Mantivore Warrior, the third book in The Arcadian Chronicles series, now is decently clothed in a cover, designed by my awesome friend Mhairi Simpson. I love the series branding – she’s done a great job of evoking the sense of the tension surrounding Jessob, my new protagonist in this latest adventure to befall Vrox, my grumpy telepathic alien. Even if you haven’t read the first two books in the series, given that this book features a new protagonist and takes Vrox on a completely different undertaking – it’s a good entry point.
BLURB for MANTIVORE WARRIOR
Setting out to cross The Arids is always dangerous – but this time, when the survival of an ancient sentient species hangs in the balance – it could be lethal…
Jessob Jolanzo, raised within the most powerful and remote mantivore lair on the planet, has roamed The Arids since he was knee-high to a hen. Having succeeded in his seemingly impossible mission, he and his companions are returning with a message of hope to the beleaguered mantivore community. But the way things are going, they’ll need a huge helping of luck to return them safely to the hidden mantivore enclave.
Vrox, apex predator and telepath, holds in his head ancient secrets many powerful humans in Gloriosa Prime would rather keep hidden. And his lifelong captivity leaves him unprepared him for this brutal journey.
Mistress Felina Keeper, former village Storekeeper, is now MindLinked with Vrox and accompanying him on this trek. Resourceful and possessed of formidable mental strength, her presence should help. But Jessob is discovering that while middle-aged mantivores become ever tougher and stronger – the same isn’t true of ageing humans.
And when an attacker strikes from a completely unexpected quarter, it isn’t only future of the mantivore race in peril – Jessob risks losing his mind…
Mantivore Warrior is now available at Amazon on pre-order, with the release date on 31st August. If you are interested in reading a review copy, they are now available at Booksprout – and here is the link. Or if you’d rather approach me directly, as a regular visitor to the blog, then let me know below.
Here is a sneak peek…
It’s nearly my favourite place in all the world, sitting by a campfire after a long night’s trek. Though my pleasure was dented when Mistress Felina’s face crunched into the scowl I’d grown to dread. “Roaching lizards, again?”
“When roasted till crunchy, there’s nothing tastier.” I put the bundle of lizards down onto the rock beside her, having already gutted an’ beheaded them, after she’d grumbled about that. “Vroxy won’t—”
“I got the ringside seat to Vrox’s kill, thank-you kindly. And to him gobbling it up,” she snapped. “Still trying to wipe it outta my mind so’s I can think of supper without wanting to puke. And then you show up with a bunch of headless lizards!”
Vrox whickers pleadingly. Can Lordling ease our Queen’s aches, so Vrox can return to a peaceful fireside and warm his chilled scales?
It will be done, Vroxy. I’ll need more HealDrool from you when you get back, though, I Sent. Sorting through my pack, I found the right phial, unwrapped it an’ placed it beside me.
While stacking the kindling, Mistress Felina looked across, face-scrunching again as she spotted the phial. “Don’t need that. Not now, Jessob! I’m busy.”
You’re hoed flat an’ hurting. An’ busy proving that you aren’t a cripped old woman Vroxy an’ me should leave behind. Which we won’t cos you’re tired an’ sore, but we might if you go on being such a drab-scaled misery. I grinned at her, hoping to soften her mood.
Vrox squeals, horrified at Lordling’s slack-crested incivility to his Queen and wants her to know he’d no such thoughts.
Mistress Felina chuckled, a throaty, terracotta sound full of comfort an’ warmth, before putting the lizards in a pouch hanging from Leggsie’s round metal body. Leaving anything dead lying around in The Arids for more than a handful of heartbeats was asking for trouble.
I sucked in a deep breath, tasting the multi-coloured scents of the campfire, Leggsie’s blue, metallic tang an’ Mistress Felina’s musky ochre humanity. Staring up at the vast star-spattered sky vaulting overhead, I wondered what Dorn was doing… Is he part of a night-time reccie? Probably not. Probably LoveDrooled up to his neck crest an’ twining tongues with Gristor. Not an image I wanted to linger on.
I shifted across to the boulder next to Mistress Felina. “C’mon then. Let’s have them. The right one, first. That’s the one hurting most.”
Mistress Felina lifted her right foot with a wince, grumbling, “And that’s the trouble with this MindLinking flamdoodle. Some roaching teener starts telling you which foot is giving you the keenest grief.”
