Jack Thorn: A story of the Future: Chapter 1, Part 2

“That’s your cue Thorn, go!” Jefferson ordered.

Jack began to sprint towards the smoke and into the unknown.

Run dammit

His boots trudged across the soft spongy terrain, closer and closer toward the unknown of a clearing mist. Should the extraction gas have cleared that quickly? There were a thousand tension filled questions going around his head as he moved higher and higher up the hill. He briefly halted to adjust the clunky pack full of explosives and make good of the grip he had of the auto rifle. How many rounds had he left? Were there enough to take any straggling robots down?

Think later.

“Ok Thorn, the gas should have disabled most of the robot rebels in the area,” Jefferson said in his ear.

“You fill me with confidence Jefferson.”

“When you reach the target, you will see plenty of rocks surrounding. A perfect place for any stragglers to hide.”

“I take it you’re not in sales Jefferson, but I see it. Five big ass trucks with even bigger ass guns pointed our way. No wonder our dropship got taken out by these bastards,” Jack said. He began the downhill decent.

A sweat began to emerge from under his battle helmet the moment he looked out to the grey sleeping guns. The truck’s mammoth wheels were stationary in the mud along with masses of blue uniforms laid out, completely still.

“I’ve got company,” he said. Jack’s eyes tensely scanned right and left. Nothing but rocks around.

“Any movement with that company?”

“Not yet. I’m heading to the first target.”

He moved with an anxious silence towards the first larger than life vehicle. After placing the rucksack down he pulled out an explosive charge. With a gentle twist the red light glowed to life.

“First charge armed. Do I place this thing anywhere near the gun or what?”

“Close enough to take it down Thorn.”

“Okay Captain vague.”

Jack looked up at the large cannon and tossed the charge. It spun in the air before disappearing into the mouth of the wide barrel. Metal clanged all the way down inside echoing louder in the tense silence. The robots were still laid out, so he hadn’t disturbed anything, yet.

“Moving to second target.”

He grasped the rucksack and faced the next placement.

The gun was aimed vertically so getting the charge inside would be a near impossible task. A nearby ammunition crate would have to do. Jack twisted the charge and glanced up to see the barrel of a handgun. Connected to it was a female robot, sat against another crate, her glassy artificial eyes were open, and they blinked.

After a flash, somehow Jack swerved out the way and behind cover.

“What’s happening Thorn? We heard gunfire,” Jefferson asked in his ear.

“Company,” Jack said.

Dragging footsteps came his way.

He dropped the rucksack and aimed his auto rifle forward.

“Behind you,” a voice whispered.

Before Thorn could react, he was smacked over the back of the head. He stumbled out into the open. There were two robots now and they both moved closer. The situation looked to dissolve when the woman robot began to move her handgun up towards Jack’s head. Another much taller robot closed in with two arms spread wide.

Again time slowed and Jack dropped to the floor. The handgun aimed his way fired multiple times. In between those lightning quick shots, Jack lunged up and drove his rifle into the tall enemy, he then grabbed and pulled. Using the robot to shield the line of fire he charged.

The shooter screwed her face in disgust and Jack threw the lifeless shield of a robot down, he skilfully turned with the auto rifle aimed up. His index finger squeezed trigger and the auto rifle he held blew out the woman robot’s head. Black sprayed across the artillery vehicle and she fell to the soggy ground.

“What’s happening Thorn?”

“Nothing, just placing the second charge,” Thorn said. He dropped the explosive charge next to the woman.

“Time is of the essence now Thorn. More robots will begin to stir,” Jefferson said.

“Well you guys could have just called in an airstrike instead of having me play the hero,” Thorn protested.

“You know it doesn’t work that way Thorn. Airstrike’s don’t guarantee,” the stern voice of Garcia said.

Jack reached the third target. He stepped up to the driver’s cab door and opened it. He sat the charge comfortably in the lap of the lifeless driver.

“Third one down. Two to go.”

He stepped out in between the trucks and scanned the area to his left. A drop of sweat fell from his eyebrow and something seemed to move in the background. Above a line of sandbags stood another robot with a scoped rifle aimed forward.

“Shit.”

“Yeah that…”

A loud cracking echoed between the two vehicles. Jack dropped and flinched in expectation of the worse.

In his ear came the voice of Steve Franco, “as I said I can’t always follow you into all types of shit, but I can get you out of the shit. Got your back man.”

“Glad someone has.” Jack said realising his best friend had taken out the threat and so he placed the next charge.

He moved to the final placement just when the sea of robot bodies on the ground began to stir. Quite soon they would come to life.

“Ah hell no,” Jack said. He pulled out the final charge and armed it. The empty bag dropped, and he threw the charge towards his target landing short of the vehicle’s bumper.

“I’m calling it. That’s the final charge and I’m out,” Jack shouted. He span to run just when a grip took hold of his leg. Down he went with a half groggy robot pulling and climbing all over him. He tried to pull the auto rifle up and aim but it got tangled.

“Thorn, you need to move…”

“I’m trying…” He rolled over still with the robot clung to both legs. The grip squeezed tighter and tighter. Again, he tried to aim the rifle which wouldn’t budge from under his own leg armour.

“Human, scum…”

In one final yank Jack pulled the gun free and used one arm to aim straight into the face of his tormentor. He looked away at the last moment and pulled the trigger. Black liquid exploded all around and the robot’s death grip loosened.

He glanced up towards the hill and untangled himself while getting to both feet. Now he was running. Franco and Connolly came into view. They both took aim to his alarm. The top of the hill seemed further and further away but on bwards he trudged. His fellow soldiers both fired until a barrage of enemy bullets replied. Thorn’s legs burned not only from the up and down of hills but because of the tension.

Connolly and then Franco cowered away when Jack near enough reached the top. A booming rush of heat knocked him forward and off his feet. He glided over the top of the hill to see thick smoke rising nearby.

Was that it?

He rolled and in turn stumbled up to see a wide array of robots very much awake and charging his way. The artillery still stood as Thorn realised one of the robots held a smoking rocket launcher type weapon. Another of those and he would be gone.

“Detonate the damn charges now!” He shouted over the ringing in both ears.

Just when he flopped back to the mud a thundering and burning vibration blew outwards. The huge shock wave launched him back and the hill collapsed into a crater. Jack became enveloped in the deathly impact but he kept rolling along soft spongy mud away from harm, somehow. For a brief time smoke and dust took away all light.

After the initial thickness of dust passed, Thorn gently raised his head out of the mud and glanced back to see a huge cloud steadily settling. Judging by the size and force of it, nothing would survive such a blast not even the gun placements. He dropped his head down again.

Further back his adopted regiment audience looked up in awe. The thick smoky cloud filled their view. Jack could only look at the brown ground and try to gather himself.

“Not bad soldier!” Connolly shouted. He closed in with Franco as Thorn’s hearing returned.

“Go me,” he said half-heartedly and got up to his knees.

Franco gripped his arm and helped him to and that was when a gust of powerful wind hit them. The whoosh of jet engines accompanied bright lights which appeared from the clouds. Numerous aircraft were landing nearby.

“That says S.E.S on the side of that dropship, what’s going on man? I thought this was an Army of Earth war?” Franco asked loudly. Wind blew at them from the nearby arrivals.

“Guess they called in the big guns,” Jack said.

They all watched the first dropship open.

“Looks like S.E.S mercs’, these guys don’t mess around,” Connolly growled over the engines.

“Do we salute or what?” Jack asked. He watched the first figure stepping onto the ground.

The mercenary quick marched towards them. Dressed in pristine airtight bio-suit armour, the darkened visor helmet of this ‘merc’ stared at them. His stern voice came from the suits audio output.

“I understand you three were involved in that situation over the hill?” He asked and then waved over another mercenary.

“It was mainly him, sir,” Franco said.

Jack stepped up and readied to argue with somebody way more senior than him. He could see the decoration of honours and six stars that stretched across this ‘merc’s’ chest.

“Good work son.” He extended a gloved hand. For a moment Jack stared at it and then gripped it with a shake.

“The Secret Earth Services acknowledges the contribution you have made towards the war effort here on planet X43. Lieutenant? See that these three soldiers are presented with a gold star of honour for their efforts. Soldiers, may the war bring you glory and fortune.”

The senior figure brought a fist to his own chest before moving forward. In his place stood the lieutenant with stars ready to pin.

Jack lifted his chest shroud and the other two followed.

“The Secret Earth Services honours your contribution,” the lieutenant repeated to each of them and then saluted.

“What happens now?” Connolly asked. They watched as their award giver headed away. More and more of them began to emerge from dropships.

“Looks like they are finally taking this war seriously,” Major Garcia said and approached the three.

“And looks like you made an impression Thorn. That’s a name I used to know very well. Perhaps I’ll tell you a story about that someday. Consider yourselves officially recruited by the Army of Earth’s second gunnery division.” The Major said with a firm nod and a salute to her three new recruits.

*                      *                      *

In the expansive basement turned command centre for the robot rebellion stood their leader simply known as the First. Where that namesake originated is a legend itself shrouded by mystery. Some whispered that his name spawned from a time all the way back to the very first robot produced. Others debated he had just been the first to rise and lead his kind to revolt. Some even say his story is much simpler. That being one of a robot aligned with helping humanity and then that same humanity burning him into choosing rebellion. Years had passed since the last robot left a production line, so the story could be whatever he told. The First leant into those legends and used the mystery of it to rule with fear.

This brought him all the way to his army’s current stronghold of the commandeered science installation. The then sole occupying building of planet X43, until he led an uprising right to its front doors. The people living here didn’t stand a chance against the battle-ready hardened fighters.

Many of his comrades had to be rebooted or even modified due to the circumstances in which forced them to rebel. They carried a rag tag tribal look, even if the plain dark uniform gave an impression of order; faces and eyes that have seen a war torn past never lie. That included their leader. The First dressed in all black with an admiral style leather jacket buttoned up to the neck. His oriental facial features were accompanied by several inconsistent patches of different shaded skin colour. A tactically arranged fringe covered more blemishes of perhaps a face repaired multiple times or just the scars of warfare.

The First would stand with a partial stoop and sometimes limped ever so slightly. His oddly coloured eyes looked up to a large central holographic display in the half torn-up open plan storage area. The image crackled and pixelated. Surrounding him were scores of workstations staffed by robot commanders. This was the First’s battle control nerve centre.

“The Secretary wishes to speak with you First,” a nearby commander said from behind a terminal.

“Very well, patch him through or make the call or whatever. In the meantime, I would like you to summon Robot-K,” the First ordered. His accent, eloquent British.

“Robot-K?” The commander woman asked. She froze momentarily and then hesitantly stood.

“Yes, very well First.” She turned and headed away.

The high level holographic display crackled and pixelated into the image of an older looking robot. Coming into view, his uniform matched others like the First’s comrades apart from the various stripes and badges to show seniority.

“Secretary, how are the depths of space treating you?” The First asked.

This Secretary and his stare remained stern.

“Production is going well First,” he said in a thick eastern European accent.

“Do you require me to send more units to the front line?” he asked.

“No, that’s quite alright secretary. The war is going rather well considering our original intentions.”

“Yes First. Although we intercepted a report from the Army of Earth stating they had made considerable progress. This also included details of artillery vehicles which are reported to have been destroyed. Our vehicles. Are you aware of such losses?” The Secretary asked.

“Losses? If my commanders are well informed, then I should be.” The First spun and looked to the various work stations.

“Would anybody enlighten me on such things?” He asked out loud but received not even a stare.

“Come on ‘comrades’, do you know how this makes me look?”

“It happened this morning First. Shall we go ahead with the next phase?” The Secretary asked as the First approached a nearby work station.

“Yes. Send me the Shiftmasters Secretary. You might as well prepare the airborne attack also,” the First said. His attention now elsewhere.

“I understand we were keeping our airborne reserved for the invasion.”

“Well I changed my mind. End transmission,” the First added with a careless wave.

The holographic display turned blank and he faced the make shift command centre.

“There are numerous ways we can do this. Some are easy and others are of the difficult persuasion. Will any of you humour me with some information?” He asked loudly. Only a few robots looked up.

“Do I not strike fear into your eyes like I used to?” He grabbed the nearest robot and pulled him up.

Everyone in the room looked up to their leader but they seemed to stare through him.

From behind, the First could hear a muffled breathing. Something else stood present, something which everything looked to with a level above fear. This included the nearby robot who with wide eyes staring past the First’s head.

“He’s behind me, isn’t he?” The First asked.

The robot nodded. He was released and nervously sat down.

“Robot-K. Glad you could join me.” The First turned to see the tall presence facing him.

