Thursday, 28 November 2013

Shades of Smoke (Graham Buckby and Alan Denham) in One Thousand Words

Shades of Smoke by Graham Buckby and Alan Denham is today's featured book on One Thousand Worlds.

Shades of Smoke-

Brief synopsis:
Shades of Smoke tells the story (stories) of a young Illusionist, gifted with the ability to create wonderful pictures – on paper, in embossed leather, in ink drops in water, but mostly in smoke – yes, he is a sort of magician.
However, he has problems.  He lives in a violent and dangerous world, and he is not a swordsman!  And his magic is not exactly useful as a survival aid in such a world . . . or is it?  When he returns home after his training to find his father murdered, how can he set about his revenge?  And having done that, what will he do next, given that he has now used his Art in a proscribed manner, and his life could be forfeit if his College ever find out.  Answer:  He flees across the breadth of the world, seeking employment, righting wrongs, making friends, rescuing his childhood sweetheart from slavery, helping to provide justice where possible and vengeance where appropriate. And will he get the girl?

About the authors-

Graham Buckby and Alan Denham have been friends for many years.  The writing started as a sort of private joke between them – but it grew, and eventually became good enough for publication.  There are now four books published, and several more in draft form, one just waiting for the final polish, other needing more work . . .

Get more details about us and about our world from

The Price Of Life.

Cormell seemed to be a perfectly normal child.  He was born in the perfectly normal town of Bridgeport.  There were worse places to be born.
Bridgeport was a prosperous little market town huddled on the steep east bank of the upper reaches of the mighty River Nuarine.  Other people might have called it the back of beyond, but locals would reply grinning that the back of beyond actually began the other side of the town’s wall.  Bridgeport was where it was because the confluence of the White River - which was neither white nor properly a river - with the Nuarine created a natural harbour; and was called Bridgeport because it had one of each.  Bridges were a rarity on Nuome, and the high stone arch over the deep rocky cleft carved by the White River was a curiosity which attracted visitors who passed the night there when travelling along the Nuarine on the Southport ferry; and it lured them up through the little town’s market place, and that made the local craftsmen smile a lot.
Another minor curiosity, to a student of natural philosophy who is interested in such things, was the big curving spit of sand which looped across the junction of the rivers, creating the harbour, and which the locals called ‘the beach’.  That beach is important to our story because it was Cormell’s favourite childhood haunt.
Like little boys everywhere Cormell liked to play in sand.  He built defences against the washes of boats, dug moats and pools, threw dams across a small stream that ran nearby, and built castles.  But it was his models and pictures that he enjoyed the most.  While he was still a child people could recognise in his sculpting the town’s bridge and the tower of the Riverlord’s castle, and observed how good they were.
If you had asked the teacher at the Artificers’ Guild school whether Cormell was artistic he would have looked blank, and commented that he had a neat hand, though his script tended to be rather florid and over intricate; and wryly added that perhaps he should have been born a Ryaduran.  The teaching of art was no part of his remit, he taught the abstract sciences needed by his pupils for their crafts; reading, writing and sums.
However, Cormell’s father approved of Cormell’s artistic bent, for he was a leather worker, and artistically decorated leather work could fetch very good prices, especially from rich passing travellers, and especially if it was decorated with pictures of the famous bridge, so he encouraged his young son to spend his free time practising his talent on the beach.
When Cormell reached nine years his father gifted him with paper, inks and charcoal.  Cormell was truly delighted with that gift, and was proud to the point of bursting when his father first displayed one of his pictures of the bridge in his workshop.
When those pictures began to sell for real copper coins both Cormell and his father were even prouder, and, by his eleventh birthday Cormell was on a commission to produce a new picture of the bridge every week for the local bookseller and printer.
But Cormell’s father did not intend to let him be lured into another craft, and, on his eleventh birthday presented him with a set of a set of small sharp knives and punches and showed him how to carve a simple picture into thick leather.  Cormell quickly became rather good at it, and some of his leather work soon came to be displayed in the shop - and occasionally sold, for good prices; but, whenever he was able, he still spent time on the beach by the river.
He still enjoyed sitting alone on the beach, crafting castles and boats, and even faces out of the sand, humming happily to himself as he did so.  It struck him that some tunes seemed somehow to blend with his sculpting, though he couldn’t have explained why it was so.
Cormell was aware that he was having an idyllic childhood, and, if his family weren’t exactly rich, they were comfortable, and at least his father wasn’t a tanner!  Or a fisherman!  Or even a candle maker like Ellisa’s father!  At least worked leather smelt good.  So Cormell actively enjoyed being who he was, where he was, and if the hot summer evenings on the beach had gone on for ever it would have been his idea of paradise.  He knew in his heart that he would soon need to spend much more time in the workshop, and that a part of the idyll would thus be lost, but that was the price of life, and he accepted that.  But he was not expecting what actually happened.
It began innocuously enough.  He was twelve, nearing thirteen, when it happened.  His father had sold a leather saddlebag decorated with one of his bridge pictures for a very good price, and, well pleased, had told Cormell to take the rest of the day off.
Cormell had wandered down to the beach and found some wonderfully workable wet sand at the water’s edge, and was humming happily to himself, moulding his father’s smiling face, trying to capture the way he had looked when the saddlebag was sold.
The ferry boat passed close, and the wake surged up from it, threatening to sweep across his picture and erase it.  Something inside Cormell said ‘STOP’ and then ‘MOVE SLOWER’.  The wave flowed over the face, but, instead of blurring the image or washing it completely away, it smoothed the roughness of the edges, and left the picture clean and glistening, like a fine carving, with a layer of water standing on it like varnish.
Cormell froze, studying its perfection.  This was exactly what he had been trying to create!

Where you can buy Shades of Smoke: - Amazon US - Amazon UK

Smashwords - Smashwords

Connect with Alan Denham on Goodreads

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