the guild of thieves. Anyone robbing a merchant was either held in very high esteem or simply dead.
Tarsis juggled the conflict within. His earlier success with Carack made him feel confident, possibly over so. He was good, but he did not want to chance his luck too far. He had known several thieves who had been tempted by wealthy merchants and he had attended each funeral as a reminder of his own mortality. Tonight was different though, he felt lucky.
Without thinking further he stepped from the shadow and crossed the street, finding that his feet were betraying him. With an agility born from years of training he threw himself over the wall at a point where the shadows were deepest. For the moment he felt safe; if caught now, he would feign a drunken stupor and would no doubt face a few days in gaol for his folly. The next step took courage.
He knew which window to enter; it was the one partially concealed by a tall beech tree growing close to the wall. He used that to help his climb and within a few heartbeats he was sitting upon a narrow sill with his clasp knife held in his hand. Now it was a race against time to enter the house and avoid the night watchman. His hand trembled as he inserted the blade between the window and the frame. The trick was simple: find the latch and force it. Within moments the window was open and he listened whilst perched upon the window ledge before continuing. No lights came on which was a good sign and he could hear nothing from within. He parted the curtains and looked inside, but could see very little. Feeling exposed upon the window ledge he entered and stood with his back to the wall whilst his eyes grew accustomed to the dark.
It was a small room with a single door, probably a study judging by the solitary table, chair and chest of drawers. Quickly he searched that, but it contained nothing of value. He had hoped that with his new found luck he might immediately find the merchant’s treasure room. In frustration he crossed to the door. He opened it a fraction and peered out. A corridor stretched to either side of where he stood, with several doors leading from it. Tarsis stepped boldly out and tried a door to his left, it swung open and he stepped inside. It was a bedroom and a figure reclined upon the bed; a woman he realised after a moment. That was good luck for she would have jewellery and he stepped over to her dressing table and silently opened a drawer. It was filled with trinkets and a couple of gold necklaces and Tarsis filled his pocket before rummaging another. Her purse followed the jewellery and then, finding no more, he left the room before she awoke. He could not bring himself to leave the house just yet, things were going too well. He tried another door and as it opened his heart nearly failed. From behind he heard footsteps and a growing light announced the arrival of the night watchman.
Tarsis stepped inside and quietly closed the door. His looked across to the window, deciding that it was time to leave. He was in another bedroom and judging by the snoring it was probably the merchant’s. He had seen him often enough before and the memory prompted an image of a fat oily man, his fingers anointed with numerous gold rings, each decorated with precious gems. The opportunity was too good to miss. Tarsis stood by the door, praying that the night watch man would fail to find any signs of his break-in.
Fearfully, he watched the small gap at the bottom of the door. The night watchman’s footsteps came closer followed by the tell-tale sight of his torch-beam as it swept along the gap under the door and then the light seemed to stop. Tarsis held his breath. He found himself inadvertently twisting the ring upon his finger as though seeking to invoke the magic within. Gradually the light diminished and he heard the watchman moving on down the corridor, shutting doors in the distance.
Tarsis recovered his wits and stealthily made his way around the merchant’s room, relieving the discarded clothing of a weighty purse and other valuables. Turning to a chest of drawers, he found and pocketed several rings and a golden necklace. Not wanting to chance his luck too far he made his way to the door and after a brief glance along the corridor he retreated the way he had come.

