Zahara's Gift Bond of a Dragon Book 1
by A J Walker Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure
A young man forced into action. A juvenile dragon alone in a new world. Whispers of a terrible evil returning to power.
Nineteen-year-old Anders lived a fairly normal life until the only family he had was taken away from him. When he finds himself forced to embark on an action packed adventure, he discovers there is more to the world than he was told. The magical force that flows within everything around him becomes revealed. Dragons, elves, orcs, and goblins lurk around nearly every turn along the path as he pursues his two kidnapped cousins.
As Anders discovers more about his family’s past, he learns of their involvement in The War of The Magicians and the circumstances leading up to the attack of his hometown. When Anders is told about his potential involvement in a prophecy involving dragons and their powerful magic, he will need to make a difficult decision. Will he continue to follow the path that is laid out for him or can he make his own destiny? Will he ever be reunited with his family again? And if he succeeds, will he ever be able to return to the life he once knew?
Bond of a Dragon: Zahara’s Gift is the first book in an adventure fantasy series.
If you like fast-paced adventure novels, fierce dragons, powerful magic, and a hero fighting for justice, then you’ll love the fantastic starter in A. J. Walker’s new page turning series.
Unlock Bond of a Dragon: Zahara’s Gift to embark on this great adventure today!
He looked around for a way to get closer without being seen. He knew his uncle would be furious with him if he learned Anders was spying on him, but something in his gut told him he needed to investigate what Theodor was doing out here.
To his left a cluster of short trees extended about half way down toward the clearing where Theodor and the strange figure stood talking. The dim evening light, combined with the trees’ foliage, would be enough to provide cover.
He quickly ran to the thicket of trees. Water that had pooled on the leaves drenched him as he parted the branches. The sound of the rain falling covered the noise of his footsteps as he grew closer. Anders stayed low, crouching to keep from being seen.
He paused for a moment to see if he could hear what they were saying. Their voices were still too muffled to hear clearly, so he carefully crept forward to the edge of the small trees. Here, he was able to make out snippets of their conversation. Through a space between the branches, he could see they were arguing.
Dressed entirely in black, the tall man with Theodor wore a broad sword strapped to his belt. The stranger’s face was weathered, creased and tanned from his travels. He displayed an air of ruggedness that Anders had only seen a handful of times on the faces of soldiers and mercenaries passing through Grandwood. Anders strained to hear what they might be arguing about.
“He’s not ready,” Theodor said sternly.
“You have to tell him,” the stranger urged. “The time has come and he needs to know the truth.”
“Are you sure there isn’t more time?” Theodor asked the man in black. “How can you be sure he’s the one they’re searching for?”
“He may be your kin, but that doesn’t change anything. He will have to face it, whether he’s ready or not,” the stranger replied in a commanding tone. “You have known as well as I that this day would come. Powerful forces are stirring in the east. The elves talk of orcs and kurr assembling by the masses. An evil that was once a great threat to the five nations of Kartania is clawing its way back into the world.”
“So the rumors are true,” Theodor noted soberly. “I thought those days of peril left when he did.”
“You must have known he wouldn’t stay in the shadows forever. He is coming back out from whatever rock he’s been hiding under,” the stranger said coldly.
Unconsciously leaning forward to hear more clearly, Anders put his weight against a small dead limb. Suddenly it snapped. He began to slide out from his hiding place, nearly exposing himself. Luckily, he grabbed hold of a low-hanging branch just in time; this one did not break.
Upon hearing the branch break, the man in black abruptly stopped talking and turned toward the hillside. He looked directly where Anders knelt in hiding. Anders didn’t move, hoping the dim lighting and vegetation would conceal him.
“Did you hear that?” the man asked Theodor as he stared at the clump of trees.
Turning around to see what the man was staring at, Theodor answered, “I didn’t hear anything.”
“We are being watched,” the man in black said shortly.
“Don’t be ridiculous. No one knows we’re here,” Theodor said turning to face the man once again. The man, however, had disappeared leaving Theodor standing alone in the rain. He turned back and stared for a while at the slope, scanning for whatever it was the stranger had heard.
Anders’ heart nearly beat out of his chest. It seemed so loud; he was surprised Theodor couldn’t hear it. Theodor kept his gaze on the vegetation where Anders hid and even took a step toward him. A rabbit darted out from its hiding place just below where Anders crouched. It scurried across the open slope, through the rainfall, and down into its hole.
