How does it feel to materialize onto a dump of garbage and not know where you are? Ask Dale and discover that this world is not as it seems and that he has a path self discovery and personal development of epic proportions. Rarely have I read a story that brings the elements of adventure, fantasy and science fiction into a fast-paced adventure and a very enjoyable story. After reading the first four paragraphs of Wizard's Bane, I could not put the book down. Crystalwizard has built a world where believing that nothing is impossible will change your present universe. Not since George Luca's Star Wars has there been a story that mixes many genres into a glorious tale. The story flows so easily that you will be impatient for the next book in the Sojourn Chroncles.
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The Sojourn Chronicles
Darkness covered the city, flowing down the streets and collecting in the alleys. Silence sat heavily on the sleeping town, it’s buildings swathed in a thick fog, light pooling in liquid puddles under the occasional street lamp.
The town drunk stumbled down the street, his head spinning from the pots of ale he’d just finished off in the pub. Reaching the nearest alley, he leaned heavily against the wall then slid down to sit on the ground. Reclining against the building wall, he threw his head back and began singing loudly, and badly off-key. A brief flash of light a few feet further down the alley startled him and he peered into the darkness.
‘Who’s der?’ he slurred, trying to make out anything in the inky blackness. No answer was forthcoming however, so after a few seconds he shrugged and went back to singing.
The reason for the flash stood silently several feet away, his eyes adjusting to the sudden darkness. The putrid smell of rotting garbage caused him to wrinkle his nose in disgust.
“Wonderful,” he thought sourly to himself. “A backwater planet in the middle of nowhere. And where do I materialize? In the middle of their garbage dump!”
He closed his eyes for a second, then took a deep breath, settling his nerves.
“Well, it could be worse I guess. I wonder just how primitive these people are.”
He picked his way slowly through the darkened alley, trying to avoid the larger concentrations of refuse. By the time he reached the street, the town drunk was happily snoring, the words to his song long forgotten in the stupor produced by the ale.
“At least” he thought to himself as he inspected the drunk, “I look like they do physically.”
He squatted down beside the drunk and carefully pulled his tattered cloak aside then frowned.
“Clothing...that’s another matter,” he mused, dropping the cloak back down over the snoring man.
He glanced down at his seamless, black jump suit and shook his head.
“I’ll never fit in dressed like this,” he thought, studying the drunk’s ratty attire, then stood and glanced cautiously around the street.
The fog drifted past, swirling slightly in the faint breezes as he watched, but no other signs of life were evident on the street. Satisfied things were relatively safe, he cautiously stepped out of the alley and turned left then made his way up the deserted street, hugging the rough brick wall of the building and trying to stay well out of the light as he made his way past silent store fronts.
The buildings ended fairly quickly and the street turned into a lane running out into the open land. The man stopped, then sighed and turned around.
“Better and better,” he thought, shaking his head. “Backwater planet, primitive culture, local inhabitants who appear to have all the civility of poorly bred pigs and now this.” He stared back up the street at the few buildings visible through the fog. “Maybe it’s bigger if I go the other way. I need clothes.”
He studied the buildings for a few seconds longer then shook his head again.
“No,” he thought, correcting himself, “I need a farm. With a clothesline. And a sympathetic farmer.”
He frowned, remembering the drunks singing and made a face.
“A farmer whose language I probably don’t speak,” he muttered then looked up at the invisible stars. “Why me!?”
He glanced over his shoulder into the blackness that shrouded the lonely countryside then turned back to the town again. If there was a farm out there it certainly didn’t show up in the middle of the night.
“When I get my hands,” he thought vehemently, “on the idiot that opened that warp...”
Light spilled suddenly out of a doorway a few feet ahead of him as the door opened, and he flattened against the wall. A couple strolled out, waving behind them at a fairly crowded, smoke filled room, then wandered off down the street arm in arm. He waited until they were lost in the fog before breathing a silent sigh of relief.
“Clothes now,” he reminded himself. “And food. And sleep. Retribution later. After my powers come back.” He glanced around, then continued on up the street toward the alley he’d materialized in.
