Shadows of Ghosts
by Stefan Haucke
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Shadows of Ghosts carries readers to Enara, a kingdom at war with itself, where for centuries centaurs have been treated like animals because of their horse-like lower bodies; they’ve been forced to work as slaves in the southern agricultural provinces, and have been bought and sold like livestock. But a strong abolitionist faction has convinced many that centaurs’ human torsos, heads, and intellectual abilities make them humans, who should be liberated from slavery and granted the same rights as any other person.
After four years of being forced to live in a remote village and having to keep his real identity a secret, Cal Lanshire, days away from his thirteenth birthday, is given the best birthday present he can imagine. He is told the war is almost over and he will soon be allowed to return home.
But then an old acquaintance unexpectedly arrives with news that changes everything. Cal’s father, the king, has been assassinated.
Suddenly the outcome of the war and the very fate of the kingdom depend upon Cal being able to reach the capital where he will take his father’s place.
With only his crafty best friend by his side and an escaped centaur slave to guide him, can Cal make it through an enchanted, hostile wilderness, past the assassins sent to kill him, and back to the capital before it’s too late?
Cal walked on the bridge. With each step he took, he could feel the wooden planks under his feet gently bow from his weight, and he could feel the bridge casually sway like a dance partner each time he moved. The wind that was keeping the mosquitoes away seemed stronger now that he was on the bridge. Somehow he felt both afraid and overwhelmingly calm.
A beam of sunlight pushed through the clouds, and at the same moment Cal felt the planks disappear from under his feet, he felt himself being thrown to his right. One of the bridge’s rope handrails had suddenly snapped, and this caused the bridge to violently twist to one side. Cal had the strangest sensation that he was flying. He felt as if he was ascending to the sky, not tumbling downward.
The water slapped him, stinging his face, and then quickly engulfed him. He was blinded by the water’s murkiness; he could barely see the filtered light from above. His clothes absorbed the water and made him heavy. He felt as if invisible hands were reaching out in the darkness, grabbing his clothes, pulling him down. He was tempted to relax, to allow himself to sink. But no, he wasn’t ready for the darkness. Cal kicked his legs, bringing himself up toward the light.
When his head broke through the surface of the water, he inhaled and blinked the dampness from his eyes. Ellsben was waving wildly at him and shouting, “Swim! Cal, swim, swim, swim!” Mont was running toward the river, but Ellsben grabbed him by the back of the shirt, stopping him. Mont screamed Cal’s name.
Several long, black snakes slithered into the river. Once the snakes were in the water, Cal could no longer see them, but he knew they were coming toward him. On the other side of the river, behind him, he knew snakes were also slithering into the water.
What You Need to Know about the Structure of a Fantasy Novel
Every genre has a traditional story structure. This doesn’t mean every story written in the genre follows the traditional structure; however, every story written in the genre will have many elements of the traditional structure. It’s always interesting to see how closely an author follows or deviates from the traditional story structure in their genre.
For fantasy stories, the traditional structure basically follows these rules:
1. The hero of the story, usually a young person, is forced to undertake a journey that they are not prepared for and that they do not feel capable of.
2. The hero lives in a land that has fallen into troubled times usually due to an evil force that has gained strength and is taking over the land. It is up to the hero to save the land.
3. The hero is helped on his journey by an older, wise man who is frequently a wizard, such as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, or Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series.
4. The hero must face and defeat a dark figure. In The Lord of the Rings the dark figure is Sauron. In the Harry Potter series the dark figure is Voldemort.
5. Frequently the hero obtains a magic object that helps him on his journey. For example, Harry Potter’s wand.
6. The hero will come close to losing his life. After coming close to death, the hero finds and inner strength he hadn’t realized before that he possessed. This inner strength helps the hero complete his journey.
Other elements that you will often find in traditional fantasy stories:
1. The power of names. If a person’s true name is known that gives the one who knows the true name power over that person. This idea is featured prominently in The Wizard of Earthsea.
2. An animal that has a deep, spiritual, connection to the hero. An example is the dire wolves in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. Also this idea is prominently featured in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy where the main characters all have a daemon animal.
3. Dragons. The traditional dragon is a symbol of greed and destruction. It desires treasure and it destroys villages as it obtains or protects its treasure. However, recently dragons have been portrayed as ancient powerful animals that only a true hero or chosen one can tame.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Stefan Haucke, driven by the desire to learn about other cultures and the need for adventure, has traveled to over twenty nations. He rode a camel near the pyramids in Egypt, swam with sea lions in the waters of the Galapagos Islands, climbed the Great Wall of China, hiked near the Acropolis in Athens, went dog sledding in northern Michigan, and photographed polar bears in Canada.
Along his many travels, Stefan has successfully worked as a deckhand, a shepherd, a dispatcher for an emergency services unit, an electric meter reader, and an office manger. He has also found the time to study the literature and history of ancient Greece, Russia, and the United States, and loves reading folktales, fairytales, and urban legends. He also enjoys astronomy, and on clear nights can be found gazing at the stars and planets with his telescope.
My GoodReads page:
My Book can be purchased on:
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Indie Bound – Independent Bookstores