Of Bone And Thunder
Apocalypse Now meets The Lord Of The Rings in a bold new fantasy from the acclaimed
author of the Iron Elves trilogy.
Chris Evans is the author of The Iron Elves trilogy: Ashes Of A Black Frost, A Darkness Forged In Fire, and The Light Of Burning Shadows. He’s a historian as well as an editor of military history and current affairs, having worked with Ballantine/ Del Rey of Random House and then Stackpole books where he launched the highly successful Stackpole Military History series. Born in Canada, he now lives in New York City where he writes full time. Channelling the turbulent period of the Vietnam War and its ruthless pitting of ideologies, cultures, generations, and races against each other, military historian and acclaimed fantasy writer Chris Evans takes a daring new approach to the traditional world of sword and sorcery by thrusting it into a maelstrom of racial animus, drug use, rebellion, and a growing war that seems at once unwinnable and with no end in sight. “ON OF A POXY witch.”
Crossbowman Carnan Qillibrin craned his neck to watch a rag race over the treetops and disappear behind the other side of the mountain. He made out crouched figures on the rag ’s back, but he couldn’t see if any were hit by arrows. A billowing stream of gray smoke marked the rag ’s passage as a second barrage of arrows arced into the sky. The arrows’ flight grew erratic as they passed through the disturbed air in the rag ’s wake.
It was the third rag flight over the mountain today, although only the first to be shot at. Carny thought those were decent odds, but he doubted the higher- ups would agree. With more and more flights coming into Luitox from the Kingdom every day, Red Shield, like all the other shields that made up the second of three javelins in Seventh Phalanx, were being marched ragged trying to find the elusive archers.
SWith the sun already beginning to fall, all Carny wanted was to get back to the relative safety and comfort of their camp down among the dunes. Being that close to the water and the big sailing ships constantly arriving with more supplies and reinforcements gave him a sense of security completely absent when they went out on patrol.
Tired, thirsty, hungry, and bored, Carny wanted this day to be done. He lifted up the rim of his metal helm and said a silent prayer, hoping they didn’t have to go back up. So a few natives shot a few arrows at a rag. The crafty bastards wouldn’t be there if they went back up. They never were.
Silence reigned as Red Shield waited, strung out a third of the way down the mountain along the main dirt path. It was the one and only way the shield climbed and descended the mountain as the rest of it was a dense green tangle of palm fronds, vines, trees, and leafy plants.
“They’re going to make us go back up, I fucking know it,” Crossbowman Yustace Vooford said from farther up the mountain, spitting the words out. The lanky baker’s assistantturned- soldier carried a chip on his shoulder as big as one of his bragged- about loaves. “Keep it down,” Carny said, waving at Voof to lower his voice. “It was a few arrows at most.” “A few arrows?” Big Hog said, using his crossbow to point up at the mountain. “You might be about the only one of us that can read, but as sure as my crotch itches like a witch’s in a ditch full of thistles, you can’t count.” The pig farmer — large, beefy, and forever red- faced and sweating — shook his head, rattling the chain mail curtain that hung from the back of his helm.
Carny tried and failed to get the image of the itchy witch out of his head. “Fine, more than a few,” he said, lowering his voice in the hope that Big Hog would take the hint. “Still, the rag flew on, so we’re good. Right?” He pushed his helm higher onto his head to allow the air to get at his scalp. The liner slid back, releasing a stream of sweat. Carny wiped his brow with the back of his bare forearm. I might as well be wearing a damn forge on my head.