Once in the safety of his own room Tarsis performed a short but lively jig before tipping the spoils of his night’s work upon his table. The result was fabulous. He was staring at more wealth than he had owned in his entire, but brief, lifetime. Some time passed before he packed the stolen jewellery into his usual hiding place beneath a loose floor board. He went to bed entirely happy with the night’s proceedings, satisfied that by morning he would be a wealthy man.
It was strange, but excited as he was he had soon fallen into a deep sleep. Darkness surrounded his weary mind to be replaced, in the way of dreams, by a soft gentle glow. He found himself standing in a long tunnel and imagined himself to be deep within the heart of a mountain. The thought was not pleasant for he was a city dweller by nature, but no matter how hard he tried to influence his dream he remained stubbornly within the tunnel.
He had a curious feeling about this dream which felt like no other. All at once his doubts faded and he felt the urge to explore. He followed the tunnel and abruptly came across a gate barring his way. The professional in him recognised the three-turn tumbler lock hanging from a chain wrapped tightly around the gate and with a mixture of euphoria and curiosity he set about trying to pick it. Searching his many pockets he discovered his best lock-pick and quickly set to work. After the stress of his recent burglary he needed something to occupy his mind and the challenge of the gate was the tonic he needed.
The lock took all of his attention. It proved harder than he anticipated, but after a while, and with an audible and satisfying snick, the lock finally sprung. The gate swung inwards and without thinking Tarsis stepped through. The tunnel continued some way further when abruptly he came across a tall window blocking the way. This was too much. His first instinct was to break the glass, but that would be too easy. Removing his clasp-knife from his pocket he unfolded the blade and ran the knife around the edge of the glass, biting deep into the putty. Almost as soon as he had finished the glass fell towards him and swiftly he sprang to catch it. The glass had not moved far but something was amiss and it broke as soon as his hands came in contact. The shards fell to the ground smashing on the ground in a loud clatter.

Tarsis awoke with a start. It was daytime and sunlight filtered through the curtains. Hurriedly he dressed, pushing the uneasy feeling about his dream to the back of his mind. Gathering the wealth from its hiding place he returned to the tavern, seeking Carack. Warmly he greeted the tavern’s occupants and, mystified, they nodded their response, for Tarsis was usually a quiet and solitary man.
Carack’s eyes nearly popped out of his skull when he saw the jewellery. ‘You’ve done it haven’t you?’ Carack prompted. It was bad manners to enquire too deeply about the targe,t but the city was awash with the news of the recent robbery.
Tarsis simply smiled, revelling in the other man’s praise. There would no doubt be a reward on his head now, but there was the code binding the thieves and none of them would turn him in.
Carack appraised the haul. ‘I cannot give you money now,’ he said. ‘It will take me a while to dispose of all this. I will guarantee you a fair price though, it’s beautiful workmanship.’ A diamond brooch had caught his eye and he was turning it around in the light.
‘See to it and the brooch is yours,’ Tarsis offered.
For the second time Carack was taken aback, but Tarsis was at least ensured of Carack’s sincerity now.
Taking his leave, Tarsis returned home after first visiting the market and buying food to last for a few days. He decided that he had better disappear for a while until the hubbub about the robbery died down a little. The money he had stashed away in his room was a tidy sum and he doubted that he would have to work for several years. Once the jewellery was sold he would actually be quite wealthy. A grin sprang to his lips and another jig followed.
He threw himself upon his bed, staring up at the ceiling; a broad grin fixed as though permanently etched upon his face: never had he felt so alive. Gradually, as the euphoria faded he slipped into sleep. Almost immediately he found himself in the same tunnel as the previous night’s dream. He glanced down and saw the shards of broken glass that lay strewn about the cavern floor, testimony to his attempt to break through the window blocking the tunnel. Intrigued that his dream should bring him to exactly the same spot that he had been in last time, he decided to continue exploring.
The tunnel remained very much the same. As he rounded a turn he came across another gate and an even stouter lock. He rummaged through his clothing and produced his pick. Setting to work he summoned all of his skills to open the portal. He worked for some while. Occasionally he considered giving up, but the professional in him forbade it.
Once again the lock sprang and he stepped back to admire his work, swinging the gate inwards as he did so. At that moment a feeling of unease stole over him and with the gate fully open he had a terrible premonition. His breathing became rapid: something felt wrong, as though opening the gate was a terrible crime.
The darkness before him became threatening and with a wail he turned and fled as though a host of demons were chasing him. He ran as never before, ducking through the window he had destroyed during his previous visit. When he came to the first gate he slammed it shut behind him. With shaking hands he sought his lock-pick,s but in his haste they kept falling from his grasp. He kept trying to tell himself this was simply a dream, but with a sickening feeling of dread he knew that it was not. Finally inserting a lock-pick into the keyhole he tried to still his trembling hands, but with little success. Beads off sweat spotted his brow and ran down his forehead, distracting him from his work.
A dreadful cry escalated from the darkness in front of him, making him jump with fright and almost causing him to drop the lock-pick again. Determined not to look up he frantically worked on the lock, all the while aware of the sound of footfalls as something raced along the tunnel towards him. With a click he threw the first of the three tumblers and instinctively flung himself away from the bars as he did so.
Talons clawed the air inches from his face. The sounds of a heavy body slamming into the gate made him step back further, his heart lurching with fear. A demon, for that was all that he could think the creature was, stood with its arms through the bars of the gate, reaching out to grasp him. Its face was distorted in a terrible grimace as it desperately tried to reach him as though the very fibre of its being depended upon it.
Tarsis then noticed his mistake: the lock-pick dangled from the keyhole within easy reach of the demon. As his eye alighted upon it he saw the demon look in the same direction. Without thinking Tarsis ducked beneath the demon’s claws and snatched the lock-pick from the keyhole as the demon withdrew its arms from the bars and tried to reach either him or the lock-pick. Tarsis succeeded and fell backwards away from the gate with the lock-pick in his hand. As he awoke he heard the demon’s dreadful cry fill the air.
Sweating, he sat bolt upright in his bed, his eyes wide with fear. an image of the demon was permanently etched in his mind. A green glow had surrounded it, seeming to come from its flesh. Its feral eyes had locked on his, promising an eternity of pain. It was every nightmare rolled into one; hideous in the extreme. A long pointed snout, filled with ivory fangs. Multiple eyes like a spiders, dark and unfathomable. 
