I’m really happy to be able to reveal the full cover (front and back!) for “The Art of Forgetting : Nomad”. The cover was drawn by Evelinn Enoksen and designed by Ken Dawson – haven’t they done an awesome job?
You’ve probably already seen the front cover on Fantasy Faction, but here’s the full thing, front, back and spine, in all its glory.
Complete with lots of very lovely endorsements from Vol 1. Isn’t it gorgeous? And soon, very soon, (May 24th) it can be yours… 🙂
In the meantime, just to keep you from keeling over with desire for the shiny precious, here’s an exclusive never-before-seen extract from a section that was added during editing – I hope you enjoy it and it whets your appetite for more!
SLIGHTLY EDITED FOR SPOILERS, BUT IF YOU’RE COMPLETELY SPOILER-PHOBIC YOU SHOULD PROBABLY STOP READING NOW
They followed the course of a wide stream, too shallow to be called a river, and as the horses stopped to drink and wait for the wagons, Sudak straightened in the saddle, scanning the horizon with eager eyes. His nostrils twitched, and he sprang up in one easy movement to stand on the back of his mount, one hand held high to block the afternoon sunlight that streamed at a low angle across the steppe. His upper lip drew back in a snarl.
“What can you see?” Rhodri asked.
Sudak spat. “Fire and metal.”
“What does that mean?” But the young warrior had already wheeled his horse around and was riding hard for Temion, who had gone back to check on the progress of the wagons. Rhodri decided to follow him. Sudak’s face told him that what he had seen was serious, perhaps a threat to the tribe. If he could fight, he could prove he was on their side, and erase some of their lingering doubts.
Sudak was already in close conversation with Temion when Rhodri arrived, leaning over in his saddle to talk in urgent, hushed tones. Temion looked beyond him, caught Rhodri’s eye, and glowered. “I’ll deal with it,” he said, suddenly speaking in a normal voice that seemed too loud. “Find Trogir, get him to circle the wagons. We’ll try and head them off before—” He broke off, and turned abruptly to Rhodri. “What do you want? Why are you here?”
“It looked like there was trouble.” Rhodri tried to keep his voice affable. “Can I help?”
“You can keep your face out of it,” Temion snapped. He was about to turn away when Sudak laid a daring hand on his arm.
“He can fight,” he said. “Why not give him a blade?”
“It’s who he’s fighting for that troubles me.”
“At least a dagger,” Sudak persisted. “Let him defend himself, if it comes to blood. Trogir says he’s of the tribe now—”
“I don’t care what Trogir says!” Sudak hissed at this open rebellion, and Temion backed up a pace. “He’s not of the tribe. He has yet to prove himself worthy of us.”
“Give me a knife then,” Rhodri pressed. “How can I prove anything if you won’t let me fight?”
Temion snarled, but he drew a blade and threw it in the dust before Liberty’s front hooves. She startled and tossed her head before the sudden movement. “I’m watching you, short-hair. Any tricks and that blade will be in your back. And we won’t wait for you if you fall behind.”
“I won’t.” Rhodri slipped from the saddle to retrieve the blade. It was Temion’s belt-knife; the hooked point was sharp enough, but the edge was blunted and it was too light to use as a club. Still, it was more of a weapon than his bare hands. He remounted, holding it between his teeth. Temion was already galloping back towards the scouts, his big roan’s heels throwing up the dust of his passage. Rhodri transferred the knife to his hand and set off after him.
By the time he arrived, Temion had his warriors gathered around him, and Sudak was pointing in the direction of the threat. Rhodri was surprised to see women among the small band of warriors. He had seen them hunting, admired the way Nasira could take down a hawk or a wild goat with her bow, but he had not expected these women to fight alongside the men.
“We don’t want blood,” Temion said, his eyes flicking over Rhodri and dismissing him. “We want to scare them away from the wagons. If it comes to a fight we know we’re outmatched, so let’s set them running.”
“Who are we fighting?” Rhodri asked. Temion ignored him, raising his hand for his warriors to fall in behind him as he nudged his ride into a trot that swiftly became a canter. The fighters of the Plains Hawk fanned out across the steppe and Rhodri was swept up with them, feeling the thrill of battle quicken his breath and constrict his stomach as Liberty stretched her legs beneath him. They had no armour, they were barely armed, and he didn’t know who they were fighting, but that surge of adrenaline was still addictive, and he realised he had missed it since he crossed over the mountains. The Atrathene mounts were swift and long-legged, and Liberty laboured to keep up. They fell behind as from every throat came the long, ululating war cry of the tribes. Rhodri had heard that cry before, in the tent he shared with Dru as they were hounded across the plains by an invisible enemy. It had raised the hairs on his neck then, and it was no less chilling now under the afternoon sun on the barren steppe.
They were headed for a low line of stunted trees, dull green, and as they neared, metal flashed in the warriors’ hands. Temion might not want blood, but he was ready for it. Rhodri tightened his grip on his own dull knife and urged his big-hearted mare to greater efforts to keep up. There was movement in the trees, a sudden stirring that sent little birds up in a black, twittering cloud. The war cry pitched a note higher, and the enemy broke left and right, so quickly it caught Rhodri by surprise. They were mounted on light-coloured horses, and it took a moment for him to realise what that meant. The Atrathenes rode bays and chestnuts, roans and sorrels. They never rode greys. The sturdy little greys like Liberty were Western horses.
Liberty whinnied an eager welcome as he pulled her up in confusion. It couldn’t be Dru’s troop, not here, not so far out. At a sweeping glance he saw that the strangers were better armed, better fed than Dru’s men, and their insignia was the sky-blue of the Royal household, not the black and crimson of the King’s Third. Men from Hierath, deep in the heart of the tribal lands.
They scattered before the blades and arrows of Temion’s warriors, and Rhodri kicked Liberty into action once more, wondering where they had come from—and if there were more of them hiding behind the trees. He plunged between the leaves, hearing the sounds of pursuit race away on either side of him, and pulled up sharply as the ground dropped away beneath Lib’s front hooves. The trees lined, and concealed, the steep bank of a deep, swift-flowing river. From upstream came a scream, swiftly and brutally cut short, and even as he watched, the water darkened to crimson.
So much for not wanting blood.
If all this has you intrigued and you haven’t yet read “The Art of Forgetting : Rider” (you should, look at all the nice things people said about it without any money or cake changing hands) you can still pick up a free no-strings attached ebook copy from all the big ebook-selling platforms; here’s the linkage :
Amazon UK :
I say no strings, but never forget that Reviews Are Love and help sales, which in turn helps me to write more books, so if you like it and you want to see more… 😉 Or I could just unleash the puppy-eyes, which is all very undignified and un-British…
Speaking of reviews, review e-arcs of Nomad are due later today, so keep watching those inboxes if you’ve asked for a copy…