Here is the first chapter of my newest novel. It is fully written but I have had no luck with agents. Let me know what you think and if you’d like to read more.
Scotland. A land of ancient myths where mountains vie with dark forests while snow and cold winds dominate the rugged landscape. In modern times though, the warriors have faded into the history books and the wilderness has succumb to the advances of civilisation. Where once foreigners had sought to avoid the harsh land, now they flocked there as tourists.
Deep within Abernethy Forest in the Scottish Highlands was an example of this tourist trade. It was a large wooden building known as Aife’s Lodge that had once been a private house but had since been converted into a hotel. It was the kind of place where people went to escape society completely.
The moon was high in a black veiled sky. It was just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and the few guests of Aife’s Lodge had forgone seclusion and gathered together in the main hall to celebrate. It was the biggest room in the building. A stone fireplace dominated one wall while numerous stuffed animals showcased the Scottish fauna. The dozen guests mingled awkwardly in groups of two or three, the conversations gradually becoming less passive as the alcohol flowed. Continue reading
“Magnificent,” announced the king’s assistant. “The detail, the colour, the emotion! It is simply wondrous.”
From the darkness nearby, Ellion Demerre, a scrawny, unkempt man with dark hair and dark clothes, approached the painting that had drawn the other man’s praise. It showed a woman of great beauty, naked on a backdrop of a midnight field. There wasn’t a brushstroke out of place.
“It is still not right,” sneered Demerre critically. “The symmetry is all wrong, the skin varies in shades, the hair has odd numbers of strands and freckles never match. It is infuriating.” Continue reading
Rain made a rhythmic pitter-pattering against the window, filling the room with the sound of a thousand tiny drums. Flames burned softly in the fireplace, spreading warmth and light into every corner.
Thomas and his sister May were seated on a thick rug, looking up at their father who sat in a large armchair. Their mother sat beside the fire on the only other seat. Their father’s voice carried above the rain as he read from a weathered old book. The children listened, completely enraptured with his words while even their mother leaned in closer as her hands worked a sewing needle.
“…And so the valiant knight defeated the demon and soaked the trees in its blood. Its body was killed but the knight had no means to destroy its spirit. Shapeless, the demon took to wandering the forest, seeking what it had lost. The knight warned the locals not to heed any voices they may hear upon the wind and so the demon was unable to tempt any but the naughtiest of children.” Continue reading
A scorching wind blew through the streets. The air still crackled faintly, like far off popcorn, while everything shimmered hypnotically in the heat. A sickly smell hung over the buildings. It was quiet. Birds sang and leaves rustled, but they only highlighted the void that had filled the world.
A man shambled along the side-walk with the aid of a walking stick. He had ruffled white hair and moved with a pronounced limp. Old Grouch was what he was called by most. It had been too long since he had heard someone call him by his real name. He had no family or friends, and his bitterness left a sour impression on any who knew him.
He was a relic of the past, of a different world altogether. He had been for years. Society had always moved quicker than he had cared for. Even as a child he had hated what others loved. Popular music was noisy drivel without soul, yet everyone else ate it up ravenously. Phones removed people from communities rather than bringing them closer together. Machines cost people their jobs and made everyone lazy and incompetent. He just did not understand people’s divine fascination with technology. Continue reading
Two points of view from opposite sides of the same event.
It was raining. It lashed down in great torrents, whipping the faces of me and the men around me as we stood and waited. We were all sodden to the bone and could feel our strength seeping away with every second we stood idly by. To either side of me were lines of grim faced soldiers all awaiting our commanders signal to attack.
Then, as suddenly as it had started, the rain stopped. Through the clearing haze we got our first sight of the enemy troops. Misshaped figures faced us down a hundred yard opposite us. They looked to us like mutants, bulges and tormented postures looking dominant among their ranks. Shadowy shapes reminiscent of men hung back in the distance. The damned mist likely hid their main force, keeping us guessing at how innumerable their force truly was.
Only an old wishing well and several low growing rose bushes separated us from them and those objects would provide us with no safety from our monstrous foes. It had once been a shine to our god of luck so we were all adamant not to let anyone defile its sacred grounds. Continue reading
England, London, Thames House (MI5 Headquarters), High-security detention wing.
A cold, white walled room built from sturdy blocks of stone. Sat around a heavy wooden table were three men. Two were in suits and sat at one side while the third wore simple street clothes and sat opposite them. His hands and feet were in chains.
“This is agent Ryan Smith and agent Thomas Hawke interviewing David Black, serial killer,” stated one of the suited men after pressing a button upon a recorder at the end of the table. He turned a cold glare upon the man opposite him.
“Looks like we finally caught you. Its took eleven years for you to make a mistake but your rampage is now at its end.”
His companion continued , running a hand through his short blonde hair. “Now that we’ve got you here, how about you answer some of our questions. We’ve been dying to ask them for over a decade now.” Continue reading
I have just been listening to the latest episode of Brady Haran and CGP Grey’s popular podcast Hello Internet (42) and the topic of accurately replicating the human brain to be used by robots came up. Grey goes on to explain that human free will does not exist and that everything we do in life is determined exactly the same way as anything processed by a computer would . There are a series of inputs and outputs that direct our choices leaving us with as much freedom in our decision making as a computer with a complex algorithm. Continue reading
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a rambling riot of random coincidences that demands that you not only suspend your disbelief but tie it to a flock of drunken chickens and fire it into space. If it was written by any other author then the story would be a complete mess. Luckily this is not the case though. Continue reading
I have to admit it, I didn’t really enjoy this book. It felt like a slog to read through it and this is the first Pratchett book that I have experienced that. Maybe the Sci-Fi threw me as I’m not a big fan of that genre on the whole, (though Eric Nylund’s Fall of Reach is one of my all time favourite books), but the plot felt hectic to the point where I often had no idea what was happening and there seemed to be a general lack of that famous Pratchett humour. I’d go so far as to say that the only bit that I enjoyed was the plot twist right at the end that I actually did find very good. Continue reading
The Carpet People was Sir Terry’s first published book. I was interested to note that the copy that I read was rewritten by an adult Pratchett. The original version written by his teenage self is pretty rare so I was left with this hybrid story. It felt very much like it belonged with his Discworld stories but how much of this was his natural style compared with how much was added in for this second version I have no idea. As a young writer myself, I would love to read the original version to see a master’s roots, how his writing grew and changed over the years and what standard he started at. Continue reading