My new Viking project
I’ve just had a very productive Zoom meeting with my new publisher and we have formally agreed the title and series title for my forthcoming Viking novel, which comes out in February. So a small drum roll please for . . .
Title: The Last Berserker
Series title: Fire Born: Volume One
Sub-title: An action-packed Viking adventure
Shout-line: The greatest warriors are forged in the flames
Here is a little extract from near the end of the book, to keep you going . . .
Extract begins . . .
They were assaulted all along the curving front wall simultaneously. Bjarki quickly exhausted the stock of javelins to hand, skewering five, six, seven enemies, with the hurled missiles, whose places were all immediately taken by other men; he found he was frantically clearing the wall in front of him with his axe, hewing at screaming Red Cloaks, slicing down at mailed shoulders, steel helms, battering faces away with jabs from the butt end.
He hacked into the side of a man’s head, bursting the skull open, and no sooner had the fellow flopped away than another Red Cloak lunged forward, stabbing with his short sword. Bjarki felt sure he had killed this same fellow not twenty heartbeats ago; but here he was again. It occurred to him that he must be somehow fighting the same man over and over again.
He deflected the sword strike with his shield; then punched the shield’s iron boss into the man’s roaring face, knocking him off his ladder. For an instant, nobody replaced him and Bjarki gripped the top rungs of the ladder and with a great heave he hurled it away from the pine wall, tumbling Red Cloaks thumping to the ground like apples dropping from a shaken branch.
The noise was incredible, the screams and yells, the clash and screech of metal on metal, the air stank of blood and foulness. Bjarki could hear trumpets calling, and officers shouting orders but his whole world was contained in the yard of sharpened pine logs in front of his body; and the folk who popped up and needed to be battered away. He swung and slipped in wet blood, mistimed his axe blow, and a Red Cloak sliced right through the shaft of his axe, the severed weapon falling from his numbed fingers.
His shield was way down and the man was lancing his blade towards his face; Bjarki could see the sword coming and was powerless to evade it.
Tor’s spear ripped into the man’s neck below his helmet strap, tearing out his windpipe and knocking him sideways; the sword passed harmlessly over his head. Bjarki was thoroughly sprayed with the fellow’s hot blood.
“Front rank, switch. Second rank, forward,” yelled Bjarki through a greasy mouthful of the dead fellow’s gore. The cry was taken up all round the perimeter. He stepped one pace back and allowed Tor to slide forward into his place. She immediately began punching her spear blade down, one-handed, again, again, into the crush of Red Cloaks below the lip of the wall.
Bjarki was panting like a dog; covered in blood – other men’s thank all the gods. But he felt as battered and bruised as if he had been rolled down a mountain in a barrel full of sharp stones. As he caught his breath, he saw that the strip of muddy once-green land between the Channel and the walls of Hellingar was now filled with Red Cloaks. There was no way on earth they could kill this many foes. They’d need a week to finish the job.
He looked left and saw that the slopes of the East Rampart, too, were a carpet of red cloaks, and glinting helms, and the battle was raging savagely all along the fence at the top. Frankish archers below were shooting volleys at the Command Post and the javelins were showering back down the slope in response. To his right, on the West Rampart, the situation was little different; but a section of the fence had been torn down, and the summit was one vast melee of struggling Red Cloaks and grim warriors of the North – all madly busy stabbing, hacking, killing, dying.
His own wall was only just holding, there were scores of broken bodies below on the inside of the fortress, men and women who had been wounded and had fallen back inside the walls, probably hastening their deaths. And the battle lines on the walkway were thinner, too. Where the warriors had once been crammed together, now there was ample room to swing an axe.
“It’s time,” said the inner voice. “You know it is time now.”
End of extract.
This novel – The Last Berserker – will not be out till February next year. At the moment it’s in the editing stage of the process. But if you would like to buy a copy of my latest action-packed Outlaw Chronicles adventure, Robin Hood and the Caliph’s Gold, you can do so by clicking here.