The third and final instalment of The Starblade Chronicles, The Dark Assassin is out January 5 2017.
This is the epigraph that heads the first chapter:
‘Do not think that you will be returned to earth with a beating heart
And warm blood coursing through your veins.
You will not dine on fish or meat or berries.
Neither will you sip cool water from mountain streams.
Nor will you feel the warmth of the sun on your dead skin.
Each return will be extremely painful and
You may only dwell there during the hours of darkness.
Before the cock crows you must return to the dark.
Otherwise you will be burnt to ashes
By the first rays of the morning sun.’
Hecate, the Queen of the Witches
Check Out My New Blog
On The Arena 13 Website.
My ‘Commodore 64’ and ‘Arena 13’.
‘Arena 13’ started with my Commodore 64 computer and a language called ‘FORTH’.
Read the rest of the blog here.
‘The Dark Assassin’ Extract Two
‘What weapons and powers will I have in order to fight and defeat our enemies?’
‘You will have what you had before, Grimalkin – your blades, scissors and martial skills. Additionally, you will have greater speed and strength. During the hours of darkness, you will be invisible if you wish it, able to move swiftly and silently and slay with impunity. You will be my Dark Assassin and the Kobalos mages and their dark army will be your primary prey.’
‘For what you offer, that price is acceptable,’ I told her.
Hecate smiled. ‘I fear that you misunderstand me somewhat, Grimalkin.
I outlined the conditions of your return to earth. I have not yet stated the price.’
I did not like the gloating smile that illuminated the face of the goddess. I feared that the price would be terrible.
I was correct.
‘The price is the blood of the girl who cowers behind you.’
Thorne stepped to my side but I put my finger vertically to my lips to bid her to be silent.
‘Why do you need the blood of Thorne?’ I demanded angrily. ‘Why do you demand that particular price?’
THE DARK ARMY - Out now!
‘We face a dark army, but its whole is greater than just the Kobalos military might, and far larger than the terrible battle-entities that they have created.
It includes the gods who support them – deities such as Golgoth, the Lord of Winter, who will blast the green from the Earth and create a road of ice along which their warriors may glide to victory.'
As promised here is an extract of The Dark Army.
‘Jenny Calder's account'.
The next attack happened on 31 October – Halloween. Alice had gone off to Pendle again – supposedly to continue negotiating for the support of the witch clans in the fight against the Kobalos. That’s what Tom believed, though I had my doubts. Halloween was the most important of the witches’ sabbaths,and Alice was a witch, wasn’t she? Even Tom had to accept that.
No doubt she was dancing around a fire with her sister witches, summoning the power of the dark. On reflection I suppose I didn’t really think that but the idea crossed my mind – I still saw Alice as the biggest threat to my apprenticeship. She would surely want Tom all to herself in that Chipenden house. These bitter thoughts were still whirling around my head when I finally drifted off to sleep.
I was woken by a pounding at my door: Tom was calling out my name. ‘Jenny! Get dressed and come downstairs now!’
I heard his boots thumping down the wooden stairs. He sounded alarmed, so I dressed quickly and followed him down.
He was standing by the back door, holding his staff, the Starblade in his shoulder scabbard.‘The village is in danger – we must warn them. Pick up yourstaff and that lantern and follow me!. Within minutes we were racing down the slope towards Chipenden village. I wondered how Tom knew about the danger. I suspected Alice might have used a mirror to scry the threat. ‘What is it, Tom?’ I asked. ‘Has somebody warned you of danger?’
For a moment I thought he wasn’t going to reply.
‘It’s one of my gifts, Jenny. I can sense the Kobalos close by in the County: the village is in danger. If I’m wrong, it’ll cost the villagers a night’s sleep; if I’m right, it’ll save their lives.’
Check out the Arena 13 website at www.arena13.co
With the sun trying hard to come out the first official session of the Arena 13 tour started to a captivated audience of years 3, 5 and 7 at Holy trinity primary school. They had previously been visited by Spook Johnson so they were all familiar with the books. I didn’t want to scare them too much so I left Arena 13 out of my talk. Again there were interesting questions so my publicist recorded some of my answers, which I have used to create an FAQ at the end of this blog…
Read the rest of this blog about the recent Arena 13 tour at http://www.arena13.co/blog/
Look out for the exclusive edition at Waterstones, which contains a Q&A and an extra story, My Name is Kwin. I signed 1000 copies for the June release.
My Name Is Kwin I stare at the face in the mirror and mouth the command that begins the ritual: ‘Paint it black!’ The girl in the mirror obeys immediately, her right hand tracing the contours of her top lip with swift, precise strokes. It is time for the second command. ‘Paint it red!’ Once more the hand obeys, this time painting her bottom lip the rich red colour of arterial blood. I smile, and she smiles back at me. But we shouldn’t be smiling, should we? So we twist our features into a suitable scowl. Now she looks fierce. She is someone to be reckoned with. Her dark hair is longer on one side, reaching down to her jaw; on the other it barely reaches her eyebrow, so the scar 308 309 is clearly visible: a thin diagonal line that extends from just below her left eye to her mouth.
I will be on tour for the three weeks as from June 15th, visiting schools in Lancashire, Kent and around Manchester.
See you there!
Joseph Delaney is a full time writer living in Lancashire, in the heart of Boggart territory.
He is the author of the Spook's - Wardstone Chronicles, a thirteen book series that concluded in 2013 and A New Darkness, the first book in the next series The Starblade Chronicles. The second book The Dark Army was released January 7th 2016.
In June 2015 he published Arena13, the first in a fantasy horror series - you can find out more about this at www.arena13.co .
His tales about the Spook and his apprentice Tom Ward are very much inspired by Lancashire folklore and landscape although the books refer only to the County. Boggarts and witches are the main routine enemies of the Spook and his apprentice, Tom but the Devil also features in many Lancashire Folk Tales and has entered the Spook’s Series too, mainly referred to as the Fiend. He is the dark personified, the adversary that Tom was born to fight; a deadly struggle that began in ‘The Spook’sBattle’ (published in June 2007)and continues until the last book in the series.
Joseph first got the idea for the series when he moved to the village where he lives now and discovered there was a local boggart - ‘a man like me needs boggarts around’. He made a note in his notebook ‘a story about a man who hunts boggarts’ and years later developed this into ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’, the first book in the series.
The first series has been translated into 28 languages and the first book in The Wardstone Chronicles, The Last Apprentice inspired a major motion picture, Seventh Son directed by Sergei Bodrov. It stars Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes and Alicia Vikander.