Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Indie Spotlight ~ Under the Dragon's Claw by Alex George (Heartstone Talisman, #1)

Mulluane | Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 2 Comments so far


♥ High Fantasy Showcase ♥


Book Cover of Under the Dragon's Claw by Alex George

| Genre: High Fantasy
| Content: Dragons, Magic, Adventure

| Age: Adult and Young Adult
| ISBN-10: 0955877709
| ISBN-13: 9780955877704
| Publisher: Alphapex UK; 1 edition (January 11, 2014)
| Paperback: 710 pages
| Cover Artist: Steve Stone


♦ Blurb ♦

Dragons rule the skies. In the bowels of the mountains, Ogres lurk, tall as oaks, with groping claws and sharpened fangs. Theo, a mere sorcerer’s apprentice must face them all. To his will must bow Varwarker, Red Dragon Drake, favourite of Warlock Zarzbudin. For Theo has pledged to rescue Princess Adelayne, Shield Warrior of the Western Realms.

Mage Archon, tasked by his King, must succeed in his mission, no matter the cost, for everyone and everything is expendable. Theo can be of service. Just as his father before him, he will inadvertently be drawn into a web of deceit where foes can’t be parried with the sword.

A shadow has blanketed the land, and the time is come for brave hearts to take a stand. Serilia, budding Storm Wizard, must aid her brother Theo. Nem, a steadfast companion, will also be thrown into this explosive cauldron of strife and passion. Their combined efforts must hold the tide that threatens to destroy their world.

Just then, there was a loud banging noise on the doors, the Boom! Boom! sound echoing across the hall like a giant’s drumbeat. Grunts and moans from the other side reminded Theo of those he had encountered wandering through the nymph tunnels.

“Orgul.” Roxette confirmed.

“I want you to listen,” Archon said, his words quick and snappy. “I will tackle the beast alone. Flee as soon as the dragons arrive. You may need to abandon me.”

“Archon, we have not come so far together to—”

“Hush!” the mage interrupted Theo. “Do as I command or we will all perish. I cannot face the Orgul and guard your backs at the same time.”

He nodded grudgingly, seeing grim concern mirrored on the faces of his companions. Pounding fists rattled the door as the Orgul howled its fury. A nail broke through, tearing a chunk of wood so the gaping hole revealed its hideous face.

Archon placed himself a few yards from the door and spread his arms, a silvery white flame bathing him as he touched his gift. The Orgul used a huge axe to chop away at the doors and with a mighty final stroke shattered them, leaving the splintered wood hanging from its hinges. Horns burst through as it charged the wizard.

A red blur passed in front of Theo moments before he felt the battering wind from its passage. The red creature crushed into the Orgul sending it flying back towards the broken doors only an instant before it would have struck Archon with its axe.

“Varwraker!” Theo grabbed Roxette’s shoulder. She smiled at him. Now, just maybe...


Having recovered from his plunge, the dragon made to come back towards them but was held fast. Claws punctured the stone floor, scraping as his haunches bunched up. But he could not move. Muscles bulged on the Orgul’s chest, veins protruding from yellow skin as it held on tightly to the dragon’s tail. Varwraker roared in anger and frustration, blowing jets of flame at the yellow beast. Theo felt their heat from where he stood and lifted an arm to protect himself. Impervious to the flames, the Orgul started to reel the dragon in, a fisherman gathering its catch. Varwraker panicked. Thrashing and kicking his feet, he whipped the Orgul with his tail but it dealt with the blows with contempt, not even so much as flinching in response. Instead it wrapped thick arms about the dragon’s mid section, lifting him up and squeezing tightly so air expelled from his lungs.

Varwraker’s struggles became feebler, his thrashing tail striking ever lighter blows. The Orgul grabbed him by the tail and began to swing him. After a mighty heave, it released him, sending the dragon crashing into the walls. Dragon dealt with, it focused its attention on the mage. Behind the Orgul, a group of trolls and ogres popped their green heads through the splintered door, emerging from the hall beyond like snakes emptying from a pit. Theo felt a feeling of utter despair. How can Archon face so many? The mage shot forth white flame from his out-flung arms, causing the ogres and trolls to recoil in fear. The Orgul, lips pressed in a straight line, incisors biting down grimly, advanced steadily forward, the white flame expending itself on its tough hide. 

Fingers curled, hands reaching, it towered above Archon’s crouching frame. A silver bolt, a mass of scales, struck it in the chest, flinging it back at the doors for a second time. Adelayne’s steed, Assima, had smitten the Orgul with her body. 

Varwraker recovered from his battering and stepped closer. Assima turned, hissing a warning at him. 

“It’s alright, Assima!” Adelayne shouted. “The red one is a friend.” 

“Come let us leave before the yellow beast recovers,” Assima urged. 

“Sounds like a good idea,” Archon said, smirking at his companions as Roxette and Adelayne straddled Assima’s back. He and Theo clambered onto Varwraker. Theo motioned for Madura to sit behind him. 

“No, Theodor, I’m afraid our roads part here. This is where I belong.” Madura shook her head and inched back from them. “Run Theodor. Run whilst you can! Never return to the Witch Lord’s kingdom.” She turned and fled towards the shattered throne room doors. 

“Come. Rise!” Archon called out, and the two dragons launched themselves in the air.

Assima and Varwraker cleared the hall, but instead of climbing heavenwards, they plummeted to the abyss. Theo stared behind in horror at the Orgul clutching a dragon’s tail in each hand. It must have sprung at us before the dragons took flight. He swallowed as they sped towards certain death. 

He looked around at his companions and saw fear in their wide eyes. The dragons were beating their wings frantically, but were lacked the strength to lift the Orgul’s massive body. Theo heard a rumbling, laughing sound emitted from the Orgul’s throat, mocking them. For its pleasure it would to plunge them all to their death. 

Roxette stood up from her riding position and held her sword in one hand like an athlete. She hurled it spear-like at the Orgul. The sword flew true, planting itself deep in its throat to the hilt. The horned beast gave out a gurgled cry and released. Spinning round in leisurely circles it grew smaller and smaller as it was engulfed by the abyss.

Mercifully, Varwraker and Assima snapped their wings, buffeting the air, halting their fall and flapped their giant bat’s-wings, powerful strokes, to begin, at first, their slow ascent. Gaining height faster and faster, they soon soared well above the snow-smothered peaks. Having gained their desired altitude, they banked their wings due east heading for Alcavia’s coastline. 

Like shooting stars from the heavens, they sped through the mountains, one a streak of red, the other silver. A bird call drew Theo’s attention to the hawk with red plumage flying beside them. Archon named him, Farwing, and the Valdoric Sea Hawk responded with a cry of pleasure at their reunion. Winter’s cold breath descended as they fled before her. Only a couple of weeks remained till autumn would retreat to his halls. 

Their flight did not last more than an hour. Soon, the two dragons where descending over Alcavian skies. Theo looked down to see a widespread black body milling around the city. Like an army of soldier ants, it stretched out from the foot of the Dragon’s Foot Mountains all the way to Alcavia’s coast and the river Ankadar, and to the north as far as the Apalachus River. Smoke rose from the city in black tendrils as siege machines hurled their loads at the outer city walls. 

“Proceed with caution,” Archon screamed above the noise of the dragons’ passage. “Zarzbudin and his four reds will be somewhere close by and will come at us in stealth, striking when we are least prepared.” 

“I feel the presence of the red dragons further south, wizard, among those peaks yonder.” Assima nodded with her pointed snout at a spot where the lower peaks of the Dragon’s Foot Mountains bordered with the sea; a scattering of islands spread into the Valdoric Sea from the coast. 

“Keep alert until we reach the confines of the inner city walls.” 

As they approached the city, Theo could see the nymph army brandishing its weapons. In the front line, nymphs with shields were trying to scale the walls with ropes and ladders. The city defenders shot arrows in the nymph ranks, trying to dislodge the ladders from the walls. 

The nymph second line of attack was returning fire, the air filled with arrows whistling to and fro. Away from the range of fire, Orguls loaded huge boulders into the catapult machines and hurled them at the city walls. 

As they flew over the enemy, Theo could distinguish the nymphs’ faces snarling with hatred, shouting their battle cries at the city dwellers. They passed the outer wall where Alcavian soldiers massed together to repel the nymph attacks. Most of the soldiers wielded bows, firing at the offending army, whilst a few clusters engaged them on the walls, those nymphs who had managed to scale them. The Alcavian defences still held.

They came within the vicinity of the fortress. Down they went, wings clapping against the air as the dragons descended in all their glory to the palace grounds. Once grounded, the dragons stretched their wings out one last time before folding them in and craning their necks like swans alighting at a pond.

*Excerpt Source* Author
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♦ IMPORTANT NOTE ♦
Alex George is currently seeking reviewers for this book. If you are interested please contact him at any of the social networks listed below. Thanks!

♦ Author's Bio ♦

I was born and nurtured in London, and enjoy reading books of all types –with special emphasis on: fantasy, historical fiction (I love history that revolves around antiquity and the Middle Ages), science fiction, the classics, adventure, thriller, horror, and mystery. Of course, the thing I love most is to write fiction, but I’m also partial to drinking wine, enjoying culinary delights at a taverna, looking out at the Med Sea, dipping into the aquamarine to cool off.

Readers can visit me and ‘chat’ at my website: www.authoralexgeorge.com



♦ Reviews ♦ 

Amazon US ~ 6 Customer Reviews
Amazon UK ~ 3 Customer Reviews
Goodreads ~ 5 Reviews

(Author info, Book info, Affiliate links)
♥ Available at these fine retailers: Amazon UK ~ Kindle ~ Book Depository ~ AbeBooks ~ Books-A-Million

♥ You can connect with Alex George on Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Tumblr ~ Goodreads

♥ For more info on the author and his books please 
check out: Alex's website

For more insight into Alex George, check out our Wacky Interview!
(About Indie Spotlights)




Mulluane is a 55-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards

2 comments :

  1. I was attracted by this book's cover immediately: these days I'm reading the first book in Naomi Novik's "Temeraire" series (dragons!!!! talking dragons!!!) and I've found myself in a... dragon mood ever since. So I'll add this book to my reading queue, because... well... Dragons!!!
    :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was seriously impressed by the cover myself, and by whom he got to create it. Steve Stone has done covers for many of the top fantasy writers including Robin Hobb.

      Delete

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