Monday, 4 November 2013

Hunter - (Goran Zidar) in One Thousand Words

Hunter by Goran Zidar is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds.


Hunter-


Back Cover Blurb

Beware the hydra! Cut off one head, and two will rise to take its place. 
November 1963. 
A time of great possibilities. A time of great change. 
The world is balanced on a knife’s edge. Pulled from the brink of nuclear war, it stands poised to usher in an era of peace between the two great superpowers. 
But peace is the enemy of those who profit from division. From the shadows they plot to keep humanity in conflict. 

Kade has no idea what he’s become involved in. A conspiracy at the highest levels of government. Humans and immortals working together. Prepared to do whatever it takes to bring their terrible future to light.


About Goran Zidar

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed reading, in fact the first series of books I can recall reading as a child was The Three Investigators Series.

My introduction to the world of fantasy didn't come until high school, when a friend of mine suggested I read The Hobbit (clich├ęd I know). From there I moved on to the Lord of The Rings, The Earthsea Trilogy, The Belgariad, The Shannara Books, Magician, everything by David Gemmell and so on.

I was hooked.

I have spent countless hours since then reading a vast collection of novels in a range of subjects but I always find that I enjoy the escapism offered by fantasy - especially epic fantasy - or science fiction.

Most recently the work of Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Peter V Brett, Brent Weeks, and Patrick Rothfuss have captured my attention and fuelled my passion.

The story of Hunter grew from the seed of an idea I first submitted to the Fantasy Faction Writers Corner forum, in the July 2011 Monthly Writing Competition. From there it took on a life of its own to become a kind of Historical Urban Fantasy.

I don’t know how exactly, but as the story progressed I found myself weaving in elements of various JFK assassination conspiracy theories into the tale, linking paranormal elements to the plot to kill the president. Set in New York in November 1963, Hunter is a blend of fantasy and political intrigue, where vampires, witches, and werewolves combine with the FBI, the Secret Service, and the Mob.


One amazing side effect of writing this book is how much I learned about that period in history, and the City of New York itself. I hope one day to visit there and see first-hand the  many landmarks I wrote about in the story.



Hunter

The trees had stood for centuries.

Majestic sentinels beneath an iron grey sky,  maintaining a silent vigil over a primal world. A world untouched by civilization, and free from outside influence.

Until today.

The sun hung low on the horizon, and a bitter wind caused the tops of the trees to sway. Branches brushed against each other with a clack and a swish of pine needles, moving together in a dance as old as time. In the canopy of the alpine forest, a hundred feet above the rocky ground, things were as they’d always been.

But on the forest floor, he ran.

Air gusted from his mouth as he picked his way through the ancient trunks, leaving small clouds of vapor in his wake. The thick tangle of branches tore at his arms and legs, shredding clothing as he ran headlong through the trees. Each lungful of freezing air chilled his body further. If he didn’t find shelter soon, he would perish just as surely as if his pursuers caught him.

He held one arm clasped to his side. Keeping pressure on an injury he couldn’t remember receiving. It was a shallow cut, but in this environment he couldn’t afford to lose much blood, or the precious warmth it gave him.

He didn’t know where he was, or why they chased him. He knew only one thing. A single word scrawled on a torn-off sheet of paper now stuffed into the pocket of his jeans.

Run!

§ § §

The guardian bent down to check the ground for any sign of the fleeing man. Finding none, it lifted its head and sniffed the air, hoping to catch some scent of its quarry on the wind.

All it could smell were the other guardians.

It glanced at the overcast sky. It would be night soon, and that would mark the end of their chase. The darkness was no obstacle to its kind, but the bitter cold could be deadly. At this altitude, even with the sun at its zenith, it was almost too cold for them. This explained why their prey had been able to elude them thus far, and with only an hour or so before sunset there was no time to waste.

With a shrill cry, the guardian signaled the others and resumed its pursuit. It charged through the trees, and one by one, its three fellows replied. Their piercing notes would betray their location, but it also inspired fear in humans.

People made mistakes when driven by fear, and the guardians needed every advantage they could in facing this one.

§ § §

Four blood-curdling howls echoed through the wilderness. He looked over his shoulder and snagged a foot on a root. He stumbled and came to a stop. Heart racing, he braced against a tree to catch his breath.

His pursuers were a few miles away, upwind of his current position. The howls awoke a deep dread in him. Somewhere at the base of his brain, his primitive mind associated those terrible wails with danger, and a wave of panic washed over him.

How could he hope to survive against such perfect killers?

The urge to give up was almost overwhelming. He clenched his fists, knuckles whitening as his nails dug into his palms.

He wasn’t ready to die. Not here. Not like this.

The cries sounded again, but this time they triggered something else. The stirrings of a memory, bringing with it a name … Kade.

Is that my name?

He couldn’t be sure, but it felt right somehow. The gaps in his memory were frustrating, but he didn’t have time to consider them now. He had to keep moving, especially while those things were out there.

Kade cocked his head and listened. The wind whistled through the trees, but below it he picked up the sound of running water somewhere to the south.

A river.

Water might help mask my scent, he thought.

He sprinted down the rocky incline, weaving left and right to avoid obstacles. The trees blurred in his vision as he ran past them.

A fallen tree blocked his path. Its massive trunk, easily six feet thick, disappeared into the undergrowth to the left and right. He leapt over the fallen bole, landed lightly on the other side, and kept moving. All without missing a step.

It was exhilarating.

He’d been running for miles but didn’t feel tired at all. The pain in his side reduced to a dull ache, and the bleeding appeared to have stopped. Kade couldn’t explain where this boundless energy and rapid healing came from, but he was definitely grateful for it.

He needed every advantage to survive.

The roar of rushing water greeted him as he arrived at the edge of a fast-flowing river. It was too wide to cross, so he headed downstream.

Difficult terrain close to the river’s edge slowed him down, and spray from the rapids settled on his clothes, drawing warmth from his body. He shivered. It would be night soon. Kade didn’t relish the idea of trying to find a way across in the dark.

Perhaps heading for the river was a mistake.

A branch snapped in the forest behind him.

Kade peered through the thick veil of pine needles. He couldn’t see anything in the twilight gloom, but he didn’t need his eyes to tell him there was something very big, very fast, and very dangerous out there.

One of them was nearby.

Kade’s fingers balled into fists. His involuntary response surprised him, he had no desire to fight. He took several deep breaths, consciously forcing his hands open. The note told him to run. He should heed its warning.

Escape was his only chance.

§ § §

The guardian watched from the shadows.


The scent of him – of blood mixed with sweat – threatened to overwhelm its senses. It dare not alert its brothers, lest the man discover just how close his death truly was.



Where you can buy Hunter:



Connect with Goran Zidar:

Twitter: @GZidar

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