Theodor stopped his advancement and said to himself, “stupid rabbit.” He left the clearing and headed back toward the house. Anders waited to make sure he was well out of sight before leaving his hiding place. Then he ran back through the woods as fast as he could.
While hurrying back toward the house, he thought to himself, what did they mean an evil was crawling back into the land? Who was it Theodor needed to tell something to and why had he decided not to do it? Was the man talking about his cousin, Thomas? And who was it they were talking about hiding in the shadows? The thoughts swirled in his head as ran.
Secrets of the Sapphire Soul
Bond of a Dragon Book 2
A dragon and her rider put to the test. Betrayal among allies. With Kartania’s fate in the balance, who will take control?
Anders knows the war to stop Merglan from reclaiming his grip on the world is just beginning. With no certainty about where or when Merglan will attack next, Anders and his companions must take action to stay one step ahead of the cruel sorcerer and his evil dragon.
As he searches for ways to stop Merglan’s domination of their world, Anders discovers more than he expected. With several nations of Kartania on the brink of collapse, he must make a difficult decision. Is the young rider ready to deal with the consequences he’s facing? Can Anders overcome the odds and unravel the secrets of the sapphire soul?
Bond of a Dragon: Secrets of the Sapphire Soul is the second novel in an adventure fantasy series.
If you like gripping suspense, bold dragonriders, and page-turning action, then you’ll love A J Walker’s latest installment in the Bond of a Dragon series.
Discover Secrets of the Sapphire Soul by picking up a copy today!
Anders rose to his feet and took several steps forward. The crunch of dirt and rocks beneath each step echoed through the night. He definitely wasn’t in the same place where he’d fallen asleep. Anders’ heart began to beat faster. Where am I? he wondered. Anders remembered how Ivan used his magic to sense the people near him. Maybe I can do that now.
He closed his eyes to focus on creating a mental grid of the area around him, searching for any signs of life. He stretched himself out, feeling the cold dirt surrounding him continue farther and farther afield. As he strained his mind to maneuver through the space surrounding him, Anders heard a noise. Opening his eyes, he swiveled to face where he thought it had come from.
“Hello!” he shouted into the darkness. With no immediate response, he turned his right ear to the direction where he thought the noise came from, waiting for an answer. There was none.
“Is anyone there!?” Anders shouted and again thrusting his ear out into the darkness.
Then suddenly he heard it again. A reply to his call. Anders heedlessly ran toward it, not letting himself think about whether the noise he was running toward was a trap or a friend or family member. He didn’t care what had made the sound, he just knew that he needed to find it.
“Where are you?!” Anders shouted as he ran.
The noise replied again, this time turning into what sounded like muffled words. He couldn’t hear exactly what was being said, but he was able to pinpoint where the noise came from.
As he approached it, he could see the outline of several trees in the darkness. Under the trees there loomed a shadowed shape, darker than the night around him. Coming closer, he began to make out a distinct form… a dragon.
Anders skidded to a halt. Could it be, Merglan?
He heard the person call to him again.
“Help. Please, help me.” It was a woman’s voice. That can’t be him, it’s a woman, and she’s hurt, he thought.
He started running again toward the dragon. As he drew closer, he could see the dragon was lying on top of the woman who’d called out for help. He rushed to the woman’s side and heard his feet splash as he ran through something wet. Looking down, Anders nearly lost his dinner when he realized that he was standing in a pool of crimson blood.
Forcing his last meal back down with a hard swallow, he bent down onto one knee and began to examine what kind of trouble the woman was in. Her long brown hair covered her face. She was being crushed under the weight of the bloody dragon’s body. He opened his mouth to ask her if she was okay but was cut off when he heard Ivan calling his name. Anders looked up in surprise wondering how Ivan had found him in this desolate place.
“Anders, wake up,” Ivan said, shaking Anders by the toe of his boot.
Anders opened his eyes, the setting sun momentarily blinding him with an unexpected jolt of light. Realizing he was no longer next to the woman crushed under the dragon, he bolted upright not sure what was happening to him. Just a moment ago he’d been in a dark place next to a strange woman and a motionless dragon lying in a pool of blood. Now he found himself back in the grass lying beneath the towering walls of the fortress. He put his arm along his brow to block the setting sun so he could see Ivan’s figure more clearly. Squinting, he could see that Zahara was still lying next to him, sprawled out sleeping. Max, Bo, his cousins and Maija were chatting around the smoldering remains of their cook fire. He looked back at Ivan, who continued to stare down at him.