Draped in all black apart from the darkened red hood stood Robot-K. The hood angled down towards his leader.

“Why is it they fear you more than me?” The First asked.

“The unknown can be a powerful entity,” the muffled growly voice of Robot-K said.

“Fear fuels the unknown,” he added and they both began to walk away from the scene…

End of Part 2 

Tune in Next week for another edition of Jack Thorn. Same Jack time, same Jack place… Remember if you enjoyed reading, tell a friend, leave a comment and share it around on social media… 

Copyright 2004 – 2019 ‘Jack Thorn’ and ‘The Thorn Legacy’ Written By Lee Hall 2019 All rights reserved.  

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Weekly Ramble #28

Success as a writer will always be in the eye of the beholder. The real aspiration is simple for me and plenty of other wordsmith folks out there. To get better. Everything else is just a reaction to the effort we put in as writers, a bloggers or content creators. 

Of course most of you know how much I appreciate the support. A follow, a like, a share or even a comment can propel amyone towards having a better day.

The arts will always be subjective. So will percieved success. Whether or not we reach such a thing doesn’t actually matter. To create something that takes just one person away from the mundane of life is to really succeed. I do this because I enjoy it and it makes me happy. To find something like that is rare. If you enjoy something make it your passion, want to get better at it by simply doing it. Put in the hours. Toil over the words, the characters, their conflict, the setting, everything. Listen to those closest to you and even those who are distant, especially when they give constructive advice, yeah we know they haven’t lived the lives we have through words, but their perspective counts, they live in this world too.

In every project I take on, I simply look to deliver it in a different way to the last as well as proving to those who follow me that I am getting better. Although I realistically do it for me, they are the ones who will be reading my work.

Progress may be slow, but then again when was the last time you turned around and realised not just a handful of loyal people were following you, but 200 plus. It took me 6 years, four books and 2 plays to convince enough people my voice was worth hearing, and still I try to prove to more people everyday.

Good things can happen in creating. The best results take time, work, honesty and above all, the desire to want to get better is all you need

 

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200 Followers Special!

It’s finally happened,

I did it, more like we did it!

Lee’s Hall of information blog has reached 200 followers!

It’s taken the best part of 6 years but together we have built a following that is 200 strong. So this post is dedicated to those who have helped, inspired and shaped this blog. There are even some out there who aren’t aware of their influence and that can sometimes be what the definition of a writer or blogger is; creating something and not knowing how far it will stretch…

I will get to those individuals shortly but first and foremost to everyone…

THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING! 

This journey into the unknown of words began way back 2014 and now we are here!

And so now I must acknowledge some folks who have influenced and helped me over the years… 

Way back before I took the path of indie publishing, I had a starry eyed view that some literary agent would notice my below par unpolished work and take me under their wing, a six figure publishing deal would follow and Spielberg would be on the phone at tea time. As far as I am aware, that didn’t happen, to me anyway, but like many indie authors out there, they are non trad published authors who never gave up and so I needed to start from the very beginning.

catherine ryan howardI needed a guiding light with self publishing. And this biblical level of advice came in the form of a self help book called ‘Self Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing’. Written by Catherine Ryan Howard; a now very successful author who has just got herself a huge publishing deal; a phenomenal achievement and also pretty damn inspiring for small time indies.

Self Printed’ is written in a light hearted and sometimes comedic style which works as a no nonsense useful guide to anyone who is interested in taking self publishing seriously. I particularly took inspiration from much of  her blogging advice and without that book this Blog would not exist! Her equally helpful blog has a huge amount of stuff that I must recommend to anyone looking for a guide in writing and blogging! 

mr streuli

Matthew Streuli is the go-to blogger for all things mental health; he has also been a close personal friend of mine for the best part of 10 years. Matt’s blog contains a wealth of personal mental health experiences that he has bravely shared with the world.

From battling depression and even a suicide attempt his blog is a vitally important contribution to mental health campaigning and awareness. Depression is something many of us will suffer from at some point in life and Matt has been leading the charge with his blog for many years. He has even written articles for the Huffington post as well as making many television and radio appearances. His contribution to blogging and the mental health community deserves to be acknowledged.

 

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Without Nicky Fitzmaurice there would be no ‘Open Evening‘, ‘Darke Blood‘, ‘The Teleporter‘ or ‘Cemetery House’. Nicky has worked with me as an editor, formatter, uploader, publisher and expert advisor for all of my books. It’s s a rare thing to find someone trustworthy, honest and reliable in the world of publishing and Nicky is all three and more! Without being over assured or straight up arrogant the reason why my books are as good as they are is because of the work that goes in after I have drafted them.

Specificly speaking, the ending to ‘Darke Blood’ was shaped by Nicky’s advice and the reason why ‘The Teleporter’ flows like it does; especially in the latter chapters is because of her wonderful work!

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It is also safe to say there would be no ‘Open Evening’, ‘Darke Blood’, ‘The Teleporter’ or ‘Cemetery House’ without Design for Writers, and these books would look nowhere near as good without their fantastic work on what are incredible looking covers. Andrew and Rebecca work trumendously hard and they have always been there for me and a huge array of authors. For what is such an important part of book publishing, I would always reccomend Design for Writers!

 

In more recent times I have changed my whole approach as an author and blogger. My belief now is that no wordsmith is an island, as you can see above the people that have influenced this operation. But by just interacting with others via social media you can build a readership and following; something every author needs.

During that journey of interaction I met a fellow blogger who has not only become a loyal reader/ follower but also a friend and blogging influence, plus she nominated this very blog for an award!

Jaycee Lynch has helped and contributed to the growing of this blog and my overall following as an author. I very much carry the simple philosphy that consists of paying back people who help you. Jaycee has always taken a genunine interest in my work and has left reviews, blogged about my stuff and has overall been a great supporter. In return I sent her a signed copy of Open Evening; something I feel obliged to do when I get support of this level. She has a blog also which has a crazy amount of followers and content. This place is basically a beaten up old shed compared to the castle that is the Thinking Moon Blog

thinking moon

My final acknowledgement of those who shaped this blog is The Writers Community of the Tweet machine! Late last year I started taking Twitter ‘seriously’ and just put out some feelers to see if there were any indie authors who wanted a review….

