Saturday, 17 May 2014

Book Spotlight ~ The Breath of Aoles (Ardalia #1) by Alan Spade

The Breath of Aoles (Ardalia #1)The Breath of Aoles (Ardalia #1)

Release Date: 27th February 2014

Genre: Science-fantasy

Pelmen hates being a tanner, but that’s all he would ever be, thanks to the rigid caste system amongst his people, the hevelens. Then he meets Master Galn Boisencroix and his family. The master carpenter opens up the world of archery to young Pelmen, who excels at his newfound skill. But Pelmen’s intractable father would have none of it, and tries to force Pelmen to stay in the tannery.

One day, however, Pelmen’s best friend and Master Galn's son, Teleg, disappears. Lured away by the prospect of untold riches through mining amberrock, the most precious substance in the world, Teleg finds himself a prisoner of the Nylevs, fierce fire-wielding worshippers of the god of destruction.

Now Pelmen must leave all he knows behind, overcome his fears and travel across the land, in search of his childhood friend. Along the way, he will ally himself with strange and fantastic beings: a shaman who controls the Breath of Aoles, or the power of the wind, a krongos, a creature of the mineral realm who can become living rock, and a malian, adept at water magic.

Buy: Amazon

Add to: Goodreads

About the Author

Alan Spade worked for eight years for the press, reviewing video games. In his youth, he acquainted himself with the classic French authors, while immersing himself in the works of H. P. Lovecraft, Isaac Asimov, J. R. R. Tolkien and Stephen King. That wide range of influences is reflected in his style, simultaneously approachable, visually evocative and imaginative.

Chapter One


It was hot in the tannery even though the doors and windows open to the outside allowed constant airflow. Unfortunately, in the first months of renewal, the air in the Canyons of Panjurub was already hot and dry. In the workshop, the fetid scent of dead flesh and tannin permeated everything. Even the hevelens’ sensitive noses could hardly distinguish the odor of their own sweat from the all-encompassing smells of the tannery.

The only clothes worn by the six tanners as they cut the hides and tanned them were a loincloth and light sandals. Like the majority of their fellow citizens living in Durepeaux, the six had shorn heads. Sweat glistened from their coppery skin, and ran into their globular eyes, but did not slow down the activity of their four-fingered hands in the slightest.

The youngest of the tanners was named Pelmen Arimal. Over the years, the flint he was using had striped his hairy skin with gashes, some more recent than others, and covered his hands with similar scars. He mopped his brow, watching his father Zenel from the corner of his eye. Zenel, a hevelen with a wrinkled face and yellow eyes, was busy plun-ging pelts into the tanning baths. His gestures were precise and sure.

Pelmen sighed. Sometimes, he envied that serenity, which never seemed to abandon his father. He was far from feeling it himself. On the contrary; when he pictured his father’s life, the life of a simple labo-
rer, living and dying a tanner, he could not help feeling sick at heart. The idea such a destiny might be his was almost more than he could stand! So many things in the world waited to be discovered, and he had to remain here, practically cloistered in this miserable stinking place?

Zenel’s response to his son’s discontent was one of disarming simplicity: “I don’t know how to do anything else.” One might have believed he was simply resigned to his fate, but the truth was even
worse. As Pelmen knew well, his father loved his job. Perhaps he had come to delight in the stench which enveloped him every morning when he went into the workshop and from then on, assaulted the nostrils at the slightest movement…or even to appreciate the company of the parasites infesting the nidepoux hides, which covered him with lumps all day long, making his skin almost as hard as wood. That did not even make Zenel blink. It was as if Pelmen and his father had been cast from two completely different molds!

The hours went by, interminably. As he often did these days, Pelmen summoned up the image of Alicene. Her delicate features, her pretty hooked nose and her rounded cheeks represented the ultimate
island of beauty to which he could cling. She was so far away, and as inaccessible as the goddess Tinmal, and yet she lived so close at hand!

Galn Boisencroix, the girl’s father, was a carpenter and master craftsman in Falsine, the next town over. If the order of things had been respected, a simple tanner, a Disinherited like Pelmen, would
almost never have had the opportunity to even cross his path, but…


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