This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anne will be awarding three eBooks from her backlist to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
She’s also offering another contest. One person will win a Kindle ($89 value) if these three questions about The Gifting are answered correctly and emailed to albrooke AT me DOT com (and NOT left on the post), and winners will be notified as soon as possible after the end of the blog tour:
1. In the beginning of Chapter Four, what sound is Simon first aware of when he wakes up?
2. At the start of the Third Gathandrian Interlude, who knocks Annyeke down in his desperation to reach her?
3. What happens to Simon at the end of Chapter Six?
At the start of the novel, the cane belongs to the mind-executioner and, as such, is feared and hated across the lands. The mind-executioner is determined to use its magic to destroy both the city of Gathandria, where he and the cane come from, and also the Lammas Lands, where Simon lives. Because, unbeknown to Simon, his own mind has the potential to change the cane’s purpose to what is good rather than what is evil. However, his mind is untrained, and the cane’s pursuit of him is at times a terrifying ordeal, and one he must learn to overcome.
Looking back, I think I’ve always found walking canes a wonderful combination of elegance and usefulness, a concept of which William Morris might have approved. My stepfather uses one carved from local wood by a craftsman he knows, so it holds a lot of significance and does the job it’s intended for too.
Recently I was out for a day with a friend who currently has to use a cane as she’s twisted her foot. Whilst out, we met a lovely old gentleman with a beautiful stick which far outclassed her local health service one. It was black, with gold and silver patterns embossed on the top third. Apparently it came from South Africa. I loved it – and it was the nearest thing to the spirit of the mind-cane I’ve come across so far. I only wished I could have taken a photo of it, but I have to admit I was scared to ask as it might have sounded a bit odd. Even for me!
Anyway, you can find all sorts of wonderful canes at this website, though none of them are quite as magical as the mind-cane in The Gifting. Here’s Simon at a point where his companion Johan offers him a decision between a traumatic path to escape across the sky or staying to face what he believes to be certain death:
A roar and a flash of redness and pain as the last protection collapsed. The stench of meat and the dogs’ teeth came scrabbling through the flames. In his mind, the boy screamed at last, in a way he could never do in the flesh. With a groan that came from the gut and sliced through him, the scribe stumbled to his feet and stood, swaying, he on rock and Johan on air. Although fully clothed, Simon was as naked as he had ever been.
He caught and held Johan’s ice-blue gaze. For a moment, somehow, time stopped and everything became still.
“I am afraid,” Simon told him, as simply and clearly as he could.
“I don’t trust you.”
“Simon, I understand. Take one step. Trust me for one step only. But you must leave the mountain behind, or you will both suffer the death that is not true death. Come.”
Wild roaring, and then the pounding feet of the dogs.
Breath ragged in his throat, Simon covered his face with his one free hand and smelled the stale salt of his own tears. Then at the edge of thought, already infiltrating his mind’s frail barrier, the executioner’s triumphant cry.
The scribe turned. The enemy rose before him, a figure clothed in flame which did not burn. Pain cauterised his mind and he screamed. A flash of black and silver at the edge of his vision. He raised his hand to protect himself. The mind-cane flew towards him: a dagger, a bearer of an impossible death. He screamed again. Then everything fell silent. The cane brushed against his arm, the silver carving impossibly cold. A flare of warmth encased him and then just as suddenly vanished.
He should be dead. He was not.
The mind-cane lay at his feet, humming. Another scream, this time the enemy’s. With the astonishment of being alive his only thought, Simon wrapped both arms around the boy and stepped out with his right foot onto nothingness.
I hope you enjoy the read, and remember that even objects we think are safe and familiar sometimes have very different lives …
About the Author:
Anne Brooke’s fiction has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award, the Royal Literary Fund Awards and the Asham Award for Women Writers. She has also twice been the winner of the national DSJT Charitable Trust Open Poetry Competition.
She is the author of six published novels, including her fantasy series, The Gathandrian Trilogy, published by Bluewood Publishing and featuring scribe and mind-reader Simon Hartstongue. More information on the trilogy is available at: www.gathandria.com and the first of these novels is The Gifting. In addition, her short stories are regularly published by Riptide Publishing, Amber Allure Press and Untreed Reads.
Anne has a secret passion for theatre and chocolate, preferably at the same time, and is currently working on a fantasy novella, The Taming of the Hawk. More information can be found at www.AnneBrooke.com and she regularly blogs at:http://annebrooke.blogspot.com.
The mind-dwellers of Gathandria are under deadly siege. For two year-cycles they have suffered: their people decimated, their beautiful city in ruins. Their once peaceful life has descended into chaos and misery. Legends tell of the Lost One who will return at such a time to save them from their mortal enemy – the mind-executioner. This enemy knows their ways well, for he was once an elder of the city. Time is running out.
Johan and Isabella take up the quest, journeying to the Lammas Lands searching for their distant cousin and lowly scribe, Simon Hartstongue. The elders dare to hope that he is whom they seek. Not everyone shares this hope; there is one amongst them who is bound to the enemy, shielding their secret thoughts from mind links while seeking to betray Simon.
Powerful lessons are learned as they travel through the mystical kingdoms of the Mountains, the Air, the Desert and the Waters. Deadly attacks threaten total annihilation and devastating sorrow strikes. Story-telling weaves a tenuous net of protection around them, but the enemy has absolute power with the stolen mind-cane in his possession. To his surprise Simon hears its song. Desperately he tries to understand and embrace his gifting, as he struggles to comprehend his inheritance.
A strong and pure mind is needed in the battle to defeat the enemy. If you are branded a coward, a murderer and an outcast, how can you be a saviour? Doubt creeps into the Gathandrians’ minds. Is Simon truly the One?