Way back in the medieval mists of time, a thief and a disgraced wizard are thrust together in an executioner’s dungeon.
In the darkness, the wizard reveals an incredible secret about a legendary spell. Using this great spell, they escape their prison cell... and eventually their century.
Catapulted into the 21st century, their lives collide with a computer hacker who has plans to wipe out the world’s largest bank. But dangerous people are tracking their every move…
What happens when ancient magic meets the internet? One thing is sure, modern life will never be the same again.
Chapter 1 - No rest for the wicked
Way back in the medieval mists of time, long before most people counted which century was which, Tung shivered violently on the ice-cold, stone floor of the executioner’s dungeon.
Dark, dank and putrid were the words an unscrupulous property merchant might have used to glamorise this miserable dungeon, no words were hideous or nauseating enough to describe the true horror of this dreadful place. To be fair though, it wasn't all bad, at least the green slime, which oozed like pus from small cracks in the walls, added some colour to the drab greyness.
Tung huddled in the darkest corner of the freezing, granite cell wishing he was dead. He wouldn't have to wait long for his wish to come true because he was due to be tortured to death the very next day. Roll on death, it couldn't come a moment too soon. He was soaking wet, bruised, starving and parched with thirst. Yes, roll on death.
Now all he could do was pray for sleep, because sleep would give him merciful nothingness before the excruciating morning. He tossed and turned like an agitated foetus. How could anyone sleep in this frightful place? Hands over his ears, he tried to shut out the sounds of the torturers’ hammers smashing bones, the heavy clunk of the ratchets on the rack and the anguished screams which echoed forlornly down the stone corridors. Rank stenches crept under the door to assault his nostrils, the acrid smell of flesh being seared by white-hot branding irons overwhelming the other odours of human sweat, urine and excrement. Wails of despair reverberated inside his head. Did these evil tormentors never rest?
By some miracle, his brain dragged his racked body into an uneasy slumber. Praise the Lord for the gift of sleep, at least he hadn't been denied that last sanctuary. His nightmares replayed his pathetic life as his subconscious tried to figure out how he'd ended up in this God-awful mess. The work of the devil, no doubt… with a little help from his fiends.
Rebecca Harris Book Reviews
Dark Tidings was a hilarious and enjoyable tale that took me on a rollercoaster journey from the fantastical middle ages to the modern day. It was exciting, completely compelling and had me laughing from the first page right up to the end. A clever and unique tale, Magee combines the fantasy and science-fiction genres with a modern and contemporary thriller, creating a quirky and magical tale.
The story in general was a fantastical combination of magic, humour and mystery full of anticipation and excitement. Some of the events in the book were peculiar, plain odd and just downright crazy but the level of craziness in this book just made it all the more enjoyable and entertaining. The story in general was jam packed with numerous twists and turns and it also shocked and surprised me in places. I enjoyed the build up to the two plot lines intertwining and the scene where Madrick, Tung and Michael finally meet is hilarious and involves a lot of champagne, a cork and a night of total drunkenness. I loved the mixture of fantasy with the modern world. I laughed out loud at the misuse of well known cultural phrases and slang by Madrick and Tung. The plot was fast paced making it a quick and easy read but it was also fun and engaging. There was something constantly happening making the book and exciting whirlwind read. The magic within the book was just crazy especially the Scroll, that seemed to me to be a temperamental piece of magic, creating the most weird objects in the most frantic of situations. The book ended on a very funny cliff hanger that definitely leaves me wanting more and to see how they get out of the predicament that they find themselves in at the end of the book.
The characteristation in the book was full of depth and as the novel progressed I found myself liking the characters more and more, and wanting them to succeed; Madrick and Tung to finally stop having to run and Michael to achieve his goals of unmasking IIBE (International Investment Bank of Europe) as a corrupt corporation and filling his pockets (and others) with money.
Tung, a cunning thief with a troubled past is a funny little character, and constantly gets himself and the others into trouble and into the most unfortunate predicaments. Those unfortunate situations more than likely evolve into amusing and crazy situations that made me laugh out loud in places especially the drunk scene with the chickens in the pub. Despite being from 1000 years in the past he settles into modern life quite at ease and I loved his appreciation and love of modern food especially his favourite; pizza! Despite being a bit foolish Tung surprisingly becomes rather handy with magic and the Scroll and I enjoyed his transformation. I also I enjoyed seeing his relationship with Madrick evolve throughout the book and they slowly became father and son figures to one another. They also reminded me of a comedy duo. Their personalities complimented one another and during a time of immense trouble they help one another and surprisingly manage to escape the clutches of their chasers.
Madrick was an enjoyable character. A wizard but not quite a wizard any longer, he comes across as a wild old man with a flare for the eccentric. Having lost the ability to cast spells, he finds himself in a spot of bother when he is thrown into Mifal's dungeon but finds help in the unlikely figure of the thief, Tung. Once they had escaped from the dungeon with the help of a very powerful spell, a decoy stallion, some peculiarly placed clothes, some unfortunate nakedness and the placement of the Scroll in a dark dark place. I loved his enthusiasm for modern life once reaching the 21st century. His thirst for knowledge was just great to see and I loved his excitement for the television in particular!
Michael, a modern day computer expert hungry for the destruction of IIBE, a corrupt and seemingly evil corporation responsible for swindling the world's money and also responsible for some of the worlds atrocities. He was a fun and interesting character but Madrick and Tung's adventures were a lot more exciting in my opinion. His reasons for wanting to commit fraud was quite emotional and emphasised Michael as a determined young man, affected by trauma and hungry for justice. He wants to help the ordinary people out and make the place a better world, but such high hopes come with some unexpected consequences.
I would highly recommend this fun filled adventure book to any fan of Terry Pratchett. Magee's witty sense of humour, eccentric characters and amusing storyline made this peculiar fantasy story a fun and thrilling read. The characterisation within Dark Tidings completes this surprisingly griping book and the entertaining plotline combined with the most fantastical oddball characters made me laugh out loud and giggle at the outrageous events. I will definitely be reading the next book to see how Madrick, Tung and Michael deal with their next big adventure.
I Want to See this as a Movie
I want to see this book as a movie. But I'm not sure what genre it would fit - science fiction, stomach-splitting comedy, social commentary, HG Wells brought back to the future. Brilliantly comic sequences tickled me even as I saw menace stalking. What a read!