Sci-fi Saturday is back and today's featured author is Raymond Bolton who kindly shares the first one thousand word of his novel Awakening. Through March 31st, Raymond is giving away 10 signed copies of Awakening via Goodreads.
See what Stephan J. Myers thought of Awakening on Book Viral.
How does a world armed with bows, arrows and catapults, where steam power has only begun to replace horses and sailing ships, avert conquest from beyond the stars?
Prince Regilius has been engineered to combat the Dalthin, a predatory alien species that enslaves worlds telepathically, and to do so he must unite his people. But when his mother murders his father, the land descends into chaos and his task may prove impossible. Faced with slaying the one who gave him life in order to protect his world, he seeks a better way. Set in a vast and varied land where telepaths and those with unusual mental abilities tip the course of events, Awakening goes to the heart of family, friendship and betrayal.
About Raymond Bolton:
My goal is to craft gripping stories about the human condition, whether they are set here or another world. I've written poetry, for which I've received some recognition, and four novels. Two are explorations in science fiction: Awakening, an epic, released in January, 2014, and Thought Gazer, an adventure, part of a planned trilogy and prequel to the epic.
In 2013, under its working title, Renunciation, Awakening was one of eight finalists among 950 entries from the
U.S., the U.K.,
Canada, Europe and in
the Pacific Northwest Writers Associations Literary Contest. Australia
Regilius awoke with a gasp. He attempted to sit, but the damp prickling bedding entangled him. Drenched with perspiration, he tore off the covers, propped onto his elbows and peered into the darkness. On a table to his right, dimly silhouetted against a blinded window, stood a light globe. Rocking onto one arm, he stretched toward the sphere and tore off its cover, bathing the space in soft blue light. The room was plain, sterile, and while he could not say where he was, he was certain this was not the palace.
He was trembling as he tried to remember where he might be and how he had arrived. The hand he ran through his hair came away dripping, while his mouth was parched and his tongue, thick and leathery, stuck to the roof of it. He reached for a glass of water, but as he tilted it to his lips, the room began to spin. Confused, he managed to empty it into a vase of morrasa blossoms before the world turned black.
He awoke again, this time his mind awash with images of murderers entering his home, of carnage and things that should not be. Yet, unlike childhood nightmares that become ethereal and fade, these coalesced into semblances of truth, of substance. Struggling to clear his head, he pushed them aside and searched for the tumbler. Miraculously, it lay unbroken on the nightstand. He was looking for a pitcher when his eyes fastened onto the vase. The blossoms, once white and fragrant, were now black, twisted, grotesque.
The door opened and he jumped. Light poured in and a woman wearing a nurse’s cap peered into the room.
The utterance was not spoken. It filled his head and settled among his thoughts.
Still alive, young prince?
She stepped inside and closed the door.
You are truly remarkable. I have never sensed one such as you. You perceive my thoughts. Such a predicament for me and mine.
The nurse—no, the thing, for it felt as wrong as the flowers—approached his bed and the hairs on his arms, neck and scalp stood erect. His instinct was to bolt.
Stay where you are.
He had not moved, yet it had anticipated him. As the creature neared, it started to shimmer. Its shape and color began to change and the abdomen of its now soft, gray, wormlike body rippled. Something like a mouth opened where its belly should have been, then closed, followed by another mouth and another until there were several opening and closing.
An appendage sprouted from its torso and snaked toward him. He had once seen something similar under his tutor’s microscope when a tiny cellular predator reached out to snatch a meal. Eyes wide, unable to move, he was following this manifestation when, faster than he could react, it wrapped around his ankle and began pulling him toward it. As he opened his mouth to scream, light flooded the room.
He tore his eyes from the thing around his leg and turned to see a doctor and two orderlies entering. The physician paused, regarded his patient closely and asked, “Your Highness? What in the world have you been doing?”
Prince Regilius found himself at the foot of the bed, clenching a handful of sheet. The covers, seemingly frozen as they streamed from the pillow, marked how he had been dragged. Yet, except for his odd location, all else appeared normal. His eyes went from the physician to the nurse and saw she appeared quite ordinary, her face betraying nothing.
“I want to get you into something dry and change your bedding,” the doctor was saying, but as he followed the prince’s gaze, he started when he noticed the woman in the corner. “Nurse, why are you here?”
“I was on my way upstairs and saw the light. I thought I would look in,” she replied.
“Well,” said the doctor, releasing his breath, “since you’re here, perhaps you can assist us.”
She and the orderlies set to work, and after several minutes the prince was clean and dry, wearing a new gown on a freshly made bed. The doctor ordered them out, and after a brief examination said to Regilius, “You have improved some, Your Highness. That is encouraging. I will check back again in a few hours. Meanwhile, please try to sleep.” He covered the light globe and left, closing the door behind him.
Were it not for the flowers, Reg might have done as the physician had ordered, but their misshapen forms insisted he was not safe. Instead, he padded barefoot to the closet where he located his clothing. As he shed his gown and with trembling hands struggled to dress, an odd awareness overtook him: a cold certainty the nurse, sensing he was leaving, was returning. Assuring himself he had forgotten nothing, he went to the window, struggled briefly with the latch, and as the blackness of night gave way to the deep green sky of morning, he slipped out and down to the street below.
Glancing over his shoulder, still sensing the presence behind him, he hurried along the cobblestone streets between the granite and marble edifices of the upper city. Eventually, however, his weakened state returned him to a walk. Feverish and thirsty, he spotted a fountain. He approached it and plunged his face into its waters. Stunned by the cold, he tossed back his head and gasped, sending a shower skyward. Then, leaning against the wet stone lip, he brought hand after handful of crisp refreshment to his lips. Satisfied, he wiped his mouth with his sleeve, breathed deeply and pressed on.
There was no question now he would walk. After drinking so heartily, he knew he would cramp if he pushed too hard too soon and the pace gave him time to consider the event that had brought him here.
Just yesterday, he had been engaged in a brisk game of platter with his friends, Danth, Leovar and Ered.
You can purchase Awakening from Amazon:
In paperback at US
Connect with Raymond Bolten:
Twitter at @RaymondBolton
Goodreads Please note that through March 31 Raymond is giving away 10 signed copies of Awakening via Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20257287