The Gifting by Anne Brooke – Excerpt and Character Interview
The Gifting by Anne Brooke
The mind-dwellers of Gathandria are under deadly siege. For two year-cycles they have suffered: their people decimated, their beautiful city in ruins. Their once peaceful life has descended into chaos and misery. Legends tell of the Lost One who will return at such a time to save them from their mortal enemy – the mind-executioner. This enemy knows their ways well, for he was once an elder of the city. Time is running out.
Johan and Isabella take up the quest, journeying to the Lammas Lands searching for their distant cousin and lowly scribe, Simon Hartstongue. The elders dare to hope that he is whom they seek. Not everyone shares this hope; there is one amongst them who is bound to the enemy, shielding their secret thoughts from mind links while seeking to betray Simon.
Powerful lessons are learned as they travel through the mystical kingdoms of the Mountains, the Air, the Desert and the Waters. Deadly attacks threaten total annihilation and devastating sorrow strikes. Story-telling weaves a tenuous net of protection around them, but the enemy has absolute power with the stolen mind-cane in his possession. To his surprise Simon hears its song. Desperately he tries to understand and embrace his gifting, as he struggles to comprehend his inheritance.
A strong and pure mind is needed in the battle to defeat the enemy. If you are branded a coward, a murderer and an outcast, how can you be a saviour? Doubt creeps into the Gathandrians’ minds. Is Simon truly the One?
Excerpt fom The Gifting
As Lord Tregannon looped the rope around Simon’s neck, he could smell the herbs and wine from his breath. And the faint trace of wintergreen. The dreaming potion. Simon dared to glance at him once, but those grey eyes flickered across his face and didn’t stay. Simon’s legs were still shaking and soaked with sweat.
“Please, Ralph,” he whispered. “Don’t let them kill me. I don’t want to die. Not yet. I’m not ready. Please.”
Ralph’s only answer was to pull the rope tighter so Simon’s throat burned and he struggled for breath.
Heart thudding in his chest, he tried to speak again, to beg Ralph, anyone, for mercy once more, but the rope was too tight and the only noise the scribe could make at all was a low moan. Somebody laughed, and then a spattering of saliva landed on his cheek.
“Kill him,” somebody shouted.
“Let him hang!”
Ralph took three steps back, his job complete. Through the scarlet web creeping over his vision, Simon could see his gaze swing back and forth over the crowd, even now controlling them with ease. “Do it then,” he said.
From nowhere, the boy kicked the stool away and the morning sky swung wildly above as the scribe’s feet danced on air.
Character Interview with a Redhead by Anne Brooke
Anne: Today it gives me great delight to introduce a very important young woman, Annyeke Hallsfoot. Annyeke plays a key role in my fantasy novel, The Gifting, which is the first book in my Gathandrian Trilogy. She’s a vital member of the Gathandrian Council of Meditation and is taking a lot of interest in the journey of Simon the Scribe, with his companions, from the Lammas Lands to the city of Gathandria. Annyeke, can you tell me more about why this journey is taking place?
Annyeke: Yes, of course. It’s all our own fault, to my mind. We Gathandrians are supposed to keep a watch over the affairs of the countries around us, but we’ve let everyone down this time-cycle. I think we’ve lost the art of thinking for ourselves and relied too much on our Elders to make decisions for us. We’re all to blame for what’s happening. If we hadn’t let the war which started in Lammas take full hold, then we wouldn’t be under attack now, our beautiful city destroyed, and we wouldn’t need the help of Simon. This is why Johan, the man I … the man I work for, has been forced to put himself into danger and bring Simon to us.
Anne: Why is it so important for Simon to come here? How can he help you?
Annyeke: Our elders think he’s the Lost One from our Legends, the saviour in a time of devastating war. Johan started off believing it too, but when he found out about Simon’s past and his role in the deaths of many people, then he became far less convinced. But Johan is a man of honour and he won’t go back on what he’s promised. Still, I can’t help wishing …
Anne: Wishing what?
Annyeke: I can’t help wishing he’d never set out on this journey. There are many dangers to face, and the last thing I want is for Johan to come to any harm. He’s a very good friend indeed.
Anne: [Smiles] Yes I know. So now you have to work more closely with the elders in Johan’s place while he’s away. How are you finding that?
Annyeke: [Snorts] I understand the elders work very hard for us and have great responsibilities, but sometimes I think they’re nothing more than a group of old men, well mostly old men, who don’t have the first notion of how their people really feel. There’s something about them which unsettles me too, but I can’t work out what it is. One thing I am sure about is I’m definitely going to find out. I have a responsibility to the people too. After all, as I’m sure you know, you can’t outwit a redhead.
Anne: Very true!
Annyeke: It’s funny, isn’t it, how our hair is almost the same colour though you’re more auburn. And our names are similar too. Anyone would think we were related. [Pauses]. You’re not a distant relative, are you? That would be … interesting.
Anne: No! I plead innocent on that one. There’s nothing to worry about there.
Annyeke: That’s a relief. One distant relative in our lives is already proving more than enough. Not that he knows it yet, but if they survive the journey (and please the gods and stars they will!), then Johan will have to tell him. I hope he will not be too afraid.
Anne: I hope so too. Everything depends on the truth and courage of Simon’s heart. Thank you for taking time out of your day to speak with me, Annyeke. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you again.
AUTHOR Bio and Links: Anne Brooke’s fiction has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award, the Royal Literary Fund Awards and the Asham Award for Women Writers. She has also twice been the winner of the national DSJT Charitable Trust Open Poetry Competition.
She is the author of six published novels, including her fantasy series, The Gathandrian Trilogy, published by Bluewood Publishing and featuring scribe and mind-reader Simon Hartstongue. More information on the trilogy is available at: www.gathandria.com and the first of these novels is The Gifting. In addition, her short stories are regularly published by Riptide Publishing, Amber Allure Press and Untreed Reads.
Anne has a secret passion for theatre and chocolate, preferably at the same time, and is currently working on a fantasy novella, The Taming of the Hawk. More information can be found at www.annebrooke.com and she regularly blogs at: http://annebrooke.blogspot.co.uk. Her Twitter page is here: http://twitter.com/AnneBrooke and her Facebook fan page is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anne-Brooke/97047896458. All visitors welcome!
Anne will be awarding three eBooks from her backlist to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
She’s also offering another contest. One person will win a Kindle ($89 value) if these three questions about The Gifting are answered correctly and emailed to albrooke AT me DOT com (and NOT left on the post), and winners will be notified as soon as possible after the end of the blog tour:
- In the beginning of Chapter Four, what sound is Simon first aware of when he wakes up?
- At the start of the Third Gathandrian Interlude, who knocks Annyeke down in his desperation to reach her?
- What happens to Simon at the end of Chapter Six?
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.