– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Vile’ blogtour, organised by Love Books Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Keith Crawford is a retired Navy Officer, a disabled veteran, a Doctor of Law & Economics, a barrister, a stay-at-home Dad, and a writer. He has written for collections of scholarly works, academic journals, and newspapers including The Economist. He has had more than thirty plays recorded or produced for stage, been listed in a variety of short story competitions (in spite of his hatred of short stories), and runs a radio production company, www.littlewonder.website, which regularly runs competitions promoted by the BBC to help find, develop and encourage new writers.
In 2014 he was lecturing at Sciences Po in Paris and negotiating a contract to write a book on banking regulation, when he and his wife discovered to their delight that they were due to have their first child. Rather than writing more work that would only be read by his poor students, and then misquoted by politicians, he decided he would do his bit to stick his fingers up at the patriarchy and stay home to look after his own kids rather than the grown-up kids of rich people. Two more children swiftly followed. Keith has discovered that if you recite Stick Man backwards you get the lyrics to AD/DC’s Highway to Hell.
This (looking after the kids, not satanic rites with Stick Man) allowed him to support his wife’s career, which appears to be heading for the stratosphere, and also gave him the space to write about swordfights and explosions. And spaceships. All of which are more fun than banking regulation. As an extension to his work in radio production, he set up his own small press, and his first novel, Vile, is due to be published in December 2019. More novels will swiftly follow, like buses in countries that don’t privatise the bus companies.
Elianor Paine is a Magistrate of the Peace in the Kingdom of Trist and a republican secret agent. She has 6 days to subvert her investigation, supplant war-hero Lord Vile, then coerce his adult children to start a revolution, before her masters discover the truth and have her killed. Just how far is she willing to go? And can she change the world without changing herself?
Nathaniel stopped eating. He flickered his eyes back and forth across her face, as though he was trying to absorb each detail. They sat together for a while, he watching her, she kicking the reeds with her right foot. Then she reached into his lap and took another apple.
“Why did you send the letter to Lord Carada? Asking him to send a Magistrate?”
She took a bite. The juice rose to her lips.
“I thought you’d ask how I managed to lie to you.”
“I figured that out for myself,” she lied. “What started all this?”
“I had a fight with my father,” Nathaniel said. “Four months ago. A week later, Catrin, one of the barmaids from The Last Chance, went missing. And she was only the first. You’ve seen the list. Once I saw the pattern, I had to do something.”
“What pattern? What did you argue about?”
“I told him I wanted to leave. To study in the capital, or travel, or join a pirate ship and sail the archipelagos—whatever. But I’m a prisoner. He won’t even let me go to the monastery to see my mother’s grave.”
“If you want to leave, leave. What’s stopping you?”
“Answers. He’s hiding something—something important.” He gazed beyond the river, where the sky turned black and the first stars came out. “I mostly said it to provoke him, which I guess was pretty successful. He’s the great Arbalest Vile. Where can I go far enough away from him?”
She finished her apple and tossed the core into the river.
“What did he say when you told him you wanted to leave?”
“It wasn’t much of a conversation. He picked up a chair from the long table and smashed it across my back then, when he saw the chair was broken, beat me with the leg.”
Elianor had seen Nathaniel fight. He remembered him complaining how unalike he was from his twin, Persephone, and yet she found it difficult to imagine either submitting to anyone. But then she remembered the shadow of her own father, banging his fist at the head of the breakfast table.
“Why was he so angry? Did you fight back?”
“I think he was mostly upset that I’d broken the chair. And no, I didn’t fight back. I let him hit me. I don’t know why. Afterwards he looked at me as if I were something he had found under his boot. Like something he had decided to replace.”
She sat close enough that their knees touched. He looked up at the stars and even beneath the night sky his eyes were as blue as a child’s. She thought about the tattoo on his chest, hidden by his shirt.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “You didn’t want to hear all that.”
She kissed him.
He pushed her hood back and pulled her closer, his right hand in her hair. She slid one hand up his back and with the other, unbuttoned his cardigan. The apples tumbled as she swung her knee over and sat on his lap, chest to his chest.
“Take off your shirt,” she said.
He froze, his hand on her nape.
“Fine,” she said, kissing him again, smiling with her lips touching his. “I’ll go first.”
She shucked off her coat, tossing it up the bank so it wouldn’t float away on the river, then pulled off his cardigan. The dressing dragged at her injured side. He was breathing hard. She undid the top buttons of her blouse and placed his left hand just beneath her collar bone, leaning in closer and encouraging him to run his fingers down, just as she slid her own between the top buttons of his shirt.
“Stop,” he said.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds