Dear friends, if you like a good chuckle, dim-witted heroes, and larger-than-life villains, then you'll love this fascinating series. On Wednesdays and Sundays, I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ stories. You can check in regularly and read them for free, or wait to buy the entire story when published.
#3: Gamblers who Cheat ® James Field. Part 01In this post: Alf's life was in a rut. But not for long…
Alf loitered outside his ivy-covered gatehouse one morning, scratched the stubble on his chin, and stared off into the distance with half closed eyes.
It was spring again, and birds sang in the treetops, but somehow there was no sparkle in their songs, especially when the constant drone of traffic from the nearby road dominated all other sounds. What he craved was adventure. His way of life as security guard at the Cloud Mansion was in a rut deep enough to smother him.
There was no thrill in his heart these days. He'd won his last three bare-knuckle fights with dreary ease. There had been no trespassers on the Cloud estate to deal with, and apart from his sparing fights with Bert and the company of his dumb robot, Crusher, he was almost always alone.
He missed his wild youth, when he'd been free and frank, a different woman in his arms each week and stopping men in dark alleys to steal their wallets. The only responsibility he'd toted was to himself. There were no bills, no house to keep, and it had always been easy to pick fights with stroppy guys in the pubs.
Now he lived in a comfortable tenancy, ate as much delicious food as he wanted, and had a steady income. Dull, dull, dull.
With a profound sigh, he closed the door behind him and sauntered off across the estate. He soon joined an overgrown lane that wormed its way through a dense and ancient forest. Reaching its end at a lofty stone perimeter wall, he passed through a high-security gate.
He now found himself in The Stables. In the old days, the village had been part of the Cloud Estate, a hamlet where servants and farmers lived. These days, it was a thriving privately owned riding stables for the rich.
Alf hovered at the gate and rolled his neck and shoulders. From a distance, the small village looked drowsy. But if nothing was going on, he'd soon find some mischief to liven things up.
To be continued…
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Like to know more about Alf, Bert and the rest of the gang? You can read their chaotic history in What on Earth. here to edit.
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Quest for Lost Heroes by David Gemmell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Good story. A little complicated maybe with all the weird cultures, clans, names and places, but by the middle it had me hooked. In a minor way, this reminded me of Lord of the Rings. All the elements are here: wizards, the void, brave heroes, damsels in distress, battles, action, and the search for an object that will save the world. In this case, a pig farmer's daughter!
Unlike many quest stories whose hero is a reluctant girl, this legend is about a bunch of magnificent old men. They are has-been heroes who miss the glory of war and set off on a quest just for something to do.
All sounds rather amusing, but this is serious stuff. One rape scene near the end of the story seemed unnecessary and almost had me throwing the book away in disgust.
Seemingly, it's the fourth in a series, so I came in a bit late, which explains why I found it tough to get into. Still reads fine as a stand-alone though. I shan't go back to read the earlier titles, but if there had been a follow-up, I would have read that too.
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James at Goodreads