Friday, 8 July 2016

Children of Swan by Coral Walker

Title: Children of Swan
Author: Coral Walker
Genre: YA fantasy/scifi

It seems that nothing could be worse than waking up one morning to find their parents have disappeared and their young brother Bo bawling his eyes out, but for Jack and Brianna, the squabbling teenage sibling rivals, the worst is yet to come.

Much to the bafflement and distress of their children, Marcus and Zelda have actually returned to their home planet, Cygnore. Marcus and Zelda, the runaway prince and princess of Bara and Rion, had a life on Earth. For twelve years, they lived happily and peacefully under the name of ‘Goodman’.

Bo is kidnapped. In hot-headed pursuit, Jack and Brianna plunge into a wormhole that takes them to Taron. Little did they know their impetuous arrival in Taron has placed the lives of their parents in peril. Locals catch them and bring them to an arena. In bewilderment and dismay, Jack finds himself fettered to a wall and examined by a smouldering-eyed and blue-skinned young woman of Bara, Lady Cici.

Lady Cici, the daughter of Lord Shusha, has come to the arena for one and only reason — to have them killed. She is to be engaged to Prince Marcus, their father, and she cannot afford their existence to jeopardize Marcus’ life and her forthcoming engagement. She must have them killed, and the arena, where slaves routinely fight to the death, is the perfect place.


      Teilo’s rhythmical movements continued, and there was no sign that he would stop. It was right there, face-to-face, life and death.
      How long was he going to do this for?
      Teilo’s body was now swaying to his right, and his knife was far away in his extended right hand, leaving his left side unguarded. Jack lunged forward as if Mr Bram were shouting in his ears, “Attack! Attack! Take the chance.” In front of him there was no longer a red-skinned being of flesh and blood, but a shadow, a shadow of death.
      The shadow ducked away just as he thought he was about to hit it. The momentum of Jack’s strike, increased by the weight band, unbalanced him and toppled him forward. As he struggled to keep his balance he dropped the knife to the ground. When he regained his footing, the sudden feel of a cold metal tip prodding his back froze him to the spot. Teilo’s knife was pressed firmly against him.
      He stood, shocked but poised — at least the bewildering dance had stopped.
      He waited for a split second for the knife to advance, curious about the delay. Hesitantly he rolled forwards. By the time he stumbled awkwardly to his feet, he was yards away from Teilo.
      The cold tip of the blade was fresh in his mind, bringing him out in a cold sweat. He could have killed him.
      The audience whistled and taunted the fighters, rebuking them for narrowly missing the chance to spill blood.
      A large, bearded man stood up from his seat. With a swish of his arm, he hurled a red fruit towards Teilo. Almost unmoving, with a twitch of his arm, Teilo met it with the blade of his knife. The fruit glanced off the blade with a clunk. The deflection took the fruit up to the top of the tall wall, where it smashed into Bagi’s face as he leaned too far forward over the edge of the wall.
      The audience roared with laughter as Bagi, cursing and stamping, furiously rubbed the juicy pink flesh of the fruit off his face and garments. “I’ll thrash you for that!” he threatened, beating the air with both his fists.
      Jack’s attention returned to Teilo, who winked back with a silly grin. Jack smiled back, but then, over Teilo’s shoulder, he saw Cici. She was staring down at him, unmoving, unaffected, reminding him of what was at stake.
      He must kill Teilo to save Brianna.

Author Bio:

Coral Walker was born and raised in China. She holds a BSc in Computer Engineering, MSc in computing and PhD in Computer Science and, and has spent most of her adult life striving for an orthodox, academic career path. She now lives in Wales, UK with her husband and three children. Becoming a mother, and teaching her children to live a fulfilled life resuscitated her fading dream of being an author. The urge to write became so great that she pursued her dream and the ‘Children of Swan’ trilogy is the upshot — a symbol of a new journey in life.

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