See the source image

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As you can see the response only got a few hits… it was at this moment whilst I was watching something on Netflix, I briefly looked at twitter via my google chrome app on my phone and realised…

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I used to have the app but deleted it to save phone memory…

Since that day I vowed to review all of the indie books! This year alone I have read and reviewed 10 indie books and that number is steadily growing. Without reading and reviewing some awesome titles, this blog would have never surpassed 200 follows! 2019.PNG

Final Thought (Jerry Springer style)

And so as the 203rd blog post, a 200 followers special comes to a close we should take some time to reflect and look to the future… Without that being an obvious plug to Jack Thorn; my sci fi dream novel which is going to be serialised via this here blog, I would like to just share with you what blogging progress looks like… 

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Bad times don’t last, but good words do, especially when they are followed by even better people! Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Thorn: A story of the Future: Chapter 1, Part 1

“They will look like us. They will work with us. They will even try to be us, but they are not us. In the future there will be robots.”

“For every generation there is one who shall answer to prophecy. They will be superior in combat and defence. You will know their name as the Maverick and preserving humanity is their calling.” – Lucius, a Warrior

 

Welcome to the Future

Chapter 1: Just a Soldier

Jack Thorn was entirely oblivious to the fact he stood so close to his own destiny. Only at that precise moment it faced him in disguise by way of a clunky metal air lock door. He shared the stale processed air with a regiment of other soldiers waiting for their dropship to land. Then the war would really begin.

How he got there would make a rich and far stretching story, but what followed after, well that is where this journey begins. A tale intertwined with destiny going back further than anyone could imagine just for this moment to exist. Sometimes Jack thought about everyday life just like that. One day can be made up of a series of chance meetings; unbeknown to you or anyone else that you may meet the love of your life or your archenemies and everyone in between. Maybe the soldiers behind him were just a cameo in his blockbuster life or maybe they would charge with him and lead the front line all the way to the enemy. He didn’t know at this precise moment that his thought process compared to others was different. His making was of prophecy laid out generations before. A prophecy saying he would fight and that he’ll be good at it.

“Damn turbulence,” Steve Franco grumbled. He glanced around nervously whilst trying to keep a rigid stance to the right of Jack.

Everyone bounced in slow-motion as the gravity adjusted. All of them bobbing up and down in clunky hard padded armouring, shoulder to shoulder in threes. They weren’t on solid ground just yet.

“Flying is so damn overrated right now,” Jack Thorn said with a tone of concern.

He eyed the mud encrusted metal grating they all stood upon.

“That’s just the battle anxiety in ya,” said the soldier stood on his other side. This older man thumped the chin strapped standard issue helmet he wore.

Franco’s round and rough shaven face briefly peered to this older soldier. The dim lights flickered for all but a moment and then Franco spoke with a Brooklyn tongue,

“Yeah, nothing like the fear of death to get the heart pumping. I just want you to know Connolly that both myself and Thorn are ever so grateful you volunteered us to the front.”

“I’ve always got you fellas in mind,” the soldier Connolly proudly said.

“At least in that way we get first dibs on cover and you gals need the experience. Unlike the senior cats on this boat. They didn’t appreciate the call up against these walking talking manikins”.

The entire dropship jolted with a rattling vibration.

“We attack this situation before it gets a chance. Guns up the ass of the enemy. Don’t give them an inch,” Connolly added.

“He’s right. We attack this situation Franco, so man up.” Jack thumped Franco’s worn out plastic shoulder pad.

“In the history of being told to man up, who actually has manned up?”  Franco asked with an air of protest.

“Anybody ever said you think too much?” Connolly asked while turning away.

Jack gripped Franco’s shoulder and pulled him in close,

“What do I always say?” His eyes looked into the worried stare of his oldest friend.

“We find a way, always,” Franco chanted softly.

“We find a way, always,” Jack repeated and took a breath.

There came commotion from the back and then a rumbling of hydraulics underneath.

“Landing gear. It’s time,” Jack said. He checked the auto rifle cradled in his plastic armour shrouded arms.

“This is where we are supposed to be man, trust me,” he added.

“You better be right man.”

They smiled to each other, not in an endearing or loving type of way but the way two mischievous best friends would when they had an assured cunning plan.

The caged red light above the air lock door began to flicker.

Soldier Connolly turned to face his comrades and pulled a slider on his auto rifle. It powered to life with a digital display below the scope.

“Cliffeville regiment. Check your ammo and stand strong!” He strengthened his footing as everything seemed to shudder.

Both Thorn and Franco checked their weapons and pulled the sliders. As they let go their whole world bounced to a heavy jolt. The drop ship landed and the airlock door hissed loudly. A deafening barrage of war sounds blasted them. Music of terror and chaos played. The light above changed to green. That only meant one thing. Next came the piercing and vibrating buzz, their signal to disembark.

“We find a way, always!” Jack barked over the loudness. He caught the image of Franco reciting those words just as another sight came into view.

Bright flashes and explosions played out on what was a murky and cloudy planet.

“Move, move, move…”

Jack marched forward and down the ramped airlock door. Franco followed behind with their boots gracing soft brown ground. Neither of them heard the droning whine resonating from above. The noise careened down from the sky and with it a damning bright light. Franco glanced up with a hand held to his helmet. His eyes widened to see the bright flaring light heading down towards him. He rushed forward alongside Jack and then a burning force knocked them both forward. Their boots lifted along with everything else. They crashed to the soggy sponge type ground of this planet. Their welcome, an explosive burning.

“Shit,” Jack said. He glanced back to smoke and flames

“They’re all gone!” Franco stared into mostly smoke and a mass of crumpled metal and burning.

“Connolly,” Jack shouted. He jumped up.

Franco grabbed his and Jack’s auto rifles and followed.

“We damn took a direct hit,” Connolly croaked.

“Welcome to X43 I guess,” he added.

“And this time the odds were with us,” Jack shouted over the loudness of war.

 He helped the older soldier to his feet while the orchestra of gun fire and explosive commotion crept in all around them. This was a sheer sight of pandemonium. Other drop ships were landing nearby, all of them filled with men and women ready to duel with doom.

“Come on. We have to move forward,” Jack shouted.

He grabbed his auto rifle back. With one free arm he helped with Franco in guiding Connolly forward.

“What do we do now? This shit has gone south quickly!”

“But we are still here no matter how south Franco,” Connolly shouted. He broke free from his aiding soldiers.

“Take it all robot scum!” He marched on his own and discharged the auto rifle. A spray of bright laser guided bullets charged forward to the nearby horizon. Standing on it, a line of approaching enemy, the robots.