Glancing down at his hand, he saw that the ring upon his finger was glowing and as he watched the light gradually faded until the ring was normal once more. Tugging at the ring he sought in vain to dislodge it, but to his frustration it would not budge. He cried out in anguish. The memory of the last lock came flooding back, it was a three-turn tumbler and he had managed to drop only one. An amateur, he thought with a sickening disgust, could open it now!
‘Damn this ring,’ he cursed as he rose from the bed. Dressing hurriedly he fled from his attic retreat and out into the street.
It was the fastest trip he had ever made to Carack’s small room. ‘Carack, you have to help me!’ Tarsis wailed.
Carack was standing by a small fire and for a moment he looked as though he was about to flee. Tarsis held his arm to prevent him leaving. ‘Is it the town guard?’ Carack asked, looking around. His face reflected the fear in Tarsis’ eyes.
‘You have to help me,’ Tarsis implored, ignoring Carack’s question. ‘I have to get this ring off my finger.’ He held his hand up for Carack to see.
A look of surprise transformed Carack’s face.
‘Is that all? You frightened me half to death!’ He made his way to the door and summoned someone outside. ‘Bring your tools, I have a job for you,’ he called through the doorway.
Tarsis waited impatiently, nervously pacing the length of the room. He ignored Carack’s questioning look and when a man finally entered carrying a heavy bag Tarsis looked ready to faint; his skin was ashen and his eyes wide with fear.
‘I want you to cut off the ring,’ Tarsis asked. The man, a tall, lanky individual with a long thin beard looked surprised at the request. Glancing towards Carack the other man waited for a response. Carack gave it with a barely perceptible nod.
‘Place your hand on the table,’ the man said.
Tarsis complied and the metal worker set to work with a small file, sawing at the golden band. After what seemed an age he gave up and sat back in a nearby chair with a puzzled look upon his brow. ‘How can that be?’ he asked of no one in particular.
‘Don’t give up!’ Tarsis wailed. ‘’You are nearly through.’
‘I didn’t even scratch it,’ the other man replied.
Tarsis looked down and saw that the man spoke the truth. He knew then that he was forever bound to the dreadful ring. Without thinking further, for if he did he knew that he could not continue, he removed the clasp knife from his pouch, unlocked the blade and with a swift downward stroke tried to sever his own finger. A cry erupted from his lips as the finger failed to part from his hand. Blood oozed from the wound whilst the faces of the two onlookers turned to revulsion.
‘Stop it!’ Carack demanded, but as he rose to prevent his friend from harming himself further, Tarsis brought the knife down a second time, severing more flesh from around his finger.
The pain was unbearable, but he had not completed the task. ‘Cut it off!’ he demanded of the metal worker, shaking with pain. The finger was a terrible mess and it was perhaps for that reason that the other man complied. Reaching into his bag for a sturdy knife he approached Tarsis who laid his hand upon the table as best he could. Pain wracked his face as he braced himself.
The other man exerted all of his might upon the already wounded finger which severed with an audible click. Tarsis screamed aloud and held his hand as he rocked back and forth.
The finger lay upon the table with the golden band undamaged.
‘Burn it,’ Tarsis sobbed between gasps.
Carack looked back with revulsion as though he could not bring himself to touch it. The metal  worker looked at the two men and then grasped the finger with the ring and flung it upon the fire.
A dreadful feeling overcame Tarsis and with a cry he rushed to the fire to recover the finger and, more importantly, the ring. He knew that something was dreadfully wrong. At the same time, as though forewarned by some inner instinct, the metal worker started towards the door. Tarsis looked in the flames in horror as the ring melted far too easily and in the last moments of his life he realised the dreadful error he had made. The last lock was precariously held by a single tumbler and this had weakened the ring which was, even now, being consumed by the flames.
A scream of triumph filled the air. The metal worker turned to look towards the flames which had turned a fearful blue and as he did, he tripped over a rug, landing in a sprawl upon the floor. Tarsis tried to run, but a talon seemed to reach from the very air to tear into his back. Carack backed into a corner of the room, his eyes wide with fear as he sought to press himself  into the very fabric of the wall. Before him, Tarsis’ body landed with a thud upon the carpet, a deep crimson stain spreading about his still form.
The demon stepped from its imprisonment, a dreadful look of glee upon its face. Its yellow fangs gleamed in the half light and its talons dripped gore and blood. As its slit-like eyes fastened upon the pitifully mewling Carack, the demon stepped casually over the metal worker before picking  Carack up and tearing at his chest, seeking his still beating heart.
The metal worker fled in terror, crying to those in the other room to escape. The demon did not hurry in his slaughter. After all, being imprisoned for over a hundred years had at least taught him patience. The cries of fear and the thumping of bodies seeking their haste to escape only seemed to heighten his sense of well being.
He was free!

