Monday, June 27, 2011
Hello friends! I've been on a hiatus here at Fiction for Dessert while finishing up my latest book, but I'm back now, and I'm back with a whole FANTASTIC list of books and authors to introduce you to. Throughout the summer, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Fiction for Dessert will present very short excerpts from new and emerging authors.
Today's novel snippet is from Orc Quest: Prophecy by Tim Ellis.
Grog the Orc is a coward, and has been banished from the Bloodwolf Clan for failing the passage to adulthood. So begins his prophesied quest to find the last human on Garagol, who it is rumoured knows witchery, and can give him back his courage.
He is joined by a ragtag band of creatures including Alfick the grumpy Dwarf who wants to go home, Targa the Warg who is on her last journey, Piggu his betrothed who has defied her father, Mimeo the baby Dragon who has lost her parents, Ptak - his pet Grumble, and the Mountain Troll N'Guk who wants the Dragon.
Unfortunately, he is being hunted by Piggu's father with a hunter squad, and agents of the Valkyrie Sigrun who want to kill him, but the Elves must ensure the prophecy comes true, and have their own agent in Nub the Goblin.
What Readers are Saying about Orc Quest:
"Fantastic! This tale gripped me from the first line and failed to let go. However hard I tried to put it down, the magical spell kept hold of me right to the very last word."
Head bowed, Grog stood in front of his father.
The evening sun cast a crimson glow over his humiliation. It seemed to him that his short life had come to an end, that his youth lay in ruins behind him. Even Ptak, his pet Grumble, sat quiet for once on his shoulder. Her hairy face snuggled into his neck.
‘The Council of Elders have banished you, my son.’ His father’s deep voice bounced off the surrounding rocks and echoed around the village for all to hear. ‘You are the first Orc since the beginning to fail the passage.’
Grog shuffled his toes in the dirt. Saliva dribbled from his mouth and spattered on the ground between his feet. No words came to him. Why was he so different from all the other Orcs? This was probably the last time he would ever see his family. In their minds they had already cast him out. Huddled together and sobbing to his left, his mother - Angara, little sister - Gorma, and Piggu, his betrothed, comforted each other, forbidden to look at him. All around the village the Bloodwolf Clan turned their backs on him.
‘I give you, Targa. She is old now, but will last some while longer. Once she is dead you can use her for food.’ Borrum Skullbreaker stroked the grey Warg one last time. ‘Take him far, my friend,’ he said to her. ‘Guard my son with your life as you have mine.’ He passed the heavy chain to Grog.
Targa stretched her neck backward to look at the only master she had ever known.
Borrum continued. ‘Your mother has persuaded me to let the slave, Alfick, also accompany you into exile.’
Grog glanced at the troublesome Dwarf standing in his father’s shadow. Alfick hawked and spat narrowly missing Borrum’s foot.
The back of his father’s chain-mailed hand crunched into the Dwarf’s forehead knocking him to the ground. ‘You would do well to change your attitude, Dwarf. If news reaches me that my son has died and you still live, I will hunt you down and let you watch whilst I peel the skin from your stumpy body.’
Alfick scrambled up. Rubbing his forehead, he stared sullenly across the roof of the Spirit Forest and into the distance towards the snow-capped Dragon Mountains.
Borrum turned back to his son. ‘We will be glad to get rid of him. He might be of use to you if you can stop him from running away.
‘Thank you, Father,’ Grog mumbled.
Grasping his son’s shoulders Borrum said, ‘Many years ago a Goblin by the name of Kot in the Raget lands spoke of a Human female that lives beyond the Veil of Mists.’
Grog’s head shot up. As far as he was aware, no one knew what lay beyond the Veil of Mists. He stared into his father’s face. Saw the clan tattoos on his cheeks beginning to sag out of shape, noticed the sadness in his red eyes. There had been no Humankind on Garagol for as long as anyone could remember. The Orcs had hunted and eaten every last one of them.
‘Whether he spoke the truth I cannot say,’ his father continued. ‘But the Goblin told me that this female knows witchery. Search for her my son, come back to us a true Bloodwolf warrior.’ He let his arms fall to his sides and turned his back on his youngest son. Grog’s two brothers, Krilg and Ruugar, stepped forward and began walking out of the village.
‘Goodbye, father,’ Grog said. ‘One day I’ll make you proud to call me son.’ He picked up the sack filled with food, clothes, weapons and keepsakes, slung it over his shoulder and followed his brothers down the steep winding path towards the Spirit Forest. Targa walked beside him. Alfick shuffled behind grinning and kicking loose stones at the backs of the Orcs lining the path.
Tears welled in his eyes as he recalled the circumstances of his disgrace. The passage to adulthood should have been simple – a raid on a stronghold. Faced with five Ogres he should have killed them, dragged them back to the village to eat, to feast on, to celebrate becoming a warrior. The Elders would have given him his second name, Ogreslayer. Instead, a fear like he had never known, gripped his heart. Where had it come from? How had such a thing happened? There were too many Ogres. They overpowered him. As he cowered behind a boulder, two Orc warriors had killed all the Ogres and saved his life. He wished now they had left him to die. Anything would be better than the shame he had brought upon himself and his family.
He took a last look at Craakar the mountain village that had been his home for eighteen years. The familiar caves hacked out of the mountain rock, the winding paths to the village market place where – in the centre – stood the carved wooden totem depicting the clan symbols. All backs were turned towards him. He had no honour. They stood on the ledges outside their caves, along the paths and outside the Elder’s meeting hall. He was an Orc without a family, a clan, or a home.
His brothers did not turn to look at him. They could not let his dishonour affect their standing within the clan – he was dead to them. Swords clinked against armour as they scuffled down the dirt track leading to the edge of the forest. He clenched Targa’s chain. The comfort of the thick rough links of iron that Alfick had forged gave him the strength to put one foot in front of the other.
At the end of the track his elder brothers turned aside. He passed between them and entered the darkness of the Spirit Forest.
Tim Ellis was born in the bowels of Hammersmith Hospital, London, on a dark and stormy night, grew up in Cheadle, Cheshire, and now lives in Essex with his wife and five Shitzus. In-between, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at eighteen and completed twenty-two years service, leaving in 1993 having achieved the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major). Since then he has worked in secondary education as a senior financial manager, in higher education as an associate lecturer/tutor at Lincoln and Anglia Ruskin Universities, and as a consultant for the National College of School Leadership. His final job, before retiring in 2009, was as Head and teacher of Behavioural Sciences (Psychology/Sociology) in a secondary school. He has a PhD and an MBA in Educational Management, and an MA in Education.
He has been learning the craft of writing fiction for four years, and is the author of ten novels including: Warrior – Path of Destiny and Scourge of the Steppe (Adult Historical Fiction charting the life of Genghis Khan); The Knowledge of Time: Second Civilisation (YA Science Fiction); Orc Quest: Prophecy (YA Fantasy); Solomon’s Key, Body 13 (Quigg 1), The Graves at Angel Brook (Quigg 2), A Life for a Life (Parish & Richards 1), The Wages of Sin (Parish & Richards 2) and Jacob’s Ladder (Stone & Randall 1) (all Adult Crime Fiction); and a collection of short stories: Untended Treasures. He is currently finishing The Flesh is Weak (Parish & Richards 3), The Timekeeper's Apprentice (YA Science Fiction) The Skulls beneath Eternity Wharf (Quigg 3), and Orc Quest: The Last Human. You can learn more about Tim and his writings atTimEllis.com and OrcQuest.com.
Other books by Tim Ellis: