I thought it would be fun to lead up to Read Tuesday (9th December) with an excerpt from each of my books – which will have special offers available from the date of the excerpt through to Read Tuesday itself.

I’m going to be predictable and do them in sequence, choosing an excerpt I like – and you can tear it to pieces if you like.  I’m aiming to keep the excerpt to around 800 words. In case you haven’t read the Princelings series yet, I’ll give you a short introduction to the excerpt each time.

The Princelings of the East (Book 1)

George and Fred are the Princelings of the East.  They have just left their home, the Castle in the Marsh, to find out what is causing the Great Energy Drain and to fix it.  George is a noted engineer, at least in his own home.  Where he goes in this chapter is key to the whole series.  In fact, if you’ve read book 6, you’ll know I’ve been having to deal with the time paradox from a tricky angle!

From Chapter 3: The Tunnel Network

George awoke, feeling quite cold. Usually when he and Fred were asleep they kept each other warm. He realised instantly that Fred was no longer there, and probably had not been there for some time. How long have I been asleep, he thought, and why did Fred go off?

He fought down a sense of panic growing inside him and told himself to be sensible. Fred would not have gone far without him. The trouble is, which way had he gone? And, as George had turned around in his sleep, which way was which? The feeling of panic grew stronger, but his head took over and worked out that the way home would feel damp, and the way forward would hopefully be dry. “I wonder what became of that light?” he said out loud.

He dithered a few moments longer as the attraction of going home called. But if Fred wasn’t there, how attractive would it be? No, the only way was onward, so he put his nose towards the dry side and headed off round the corner and along the tunnel where earlier the light had shone in.

Soon he came upon the place where the tunnel widened and he saw that it forked. Oh, no, he thought, which way now? Fred’s lingering scent was overlain with the scent of another, so that it was almost masked completely. The other scent was in both tunnels. There was a very slight glow a little way along the left hand tunnel, as if a ring of faint glow-worms was crawling right around the sides, ceiling and floor of the tunnel.

“Fred must have gone to investigate this light,” he muttered to himself. “This must be the one he chose.” And he strode forward confidently.

As he passed the glowing ring, it burst into light. George seemed to be lifted off his feet and whooshed along a slide made of sparkling, swirling light. “Oo-er” he said, clenching his tummy to stop both panic and travel sickness. It was over in a matter of seconds, however, and George emerged from the end of a tunnel onto a grassy square bathed in sunshine. He stood there, blinking in the bright sunlight, wondering what had just happened.

“Stay where you are, you are completely surrounded!” ordered a voice behind him. George stayed stock-still. A small black and tan person came up beside him. “Sorry about that, but you are,” he said. “Welcome to the castle of Hattan – you are completely surrounded, because you’re in our sky courtyard!” and the little one laughed, watching George’s discomfiture.

“Greetings and good health to you and your family,” he said politely. “My name is George. Would you mind telling me slightly more about where I am?”

“Hi, George, my name is Raisin. Come over here and look at the view!”

George accompanied his new, apparently young friend across to one side of the courtyard and looked out through great stone arches, over low walls planted up with strawberries, to the view beyond.

Like his own home, Castle Hattan was on an island, but this island was full of towers festooned with greenery, mostly square towers, some with pointed tops, some with nice pyramids, and some with cones. They reached far down into the depths of the island, where they disappeared into a murky oneness that seemed to hum with people and machines. Beyond the towers was water, long strings of it that came together in a bay to the south where the sun reflected on it.

George recognised nothing. It all seems rather futuristic, he thought.

“Isn’t it great?” asked Raisin. George nodded, astounded. “You can look at it any time you’re here,” continued Raisin, “But now I think I’d better take you to the Boss.”

George followed Raisin to the corner of the courtyard where they went through an arch and down a few steps to the entrance of a comfortable apartment.

Raisin stopped at the door and coughed. “Come in” came a voice from inside. Raisin stepped aside and waved George through. “This is George, Uncle Mariusz,” he said, and he turned and left.

George went forward and saw a large person, in a black and white coat, examining him with his black beady eyes.

“Urr, well, hi, George.” he said. “I’ve kinda been expecting you.”

(c) J M Pett 2011, 2014

The Princelings of the East is permafree (for this year, at any rate).  You can get it here:

 

 

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Tuesday Read – Princelings of the East
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