Of Bone And Thun­der

THE AU­THOR

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Promotion - By Chris Evans

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.

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