I propped her foot on my knees, unbuckled her boot an’ eased her swollen foot free. Squeezing out a tiny amount of HealDrool, I worked it into the roughened sole, marvelling at the way human elderly skin wrinkled an’ folded, so unlike mantivore hide. I made sure to gently knead extra across the purplish lump sticking out by her big toe joint, which ached most of all. I caught the name of it from her thoughts… A bunion. Sounds nasty an’ sore. “There’s nothing to stop you riding a hover-trolley, for a spell.”
“Don’t you start treating me like some lamed liability!” she snapped, yellow fear-notes threading through her voice. “I’ve been trudging through the roaching Arids before you were a kiss on your papa’s lips.”
“Aye, I know.” I lowered my voice an’ raised my mental shields so Vroxy couldn’t listen in – him still tending to MindSnoop. Even though we’d had plenty of talks on why he shouldn’t. “Thing is, Vroxy gets his scales in a swirl when you’re sore, or stenched. Or both. An’ we need him to track those stray vores nice an’ calmlike. He goes in remotely stirred up, that lord will reckon he’s trying to move in on his queen an’ cubs.”
Mistress Felina swapped over feet, already more relaxed as the HealDrool started doing its stuff. “Hm. That’s a thing I hadn’t considered.”
Mistress Felina accepting she might be wrong? That only happens once in a purple tide… Meanwhile I was coping with her relief from the pain, along with a giddying rainbow surge of pleasure as I applied the rest of the HealDrool. “Try raising your shields.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Hoeing you flat with my mind fluff, am I?”
“You’re loud.” So very, very loud. I pushed down my panic at the havoc her untrained Sendings could have on new-borns, cub-starved queenlings an’ mood-scurfed lords once we arrived at the Much-Tribute Horde. The Queen’s coterie will likely scoop her up an’ protect her, seeing as she tastes so powerfully of an old mantivore Queen full of wisdom. Won’t they?
She shut her eyes, breathing deeply.
I surfaced from the swamp of her pleasure at having no more aching feet, now I’d finished applying the HealDrool.
“How’s that?” she demanded, opening her eyes again. “Cos I’m all but rupturing my sorry self keeping my thoughts locked down.”
An’ you might as well not be bothering.
An amazing cover indeed, and I like how that moon (?) is a recurring motif in every book: this one, probably because of the cowled figure, has an ominous vibe to it that makes it quite intriguing!
I’m glad you think it’s an arresting cover, Maddalena:). I didn’t want Jessob’s face to be seen. Partly because I have such a strong sense of what he looks like and couldn’t find a hooded figure who resembled him:)). And, while the tone of the book isn’t all that gloomy – I don’t do bleak – there is a fair amount of danger swirling around him.
I love the unique voice of your protagonist😁 Congrats on such a nice cover, i can tell it fits well with the rest of the series!
Thank you! Jessob is very dear to my heart – he was initially my main protagonist for the first two books – but I ran into problems. So it’s lovely to have successfully integrated him back into the series, again:)).
This cover fits well with the others and I like that you’ve mentioned it can be read as a new starting point. Always good to know.
I’m glad you think the branding is strong. And yes – while it will be a while, this is a world I want to revisit, at some stage.
I own the first two books. My reading has been slow during covid as I have fallen more into audiobooks, but they are in my TBR pile. Congrats on the new release!
Thank you for your good wishes – and for buying the first two books.
I know what you mean – the onset of the lockdown and COVID has completely upended allll my reading plans for the year!
Lovin’ the flow of the cover styles and the unique voices inside this first chapter! Isn’t it lovely when we can hang out with a character we love writing? I’ve been wondering if I should do another story with Sumac, but I’m not sure if it would be another historical fantasy or hunt around with him in the present…
Thank you! I am really pleased with the strong branding of the cover design and I think they look good together. And thank you for your kind words regarding the writing. You are right about the joy of writing a favourite character – and my advice – for what it’s worth – is to write what calls to you. I know we are supposed to ‘write to market’ but I have read books by too many Indie authors who heeded that – and find the writing lacks passion and fire. Loving the latest Prince born by the way… Am about a quarter of the way through! x
Aaaaaaaaaaa you got me all nervous now! I do hope you enjoy it. 🙂 And you are RIGHT about writing what calls to you. Nothing drains a writer like forcing oneself into a particular hole for the sake of marketing. Blech.