By David Burrows
Author of the Prophecy of the Kings

Saturday 20 July 2013

Water Petition - please sign

Please sign this petition against rising water costs. It makes sense given the huge rises over the years. Profit is going abroad and no taxes are being paid.


A Fight for Possession - Body and Soul: A Short Fantasy Story

Hannon pulled on his reins, his patience exacerbated. Rain washed his face as he scowled up at the overhead canopy, his eyes briefly retaining an image of the dappled light even though the day was grey. It seemed that there was to be no letup in the weather, but that was not his main concern. He cocked his head as he listened to the woodland noises trying to decipher the many sounds. His face was set in concentration and worry gnawed in his guts. He did not have long to wait and he flinched when a crack from a broken branch confirmed his fears. That was a large animal and a sturdy branch by the sounds of it. He was being followed. 
With some difficulty, given the narrowness of the trail, he turned his mount to face the way he had come and waited. Rain continued to seep under his collar, damp now rather than cold. He blinked to clear his vision, knowing that he may need to react swiftly should the need arise. He was confident of his own skills. Youth and dexterity were on his side, but the damp would wear any man down and his joints ached softly.
After a few moments a silhouette appeared from within the tunnel framed by trees. A rider. A lean man astride a brown horse that looked as miserable with the weather as Hannon did. The man urged his mount forward and then stopped no more than ten paces away and at that moment even the birdcall vanished, as though in expectation of the events to follow.
“Why are you following me?” Hannon demanded softly. There was no need to raise his voice. He wanted to sound calm even though his pulse raced. The other man rose in his stirrups as though relieving a cramp. Long, dark hair framed a youthful face. His eyes were pinched against the drizzle, his eyebrows narrowed in concentration. Hannon knew instantly that this man was not to be trusted, whether a premonition or a judgement of character he cared less. He dropped his gaze to the other man’s weapons; a sword and knife scabbarded at his waste. The sword’s pommel looked worn; a bad sign that he may be an experienced sword’s man.
The man smiled thinly. “Give me the kara-stone and I will let you ride on.” His voice was gravel, flat and full of menace.
Hannon’s horse crabbed across the path and he pulled on the reins, bringing it to a halt. “Kara-stone? I don’t know what you are talking about.”
The other man snorted. “I saw it, yesterday, when you were sitting in the tavern, waiting for your meal. You took it out, wrapped in a cloth and looked upon it; a blue-green stone, the colour of the ocean. I would have it. Give it to me and I will let you ride on,” he nodded to the trail behind Hannon, letting the malice in his words hang in the air between them.
“I am content to sell it – if the price is right,” Hannon stated. That was his intention all along, to sell it and make some money and he was hoping for a sizeable sum.
“Why should I buy it when I can take it,” came the reply. Hannon had half expected it. His luck never ran true and with hand the gods gave and the other they took away.
Hannon’s one advantage now was action rather than inaction. Without further consideration he dug his heels in his mount’s flanks and, shouting, urged his horse forward, intending to use his mount’s momentum and sudden attack to unbalance his foe, for that was who he was; an enemy that must be swept aside. Horse and man covered the distance swiftly. The other man’s eyes grew wide and he shouted an oath as his hand flew to his sword. He half drew the weapon before the horses collided, bodies impacting with a heavy thud that rocked Hannon in the saddle, even though he was prepared for it.
Hannon drew his sword as the other man was thrown aside, leaning precariously back, hanging on with his reins and fighting to stay in the saddle. His sword remained undrawn as he fought for balance. Hannon used the flat of his own sword, aimed at the other man’s head, trying to stun him rather than kill. With a look of terror the other man dodged the blow and urged his horse away from the sudden melee.
Glancing back at Hannon his eyes were ablaze with fury as he regained his seat. Over his shoulder he shouted words, his fingers tracing a symbol in the air. Hannon’s insides grew cold. A sorcerer. A blast of air threw him from his saddle and the ground slammed into him, knocking the wind from his lungs. A loud ‘oofff’ escaped his lips and the back of his head hit the ground, rattling his brain. For a moment the world went black. Gasping for breath he tried to turn so he could get to his knees, his head ablaze with pain from the sudden impact.
The narrow woodland trail gave him a few precious moments respite as the other man fought to turn his horse. Senses reeling, he tried to get up, but instinct caused him to throw himself to one side and he rolled as the other man thundered by, trying to trample him beneath his horses hooves.
Hannon found himself off the trail between the trees. Still winded he tried to rise to face his enemy. His knees gave way and he held a solid tree trunk for support. He shook his head to try to clear the fog and fresh waves of pain caused him to vomit. His knees buckled. His head hurt like hell.
The other man dismounted now that the trees were between them and he came forward, drawing his sword with an exaggerated slowness that bespoke volumes. Hannon realised then that he had dropped his own weapon. His thoughts ablaze with fear and dread Hannon cast about, seeing his sword on the trail in front of the advancing man. There was no way he could reach it before the other man did. Cursing, he pushed himself away from the tree he was balanced against and sought to retreat further into the wood. His legs felt leaden. His muscles barely responded and then after a few strides he found his balance and weaving between trees he sought to flee.