“Anders, get up. We are going to search for the missing riders,” Ivan said with a stern expression.
“Hold on,” Anders said as Ivan began to walk away. “I was just with a woman.”
Ivan stopped, cocked his head to the side, and asked, “What?”
“It was dark. I was somewhere else. No one was around. I called out into the darkness and heard a noise. It was a woman. I ran to her. She was under a tree lying in a pool of blood. A dragon lay on top of her.” Somewhat breathless, he looked up at Ivan who was now back standing over him.
“Was it a dream?” Anders asked, already knowing better. “It seemed too real to be a dream…”
“That was no dream; you saw one of the missing riders. We must leave at once,” Ivan said sternly.
Fall of the Kings Bond of a Dragon Book 3
Lost and without guidance. Merglan’s imperial grip tightens on the free nations. Venomous magic penetrating the resistant. In the end, all kings must fall.
With Anders displaced from the campaign in Southland, he must navigate through more than just the foreign land he awakes in. The sapphire’s intoxicating grip has given him more than just a craving for power. Its tainted magic pushes him closer to the precipice of becoming more like the evil that he is foretold to destroy. As he attempts to resist the darkness, Anders must work through his pain and return to the fight he abandoned so suddenly.
After the allied armies are forced to disband, the five nations begin to feel the effects of the dark sorcerer’s imperial rule. With Westland occupied by foreign invaders and Southland flooded with orcs, the humans must band together in resistance. Unlike the elves, who can hide behind their magically protected walls, the other races in Kartania’s kingdoms are drastically affected by the absence of an allied dragonrider. Without a united army to combat Merglan’s expansion, the fate of Kartania hangs in the balance. Can Anders resist the urges he feels to allow the evil inside? Can he work with his dragon to gain back what advantage they once had? Will Kirsten survive long enough to see Westland’s revolt? What will become of Ivan and those left behind in Southland?
Bond of a Dragon: Fall of the Kings is the third installment in the Bond of a Dragon series. This highly suspenseful and emotional tale comes to a crescendo in the final chapters; don’t miss out on this epic by A J Walker.
Get your copy of Fall of the Kings to continue the dragonrider’s experience!
Unable to raise his arm, Ivan instinctively closed his eyes to protect himself against the bright flash. He knew that flash and what it meant. They were about to transport. Feeling every ounce of energy leave his body, Ivan broke off his mental struggle with Merglan and allowed the white light burning through his eyelids to take him. He felt a hand grip him, too tired to open his eyes, Ivan thought, Anders has found a way. We’re leaving now.
The light vanished, followed by a deafening crack that echoed into a hollow space. He slumped on his knees, wavering to keep his body from falling. With his eyes still clamped shut, Ivan inhaled through his nostrils, trying to smell the new surroundings where Anders had taken them. As he sniffed, he found the strength to crack open his eyelids. The light in the space around him was dim, what little there was seeping in through stained-glass windows. No! he thought, realizing where he was. He felt the hand that gripped his arm let go and then smelled the familiar scent of dragon fire on charred stone.
Ivan felt the last of his iron will shatter as he toppled to the stone floor. He lay trembling from the exertion, having given all of his energy to helping Anders and Zahara find an opening. He heard Killdoor’s terrible roar and felt the dragon’s hot breath over his body. His ears screamed from the deafening roar so close to his head as the fierce dragon’s crow ended.
The ringing in his ears blocked out the clicking of heels as they circled around him. Ivan saw Merglan’s boots, but his eyelids felt too heavy to keep his eyes open for long. He blinked slowly, resting his eyes for short intervals. He could see his enemy moving from standing to kneeling in a few choppy blinks. He saw Merglan shake his head. In a blink, Merglan was standing over him again. Then Ivan felt something hard push against his shoulder and he rolled onto his back, now looking up at the high ceiling.
“I didn’t think you had that in you,” Ivan heard Merglan say through his fog.
Ivan tried to move, but his quivering muscles didn’t respond. His verbal response came out as a low groan.
