Today our Friday Reads is In Dark Service by Stephen Hunt . . . a fantastic new adventure in an extraordinary new world. But even better, this Friday we have a few words from the author himself. Enjoy!
And if you’re intrigued, you can pre-order the ebook for a mere £1.99!
There was much gnashing of teeth among my readers when they discovered I was planning to write something totally different to what had gone before . . . a brand new fantasy sequence set in a mind-blowingly oversized world called Pellas. Now, craving the familiar from your favourite authors is hardly a new phenomenon. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stepped away from his deerstalker-hatted creation, he was flooded with letter bags full of mail demanding Sherlock’s return. JK Rowling had to impersonate a crime-writing ex-Military Policeman to fully abandon Harry Potter. But the day comes when an author needs to view the vista of new worlds with a fresh POV (if only for the writer’s own sanity).
In my new series, I wanted a fantasy world that blended both low and high tech, civilizations ranging from a Roman level of development up to the 1930s, a grand setting for the high adventures I have planned. Thus was born Pellas, a world where people have lived for so long that its mineral resources have long since been depleted – all apart from a handful of regions where stratovolcanoes still vomit up metals from the dark depths of the world.
These hellish areas provide resources which allow a handful of advanced societies to exist and prosper, minerals fanning out down the caravan routes and becoming rarer and more expensive with every decade transported by traders, each new nation visited increasingly primitive and outmoded.
It is in one of these stable but ossified nations, far from the ores that nurture high civilizations, where In Dark Service is set. A distant rural corner of the Kingdom of Weyland, with two very different families – the Landors and Carnehans – about to be drawn together by tragedy. Their town, Northhaven, is struck by brutish slave raiders, aerial nomads who inhabit city-sized aircraft, flying away the region’s young chained inside their crowded holds.
The town’s pastor, Jacob Carnehan, asks to lead a rescue expedition to bring back his missing son Carter and save the rest of his flock’s children. But Pellas is a world massive enough that traders can travel across for millennia without their descendants retracing their footsteps, and the slave raiders might have sold their human cargo anywhere . . . Jacob’s son and his friends becoming Far-called in the parlance of his people.
While a rag-tag bunch of Northhaven’s citizens struggle to follow their lost children’s trail, the town’s young survivors find themselves labouring as slaves in a distant empire more strange, powerful and terrible than anything they could have previously imagined.
Both Weyland’s stolen slaves and the parents journeying to liberate their children must survive dangerous, mysterious lands if they are ever to be re-united; and Pellas is a world where if you think you know who your friends and your enemies are, you’re heading for a fall.
I hope you enjoy reading the first of the Far-Called sequence of novels and have as much fun getting to know the characters as I had penning their exploits. This journey is only just getting started . . .