Welcome to my stop on The Onyx Crown tour! Today, I have an excerpt and giveaway for you, as well as a guest post by the author, Alan Hurst!
The Onyx Crown #1 (Publication Date: January 27th, 2019)
The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?
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The Equinox Hunt was the once-every-ten-moon foray into the chakkha, or jungle, made by only the most celebrated hunters of the Nabii tribe of Numeria. It’s primary purpose was to keep the beast population to manageable levels, and stop them from foraging into the grasslands, but had long ago become a reliable way to create fortune for some Nabii tribesmen (simply called ‘the Hunters’), and their families.
Although wealth and riches beyond all imagination could be found beyond the gates of the chief Nabii citadel, Abir City, if the Hunters knew where to look, for most families it was more likely that they would return to the gates destitute, starving, and missing several family members.
K’Nan knew this as well as anyone. He knew he was looking at mostly dead men. Damn men are such fools, he thought. Most of these hunters were already successful enough to provide for their families, own property, perhaps even bribe for themselves a pathetic position on the council. Success was never enough, and, in fact, it spurs on the hunger drive for more success.
This time, he thought, things just may turn out differently for them. Why he had decided to lead the Hunt this year was a puzzle even to himself.
He knew better than to rely on the nonsensical rumors that had been trickling out of the wilderness for the last year and a half. Tales of mythical beasts and fearsome fighters attacking the Numerian migrants seemed just that, more myth than reality, except…
Except he’d also dreamt of them for the last ten years of his life. He could probably count the number of peaceful nights he’d slept in that time quite easily if he stopped to think about it. There damned sure hadn’t been many.
How could he sleep? The unimaginable horror of some of the things he’d seen during those dreams weren’t easy to forget—man-eating beasts, blood thirsty warriors, and infants dying in the wilderness.
It was this last dream, the one about three infant children that spurred him toward the savannah. The innermost reaches of the savannah were referred to as the chakkha—the destination of the Equinox hunters, the Win-Daji.
“Why does it bother you so much?” he said to himself. “It’s just a dream like any other, and those other three are long lost now.”
And yet here he was. All because of a dream.
He shook his head at himself. “When will you finally give up hope?”
The winds started blowing even more briskly now, bringing a mini-sandstorm to the town gates. Instinctively, everyone covered their eyes and faces, through conditioning more than fear.
It was apparent that they were in no danger from sand this far from the wilderness, but hiding from it was a habit both born and bred in them from childbirth. Heat can indeed kill you, but in the wilderness you learn to fear the sand much more than the heat.
Luckily for the Win-Daji, the summer had not begun. In the summer, sandstorms morphed from deadly catastrophic—it was widely known that the one approaching would last for many months and be one of the hottest ever recorded.
The hunter talking with the sentries now was unique enough to catch K’Nan’s interest. This man was tall and pale-skinned (a rarity this far south) with a scar leading from the corner of his left eye to his left ear, a love kiss from a Deluthian rhino most likely, K’Nan’s imoya, or spirit, told him.
He wore his hair in the traditional Nabii tribesman style, shaved on the sides with a strip of hair about two inches high down the middle. On his hip he carried a crescent sword, very worn and very menacing, and two bows slung carelessly across his back.
Tied around his left thigh was a two-cubic-long dagger with a polished bone handle covered with notches. This man has done some killing, thought K’Nan, and without a doubt not confined it to beasts.
Whatever he was arguing with the sentries about must’ve been important. Gradually all of the other Win-Daji and Halanbi moved closer to them to listen in. Some were nodding and raising their weapons. Every now and then there’d be a little shout of encouragement from the group. Meanwhile the guards were shaking their heads all the more emphatically.
K’Nan ended his reverie and motioned his two companions, Semri and Semarion, to follow him down the rocky path toward the gates. The steadfast twin brothers hastily complied.
They had fought and hunted with him the better part of the last five years and were two of the only people he felt he could really rely on, despite the fact that they were not full-blooded Numerians. So, he’d asked them to accompany him, without telling them the true reason.
What are you so worried about? He asked himself. Aren’t you K’nan the Savage Slayer, a legend in all three territories of the savannah, defender of the Numerians, the scourge of all Panthia? How many countless men have died under your two-bladed spear, deservedly all?