“Careful now,” Merglan said again, this time sounding closer. Merglan’s hand was on his chest. “Don’t overdo it. It’s over, Will. For you. Your little son might’ve escaped me this time, but if you recall, so did you once.” Merglan’s words cut through the fog. Ivan understood that his efforts weren’t for nothing. He had allowed his son the time he needed to escape.
Ivan attempted to summon magic, his last-ditch attempt to take Merglan down once and for all. If he could sneak in one well-placed shot to an artery, Ivan might have enough left in him to take the dark sorcerer out for good. His body seized as he attempted to summon the energy and Ivan knew he was likely going to overexert himself with this last attempt. The energy required to kill Merglan would, in turn, kill him, too, but based on how he felt, he was already dead. Better to die now in taking out the greatest threat to Kartania, than to die in a cell where Merglan was likely to place him.
“Oh, Will,” Ivan heard Merglan say as he struggled to force the magic to come to him. “You can’t possibly think that will work; you’re practically broken.”
Ivan didn’t give in, instead trying harder and feeling the tingling of magic starting to well in his skin. This is it, how I die, how I was always meant to go, he thought. Unfortunately for you, Merglan said, his voice now penetrating Ivan’s mind. I can’t let you kill yourself, not yet anyway.
Ivan’s eyes snapped open. Just as he was attempting to force his last act of magic, Merglan’s hand covered his face. A red spark shot from his palm and all went pitch black.
AJ Walker is a fantasy author whose first works is the Bond of a Dragon series. Growing up in western Montana and spending most of his time outdoors has given AJ plenty of adventures to draw from when he's creating his stories. AJ Walker is an avid outdoor enthusiast, a world-class whitewater kayaker, and former wildland firefighter. His personal experiences, just to name a few, include grizzly bear encounters in northern Montana, a life-threatening winter survival experience, and several whitewater rescues. Using the influences from his many personal adventures, AJ Walker loves to transport readers into his mythical world of Kartania, where his characters find themselves embarking on the most epic of journeys. Kartania is home to magical creatures, bold heroes, and evil sorcerers who are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
AJ Walker writes stories inspired by other fantasy authors like his person favorites Brandon Sanderson and fellow Montanan Christopher Paolini. Walker aspires to emulate the creativity of these works, and the works of many other great fantasy writers. AJ's unique and exciting personal experiences combined with his wild imagination create an exciting world that is sure to please anyone who loves fantasy adventure or fast-paced adventure stories.
What inspired me to write this series was reading the end of the Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini. When I first heard about Eragon I was in middle school and heard that a sixteen-year-old kid from Livingston, Montana had written a story about a young man whose fate is altered when he finds a dragon’s egg in the woods. I grew up in Bozeman, the neighboring town just twenty miles from Livingston. When I would go hiking or kayaking in the Paradise Valley outside Livingston, I would imagine myself in Paolini’s books, acting out scenes in my head in the very place where he created the story.
When the books ended, I needed more. Not knowing much about publishing at the time, I decided to create my own story about a dragon rider. Being in high school and struggling with my level of comprehension in the written word, I gave up after writing six chapters. I decided to pursue other goals and didn’t revisit the idea of finishing the story until I had graduated from college. Once I researched more about publishing and the options available to independent authors, I decided to go for it. My thoughts were if I can do this, even if nobody reads it but me, I will have accomplished something great given my mental obstacle for reading and writing. After finding the inspirational podcast by Joanna Penn and listening to the hundreds of guest speakers on her show, I followed their advice and just kept working at it. Since I started writing consistently, I haven’t stopped. I finished book one in about six months and since book one has come out, I’ve published two more novels and one novella. With the advice of Joanna Penn and the teachings of Mark Dawson’s courses, I have turned writing into a career.
Readers can expect a fourth and final book in the Bond of a Dragon series to come in 2020 as well as two new fantasy series. I’m excited to complete the first novel in my Bonnie Glock series, featuring a private detective who solves crimes committed by wizarding criminals in their adjacent non-wizarding world. I’ll also be working on my new epic fantasy series that will be centered around humans living in a world created by and for dragons. Over the next year, I hope to publish at least one book every three to five months depending on how long the book will be. Each of my new series will feature a free short story or two to give people a sneak peek into the worlds I’m creating. As ever, I’ll continue to focus on mastering the art of storytelling while publishing as many high-quality works as I’m able.
If you would like to know more about me or want to connect you can keep tabs on social media or connect with an email. I love hearing from readers whether it just be to say hello or a critique of my writing.
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