Good Morning !
Today I am bringing you an extract for the exciting novel Visions of Zaura by Suzanne Rogerson.
Two wizards, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past?
An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.
Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.
The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?
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Visions of Zarua is only 99p for a limited time to celebrate the book birthday.
Jago story takes place 350 years before Paddren’s begins. Jago’s scenes are written in first person and we join him as he arrives back at the city of Zarua from a pilgrimage of the realm and beyond. He’s received a letter from his brother warning him something dark is happening in the great city. Jago meets his old mentor and is thrust back into his former role as junior wizard, or so he thinks…
We entered the great hall amid a tide of Elders and juniors, all hastening to find a seat. The central stone pews were already full, while the tiers of seats encircling the room were filling fast; it seemed the whole magical community was attempting to cram into the expansive hall. Usually such grand gatherings were reserved for seasonal celebrations and annual graduations.
I hovered on the threshold of the room and scanned the sea of faces for Jaspen, trying to ignore the nerves fluttering in my belly.
‘Do you want to say a few words?’ Alnard asked, his tone almost gentle in its enquiry.
I frowned. ‘Say a few words about what? What’s going on?’
‘Isn’t this why you’ve returned?’
‘I came back because Jaspen asked me to. Where is he?’
Alnard put his hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eye. I saw his Adam’s apple shift as he gulped.
I knew that whatever he was about to say, I didn’t want to hear it. I tried to pull away from him, but there was strength in his old hands.
Using every ounce of will, I tore my gaze from his and found myself staring at his lips. I saw him form the words, and knew them before my ears even caught the sound.
‘No.’ I squeezed the letter in my pocket, my brother’s voice echoing in my head. He was here waiting for me, we were going to laugh off our stupidities – my need to escape, his paranoia.
My mentor squeezed my shoulders with his bony fingers, forcing me back to the present. ‘I thought you knew…’ Alnard’s eyes clouded over, and I heard the emotion catch in his throat. ‘I’m sorry.’
The truth crashed down on me, making it impossible to breathe. Jaspen was dead…
Somehow, I’d known. My subconscious had been trying to warn me ever since I’d stepped onto Zarua’s soil.
‘It was a week ago. We are about to hold his funeral; that’s why I thought you had returned.’ Alnard hung his head. ‘How stupid of me to assume…’
I forced my fist to unclench, releasing the letter in my pocket. I had to preserve it – my only memento of him and the last conversation we never had.
I pictured his face on the day we said goodbye. I’d never meant for it to be forever.
‘How did he die?’
A pained look creased Alnard’s face.
‘Please, however terrible, just tell me.’
‘Jaspen killed himself.’
I absorbed his words. ‘That’s not possible.’
Alnard hung his head, making no comment. I stared around the room over his stooped shoulders. Fetter Cairn sat at the back of the hall. He broke from his conversation to look at me and raised a hand in greeting, a brief flick of his wrist, nothing more to acknowledge the years we had been friends.
Numbly, I allowed Alnard to guide me to an empty seat at the front of the chamber. As we waited for the ceremony to begin, a dreadful certainty gripped me. Jaspen would never kill himself…
Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.
She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.
Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.
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