'You ride into peril, Corin an Fol!'
Those are the words of the witch at the ford. Corin an Fol, mercenary, brawler, womaniser and drinker, ignores them and thus finds himself caught in a tangled web of sorcery, intrigue and dark prophesy.
When the High King is murdered and his broken crown goes missing, Queen Ariane suspects the wily hand of Caswallon the sorcerer. She forms a secret council and rides out to find the Oracle of her Goddess, to see if her worries are proved right. But Caswallon is onto her and the noose tightens fast around the young queen.
Corin an Fol returns to his village seeking solace in drink. Instead he finds an old contact waiting for him who persuades him to join Queen Ariane in her fight against Caswallon. And so, like the queen, Corin an Fol is snared by the sorcerer. Our boy has a big sword and bad attitude, but is that enough to survive the hordes Caswallon sends against them?
Corin al Fol is a mercenary, a longswordsman with a varied past. He would like nothing more than to settle down once more in his home land, but fate intervenes and gives him a quest that will change his fate. The High King has been murdered and his ancient crown forged with magical powers, the Tekara, has been shattered and Prince Tarin, the heir, captured. Now, Corin has been hired to help Queen Ariane find the Prince and the Crown. However, it is not just humans that the group is up against. Caswallon, the King's adviser has been mastering sorcery and has enlisted the help of dark beings in order to gain power.
A fast-paced, high fantasy with magical creatures, unlikely heroes, epic battles and plenty of adventure. I wish I knew that this was the second book in a series! Oh, well. When I began reading I didn't feel like I was missing any big chunks of information. Anyway, the characters grabbed me right from the start. Corin's personality is gruff yet fair, tough yet heartfelt and intelligent but wary. I also loved Ariane, a young Queen, tough and determined. Their quest took me through well-formed worlds. I especially loved the Forest of Dreams. The creative creatures and mythical people are another great aspect of the story. I enjoyed seeing what weird thing would turn up next. Overall, an exciting fantasy with many other aspects to enjoy.
I was born near Doncaster England in the early sixties but later moved south to Sussex, where I lived for many years. One of my (several schools) was at Battle, a small town named after that historic conflict in 1066. You know the one, it culminated with poor Harold getting that arrow in his eye and those rude Normans invading our green and pleasant land. Growing up so close to that scene of ancient carnage awarded me a fascination for all things Dark Age. I'd fallen victim to a weird and random imagination, resulting in a love of epic stories and epic story telling. This affliction prompted me to delve deep into the worlds of Tolkien, Peake, Eddison and Moorcock. Also about this time I commenced drawing imaginary maps and inventing stories about wonderfully nasty folk, doing wonderfully nasty things, whilst pent up in gloomy unpleasant places.
Then at 18 years daft, I found myself thrust deep into the Queen's Household Cavalry. How I arrived there I cannot quite recall. The result was a sharp dose of reality. But not a cure – the affliction ran deep. I left the regiment, and for a time wandered hazy through life hitting nails with hammers, sailing brigantines through southern waters, drinking venomous concoctions with venomous companions, and yes, reading lots more ghastly fantasy books. At 27 years I became to a degree sensible. I married my beloved Rae, a watercolour artist and passionate Celt, and got a sensible career hauling trucks around the British countryside. The trouble with hauling trucks around the British countryside is that it lets the mind ramble willy nilly, when not being tortured by local radio. The result of that rambling was more stories flittering around inside this errant trucker's dizzy head.
Then, during one dark winter night back in 1993, whilst parked forlorn outside a dreary inn, something profound happened. I stumbled into Corin an Fol: a moody, rather difficult individual, mooching about in a deep tangled wood (my imagination). That wood grew into a world (not as hard as it sounds when you write fantasy stuff). The world became Ansu, home to all manner of mismatched mortals and grumpy gods. Late 2001 a plot appeared through the murky trees. It found Corin lost and wandering and introduced him to some other unruly types, resulting in The Shattered Crown. This epic debut was scrawled out with biro ink on paper and still lurks somewhere close. I'm too scared to read it. But The Shattered Crown couldn't contain its characters. These were (and still are) a very rough lot. They demanded a sequel. Instead (just to show who the boss was,) I focussed on a prequel, Fall of Gol being the result. But still the characters would not leave me alone. And so started The Legends of Ansu a forthcoming series of otherworldly tales, mostly involving Corin and his friends.
In late 2012 Rae lost her battle with cancer. I had always promised her a Cornish ghost story based on one of her evocative paintings. And so was born a novella called The Haven. A spooky yarn blending mystery and suspense with past and present. I hope that she likes it. We both loved Cornwall where we lived for many years. During our time there I met with Roger Garland the Tolkien Illustrator, who kindly consented to creating some fabulous images and illustrations for my work. And also designing this superb website! During 2013 I left the world of big wheels behind and focussed instead on writing full time. I moved to Georgia, married my gorgeous former shipmate Joanne, who I've known for 30 years. Since then I have rewritten Fall of Gol shortening it's title to Gol and finally (with substantial assistance from my erudite and excellent editor, Catherine Romano) re-shaped The Shattered Crown into a rivetingly nasty read. Now after twenty-one years in the woods, I am more than ready to unleash these first two offerings in the Ansu series along with The Haven. The third legend: The Lost Prince will be available later (less)