A Hare in the Wilderness
Kingdom of Durundal Book 1
by S. E. Turner
Genre: Epic Fantasy
They persecuted her as a child. Now they have to face her as a woman.
In the house of Gnaeus, a daughter is born, though when a mysterious mark appears on her face - the father instantly rejects her. Scorned and isolated by those at court, she grows up in the shadows, unaware of the tragic events that caused the defect in the first place.
Unwavered by kinship and severing all ties, Gnaeus strips away his daughter's identity, removes her from court and banishes her to the wilderness forever.
Cast out with her mother, they find sanctuary with the clans. Here she forges a new life, learning new skills, gathering knowledge and finding love. No one can harm her again this far north. No one knows who she is.
Until the day an old enemy appears on the horizon.
Now a grown woman, and a formidable warrior, she knows she must defeat this enemy and seek the truth.
That she is Ajeya, Crown Princess of Ataxata, heir to the subject kingdoms of Ataxata and all the colonies of the southern most territories.
Because if she fails - she will remain as the forgotten heir forever ...
'AN EPIC TALE OF LOVE, LOSS AND RIVALRY - IN A MAN'S WORLD.'
Lyall has lived and breathed nightmares since he was fourteen years old. He believed he knew every horror, and was beyond surprise. He was wrong.
When General Domitrius Corbulo launches a brutal attack on Castle Dru in Durundal, he slaughters everyone inside, including the king and queen.
Everyone that is ... except one.
The young Prince Lyall escapes the carnage through an ancient, disused tunnel - knowing that he can never go back to his ancestral home, and fearful of what lies ahead. In the wake of this tragedy, he has to adapt to a new life and face challenges beyond his wildest dreams ... and the wrath of the General is always a heartbeat away.
By the time he reaches adulthood with unrivalled knowledge and a unique set of skills, he faces the ultimate decision -embrace the future as the man he has become, or return to his birthright to avenge a past he can't forget ...
'AN INTOXICATING TALE OF MONSTERS, HEROES AND SURVIVAL.'
It's not until you're broken - that you discover what's worth fighting for.
Cornelius has returned from exile to reclaim his birthright and take back control of the empire. Offering a peace treaty with the clans, he approaches Namir, an adversary from old, with whom he seeks to make amends.
However, the clan is suspicious of Cornelius. Concerned that his intentions are not entirely honourable. Worried that his agenda is the same as the emperor before him; steeped with motives in a lust for power to bring down the Kingdom of Durundal forever.
Despite the protests from his wife and the rest of the clan, Namir accepts the proposal and ventures to Ataxata to sign the agreement. Though when he doesn't return - suspicions are heightened and they fear the worst. Now the clans will risk everything in a race against time to find the chieftain and save the future of his kingdom.
And only one thing is certain - there will be blood.
'ENTER AN ANCIENT WORLD OF AVARICE, CORRUPTION AND SURVIVAL.'
In the Kingdom of Durundal, hearts will be broken, loved ones lost and thrones burned.
Saskia remembers when the soil of Durundal hummed with peace, and the future of the kingdom brimmed with prosperity.
But everything changed the night her home was attacked.
On the orders of the ruthless King Segan Hezekiah, she finds herself imprisoned in a tower awaiting a fate worse than death, her father has been taken to the dark labyrinths of the mine to dig for gold, and her people are forced to work in the adjoining grounds. The only person with the power to help is locked up in the mines alongside her father, and anyone who disobeys the king, or tries to escape, is targeted and killed.
As danger lurks at every turn and guards prowl every corner, Saskia feels more helpless than ever ... but is she?
Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Saskia has yet to discover what she is capable of.
'THE INEXTINGUISHABLE FIRE OF A WOMAN, SMOULDERING IN THE SHADOWS.'
The morning air was dark with the smell of rain, and the dragons peered out from their stone surroundings as if they were looking directly at him. A cloud seemed to hang over him today, ragged and black as his cloak. He paced about restlessly, muttering to himself, and the crenel of witches trembled when he brushed past them. He was agitated about something, he did not know what, he just knew that he needed a change - after three years of living in the cave, something had to alter.
Outside, he heard the waves crashing against the jagged rocks, eager to get past the entrance of the cave's mouth. The wind picked up pace and threaded its way through the canyon into the dome of gargoyles, where it curled round the hundred faces and breathed energy into them. The fire glowed with the life giving elements and rose up higher, burning brighter with every passing minute. He caught his breath for a moment, unsure of what was happening. He heard a rustling and then an even fiercer light bloomed.
He shielded his eyes and felt his breath stuck in his throat. His own hand gripped his neck and the other protected him from the glare. As the roar of power settled down, it then went pitch black.
'What witchcraft is this?' his voice quivered.
All he could hear was the sound of his own breathing; loud, anxious, agitated. He calmed himself. The light returned, and out of the flames stepped a life form. He didn't know what it was. He backed away, stumbling, slipping, falling. Hot coals ignited the being. The black charcoaled image stood there burning, as ashes around its feet lifted in a frenzy and swirled around the body, before disappearing into the orifice of a throat. The blackened skin became young and even skin-toned. Long golden hair grew from the crown of the head. Though shrouded in a fine gossamer, he could see that the face was beautiful, and beneath, the body was perfect. A naked woman stood before him veiled in plumes of smoke. Fiery amber eyes pierced his own and didn't stray from their focus.