“Come on man this is it,” Jack shouted to Franco.

They both lined up with Connolly, aimed and picked targets. With more bullets volleying to the horizon they met incoming movement, some fell to the ground whilst others persevered. A nearby cluster of soldiers watched the last three of Cliffeville regiment take a stand for losing their brethren, then they joined in. Still the robot offensive advanced with more and more numbers heading from the bullet hazed horizon

“We’re kinda outnumbered!” Franco shouted. He reached down to his leg side pocket for another ammunition magazine.

“Preserve your laser rounds, switch to metal jackets!” Connolly ordered. He twisted a dial on his auto rifle. After an electronic whine a burst of bullets spread out wide and he tried to hose incoming robots down.

“Hold the line Gunners!” Shouted a commanding voice. Jack turned to see a pair of stern eyes look him back. He focused on the rest of a tanned rugged and scarred face, the face of a woman.

“Not the time to be eyeing up the talent soldier, and I’m pretty much it,” this older woman said in a slight Hispanic tongue

Jack’s eyes flashed over her printed chest name and initial.

“Well ‘M. Garcia’. Watch this,” Jack said. Before bolting forward, he gave this ‘Garcia’ a daring look.

“That’s Major Garcia to you soldier,” she barked.

“We got a man in the line of fire. Hand to hand offensive. Move!” Connolly looked up to see Jack run in to battle.

Like always Jack Thorn faced situations like this in a unique kind of slow motion. It seemed weird to begin with, the sensation of racing heart beat and everything around slowing down. By the time he reached the age he was, Jack had learned to use it and that’s what he did.

A cluster of dark blue uniformed robots marched toward the front running Jack. Some with guns others with just their hands. They moved like humans and even had mannerisms like humans. But Jack knew they weren’t like him, he had a sixth sense for these things. He looked closer at them, there were scratches and burns bringing out their partially plastic faces. Some had uniforms burned or ripped away and this rag tag army didn’t stop at anything, Jack liked it that way.

He engaged target number one, a robot about take aim but instead received a sharp forceful jab. The robot blinked as the stunning flash of attack made him stop. Jack, already in mid jump, swung all the way around. His boot driving into the side of robot head before it could even realise. The force caused a spark instantly knocking the target down.

Everything sped up and Thorn landed before his first victim hit the ground.

“You’re fast. Wanna see how faster a robot can be?” Another enemy closed in, bigger than the last and charging.

“I’m not sure you’ll live to find out,” Jack said with deadpan emotion.

He side stepped and ducked to evade a wild swipe. This he followed into another jumping round house kick; not an easy feat in the clunky battle armour. The big robot grunted and stumbled forward after the force hit from behind. Before any words could be spoken the robot’s mouth was driven shut by a thundering uppercut by Thorn. Another spark and flash followed, the robot crashed to the ground where it remained motionless.

Jack skipped on further into combat. He scoped out another as it came charging and they collided. Thorn couldn’t even manoeuvre his auto rifle to aim as the robot wrestled it away with a smile. The enemy hovered one dirty finger over the trigger. Thorn smiled back and then swung out a high and wide kick colliding into auto rifle and mostly robot. Bullets fired upwards as the robot lost footing and fell. Jack rolled forward, closed in and reached out. With quick nimble hands, he took the rifle back and turned the weapon. A short burst of fire blew into plastic flesh and black oily liquid sprayed.

Jack sensed another robot close in behind and so he drove an elbow back. His padded arm buried straight into another face, there came the familiar spark and spray of liquid, but Thorn was nowhere near done. He only moved on with robots falling and leaving a trail of destruction.

“What’s he on and where can I get some?” Connolly asked. He and Franco struggled to wrestle a single robot. Together they worked in getting it to the ground.

“I don’t know… but take this you son of a, bitch,” Franco shouted. He drove a foot into the downed robot’s face. They both looked further ahead to the group of robots that had been dented by Thorn’s efforts.

“Remind me to apologize fully to Thorn,” Connolly said.

“What for?” Franco asked.

“Everything, just everything.”

He and Franco were passed by Major Garcia and a wide cluster soldiers following.

“Let’s not stand on ceremony. Help the soldier damn it or he’ll win the war on his own,” she ordered.

“Come on Connolly.” Franco marched forward.

In the clearing of downed enemies Jack looked all around, in his sights came a straggling robot. He focused on the target and took a double step forward swivelling his body side on into a stretching kick. In a flash he leant back and drove his right boot up and high, the sole driving into the chin of this unsuspecting target. Jack’s whole body seemed to follow in smashing through the robot’s chin. Again came the flash.

The sounds of war and explosions carried off in the distance where many more battles were taking place, but for now on this small rock surrounded hill Jack Thorn claimed it to be his own the moment the final robot fell. Major Garcia’s regiment closed in all around the scene of partial victory.

“Reel it in dog tags,” Garcia ordered.

Jack found his two fellow regiment mates and without breaking a sweat or any lost breath he stood beside them.

“That was some intensity Thorn, didn’t know you had that in ya,” Connolly said with an air of surrender in his tone.

“That was kind of showy, but in a necessary this is war kind of way,” Franco added with an approving nod and attitude of someone who had seen Thorn fight many times previous.

“Alright soldiers, break it up,” Major Garcia grumbled, she stepped in to face Thorn.

“I don’t do compliments much, but that was some fine work soldier. You wanna tell me your name?”  She asked. Her eyes looked at Jack’s nameless chest armour.

“It’s Thorn, Major,” he said and nodded.

“Thorn huh, I knew a Thorn once before, back in the day. Well it seems like you three are the remainder of an extinct regiment. That’s the brutal reality of this gig. For now, consider yourselves honorary Gunnery members.” She nodded to Jack as her regiment roared in approval.

“I’ve got just the mission for a quick fighter like you Thorn.” They started to walk back towards the wrecked dropship, now a smouldering pile of jagged metal.

“I’m guessing it’s the type of something you would rather not lose one of your own with?” Jack asked and Garcia eyed him firmly again.

“I’ve met your type before kid, young and full of ability but you’re attitude stinks.”

“That attitude keeps me and my friends alive Major. Sorry if that’s disappointing to the man,” Jack said.

Garcia stopped again and moved within spitting distance of Thorn. Her face full of commanding grimace,

“I don’t give two shits about the ‘man’. And the deal on this rock is all types of irrelevant. Just like you I happened to be in the army when this war got declared. Now I think it’s pretty damn obvious what you are capable of and I’m asking if you’ll answer to that. Hell, maybe we’ll get a name printed on that third hand armour of yours. Then perhaps you’ll be somebody, that’s why we are all here right?” she asked.

