Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Shards of the Nightmare (Dyngard Series) by Joel Cornah

Release date: April 30, 2018
Subgenre: Epic fantasy

About Shards of the Nightmare:


They expected her to die within hours of being born, this strange child with blue skin. But she grew; unnatural, wild, curious and defiant.

And then her mother found the Sea-Stone Sword, and her father became a tyrant.

Torn between who she is and who she wants to be, Sini follows her bodyguard into the forgotten lands and the forbidden seas, searching for an answer that the Seers have sought for centuries: how can they defeat a tyrant? How can the Sea-Stone Sword be silenced?

And the answer lies in the Shards of the Nightmare.




There was a settlement outside the walls, and eyes followed Sini as they passed. They knew who she was on sight, the blue skin giving her away. Occasionally, she’d hear someone whisper about the ‘Seer’s child’. It made her feel hot and uncomfortable inside.
“They don’t know what they’re talking about,” Merri said under her breath. “That flame-ridden Seer doesn’t deserve half…” she grumbled and her hand tightened around Sini’s until she made a noise. “Oh, sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Sini said, flashing a reassuring smile. “I’m used to it. I don’t even hear the whispers half the time. There are some who say I’m supposed to marry you, and there are some who say I’m supposed to be a magic person and the Sword isn’t really a sword and that I’m the Sword and it’s just a symbol the Seer made up so they wouldn’t kill me and don’t you think that might be a thing?”
“Did you say you’re supposed to marry me?” Merri gave a wry smile.
“It’s just what the people were saying,” Sini looked away, her face burning as she felt twisted up.
The bell tower gave a long, trembling tone. Then another. It rang heavy; this bell had not been rung for a long, long time. Sini clasped Merri’s hand harder and looked at her, searching her face for some clue.
“Let’s find out,” Merri said in answer to Sini’s unasked question.
They rushed across the moat and up the rising grass until they came to the wall. A postern was open and the guard nodded them through, her own features full of confusion. Beyond the wall, the courtyard was in disarray, markets and soldiers all clamouring as people hurried by. A large, sinuous beast was guided past them, a scaly creature with three horns and a bony frill on its head. Sini wanted to stare at it, but was pulled out of the way.
The crowd hushed as a voice rose, shouting and raging. Sini cringed, slipping behind a crate and hoping the approaching storm would pass over her. But soon, a figure emerged from the crowd and approached, fury in his face.
Varirosi stood resplendent in fine clothes, sea gems studded across his body. He wore blue and green like the soldiers, but his dress was cut low to show his lithe body, tattooed with symbols of the sun, and an eye within it. Merri was looking at this tattoo in particular – she always did, and she always looked furious.
That was the symbol of the Seer, and Varirosi had worn it ever since the Seer had told him that his blue child heralded the beginning of their power. It was the reason her mother had gone looking for the mythical Sword of the Sea. That Seer had given Sini’s parents a fanaticism shared only by the cult of Razal.
He shouted something incomprehensible towards the tower and moments later, the bells stopped. The fortress grounds were drenched in a sudden, shimmering silence.
“Tell me what is going on,” Varirosi demanded, his eyes going to the commander of the soldiers. “Euna, speak. I said speak!”
“Sir, I believe Tekat has returned,” Euna said, her hands behind her back. This made Varirosi bristle.
“Stand to attention!” he demanded. “And tell Tekat, now that her fool’s errand is at an end, we shall put thought to serious matters. Have my son brought to me and we can finish this.”
“Your daughter, sir,” Euna corrected, nodding at Sini. “She is here. But I do not think Tekat’s errand was a fool’s one.”
“Speak not to me of fools! I am no fool! This is my fortress, and these are my children, and I will speak of them how I wish. I am Varirosi!”
“Your pardon, sir, but it is Tekat who rules this fortress,” Euna maintained a bland expression, but her voice softened. “And what is more, as I said, her errand was successful. She has found the Sea-Stone Sword.”


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About Joel Cornah:


Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. He is the author of a number of novels and novellas including; The Sea-Stone Sword, The Spire of Frozen Fire and The Silent Helm, and The Sky Slayer.
He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, head of the Doctor Who department, and member of the Tolkien Society. He is a frequent blogger for the Pack of Aces blog, focussing on issues of Asexuality in media, specialising in sci-fi and fantasy.


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