'Cornelius, I have watched you grow into a man, I have seen the change in you. But I know you are about to leave this place and go on a journey.'
Cornelius pinched himself, he shook his head, not quite believing what was in front of him or what he had just heard.
'You are not the frightened little boy anymore. You are strong and you are courageous. I can help you become even stronger.'
'How?' his voice was small and weak.
'The gods of darkness protect you and I can give you immortality.'
Cornelius laughed out loud.
The fire soared, the wind howled, the amber eyes glared. 'Do not mock me,' she bellowed.
He swallowed the laugh and spoke quietly. 'Why would you do that for me?'
'Because I want something in return.'
He braced himself fearful of what she would request from him.
'What can I give you?' He heard the whisper.
Her eyes burned brighter, the plumes of smoke clung to her curves. The breeze curled around his torso.
'Look at me Cornelius.'
Their eyes met.
'It is written that a warrior will charge through the kingdoms and seek vengeance for those whom have been slain and tortured. This warrior will be born from the seed of the living and the womb of the dead.' He dropped his head sideways in astonishment.
'Her name will be Sansara, her purpose will be to bring peace. She will be able to take many forms - but in this life - it will be of a human.'
His rhetoric was mocking. 'That is impossible. There is too much evil out there for one person to take care of. Even a ten thousand strong army of powerful bowmen and a well established cavalry cannot do what you propose'
The fire blinded him. The wind froze him to the spot.
'I want you to father me that child.'
She saw the pink cavern of his mouth.
'If you do this for me then I give you my word, no ordinary man will take your life.'
'How do I know you are speaking the truth?'
The fire roared again, the waves snarled foam around the cavern, the wind raced through the gloom.
'How can you take care of a child? What will you do? Where will you go?' He continued despite the wrath.
'That is not your concern. The child will be mine and given everything she needs - I can assure you of that.' Her voice grew thin 'But I grow weak in this life form...I am tiring... now do we have a bargain?'
Cornelius sat in the tavern for the first time in months.
'Gimme another flagon of ale!' He caught the passing serving girl by the arm.
'Are you sure sir? I think you have had enough for one night.'
'I'll be the judge of that you useless wench, just do as I ask.'
The girl rushed off to get his ale, and left Cornelius immersed in his thoughts, looking down at a torched piece of paper born from the ashes.
'Beware a stag in the shadows - for he has the power to slay you.'
S E Turner is a life-long enthusiast of epic fantasy that borders on the believable. With an abundance of historical research weaved through the pages, this promises to be an engaging and immersive experience.
'The Kingdom of Durundal series is far more than the single genre of fantasy. Rather, it blends into a prestigious crossroads where fantasy meets reality, and the surreal meets the sublime. I wanted to write a series that everyone could read, and I'm happy to provide an exciting, epic story that a wide variety of ages will enjoy.'
As my fifth novel releases at the end of the year, I find myself reflecting on my author journey, which began six years ago.
The first draft of my initial book took a year to craft. At the time, it was a bloated, rough, unwieldy thing that sorely needed revisions and editing. Another six months, and dozens of revisions later, I had something that resembled a publishable book.
In comparison, it now takes me about six months to produce a better, more refined story, from concept to release. While writing a fiction novel is largely a creative endeavour, the final result is still a product. As with any product, a refined process will ensure better results in a shorter period. That is what I wish to share with you today.
A lot of people ask me about my writing process: young people, readers, aspiring authors. However, as with anything new, I believe that each person must discover what works for them, and that often begins by learning about what works for others.
Here is what works for me and my writing.
I always begin with a plan – one that is far less detailed than what I used for my first few books. It is more of a list of key plot points that will guide me through the process.
I spend a lot of time on research and referencing to ensure that my fantasy genre is believable, and then I let my characters develop the story. The first draft of an K75 - K85 word novel takes about eight weeks for me to craft. Revisions come next, fleshing out the story, polishing the prose, and dragging emotion out of my characters. Often, I revise during the first draft as well. Regardless, three total revision rounds yield the results I desire. Technical edits and proofreading follow my revisions. Where my proofreader
searches for repeated words, phrases, adverb use, and a myriad of other potential grammar improvements.
My editor, who focuses on copy editing and developmental feedback, spends about three weeks with the book before it returns to me. I spend another week incorporating edits and then the book heads to my beta readers. This process has allowed me to produce novels that I am happy with. I feel confident that I am weaving exciting adventures filled with interesting characters
that will result in a quality, enjoyable book for eager fantasy readers, young and old.
A Moth in the Flames - the 5th and final book in The Kingdom of Durundal Series, will be available at the end of 2019.
A Hare in the Wilderness:
"Through the mists of rampage and the stench of fear, a tall, stately man appeared
on a charger and brought hell with him."
A Wolf in the Dark
"It's the living you have to be fearful of, not the monsters in your dreams."
A Leopard in the Mist
"There are so many that will go to sadistic and brutal lengths for even more recognition and power."
A Stag in the Shadows
"I will camouflage myself like the moth, and I will look back at you with my huge
vacuoles and watch you crumble into the pits of the earth -
and then I will be gone from here forever."
A Moth in the Night
"I will tell you things that seem impossible, highly improbable. But remember, what
may seem impossible here, is in fact highly probable in another world
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