Jack cracked a half smile and replied, “This mission then? What did you have in mind?”

*                      *                      *

Jeremey Jones awkwardly shifted his large frame in the leather office style chair. No matter which position he tried or whatever lever he adjusted, nothing could be done to achieve any comfort. Jones was a big man approaching fifty and unless the seat had been custom made his body would protest. This was a pay by the hour conference room after all so the décor and contents were mostly items of the cheap plastic persuasion and to him, a place he looked down his nose at.

Jones wouldn’t let thoughts like that go any further. He spent a life convincing people the family he came from weren’t just some snooty upper-class types. So there he sat trying to keep a military drilled posture in an expensive suit at the head of a long oval table and the chair was a pain in the ass.

He glanced at the ‘commy’ around his left wrist. The future’s answer to the cell phone. It did just about everything a cell would, plus more. He tapped the glowing screen and checked the time. Still the same as a few seconds ago when he last checked.

“It’s been a long damn time,” a southern accent said out of the nearby shadows.

Jones looked to the outline of Joey Connors opposite. His tipped cowboy style hat leant forward into a spotlight with the rest of him. A roughly bearded and wrinkled face glanced up momentarily and nodded to Jones.

“You’re looking old Jones,” Connors added and smiled.

“None of us have as much hair as we used to but we aren’t exactly young anymore,” Jones said. He ran a large hand across his near grey slightly receding hair line.

“It’s not the greatest of turnouts,” another said closely beside Jones. He too leant out of the shadows. An African American; Axel Hendricks looked to the only two other occupants of the room and then clasped both hands together. One of them covered by a dark leather glove.

“Do ya blame them?” Connors asked, “hell I turned up so Kelly didn’t have to, plus he’s running the bar in a state that currently has a shutdown government. Anybody heard from Clark in recent times?”

“Not for a few years, but him no showing doesn’t surprise me one bit. I also tracked down Don Dedman,” Jones said.

“He’s still alive?” Connors laughed.

“Barely,” Hendricks said.

“Who else is around, that uh, survived that night?” Connors asked.

“Harish went back to India after Police Force shut the department down,” Hendricks explained.

“And Louis?”

“Blew out years ago, busy running the family restaurant,” Jones added with a deep sigh.

“Well fellas, good try and all but this reunion kind of stinks,” Connors said.

“Saying that, it’s good to see you both. Those years I spent up in the city were good times with good folks. Shame it went the way it did. You know if ya think about it deep, we caused that shitstorm in a way.”

The room fell silent for a moment. Connors felt the awkwardness before the other two and did his best to fill it with words. As he inhaled to speak Jones beat him to it,

“I’m going to bring back the World Force.”

Connors stared at Jones vacantly until he became conscious of the silence.

“What now?” He asked in that southern accent.

“Seeing as Police Force didn’t want to renew their deal it put us all out of job. Acting ‘Chief’ Martin Case made that decision personally. That means it goes back to before, where I fully own the rights to robot law enforcement in the eyes of the S.E.S. With Hendricks I am going to bring back the World Force,” Jones said.

“That is why we invited you here today. Just to connect after all this time and talk about it. Maybe you could have some involvement in training future World Forcer’s,” Hendricks added.

“Ownership in the eyes of ‘S.E.S’? I can’t believe this shit. You’re both serious about this? Serious about treadin’ on the lives of those folks we lost all those years ago on that damn night. I was there when it happened, and we lost those people. Clark lost everything man, and I wasn’t far from it either,” Connors barked.

He pulled back and lifted his leg up onto the table, he revealed it to be metal and prosthetic.

“This is what happened to me that night and I have to live with it for the rest of my days. I fled that city because those damn robots won. What gives you any damn idea you ‘own the rights’ to robot law enforcement?”

“We all have our scars from the past,” Hendricks said. He held out both hands momentarily.

Jones ran a hand along the prominent scar on his right cheek. He then slid a hand into the jacket he wore. From it he took a faded bronze badge.

“The Secret Earth Services presented me with this all those years ago. They never revoked it Connors. Even after Clark’s presumed breakdown he still has his. So, in my eyes our original deal still stands. What is it you have an issue with?” Jones asked.

Connors clambered to his feet and made for the door.

“After all these years, you’re still afraid of him aren’t you?” Jones asked making Connors stop. Again, silence ruled until he turned.

“You bet your ass I am. You weren’t there Jones. You didn’t see the way he drove that blade into…” He stopped himself before simmering over with even more anger and took a breath.

“She died that night and it changed all of our lives. For whatever you have planned I say bullshit and I want nothing to do with it. Let me be the only one who actually cares about defending our legacy without stepping on it.”

“A legacy of failure?” Jones replied. Again, Connors stopped.

“You would make a good politician ‘Sarge’. People still call you that right? Cliffevile could do with a mayor like you to ignore the people’s needs.”

Connors limped away to the door. He pulled it to and then came the loud angry slamming.

“I expected more resistance from the others,” Jones said.

“They didn’t show and probably for good reason,” Hendricks added.

“They don’t know what we and Clark know. This planet has a robot crime problem that we fought for so long. Just because our contract with that corrupt police force timed out doesn’t mean we have to stop. There’s a new generation of fighters out there and so is our maverick. He could be up there on that muddy rock,” Jones said.

“X43? You know he is, but what about the girl?”

“As far as I know, the Warrior is watching over her. Where they are right now, I don’t know…”

“Well Jones, we are going to need a Warrior if you want this to be a success…”

“I know Hendricks, I know. We need a whole bunch of them. The World Force worked because of the Warrior support we had. Right now, we need to get our Maverick, that’s if Lucius turned out to be right.”

*                      *                      *

“I’ll be brief soldier…” Major Garcia braced while a nearby thudding explosion shook the muddy ground of X43. Her Gunnery regiment stood huddled around in a covering cluster of rocks, this included their three new recruits.

Jack stood front and centre. He listened in over the distant sound of battle which seemed to close in around them.

“Now here’s our line.” Garcia turned and glanced at the upward slope leading to battle. Men and women soldiers struggled to push back attacking robots.

“Receding at every moment,” she mumbled and pulled out a long battle knife from her belt. In one motion she sliced a horizontal line in the brown clay type rock surface.

