If they found and destroyed the Scroll they would bring down all civilisation. Would the sacrifice of one man’s life save humanity?
Five years after the Great Fire of Lundun, ex-dragoon Laqua is lured into helping the Keepers of the Light, a secret band that fight the equally clandestine Cult of the Death of Hope. The Cult would bring down the empire of the Moors and, indeed, all civilisation. An empire that has conquered most of Europe, where now the language is Arabic and the flag of the falcate moon flies; where alcohol is banned and hashish is legal; where prison is unknown and punishment is by whip, knife or hook. A world in which steam engines chug, the Industrial Revolution is well advanced, and the Norse have settled the New World. In Lundun, the capital of the Tin Isles, the largest mosque towers over St Paul’s Cathedral and Samuel Peppin has given up his diaries and writes bawdy poetry instead.
The key to defeating the Cult is an ancient secret Scroll, the final chapter of the Sacred Script, its authenticity assured by the same Seal. While the Cult would destroy it, the Keepers intend to publish it for all to read, but they do not yet have the means to achieve that goal and so Laqua is charged with helping to keep the Scroll safe until they do. He falls in with a dour, castrated functionary from the Court of the Amir in Qurtuba, and a perfidious, possibly drug-addled, theologian. And what part might a libidinous Norsewoman play? Ahead of him lie spying, fighting, loving, torture and tragedy... and the discovery of a dreadful truth.
As Ants to the Gods is an alternate history adventure that challenges some of the orthodoxies and assumptions of Western culture. For adults only, certainly not for the faint-hearted or easily shocked, it is a ribald and irreverent exploration of a world that could have been.
Historical and fictional characters come together and change the future of Africa forever. Renowned actress Lady Ellen Terry, detective Sherlock Holmes, financier Cecil Rhodes, hunter/naturalist Frederick Courtney Selous, King Lobengula, and a mysterious, undead adventuress named Paulette Monot become chess pieces in the Great Game, which takes the form of Africa's First Matabele War.
Risingshadow has the honour of hosting a guest post by Tim Major. This guest post is part of The Snakeskins Blog Tour.
About Tim Major:
Tim Major has authored You Don’t Belong Here, Blighters and Carus & Mitch, the YA novel Machineries of Mercy, the short story collection And the House Lights Dim, and a non-fiction book about the silent crime film, Les Vampires. His shorts have appeared in Interzone, Not One of Us and numerous anthologies including Best of British SF 2017. He is co-editor of the British Fantasy Society’s journal, BFS Horizons.
Caitlin Hext’s first shedding ceremony is imminent, but she’s far from prepared to produce a Snakeskin clone. When her Skin fails to turn to dust as expected, she must decide whether she wishes the newcomer alive or dead.
Worse still, it transpires that the Hext family may be of central importance to the survival of Charmers, a group of people with the inexplicable power to produce duplicates every seven years and, in the process, rejuvenate. In parallel with reporter Gerry Chafik and government aide Russell Handler, Caitlin must prevent the Great British Prosperity Party from establishing a corrupt new world order.
Snakeskins is an SF thriller examining the repercussions of rejuvenation and cloning on individuals’ sense of identity and on wider society, with the tone of classic John Wyndham stories and the multi-strand storytelling style of modern TV series such as Channel 4’s Humans.
V.E. Schwab The Near Witch was published by Titan Books in March 2019. This edition contains an additional short story The Ash-Born Boy and a never-before-seen introduction from the author.
Information about V.E. Schwab:
V.E. Schwab is the No.1 New York Times bestselling author of multiple novels, including This Savage Song and the Darker Shade of Magic series, whose first book was described as “a classic work of fantasy” by Deborah Harkness. It was one of Waterstones’ Best Fantasy Books of 2015 and one of The Guardian’s Best Science Fiction novels. The Independent has called her “The natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones.”
Information about The Near Witch:
All-new deluxe edition containing in-universe short story “The Ash-Born Boy” and a never-before-seen introduction from V.E. Schwab.
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
There are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.
Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Kaytalin Platt.
About the author:
Kaytalin Platt is a writer, illustrator, graphic designer, and former publication designer and content editor. She grew up on a farm in southern Alabama - a place that inspired many of her future writings. Platt currently lives in Philadelphia. The Living God is her first novel.
Legend has it, The Living God will bring about the destruction of the world in order to rebuild it into a paradise. Some worship and welcome His coming, others fear Him and would do anything to stop it.
Kaytalin Platt's The Living God follows the internal struggle of two mages, Saran and Keleir, as they confront their fears and attempt to find meaning in the hand that life has dealt them. Saran seeks to overthrow her crazed father and salvage what is left of her country before it falls into complete ruin. Keleir is cursed with a Rauke's soul, an ancient creature who is only able to survive by merging with an unborn child upon entering our world. Saran and Keleir are touched by fate, gifted with the ability to sense each other, and destined for a future that neither care to know. When Saran's magic is stolen, she must confront a life without the ability to manipulate time, struggle to see the rebellion finished, and keep Keleir from becoming The Living God.
Risingshadow has the honour of featuring an excerpt from Alchemy's Air by Stacey L. Tucker.
About the author:
Stacey L. Tucker uses the action/adventure genre to bridge science and spirituality in her Equal Night series. Tucker's first book in the trilogy, Ocean's Fire, took gold at the Living Now Book Awards and she's looking to make magic again with Book 2, Alchemy's Air. She has written for Women's World, Working Mother, and PopSugar, and speaks to teen groups about self-empowerment and awareness in today's social media-saturated climate.
Skylar Southmartin is not the naïve girl she was a short year ago. She’s made some mistakes and learned a few secrets to life, all the while clinging to the faith her mother instilled in her as a child... in herself. And now that she has discovered her life’s purpose within the pages of the ancient Book of Sophia, she knows what she must do: restore a vital memory to the Akashic Library, located deep within the Underworld of Earth. This library is sought after by many who are aware of its existence, for they know the future of human potential rests at its core.
Meanwhile, Devlin Grayer has been elected as the 46th President of the United States and his wife, Milicent, is miserable in her new role as First Lady - especially because the Great Mothers have asked Milicent to use her new status to help their cause, and she has no interest in tackling that task.
With the help of friends in the unlikeliest of places, Skylar’s journey reveals the significance of the darkness within all of us, and its potential to save or destroy the most precious part of us all: our soul.