Welcome to the Bookwormery and I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog blitz for Warbringer by Aaron Hodges… and to bring you an extract……
Here’s a little about Warbringer and the extract will follow …
Centuries ago, the world fell.
From the ashes rose a terrible new species—the Tangata.
Now they wage war against the kingdoms of man.
And humanity is losing.
Recruited straight from his academy, twenty-year-old Lukys hopes the frontier will make a soldier out of him. But Tangata are massing in the south, and the allied armies are desperate. They will do anything to halt the enemy advance—including sending untrained men and women into battle.
Determined to survive, Lukys seeks aid from the only man who seems to care: Romaine, the last warrior of an extinct kingdom.
Meanwhile, the Queen’s Archivist leads an expedition deep beneath the earth. She seeks to uncover the secrets of the Gods. Their magic has been lost to the ages, yet artifacts remain, objects of power that could turn the tide of the war. But salvation is not all that waits beneath the surface. Something else slumbers in the darkness. Something old. Something evil.
Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and the extract to share.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and explore the world. During his travels he picked up an old draft of a novel he once wrote in High School (titled The Sword of Light) and began to rewrite the story. Six months later he published his first novel, Stormwielder, and hasn’t looked back since.
Lukys sat back on his haunches. Around him, the world was on fire. Winds blew from across the river, catching in the hay below the walls and sending flaming strands swirling through the air. Acrid smoke stung his nostrils as he inhaled, and his throat burned. Terror robbed him of strength.
He drew on what final dredges of courage remained to him. Clasping at his fallen spear, he forced himself up—and found himself staring into the stony eyes of the beast.
It stood just a yard away, close enough that it could have reached out and snapped his neck at any moment. It didn’t. Wrinkles creased its forehead as it watched him. The spear shook in Lukys’s hand as he realised this was his chance.
But even as he tightened his grip on the weapon, the Tangata tensed, its features closing over. A smile twisted its lips, revealing yellowed teeth.
Death, death, death.
Laughter sounded in Lukys’s ears and the beast raised a hand, gesturing him forward.
Screaming, Lukys leapt, spear held at the ready. He knew he could not win, that this was the end, but in that moment he didn’t care. All that mattered was the spear in his hands and the beast.
The tip of his spear flashed out, aimed clumsily for the creature’s stomach. The Tangata was quicker, its hand swiping down, catching his weapon by the haft and snapping it in two with a quick wrench.
Lukys staggered back, half of his now useless weapon still clutched to his chest. The tip of Lukys’s spear clasped in one hand, the Tangata advanced.
A cry escaped Lukys as his boots failed to find purchase in the mud. He crashed to the ground, broken spear tumbling from his fingers. Mouth wide in terror, he looked up, expecting to see death descending upon him.
A warrior stood between Lukys and the Tangata, twin-bladed axe extended towards the beast. The weapon rippled in the firelight as it swept out. The Tangata leapt away, twisting from the path of the blade, but even with its superhuman speed, it could not avoid the blow completely.
A shriek rent the air as the axe sliced the creature’s thigh. Blood pulsed from the wound as it staggered. Lukys was surprised to see it bled red. Despite their distinctly human appearance, surely the monsters could not be the same within?
Pain contorted the Tangata’s face as it faced the axeman. Then a change seemed to come over the creature, a wave of pure rage sweeping away its agony. Its eyes flashed and it rushed forward—now in total silence.
The axeman did not retreat from its fury. He charged with a shout, words lost in the chaos, massive shoulders sending the axe flashing for the Tangata. Somehow, the creature seemed sluggish by comparison. Perhaps the wound had slowed it. Regardless, it realised its mistake too late, and with a sickening thud, the axe slammed into its shoulder, slicing through bone and sinew to bury itself in the beast’s chest.
An awful gurgling came from the Tangata as it struggled to step forward, to reach the enemy that had slain it. But not even these creatures could survive such a blow, and with a sharp whistle of departing air, it slumped to its knees and fell alongside Lukys.
The warrior towered over the beast. His shoulders heaved as blue eyes scanned the ramparts, seeking out signs of fresh danger. Another Tangata lay nearby, its body peppered with arrows and impaled by several spears. In the distance, the sounds of battle were fading, an eerie stillness coming over the night.
The battle was won.
Looking up at the massive axeman, Lukys could hardly believe he was alive. If not for the ferocious warrior, he wouldn’t be. Only now did he notice the man did not wear the familiar red of Flumeer, nor the blue of Perfugia. Instead, his chainmail had been woven through with the deepest green, remnant of the forest.
He hadn’t realised there were any Calafe warriors left. They had passed the refugee camps outside Mildeth, but it was said that the last of their soldiers had refused to leave their land, and had died on the shores of the Illmoor. What did this man fight for now, with his kingdom overcome?
“Need some help?”
Lukys started as the man spoke, dragging him from his thoughts. Seeing the hand the warrior was extending, he took it. His slender fingers were ingulfed by the warrior’s giant mitts and he was yanked to his feet. Lukys stumbled before righting himself, his gaze catching on the body of the Tangata once more. The blood had stopped flowing from the awful wound the man’s axe had left.
It almost killed me.
Before he could stop himself, Lukys was bent in two and retching in the mud.
Gentle laughter came from beside him. “First battle?”
Gasping, Lukys managed a nod.
“You’ll get used to it,” the warrior grunted.
With that, he took a hold of his axe. Placing a boot on the Tangata’s chest, he yanked the weapon free with a sickening squelch, then turned and walked away along the ramparts.
Lukys watched him go, a reply on his lips, though he couldn’t bring himself to say it. The warrior was wrong. He would never get used to this. He would never get the chance.
He’d be dead long before then.