“Over that hill and across the way is another line.” Again, she sliced a parallel line above the first.

“The ‘supposed robot rebellion’ have a line of mobile artillery trucks. They move around and to wherever we drop troops.”

Jack watched her carving five crosses above the top line.

“They were responsible for taking out your regiment. Our job is to take them out before they move on…”

The whole area shook violently. Clumps of mud rained down on the group. An artillery shot landed dangerously near. The ground rumbled and dust rode the wind briefly thickening the air with a thick dusty haze.

“As you can see, they are still in town. If you want to make yourself a hero kid, then the job is yours to take them out. All you gotta do is run in there and place some explosive charges,” the Major explained.

A cluster of her troops turned towards the hill. More and more robots appeared.

“Bullet meat at twelve o clock,” Connolly shouted. He pushed through everyone and began to lead a group of soldiers. They began to fire up towards incoming robots.

“So this is a suicide mission, right?” Jack asked. He knew there probably wasn’t a choice in backing out now.

Garcia wiped the knife on her leg and holstered it.

“Right. As I said your more than capable of this Thorn. Maybe you’ll even earn yourself a star on that chest of yours,” she shouted over more gunfire.

“Like me.” She revealed a covering shroud just above her chest nameplate. It revealed two faded gold stars.

Thorn nodded. He slipped into his own mind momentarily and to a truth where he was a guy in his mid-twenties who never really amounted to anything. The calling he would come to realise faced him. Major Garcia’s words led him out of the brief trance.

“You wanna be someone in this world you gotta work for it. We’ll crush this offensive and then call in an airstrike of extraction gas. That stuff takes down anything that moves within a thousand-yard radius. You run in as the gas drops, place a charge at each gun and get your ass out of there. Jefferson?”

Garcia called to a soldier carrying an armoured rucksack. He looked up to her and Thorn through a set of goggle style glasses.

“Here are the charges. Five in total for five artillery placements.” Jefferson took out a pipe shaped oval ended device from the sack.

“You pull and twist. This red band will light up and indicate it being armed.” He shoved the bag into Thorn who shouldered it.

“Have you got comms?” Jefferson then asked. He gripped Thorn’s left wrist and took a closer look at his robust commy.

“We’re on battle channel ten. Sync your commy and we can talk. When you place the final charge call it in,” he said.

“What do I do then?” Jack asked. He tapped on the commy screen a few times as Jefferson began to usher him forward.

“You run the hell out of there,” Garcia shouted. She charged past him and joined in on the gun fire.

“Evasive forward movement!” She waved for everyone to move over the hill. They began to push back the incoming robots.

“You sure about this Jack?” Steve Franco asked giving Jack that all familiar mischievous look.

“Nope but that’s why we joined this damn war, to do something with our lives.”

Franco nodded and cracked a half smile. This wasn’t the first time their comradery got them through a situation.

“Hey, I enjoyed driving buses back home. If you weren’t gonna do this, I probably would. I guess I can’t always be that semi-coward friend who follows you into all types of shit,” Franco added with Thorn managing a momentary smile.

“Just cover me, you and Connolly are good shots, the others, I’m not so sure.” Jack marched forward.

“I guess that’s a compliment…” Franco waved him off.

Jack rushed out from the cluster of soldiers and up the hill. He looked out towards the next horizon. It stood closer than he realised, and this was happening sooner than he wanted.

“Spread out and cover our man Thorn,” Garcia ordered. She fired towards an unarmed robot.

The soldiers fanned out and took back the hill with Jack running out front. He saw the expanse of a now empty battlefield and in his ear came a crackling from his commy. The incoming audio travelled up his wrist and though the body using advanced frequency to sound like a clear phone call.

“Thorn, this is Jefferson testing comms do you hear me?”

“Yeah,” he said and looked to see Jefferson moving toward him.

“These explosives are inconvenient to carry,” he added.

“Ok that’s the communications link working. I’m gonna go ahead and call in for the air strike,” Jefferson said.

Thorn watched as Jefferson turned.

“…is Jefferson of the second gunnery requesting a strike of extraction gas. Our area code is ‘AOE, and position, silver’. I repeat our code is ‘AOE, and position silver’.”

“Affirmative, target has not moved,” he added. After a moment he faced Thorn and shouted to everyone.

“It’s coming in!” Jefferson signalled to his fellow soldiers who looked up to him waving.

“Make us proud Thorn,” Garcia shouted.

The next horizon seemed further away to Thorn this time and at the very edge were five blocks of grey. The artillery. He looked up to the thick clouds above. A droning whine flew overhead followed by a strike of what looked like lightning. It rained down on the horizon with a flash. A billowing array of smoke began to rise.

“That’s your queue Thorn, go!” Jefferson ordered.

Thorn began to sprint towards the smoke and towards the unknown…

End of Part 1 

Tune in Next week for another edition of Jack Thorn. Same Jack time, same Jack place… Remember if you enjoyed reading, tell a friend, leave a comment and share it around on social media… 

Copyright 2004 – 2019 ‘Jack Thorn’ and ‘The Thorn Legacy’ Written By Lee Hall 2019 All rights reserved.  

Building 51 By Jennifer L. Place – Review

Urban exploration horror filled with tension and some truth…

51

Building 51 follows the events of seven friends as they embark on an exploration excursion. Their destination the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane; a real place with a real history that can be described as harrowing to say the least.

Exploration of abandoned places is a specialist niche in the genre of horror and one which I very much enjoy. Films such as ‘Grave encounters’ and ‘House on Haunted Hill’ come to mind but in terms of books, Building 51 is the benchmark and makes for a roller coaster tension filled read.

Fusing elements of real history and the paranormal make this story and the characters in it feel like something is lurking and watching them. Something is and this gradually becomes apparent manifesting itself in a range of unique and creepy ways.

The overall flow of the book is cinematic and even nods to the horror movie rules, some of which the characters unfortunately fall into. Many horror stories tend to run out of ideas near the end but not in Building 51 where the strong premise stands all the way to the end.

5 Stars – a great read that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of horror and the urban exploration genre! 

Drake Peters: One Minute to Midnight by Kingsley Benjamin – Review

Page turning sci-fi with an original concept and premise…

peterThis is a young adult novel with a difference and which breaks the mold and moves away from the usual tropes seen the genre. Its very common for YA stories to spend too much time within the head and mind of a main character; ironically that doesn’t happen in this book and that is one of the many concepts that makes the story of Drake Peters accessible and full of pace which has the reader turning pages.

