Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Shadow of Black Wings by James Calbraith: Tens List and Excerpt: FMB Tour Stop

 




James Calbraith is a 34 year old Poland-born writer, foodie and traveller, currently residing in South London.
 

Growing up in communist Poland on a diet of powdered milk, Lord of the Rings and soviet science-fiction, he had his first story published at the ripe age of eight. After years of bouncing around university faculties, he moved to London in 2007, found a decent IT job and started writing in English. His debut historical fantasy novel, ""The Shadow of Black Wings"", has reached ABNA semi-finals. It was published in July 2012 and hit the Historical Fantasy and Alternate History bestseller lists on Amazon US & UK.

 



 

I’m gonna go with a list of 10 favourite movies, because I’m a movie junkie J 

I list them in no particular order. It’s too hard to choose the best one.

 

1.       Blade Runner, by Ridley Scott

Best science fiction movie Hollywood ever made. Still. Ridley Scott burned all his talent on this one.

 

2.      Seven Samurai, by Akira Kurosawa

Every single movie by Kurosawa could appear on this list, but Seven Samurai is his most epic and famous one.

 

3.      After the Rain, by Takashi Koizumi

A movie Kurosawa didn’t live to make, it represents the quintessential Japanese “nothing really happens” story.

 

4.      My Neighbour Totoro, by Hayao Miyazaki

Hard to choose one Miyazaki movie, but Totoro is the one I’ve seen the most times, so it goes here.

 

5.      Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence by Nagisa Oshima

David Bowie’s best role. Takeshi Kitano’s acting breakthrough. Fantastic music. And a final scene that is, to me, the most emotional scene in all of cinema history.

 

6.      2001: Space Odyssey, by Stanley Kubrick

Another director with a long list of great movies. Space Odyssey is more than just a sci-fi movie – it’s a religion.

 

7.      A Scene at the Sea, by Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano’s first “non violent” movie, and a masterpiece of understatement.

 

8.     Kill Bill 1&2, by Quentin Tarantino

I know “Pulp Fiction” is regarded as his best one, but I can watch Kill Bill non-stop on a loop. It just never gets old.

 

9.      Lawrence of Arabia, by David Lean

I’ve recently seen it in cinema – a full, four hour version. Any movie that manages to keep you for four hours in the seat deserves a place on the list.

 

10.  Stalker, by Andrey Tarkovsky
 
I grew up on Soviet science fiction, especially novels of Strugatsky brothers. Tarkovsky’s version of their most famous book is a pure work of cinematic art.
 
 
 
 


 
 

Title: The Shadow of Black Wings

Series: The Year of the Dragon #1

Author: James Calbraith

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Alternate History,

Publisher: Flying Squid

Format: Ebook and Paperback

Length: 70000 words 

Purchase: Amazon |

 

Book Description:

 

"Fast paced and full of energy"

--Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the Shadows of the Apt

 

"This manuscript is full of highly crafted detail that will make readers shiver at times with fear and delight ... a familiar yet highly original fantasy that is a worthwhile read."

-- Publishers Weekly

 

"The real-world cultures are incredibly well-researched and truthful, and yet well-balanced with the fantasy elements. An intriguing and impressive series."

-- Ben Galley, author of the Emaneska Series

 

It is the Sixteenth Year of Queen Victoria. In the powerful empire of Dracaland, Bran, a young dragon rider, joins his father on a military expedition to the mysterious lands of the Orient. In the reclusive Yamato, Sato, a tomboy samurai girl, strives to prove her right to inherit her father's school of western magic. Nagomi, a timid shrine apprentice, is haunted by the visions of dark future she must keep secret even from her best friend.

 

They don't know it yet, but their paths will cross... And when they do, nothing will ever be the same again.

 

Welcome to The Shadow of Black Wings, a steam-powered romp across the land of dragons, wizards and samurai. It's big, it's fast, it's been compared to Tolkien in terms of world-building, it has strong female characters and lots of carefully researched detail. You will meet the Royal Marines sailing mighty ironclads and Chinese walking machines; mysterious warlords and crazy inventors; you will discover dark prophecies, family secrets and blood-thirsty demons. And all that in just the first volume!



He tugged both sets of reins sharply and leaned back. The dragon pulled up and rolled on its back in a tight half-loop. Ground whizzed past the top of Bran’s head. He jerked the top leeward rein. A leather strap fastened to the base of one of the dragon’s horns tightened, and the mount turned upright. With one beat of its leathery wings it caught a strong waft of the Ninth Wind and its flight stabilized. Bran breathed out.
            The series of maneuvers finished, Bran brushed an unruly fringe of black hair out of his bright green eyes and bade his mount swoop down towards the target range. The dragon needed no guidance here. They had been practicing on the range for two years and both knew exactly what to do. The beast turned confidently towards the first objective, a large bale of straw. The dragon’s neck stretched in a straight line, its jaws opened.
            It coughed to no effect as the target dashed past. Shaking its head, the beast turned around to try again. Again it merely coughed and spluttered with great effort. A thin plume of smoke puffed from the dragon’s nostrils.
            ‘What’s wrong, Emrys?’ Bran asked, distraught.
            The dragon whimpered. It could not breathe fire. The boy quickly recognized the symptoms and the acrid smell of the dragon’s breath. Somebody had fed it Iceberry water.
            Only one person was capable of such a cruel prank on the day of the exam; but there was no time to think of vengeance. Seconds were running out, the teachers below were no doubt already frowning at his lack of performance. Not one of the targets had, as yet, been set on fire.
            Fire… He didn’t need Emrys’ breath. He could channel the power of flame himself. It would have far shorter range and energy, but it could still work…
            Bran focused on the Farlink. The mental connection enabled him to steer the dragon with much greater precision than reins and spurs. The beast, following his unspoken orders, dived once more towards the bale of straw. He only had a split second as the mount sped past the target, whooshing a few feet above the grass at a dazzling speed. He reached out with his fingers.
            Rhew!’ he cried in Old Prydain, his chosen spell-tongue.
            A blazing bluish spark of dragon fire shot from his fingers. Its tip reached the straw and the bale burst into flames. Elated, he repeated the exercise with the next target, a wooden horse, then with yet another and another, five more times in total. With each objective destroyed his exhaustion grew. Repeatedly channeling the dragon flame drained his energy immensely. At last he managed to land before the teachers’ observation tower, panting, sweating, too tired to even dismount. Struggling to keep his eyes open, he listened to the Master of Aerobatics assessing his trial.
            ‘That was certainly… unorthodox,’ the teacher said, coughing nervously, ‘but you did hit all your targets in time, so I have no choice but to pass you.’
            Bran sighed deeply and closed his eyes. All thought of revenge on Wulf disappeared from his mind. It didn’t matter anymore, he had passed his final exam - he was out of the wretched place at last. 


 


Tour Schedule:
 
March 1st- Love in a Book (Book Soundtrack)
March 2nd- Deal Sharing Aunt (Review/Giveaway)
March 3rd- Musings of a Writing Reader (Extended Excerpt/Giveaway)
March 4th- KMN Books (Guest Post/Giveaway)
March 5th- Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews (Interview)
March 6th- Happy Tails and Tales (Review/Giveaway)
March 7th- TheFourHorsemenSeries Book Reviews (Excerpt/Giveaway)
March 8th- Sweet n' Sassi (Review/Giveaway)
March 9th- Books & Tales (Interview)
March 10th- Free eBooks Daily (Spotlight/Giveaway)

 
 


8 eBook copies and 2 print copies of 
The Shadow of Black Wings by James Calbraith 
Ends 04/03/2013
 
 





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