Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Shard by Ted Cross

Release date: March 16, 2015
Subgenre: Epic fantasy

About The Shard:


A dying king. A mysterious invader. The seer's vision was clear: find the lost shard from the Spire of Peace or the realm would drown in blood.

The problem: eight hundred years ago the elven hero Kathkalan took the shard with him into the lair of the most vicious dragon ever known to mankind...and he never returned.

Reluctantly drafted to lead the quest is the minor noble Midas, torn between his duty to the realm and the desire to protect his sons. With an unlikely band of heroes, including two elderly rangers and a young tinker's son, Midas must risk losing everything he loves if he is to locate the shard and save the Known Lands.



Midas had never heard of elves killing men before.  He slumped in his saddle, staring at the bodies scattered near the forest edge.  Crows hopped and cawed just out of kicking range.  The horses stamped their hooves and flicked their tails at flies.  The smell of corruption was yet mild.

“I don’t recognize these men,” he murmured.  He should recognize them; he knew the people on his lands.  These men had not simply been passing through.  Three axes lay near the corpses, and two of the trees showed chop marks.  Red sap flowed down the silver bark, the trees bleeding from their wounds.

Three bodies lay near the trees and two more were partially obscured by the brown grass and weeds a few paces away.  Each had a single silver-fletched arrow jutting from its chest or back.  Elven arrows, thought Midas.  No man could make arrows so perfect.

He shifted his gaze to the woods.  Silverbark trees towered into the sky, their canopies forming a ceiling over the tangled shrubs and dead leaves below.  The edge of the forest was thin and the summer light shone down in beams to the forest floor, but there was no sign of elves.  This was not unusual; Midas had never seen an elf in all of his thirty-eight years.  There could be dozens of them staring at us right now and we’d never see them.

He twisted in the saddle to speak to Fridrik.  “Bring a wagon from the village.  Post a guard on these bodies until they can be loaded up and brought to Welby.  Something's happening and I intend to find out what.”

“Yes, milord,” the squire said.  He detailed two men to guard the bodies, picked out two more as escorts, and rode off toward the hamlet they’d passed on the way.

Midas bent to examine the closest corpse.  The man was filthy and clothed in rags.  He looked like the beggars or thieves one might find in any of the big cities.

“How could they think to get away with this, Voor?  Even desperate men…”

“I don’t know, milord,” Voor said.

“Someone forced them.”

Voor nodded.

Midas’s turned back to the scene of the massacre and his shoulders slumped.  “This is the moment.”

“Milord?” said Voor.

“The peace is done.”

Dust rose in clouds as the group cantered over the dry field.  Even in the light of day the small red moon was visible just above the horizon—an evil omen if there ever was one.  Midas thought of his sons, the memory of skirling swords echoing in his mind, and despite the heat he felt a chill in his chest.  Why would someone want to provoke the elves?


Amazon | Goodreads


About Ted Cross:

Ted Cross has spent the past two decades traveling the world as a diplomat, all the time dreaming about writing fantasy and science fiction. He's visited nearly forty countries and lived in seven, including the U.S., Russia, China, Croatia, Iceland, Hungary, and Azerbaijan. He's witnessed coup attempts, mafia and terrorist attacks, played chess with several world champions, and had bit parts in a couple of movies. He currently lives in Baku, Azerbaijan with his lovely wife and two teenage sons.



No comments:

Post a Comment