How many beasts have you saved these wretched villagers from? You’ve dined with tribal chieftains between both seas, shared their spoils, and bedded their daughters. How could a life as full as yours end so quickly? Have you forgotten what the prophetess told you?
Guest Post – Why I Enjoy Riding by Alan Hurt, Jr.
The popular thing to do these days is to call it a “mid-life crisis.”
For me, it was more a matter of self-reflection. Everyone eventually
gets to the point where they take a critical look at their life; to
see what they’ve done, what they’re currently doing, and what they can
possibly do in the future.
I won’t delve into my own results ad-nauseum, but I’ll just say
that this is how most bucket-lists are likely conceived. I personally
believe that having accomplishments to look forward to are much better
for the soul than having a long list of things already accomplished.
You see it all the time—a person in impeccable health retires early,
and like clockwork, his health deteriorates. Some might attribute
this to their being less active physically, but I suspect otherwise.
My current love of motorcycles is the result of my own mid-life
bucket list, along with getting a pilot’s license and taking a month
long trip to Africa, and it was by far the easiest of the three to
accomplish (the other two are still in progress). After a four-day
class, including about twelve hours of actual instruction on a bike, I
was ready to see if riding was all of the fun and fulfillment that it
seemed to be.
First however, I had to buy my first bike. This was almost a
nerve-wracking as my first ride; I was absolutely clueless but forced
myself to try to look as if I knew what I was doing. It’s a
self-preservation tactic. No one wants to be taken advantage of by
unscrupulous dealers, similar to when people shop for cars. Finally,
I found a nice “beginner-friendly” Honda CTX700 (I’m sure I was
robbed) and was ready to take it for a spin.
This was when I learned that riding on a closed course with
instructors and traffic-cones is a totally different experience than
riding on a major US interstate highway. It’s not even in the same
league. For one, there were no impatient motorists (cagers, we call
them) on the practice range, either sitting on your rear tire with
their bumper or swerving into your lane without so much as a glance.
There was no crosswind blowing twenty MPH as you traverse a long
bridge. And none of the famous potholes which force you to keep one
eye on the pavement and while the other stays on the traffic in front
of you. All of these things kept my knuckles white for most of the
first month as I struggled to get comfortable with this new sensation
of being on the open road.
With all of these concerns, was the decision to ride worth it?
For me, the answer is and will always be a resounding YES. I’ve heard
from people time after time who don’t understand the fascination or
enjoyment some of us get from riding and to be honest, it’s tough to
explain with mere words. The best I can do is to ask them to imagine
something they’ve done in their life that makes them alert and
exhilarated all at the same time. Some may answer an insane roller
coaster at their favorite theme park; others may get that same feeling
from taking a trip to a new and unfamiliar city. This is the ‘kick’
some of us get from riding—it’s like ziplining into a haunted house.
It’s freedom in its purest form. I bought my second (grown up) bike
last year, and as the summer approaches, I can’t wait to see what
adventures the open road has in store for me.
For your chance to win a digital copy of this exciting new fantasy, click the link below!
About the Author
Alan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard. Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker. When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!
Blog Tour Schedule
Reads & Reels (Guest Post) http://www.readsandreels.com
Audio Killed the Bookmark (Excerpt) http://audiokilledthebookmark.wordpress.com
Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks (Excerpt) https://quirkycatsfatstacks.com/
Cup of Books Blog (Review) https://cupofbooksblog.wordpress.com/
Ity Reads Books (Excerpt) http://www.ityreadsbooks.home.blog
Triquetra Reviews (Excerpt) http://www.triquetrareviews.blogspot.com
Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com
Sophril Reads (Excerpt) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com
Just 4 My Books (Excerpt) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com
The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
Breakeven Books (Guest Post) https://breakevenbooks.com
Cup of Toast (Interview) https://cupoftoast.co.uk
I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
B is for Book Review (Guest Post) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com
She Marie Blogs (Excerpt) https://shemarieblogs.com/
J Bronder Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/
Misty’s Book Space (Excerpt) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com
The Speedy Reader (Review) https://speedyreadercom.wordpress.com
Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Excerpt) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com
The Faerie Reviews (Excerpt) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
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