The dense trees saved him from the second sorcerous attack. As he dodged between tall oaks a blast of flame scorched his hair, narrowly missing him before slamming into a stout trunk in a loud explosion that rocked the very earth. The flame rebounding from the impact took his breath away and he ducked, shielding his head with his arms. Ears ringing, he knew that he wasn’t going to survive the attack. He stumbled to a halt and raising his hands he gasped, “Enough!” He twisted around as the other man started to walk towards him, slowing from his own sprint, his sword level with the ground and pointing at Hannon’s stomach.
Hannon’s hand went to his leather jerkin, soaked through with rain. He sought an inner pocket and found the package that he wanted. He was furious with the turn of events and struggled to keep his anger from his face. He held the bundle out to the other man, unwrapping the contents and revealing the kara-stone for the first time. The other man’s eyes locked on the prize in obvious longing. The stone was fist sized and glowed softly, seeming translucent in the woodland’s half light. Hannon recognised the greed reflected in the other man’s eyes and the sight further angered him. He hated to lose, especially such a wealthy prize.
“Take it,” Hannon snapped, thrusting his arms out in supplication. The man paused as though sensing a trap. His head tilted to one side and his eyes locked on Hannon’s. The eyes were uncompromising and Hannon knew he had chosen correctly. Surrender rather than death, but even still his thoughts rattled on, seeking to reverse his situation.
“Take it,” he urged again, holding the prize out as if it offended him. The stone rested on the cloth. The blue/green glow seemed to pulse as though in time with Hannon’s heart and Hannon looked at it with growing dread. He had not seen it do this before and he realised how little he knew about the orb. He had found it a few days before, nestled  between two rocks in an isolated mountain recluse he had been exploring; the ruins of a cottage where he had hoped to find a stash of gold or silver; a building no doubt over run by krell at some time in its past.
What was he holding? He had scant information about kara-stones other than sorcerers would pay good gold for one. Rumour suggested kara-stones might be dangerous to touch. He had no idea why, but that was his only advantage that something might happen if it came in contact with flesh. He kept the revelation from his face, grimacing as fresh waves of pain swept through his head.
The other man’s hand reached out for the stone, his sword’s point an inch from Hannon’s unprotected belly. His enemy was young as he had first thought; his chin devoid of facial hair and his skin as yet unblemished by wind or sun. Hannon tried to read his mind to anticipate his actions. He didn’t like what he saw. The other man looked confident and uncaring.
A crooked smile formed as his hand sought the cloth the stone rested on. He was clearly trying not to touch the stone and this was the distraction Hannon was waiting for. He tilted his hand, bringing the stone in contact with the other man’s flesh. His eyes widened and he thrust the sword forward as Hannon desperately sought to twist away. The other man screamed, but his blow was already committed and Hannon was not quick enough to escape fully. The blade sliced along Hannon’s torso and pain erupted as it bit deep. Twisting saved the point entering his body, but the blade itself was razor sharp and passed through linen and flesh with an ease that made Hannon scream with pain.
Both men fell to the ground. Hannon clutched his wound, which flamed as though a red hot poker had been held there. He cursed and tried to stand. The kara-stone had fallen to the ground between the two men, forgotten for the moment. His opponent was still on the ground and Hannon wondered for an instant what the stone had done. Then he was up, one hand drawing his dagger and the other clamped to his belly.
Before he could attack, his enemy rolled over and stood, albeit with difficulty. Hannon swiped the knife across his enemy’s throat, but the other man reacted swiftly, pulling his head back and the knife narrowly missed the exposed flesh. Only then did Hannon register the other man’s eyes. Abruptly they were changed. They were ethereal; detached from the face as though belonging in another plane of existence. Large orbs, glowing green locked on his with an intensity that made his heart quail.  
Instinctively, Hannon drew back. He had heard about the krell wars. He had also heard about demons. Who hadn’t? Laughter filled the air as he confronted the other man, terror preventing him from attacking but also preventing retreat. A possession, he guessed, as the other man stalked around him, a manic grin on his lips as his eyes seemed to flash an undecipherable message. The eyes shifted relative to the other man’s face as though not quite belonging there and a dread cold seemed to fill the void between them.  
Hannon considered flight. He stepped back and his heel caught something behind him, threatening to spill him to the soil. He kept his balance. “Let me go!” he pleaded, waving the knife in front of him.
The demon’s eyes dropped to the blood seeping through Hannon’s fingers and he licked his lips. “And why should I do that?” his enemy croaked as though unused to speaking.
With a scream that froze Hannon’s blood the other man leapt the intervening distance, easily knocking aside his blade from nerveless fingers. He could only cry out in terror as hands sought his throat and incredibly strong fingers crushed his windpipe, stopping the life giving air from his lungs as he collapsed once more to the ground.