We are introduced to Drake Peters who lives his life in the mundane and sometimes socially treacherous world of ordinary school life, that is until he realizes the power he has within his own mind. Soon enough he is whisked away to an academy that is run and influenced by aliens for those who are gifted in the mind.

This mind power premise is limitless and is explored throughout the story as Drake and the characters around him (fellow students) learn to hone their skills of the mind and try to figure out this world they live in. These are characters who range in diversity and ability all of which were believable and carried genuine motive.

Set in the not too distant future of corporations with an east verses west political climate I particularly enjoyed the science fiction elements and nods to various pop culture references. There are so many different influences the story is shaped by, some which are obvious whereas others were just skimming the edge. If you are a fan of the x men, the Hunger Games, Men in Black and even Fallout you will definitely enjoy this sophisticated take on YA sci-fi.

5 stars

 

Weekly Ramble #27

Dreams are weird. There are so many people (probably all of us at some point in time) that say we want to do something and never get there. The amount of variables that surround us at one time deny us of achieving that dream or cut it short, then there’s the whole deep down fear of can I really do this which is in turn followed by do I want this?

Fear can keep dreams from being achieved. Even I’ve suffered from being somewhat scared of what people think. Coming out as a writer in 2012 was the biggest plunge into the unknown I have ever taken. Many around me still aren’t convinced, and that’s fine, opinions are allowed and this has always been a one person at a time deal. Overall it fuels me to prove what I am and what I will achieve. Then again I don’t really care what people think of my work, I do it because it makes me feel free in this world where we are all confined. To be able to create is to feel free and to to feel free is to truly live.

I’ve found my freedom in writing stories and building worlds. I first did this when I was 12 years old and haven’t ever thought twice about not wanting to write.

Success is another variable that combines itself with fear to keep us from getting to our dream. What if nobody likes my stuff? What if I don’t sell any copies? What if writing a book isn’t a success?

The biggest personal achievement in writing is simply being able to write ‘The End’ when you finish a project. Everything else, the hard stuff, comes later and actually doesn’t really matter. I’ve found that out gradually. Reviews are great and I am so damn grateful for the ones I have, sales also mean a lot along with social media follows and interaction. I have met and know so many awesome wordsmith people and bloggers along with readers. All of that is material compared to being able to say you wrote and finished a book. There are so many people out there who say they tried but never got there. The true success and achievements in writing come from where everything else does in writing. Our ability to write, our sustainability is creating, our editing skills, our scope for characters, theme, settings, characters, all of it comes from within.

I have an excellent memory, even though I work shift at the moment and that’s a sure fire way to frazzle some cells; I still remember the story that brought me to this point. After all these years, I still remember being 12 years old facing a windows 98 computer and writing a story about robots in the future called Jack Thorn. It’s not just some empty one dimensional action story and in the very preliminary stages it may seem like an out of date male lead character fest, but it isn’t and that’s the beauty of it. Jack Thorn isn’t just about Jack Thorn, it’s about humanity, equality, family, destiny and prophecy.

I know that story because I have carried it with me since then. It is my dream, and sometimes they can be weird.

(Jack Thorn – a science fiction story of the future will premiere on Thursday the 14th of March in serialized form on this very blog.)  

4 More reasons why you should read indie books!

Reading indie books is becoming a hobby of mine. I have my reasons which are many. Firstly I know what its like to feel like nobody is reading my stuff let alone leaving a review. I understand the work and financial commitments to getting a book out there, and overall reading enriches the mind.

If you are published you’ve got to give back to the community and help the brethren of wordsmiths. No writer can expand by being an island, plus there are some amazing indie books out there that are as good as any trad’ published ones…

Like me, many authors can only talk about their stuff so many times until the inevitable broken record begins to play, so how about I talk about them instead!

Here’s the rundown of the 4 indie titles I read in February….

the pass

Over The Pass, and Other Stories by Susan Mary Malone was the first book I picked up in Feb and this immersive collection of shorts whisks the reader away to the sights of american country.

All of the stories are linked by a very human style of telling and description of feelings with a setting that moves in and out of focus.

I managed to get through the entire collection within a few days, and as my review said this is literary art of the highest caliber and a unique collection of stories…

 

Next up I read ‘Odd Spirits’ by S.T. Gibson

odd spirits

Like the title suggests this a story that delves into the spiritual and occult world but it’s done in a more lighthearted kind of way that makes this unique to the genre.

It’s a novella, but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact its a fantastic well paced story.

Quoting from my review ‘there are elements of several genres blended together in this book such as romance, paranormal and spiritual they are all combined in a light way that makes for some great and very addictive reading which would suit all readers.’

The story centers around a married couple who are both active in the world of witchcraft and spirits, their house is being ‘haunted’ by a presence which they must look within to exorcise.

Seeing as I have written a vampire book, I should also read vampire books, so Nocturnal Blood by Villimey Mist was next…

Nocturnal blood

This was quite a long read, but as I got further and further into the story I found myself supporting the main character who suffers from OCD and anxiety.

This is a brave and difficult thing to execute well and a real strong point of the book. We’ve all heard vampire stories and some think they have been done, but Nocturnal Blood proves there are more to offer from the world of blood suckers!

This book is journey within a journey and for anyone who likes the young adult genre, you should check it out!

Also the cover art is awesome, Design for Writers did a top job, they are also behind the covers of my stuff!

And so with only a few days left of Feb I consulted my TBR list and found a shorter book about fairies. 

silver pMy review for Silver Princess By Lea Carter literally dropped yesterday but I will say this is a charming story like nothing I have read before, mainly because I’ve never read a story about fairies but that didn’t stop me from enjoying a great well paced story that twists and turns.  This book truly proves that good things come in small packages…

This was a great way to cap off another month of indie reads and to quote my review this was ‘part love story and part coming of age, the book focuses on Rebecca; a fairy princess who is rescued by a mysterious man-fairy named ‘Scamp’. Their romance is subtle and gradually reveals itself much like the story as a whole making it an enjoyable read suitable for all ages, something which is rarely well executed in literature these days. Its a sort of princess and the pauper story until more is revealed in the latter stages.’

 

And so that’s it for another month of reading Indie books! How many reviews have you left recently? (I’m not sure if that was rhetoric or even slightly sarcastic, answers in the comments folks…)