As it came in sight he could see a dark figure bent over the drunk who had been happily snoring away in it’s entrance. He froze, watching as the figure drew a knife out of a sheath and silently cut the drunk’s pouch from his belt. The man narrowed his eyes and glanced around. The street was still empty and the alley was only a few feet away. Trained reflexes took over and he advanced silently, little more than a shadow, as the figure opened the pouch and began rummaging through it. He paused for a moment, waiting until the thief was completely absorbed in the contents of the pouch, then stepped forward, one hand going to the thief’s throat, the other grasping it’s knife hand. In a single fluid motion he bent the thief backwards, lifted it off the ground to it’s toes by the hand on it’s throat and forced the knife hand open. The knife hit the ground with a dull thud and he shoved the arm up behind his prisoners’s back. The other struggled slightly, stopping as his hand tightened around it’s throat.
“You know, for a thief, you’re not very observant,” he growled, his voice low.
His captive grunted and he applied a bit more pressure to the arm behind it’s back.
“Ow!” came the unhappy protest.
“Not only that, but your choice of targets is lousy,” he continued, then waited for a reply.
“Let me go!” the other managed, then gasped as a bit more pressure was applied to his arm.
“Well,” the man thought, “language will evidently not be a problem. That’s one positive aspect to this.”
“Let you go?” he asked in a low, dangerous voice. “Let you go? And then what? Wait while you pick up your knife and try to kill me? I think not.” He squeezed slightly on the other’s throat again.
“NO!” his captive cried out, sudden fear filling his voice. “Just let me go and I swear I won’t..”
“No, you’re right,” he interrupted. “You won’t...because you really won’t like what I’ll do if you try.”
He twisted the other’s wrist slightly, provoking another cry.
“I’ll let go,” he continued, his voice dark and threatening, “but you move and you die. Understand?”
“Yes,” came the reply through tightly clinched teeth.
He let go and the thief stumbled forward, whirled around, then stood uncertainly in front of him, rubbing his wrist and watching him warily. The fog drifted slowly past behind him, diffusing what light the nearby street lamp shed and giving him an unearthly backdrop. The thief looked up into a pair of brown eyes that appeared faintly to glow and gulped, his blood running cold.
“Your name?” the man asked, looking down at the thief and crossing his arms.
“Why?” the other asked hesitantly.
“Because I asked,” he stated bluntly.
“Kheri,” came the response after a moment.
He nodded, then bent over and picked the knife up off the ground.
Kheri’s eyes darted to the street but prudence kept him from moving.
“You can call me Dale,” the man said, straightening up and handing the knife back to it’s owner.
Kheri looked at the knife suspiciously, then carefully reached out and took it, sheathing it quickly.
“So now what?” Kheri asked nervously, looking back up at the man who towered a full twelve inches over his slight, five and a half feet.
“First, give him back his pouch,” Dale replied, indicating the drunk. “Second, you just became my guide to this place. To start with, I need other clothing. You’re going to help me find some.”
Kheri opened his mouth to protest, caught the look on Dale’s face, nodded once, then dropped the pouch next to the drunk.
“What kind of clothes do you want,” he asked, his gaze wandering over Dale’s strange attire.
“Normal stuff,” Dale told him. “What any average, working man would wear.”
Kheri stared at the jump-suit for a couple more seconds then nodded.
Wizard's Bane is the first book of an exciting new Science-Fiction/Fantasy series. We meet the main character, Dale when he materializes in a dark alley and discovers two critical items very rapidly: his psionic powers are blocked and the world he has just appeared on is incredibly primitive compared to his own. The reason for his becoming stranded in a dark alley eludes him and he sets out to try and find not only a reason but also a way back home.
The people of this primative planet are like him in many ways and he is able to understand their language, but since he is in need of a guide, he presses into service a young thief. As the story unfolds, they form a solid bond of friendship, each learning about themselves and about the world they are traveling across.
In a rapid succession of events Dale discovers that a mysterious, and powerful, enemy has designs on world domination, that it has decided he is a threat and is trying to remove him from existence, and that the world he is stranded on is powered by magic not technology. He also makes the unsettling discovery that some of the worlds more exotic inhabitants were expecting him, even insisting that he is the fulfillment of certain prophecies.
In a desperate attempt to find out what is really going on, as well as save his own skin, he sets off to ask questions of the only people who might have the answers... the most powerful wizards in the world. Along the way he unwillingly collects several others who travel with him for their own reasons.
Book one of the Sojourn Chronicles is a novel of boundless imagination, wonderful characters and fast paced action that has been compared with the Shadow Trilogy by Chris Claremont and George Lucas. The series has already collected a loyal following, with most readers reporting that they are unable to put the books down.