Hannon fell. He fell for an eternity. His cry mixed with that of his soul. A perpetuity of pain in an instant. And yet... a promise of far more to come.

Expert Author - Thanks Ezine

Just been awarded expert author on Ezine. Thanks chaps, very kind. Have a look at my work at http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=David_J_Burrows

Saturday 6 July 2013

Excellent Reviews - Many Thanks

Two sets of reviews fresh in. Reviews are incredibly helpful for Indi Authors so many thanks to Ian and Louise.

"The Prophecy of the Kings trilogy is a sweeping adventure with an epic feel to it - a world of magical happenings and fantastic creatures, but all the while with a darker edge to it at times and some elements of horror and suspense. It is a trilogy that I enjoyed so much that I have re-read it, and I still remember how moved I was on first reading the dramatic and emotional climax to the story."



"I  loved this book. A great story which has all the elements readers look for in a Fantasy novel. More than just another Fantasy trilogy, this book takes the reader to more than just 'another world'. The reader is transported to another realm and once there discovers new worlds. This story should not be underestimated. Initially the tale is a simple story of a young man embarking on a 'coming of age' journey. Without a hiccough the traveller finds himself drawn into a complex and intriguing situation involving distorted time and other magic! Don't take my word for it - read it for yourself! You're bound to enjoy David Burrows' books if you like Fantasy."


How does an author create their world? - June Competition Winner Announcement.

Congratulations Laura

Her question was - how do you create your worlds?  Do you base them on periods of history or a mixture of existing cultures?

I found writing Prophecy of the Kings came very naturally - although over a long period of time (4-5 years!). In my book I created the Eldric. They were a very advanced race who had mastered sorcery. They came from across the ocean and helped stabilise the world, which at the time was in conflict. The Eldric sorcerers used the spirit world for their power - mainly using elementals for minor spells such as healing. However, in Prophecy of the Kings the Eldric as a race have mysteriously vanished and so too has sorcery, leaving the people vulnerable against future demon attacks.

The Eldric legacy was very much like the Roman legacy is to us, today. There are ruined Roman cities that tell of a dominant race of people who ruled at a time when most other societies lived in wooden buildings. I wanted to create a sense of wonder and of superstition, fuelled by the Eldric's disappearance and the demon threat. The latter was a cyclic event with demon attacks occurring every 500 years. This made the superstitions real, but vague. That was based on our Saxon heritage where people were much more likely to believe in imps, fairies and dragons. I liked that sense of naivety. We have a huge sense of wonder in our childhood and I wanted to capture that in an adult world.

There were two other entrants.

Janet asked where I got my inspiration? That's easy - it was from reading fantasy books and being sucked into a world of fairies, elves, goblins etc. I love imagination so I guess that is what inspired me. Tolkien has a lot to answer for, of course. I particularly liked the Silmarillion.

Lastly, Chris asked where do you start your research? For fantasy, that's coming up with an idea. I'm not sure you can research that, but I would recommend reading yourself and trying to find an idea that stands out and that you can build on.

Thanks all for entering the competition.


Thursday 4 July 2013

My Free Fantasy Short Stories

If you like fantasy short stories I have compiled a few of mine here. Let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy.

Wizard's downfall
Terror Unleashed
A Fight for Possession, Body and Soul
Blood of the Dragon
A Meeting of Souls
A Death Knight is Born

My favourite is Wizard's Downfall. Which is yours?