I was disappointed that the new movie is not successful, although having watched the trailer, I can also see that it wasn’t my kind of thing, which is weird, as I write Arthur stories. What put me off is the movie seemed somehow camp and disrespectful to a wonderful legend. I suppose one also has to wonder if the market is now over-saturated with endless retellings of the same story? Everyone knows what happened and who did what to whom in advance, so the only different things are how it is presented. This is what got me motivated to write about King Arthur in the first place as it was not another retelling of the same story I was interested in exploring but rather the concept of what happened next? The king is supposed to return to save his people in their time of greatest need, so I fast-forwarded.
Shadow Over Avalon opens in the far distant future and is most definitely not a retelling of the original legend. Instead, it is a chance to see what happens when the fighting spirit of the king is returned to face an enemy out of nightmares. Aliens? Nope, nothing so trite. This is something humanity has done to itself and paid an unimaginable price as a consequence. Interested? Here is a link to the first chapter of the first book.
First book? Well yes, it is a series and the fourth book, Staff of Shadows is in the final preparation stage prior to publication. The series is available via the Amazons, Kobo, Nook, iTunes and various other platforms. Of course, if you want to buy a signed paperback, then find me on Facebook right here and leave a message. The first book, Shadow Over Avalon, is currently 99c in ebook form. Probably less than a cup of coffee.
This will be going live in a few days on all platforms for the princely sum of 99c. It is a longish short story about what happens when a colony fails and rogue invaders turn up to pillage and murder the survivors, only something unexpected happens.
Due to busting my ribs at the weekend and ending up in ER on Monday, I wasn’t much in the frame of mind to continue. The pain is more or less under control now and my muse has returned. Woo Hoo.
Azrael had imagined she’d be presented with the sentence of the person to be culled, detailing why they must die, but when she faced the banker assigned to her, a bald, fat, sweating man sitting behind a priceless off-world wooden desk, she learned otherwise.
Armed with a mental image of a middle-aged man, details of his usual security and precisely where he would be when she made the hit, Azrael wanted to vomit. She was no better than the gun she now collected on her way to the rooftop transport; one weapon carrying another. The Banker had also given her instructions as to where she must position her lethal shots on the body of her victim. One for the head and one for the heart so there was no possibility of saving the man. Of course, had she been equipped with a higher velocity projectile weapon, this would be a consideration as the man’s head would have exploded on impact. The choice to use what she must was necessitated by the proximity of other people to the man. Although the banker didn’t enlighten her, Azrael wondered if the extra care came because the person who ordered the hit would be standing close by to give a façade of innocence? She couldn’t think why else she needed to make shots into a crowd, for the second shot was going to confirm the identity of the victim as no accident.
Once on the roof she checked over the grav lifter left out for her, going over all the fuel lines and the ignition system. Aside from getting her in position on top of a highrise roof to make the kill, she depended on it to get her away clean afterward. A random thought crossed her mind, leaving her to wonder what happened when the banker’s angels got caught in the act?
A weapon needed honing, for that is what Azrael was now. The tanks merely grew a clone to the state of an adult person, one who had never developed consciousness for they had never been awakened until the essence of the original individual was infused. While electrical impulses forced the muscles to move, it wasn’t enough to build strength, particularly with the titanium shields on parts of her bones increasing her weight. She spent hours at the angel’s personal gym, dealing with replenishing the deficit. Not what she wanted to do, but as the others said, there wasn’t a choice. She found this out when she didn’t move fast enough. A wrenching pain pulsed through her head, bringing her to her knees. This wasn’t something a person ever wanted repeating, so she worked harder after that.
Weapons training also figured, both on how to aim properly and how to break down and care for weapons. They ranged from tiny lazars fitting in the palm of a hand to bulkier projectile weapons for a long-range kill. Azrael found her accuracy increased along with her strength, something she didn’t like, but had no choice to alter. Hand to hand combat began once she had mastered the perfect projectile shot over a distance and could run five leagues on a treadmill. She found herself facing guards armed with dull stone knives, like the one she wielded for practice. Strange she wasn’t matched with other angels, but they were never present when she worked out. What was it about her that the bankers wanted to keep separate from the others? Maybe the killing skills? Perhaps they didn’t trust their angels and so limited their abilities?
As hard as she tried to slow the process down, there came a day when she was judged ready for her first assignment. Clothed in camouflage gear, complete with an emergency medical kit and a communicator, but no weapons as yet, she was marched to meet a banker for the first time. He’d give her details of the kill.
At least the guards were looking through her instead of at her. Perhaps she was now a thing of aberration? Number 666 hoped this was so as her nakedness shamed her as much now as when she’d worn an older body. The stepped aside from a now opened door, gesturing her to go inside, which she did. The door snapped shut behind her, with the click of a locking mechanism very audible.
This place was dimly lit and bare but a lot bigger than her previous cell. It also housed five other naked people, three men and two women, with numbers engraved on the skin of their shoulders. They sat on the floor with their backs against a wall and their heads down. All lost souls like her. The room contained a reclamation station at one end as well as a sand shower. She guessed they angels, being possessions, represented a large investment, but what did it mean? Was she to sit in isolated silence until she had an assignment. That thought terrified her as it meant she had to kill someone, but what if she turned the weapon on herself? They had to give her some form of weapon, didn’t they? She had a way out of this horror.
No, you don’t. Self-destruction is not permitted.
The voice echoed inside her head. No one had spoken and yet she heard the voice clearly. Was this how the Bankers controlled her?
Sit down against the wall, lower your head and keep quiet, like the others here.
Number 666 did so. Whatever happened, or did not, was in the hands of a cruel fate. Strange the voice didn’t seem to belong to one, but to many.
Do not move or look at the others. Stay very still with your head down. Good. We are your companions, not the Bankers. They must never know how we communicate with each other.
Woo Hoo! Does happy dance. Oh and yes, there will be a post with another new story snippet later. I need to write it. LOL.
5.0 out of 5 starsChalice of Shadows
ByQwertyon February 26, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Chalice of Shadows is book three in C.N. Lesley’s Arthurian-Science Fantasy series. The book can be read as a stand-alone, but for maximum enjoyment I suggest that you read all three. In Chalice of Shadows the writing and storytelling are excellent, and the author draws you easily into her world. And what a rich and varied world it is. Based on the traditional tales of Morgan and Mordred, two of the most fascinating characters in Arthurian legend, the author adds her own, unique spin to create a wonderful, original story.
Chalice of Shadows should appeal to lovers of Arthurian literature and lovers of fantasy in general. Within the book the author displays a vivid imagination and a sympathetic understanding of human relationships. These qualities lift this series well above others in the genre.
I urge you to read Chalice of Shadows for I’m sure that C.N. Lesley’s ‘Shadows’ series will soon be regarded as a landmark series in Arthurian literature.