Wind – Drachengott Book 1
by KJ Taylor
Wendland is a land of dragons, and of magic. The mysterious Drachengott grants magic to his worshippers - but is he truly a god? Rutger von Gothendorf is only a simple furrier, but he has become his village's local eccentric, thanks to his obsession with the murder of his brother by the Drachengott's servants. He holds onto the vague hope that he will one day have the chance to fight back against them - until one day a mysterious and beautiful woman named Swanhild comes into his life. Rutger is instantly smitten - but Swanhild knows more than she says, and a web of lies and deceit threatens to sour the love beginning to grow between them.
And all the while, the Drachengott waits ...
The wind whistled through the darkness, shaking the branches all about and putting a chill into the air. It carried a scent with it, straight to Rutger’s nose. He took it in and immediately tensed.
‘Did you smell that, Horst?’ he hissed, snatching his older brother by the arm.
Horst shook him off. ‘Not now, Rut — we’re in enough trouble without worrying about funny smells.’
‘But it smells like rotting meat!’ Rutger insisted. He paused, ignoring Horst’s impatient look, and breathed in deeply. The smell hit him again — worse, this time. He retched slightly. ‘Can’t you smell it?’
Horst, big and muscular, turned his head in the gloom and sniffed. A moment later, he grimaced. ‘You’re right: something’s dead out there. Come on, let’s move on before we find out what.’
He strode off, Rutger hurrying after him. ‘You don’t think it’s spiders, do you?’
‘Could be,’ Horst said shortly. ‘Keep your eyes open.’
Rutger swallowed and put a hand on the hilt of the long dagger looped through his belt. He had never seen a giant spider before, and he wanted to keep it that way. Silently, he wished he had never asked to come out here into the forest with Horst. But it had all seemed so harmless — just a quick stroll through the forest to check Horst’s mink traps. But then they hadn’t been able to find the last trap, and now they were lost.
I really am the unlucky seventh son, he thought glumly.
If Horst was as worried as his brother, he didn’t show it. He walked slightly ahead, dead mink swinging from his belt. A big old woodaxe hung on his back, brought along for protection. Night was falling now, and the sooner they got out of here the better.
The forest all around was dense and looked threatening, its spiky pine needles sighing in the relentless wind. Night always seemed to come early here. But at least the putrid smell had gone away.
‘How close do you think we are now?’ Rutger asked in a low voice.
Horst shook his head. ‘Not sure — I think there’s a clearing up ahead, though.’
Rutger came to his brother’s side, and the two of them climbed a small rise into the clearing. The instant Rutger left the shelter of the trees, it hit him again: the hideous stench of rotting meat slamming into his nose, so powerfully that his eyes watered. Beside him, Horst had stopped. Rutger heard him swear softly. He looked up, intending to tell his brother that they should go — and then he saw it.
Ahead, in the clearing, a faint light began to glow. It shone on the dark, lumpy shapes which hung from the trees at the far side. Some could have been animal corpses, but the rest . . .
Horst wrenched the axe down off his back. ‘Get behind me, Rut,’ he said sharply. ‘Get out of here. Now.’
‘What—?’ Rutger started to say — but too late.
As the light brightened, two of the hanging shapes dropped to the ground and stepped forward. They wore rough leather tunics with hoods which covered their heads, but on each of their chests was a pair of red gemstones, set into an amulet. They glowed faintly in the light, making a halo over each of the two men, like a pair of glowering eyes.
‘Jüngen!’ Rutger heard himself say.
One of the pair pointed accusingly at them. ‘How dare you enter this sacred grove?’
Horst started to back away, axe raised.
The two Jüngen joined hands, and the light around them intensified as their linked hands rose. An instant later, a great flash blinded Rutger. He cried out as he fell back, but his voice was drowned out by a screeching roar from above.
A pitch-black dragon was hovering over the Jüngen’s heads, its eyes glowing red. Light crackled over its wings, and it roared again.
The Jüngen let go of each other, and the second of the two spoke to the dragon. His words were a short, cold command.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
K.J.Taylor was born in Australia in 1986 and plans to stay alive for as long as possible. She went to Radford College and achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at the University of Canberra, where she is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Information Studies.
She published her first work, The Land of Bad Fantasy through Scholastic when she was just 18, and went on to publish The Dark Griffin in Australia and New Zealand five years later. The Griffin’s Flight and The Griffin’s War followed in the same year, and were released in America and Canada in 2011. At the moment, she is working on the third set of books in the series, while publishing the second.
K.J.Taylor’s real first name is Katie, but not many people know what the J stands for. She collects movie soundtracks and keeps pet rats, and isn’t quite as angst-ridden as her books might suggest.
Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Drachengott-Wind-K-J-Taylor-ebook/dp/B00RKU7QP0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1441057188&sr=1-1&keywords=wind+k.j.+taylor
A little interview
A little interview
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Canberra (though I did spend a year in the UK as a small child, which might explain my weird accent). My father was a computer consultant (I say was because he’s since changed careers), and my mother is an environmental toxicologist. And my sister is a teacher.
What made you want to be a writer?
I adored books, hero-worshipped the authors who wrote them, and wanted to tell stories of my own. Pretty straightforward really! I first started trying to get published because I wanted validation, hahah.
What authors have influenced your writing and life?
When I was kid one of my favourite authors was Robin Jarvis, author of the Deptford Mice series. For a children’s series it was incredibly dark and violent, and often gruesome as well, with evil rats killing and eating mice and keeping their pelts as trophies. I sometimes wonder if this is why Mr Jarvis hasn’t published anything in a while – maybe the PC brigade put a stop to him. That’s depressing. But his books had a big influence on me, and I’m known for writing dark, violent stories myself these days – albeit for adults. I also still love William Horwood, whose Duncton Wood series has had a very clear impact on my prose style. Not to mention the philosophy in it, which fascinated me – he wrote his fictional religion in a very deep and thoughtful way, without becoming preachy, and allowed room for doubt – most of his heroes are believers, but plenty are athiests, and their friends don’t judge them for it. I think this series is a major reason why I too like to explore religion in my books, and I try my hardest to do it in a nonjudgemental way despite not being a fan of religion in real life.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
I write so much and so frequently – three days a week, seven hours a day without a break – that I have to be careful not to start repeating myself. That goes for both plot and prose; I tend to overuse certain words and phrases, and I’ve recently started watching out for that. I also have to be careful not to let myself write the same story over and over again – though it worked just fine for Dick Francis!
What are you dreams and plans for your future as a writer?
I don’t want to be a bestselling author, honestly. Most bestselling books are passing fads, and many of them aren’t even that good. I have no interest in becoming a slave to the whims of the market, or competing with other authors – that’s not what creativity is all about, and it’s not what I signed up for.
All I want is to sell enough books to be able to go on publishing them, so my fans can keep reading and find out what happens next. So I’ll go on putting out books for as long as I can, and see where we go from there!
But if you want my more grandiose dream, here it is: I dream of seeing one of my novels be picked up and adapted into a movie or a TV series – or even a graphic novel. That’s the one dream from childhood which I haven’t dropped, even if I know it’s unlikely to ever come true. But hey, once I thought getting published at all was an impossible goal, and look where I am now! Anything can happen in this business.
Describe your book in 5 words.
Giant Dragon. Four Weapons. Dreams. Gosh, that sounds like a movie tagline…
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
KJ will be awarding an eCopy of Wind to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway