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The Banneret is Out Today!

Hello all!

I hope you’re all keeping well!

As the title suggests, I’m pleased to announce that today is release day for The Banneret – Blood of Kings Book 2. It picks up Conrad’s story a few years on from where the first book left off, just as the demon menace rears its ugly head once more. Things are going to get tense!

The ebook, and audiobook narrated by John Lee, are available now and the paperback will follow soon. You can pick up a copy today at the following links:

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Australia

Amazon Germany

Here’s the back cover copy of The Banneret to give you a taste of what the book is all about:

Demons have been hunted to the verge of extinction. Those who know of the horrors lurking in the dark act as though the threat is long past. It has allowed Conrad to continue his education undisturbed, to work towards joining his friends as a comrade-in-arms rather than a child to be protected.

The appearance of two powerful demons changes everything. The creatures are back, stronger than ever, and the years of quiet are at an end. The Principality finds itself in need of demon hunters once again. Conrad and his comrades are the ones for the job.

The chain of clues draws them ever closer to what their unseen enemy desires, and they find themselves in a deadly race to stop it from regaining its former power.

Work on the third book in the trilogy is already well underway, so hopefully it won’t be too long a wait for the final installment! I hope you all enjoy reading The Banneret, and I want to thank you all for the support and interest you’ve shown in my work!

Best wishes,

Duncan

The Banneret Excerpt

Hey everyone,

I hope you’re all keeping well!

With the second part of the Blood of Kings trilogy coming out next week, I wanted to post a short excerpt of the story to whet your appetite!

A chill ran across Conrad’s skin. His hands were shaking when he looked at them. What was in that Ruripathian whisky? he wondered. In consideration of the day, they’d been drinking the good stuff—at least, that’s what Godfrid had said… He stared at his hands and tried to get them under control.

It took him a moment to reach far enough into his memory to understand why there was something familiar about this. His thoughts returned to a day he’d long tried to forget. The day his friend Henni had been killed. By demons. He was experiencing that same reaction to their presence. Here and now.

As if the chill on his skin was not already enough, it suddenly felt as though he’d been hit by an icy blast direct from the snowy peaks of the High Places. He looked around, his heart racing, and cursed for allowing himself to become drunk.

He had not seen a demon since that day in the small village in the east of Ruripathia. To the best of his knowledge, few had. He’d let his guard down. Grown complacent. He cursed again.

He looked around, feeling far more sober. It was odd what a moment of absolute terror could do for you. There were few people on the street at that hour of the evening, and most of them were either coming from or going to the Golden Belek.

A figure passed through the junction at the end of the street, a hooded cloak hiding its features. Every hair on Conrad’s body stood on end, and he was certain this person was the cause. He watched them pass out of sight, then decided to follow.

He moved as quietly as he could along the cobbled street, pausing at the corner and peeking around to make sure his quarry remained unaware of the pursuit. In the months and years that had followed Burgess Werner Berndorf’s mysterious death, things had gone quiet with regard to demons and demon magic. For a few months, royal troops had hunted and exterminated small groups of them, randomly roaming the countryside with no apparent aims, but that operation had not taken long. Now there were only infrequent sightings of the creatures, almost always alone and in isolated areas.

When one did appear somewhere—usually a remote village—it had to be dealt with, but they were comparatively rare events, and the creatures were always feral. Their more sophisticated brethren had disappeared. Gradually, the princess and her advisors concluded that, with Burgess Werner dead and his dabbling in demon magic stamped out, the threat had ended. Conrad had to admit that all the evidence supported this conclusion, but demons were not something he could ever forget, nor something he could fully believe would go away.

Until that moment in the street outside the Golden Belek, he had wondered if he was being a fool to cling to the past; if he was simply paranoid considering the horrible things that had befallen him and his family at the hands of the demons. Everyone else had given up on the idea, seeming satisfied that defeating Burgess Werner had been the victory. That only a little cleaning up remained. It was not an idea to which Conrad had ever been able to reconcile himself.

Aside from continuing to monitor the situation and search out artefacts and information that could better arm Crown agents against the use of demon magic, the Crown’s interest in demons had dwindled, and the resources made available to hunting them down had done likewise. Nicolo, Frantz, and Qenna were amongst the last few demon hunters still on the royal payroll, and as far as Conrad had heard, they weren’t at all busy.

Even though he might be fighting back the haze of alcohol, Conrad was as sure as he’d ever been that there was demon magic close by. Whether that meant this was an actual demon or a dabbler in the magic remained to be seen. Conrad wasn’t sure if he wanted to find out, but he felt compelled to follow. He knew the danger was great. If this was a demon, it was not one of the feral ones, which were motivated purely by hunger. If it was a user of demon magic, then this individual was powerful.

Conrad wondered if he was an idiot to follow the figure, if he was walking himself into trouble, but this was something he couldn’t turn his back on. Although he viewed the blood-debt oath he had sworn when he was a child as unrealistic, part of him continued to yearn for vengeance on the creatures that had killed his parents, and threatened to do the same to many more if they weren’t stopped. This could be a sign that the monsters were becoming active again. If so, then the palace would be very eager to hear about it.

The figure moved briskly down the street, forcing Conrad to risk making noise and being visible to keep up. He jogged along on the balls of his feet, doing his best not to create loud footfalls on the cobbles. The figure seemed too focused on its destination to waste time looking around, leaving Conrad unnoticed.

They were moving down toward the wharf district, from whence barges carried goods downriver to the coast. It was an ugly place, not at all in keeping with the standard of beauty of the rest of the city. The wharf district was a ramshackle of wooden and brick warehouses, and a web of wooden jetties that clogged up a section of the river bank.

A mist had formed over the river—a consequence of the warm spring sun in the day and the cold evening air, Conrad had been told. It gave the docks an eerie atmosphere. Even without the mist, Conrad knew this area wasn’t the safest place to be after dark. The mist shrouded each street corner, providing the perfect place for ne’er-do-wells to lurk, but it occurred to Conrad that, on this occasion, it suited his purposes perfectly. He could understand why cutpurses and thugs liked the district.

Conrad jolted to a halt when he saw that his quarry had stopped. The enshrouding mist was making it difficult to see exactly what the figure was doing. It had halted by the entrance to a warehouse, and seemed to be studying the door. The process took only a moment, but with his heart racing and every hair on his neck standing on end, it felt like an eternity to Conrad.

The figure stepped through the door and disappeared from view.


The Banneret is now available for pre order over at Amazon. You can find it here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09V3GZPJM

The Banneret – Blood of Kings 2 – Cover Reveal

Hey folks,

I hope everyone is keeping well, and enjoying the slow return to normality!

I’ve finally completed the second book in the Blood of Kings series, which is titled ‘The Banneret’. It’s going to be released on 15 March, in kindle, paperback, and audio book. It picks up the story a few years later, with Conrad a little older and eager to make his mark on the world, while the demons are out in force as they seek to carry out their master’s bidding.

Now to the cover reveal! Once again, it’s been painted by the very talented Andreas Rocha, who has outdone himself in capturing a brooding sense of foreboding that matches the tone of the story.

Here’s the back cover copy:

Demons have been hunted to the verge of extinction. Those who know of the horrors lurking in the dark act as though the threat is long past. It has allowed Conrad to continue his education undisturbed, to work towards joining his friends as a comrade-in-arms rather than a child to be protected.

The appearance of two powerful demons changes everything. The creatures are back, stronger than ever, and the years of quiet are at an end. The Principality finds itself in need of demon hunters once again. Conrad and his comrades are the ones for the job.

The chain of clues draws them ever closer to what their unseen enemy desires, and they find themselves in a deadly race to stop it from regaining its former power.

If you haven’t had the chance to pick up the first book in the trilogy, The Squire, you can get it here on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B092X5896D

There’s still plenty of time to read it before The Banneret comes out on 15 March!

I hope you’ll all enjoy The Banneret as much as I enjoyed writing it!

All the best,

Duncan

News and Updates

Hey folks,

Time for a very long and very overdue update! I keep promising myself that I’ll set aside the time for a weekly blog post (New Year Resolution for 2022!), it always seems to be the thing that gets pushed into the corner for more pressing matters!

I finally got out to the cinema recently to see Dune, a movie that I’ve been waiting for with mixed feelings. I saw the David Lynch edition when I was a kid, and was one of those people who didn’t hate it. It was a movie that really captured my imagination, but I’m not really sure why! It was a long time before I got around to reading the book, which I did only a few years ago, but I really enjoyed it.

I’m not usually one for immersive world building, but there was something about Herbert’s vision of the distant future that I find really fascinating. I think the new Denis Villeneuve interpretation was utterly spectacular. It was science fiction on a truly epic scale, which is something you don’t really see that often anymore. It’s definitely a movie to see on the big screen if you can, as it was visually breathtaking.

As with every attempt to bring a large novel to the screen, there were nuances missing, and things for which I was glad I’d read the novel, so had that context to explain things, but overall I think Villeneuve did a really excellent job at bringing across the important elements, and giving a window on Herbert’s picture of future humanity.

It was a film that left me thinking about it for days afterward, and I have to admit I’ve now seen it twice! All in all it was a 5 star movie for me on every level, so I’d strongly recommend you check it out!

Now for some news about what I’m up to when I’m not idling away at the movies! The second book in the Blood of Kings trilogy is nearing completion, and I’m confident that I’ll hit my February target release date. The third book is already underway at first draft stage, and I’m hoping to get that out next Autumn.

On the sci-fi front, I’m hard at work on the second Alpha Protocol book, which I’m hoping to release toward the middle of next year. First draft is almost done, so things are progressing nicely on that front too!

I hope you’re all keeping well!

Duncan

The Squire Audiobook Daily Deal!

Hey folks!

I hope everyone is having a good summer! I wanted to give you all a heads up that The Squire audiobook is today’s daily deal over on Audible.com, so you can pick up a copy for the bargain price of $4.95! I’m afraid this deal is only open to residents of the US and Canada (completely beyond my control, sadly).

You can get a copy over here at Audible. I really hope you enjoy it! John Lee, the narrator, did a really amazing job at bringing the story to life.

As a quick reminder, here’s what The Squire is about:

When creatures that lurk in the dark dare to venture out into the world, lives are changed forever. 

Conrad lives a quiet rural life with his parents in the Northlands. During one fated night, his world is turned on its head, as nightmares become reality. While his Northlands blood cries out for revenge, Conrad’s head tells him surviving is the best he can do. 

Rescued by a motley band of mercenaries, Conrad embarks on a life he could barely have imagined. As new challenges, friends, and enemies present themselves, Conrad knows that one day he will have to face the evil that so altered his life, and when that day comes, he must be ready.

Alpha Protocol Now Out in Audio!

Hey folks,

Just a quick post to announce that The Alpha Protocol is now out in Audiobook. It’s narrated by Scott Aiello. He’s done a really wonderful job, and even if you’ve already read the book, I think you’ll enjoy the new dimension his performance brings to the story. I sat down to listen to a sample chapter a few weeks ago, and ended up listening to the whole thing!

You can pick up a copy at Amazon here:

Alpha Protocol Amazon

Or at Audible here:

Alpha Protocol Audible

The Squire is Out Today!

Hey everyone,

Today is launch day for The Squire – Blood of Kings Book 1!

The Squire is a coming of age tale about an ordinary boy whose life is completely changed on one horrible night. He’s rescued by a motley band of mercenaries who become his new family as he sets out to make sure when he once again has to face the evil that changed his life, he’s ready. Along the way, he discovers he’s not quite so ordinary as he thought!

It’s set in the same world as my other fantasy novels, so although there’s a new cast of characters, there’ll be some familiar faces and places for those who’ve read my previous books!

You can get your copy now at the following links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Amazon DE

The audiobook, narrated by John Lee, is also now available!

Here’s the back cover copy to give you an idea of what it’s all about:

When creatures that lurk in the dark dare to venture out into the world, lives are changed forever.

Conrad lives a quiet rural life with his parents in the Northlands. During one fated night, his world is turned on its head, as nightmares become reality. While his Northlands blood cries out for revenge, his head tells him surviving is the best he can do.

Rescued by a motley band of mercenaries, Conrad embarks on a new life—squire to the men who saved him.

As challenges, friends, and enemies cross his path, Conrad knows that one day he will have to face the evil that so altered his life. When that day comes, he will have to be ready.

I hope you all enjoy my new story, and will stay with me for the next year or so to see Conrad’s adventure to its conclusion!

Thanks again for your interest in my work! If you enjoy The Squire, please tell your friends, and if you have the time leave a review or rating over on Amazon – it really helps me out!

To keep my occupied on release day, I’m running an Ask Me Anything on the r/fantasy Reddit, so please stop by and ask some questions! You can find it here: Duncan’s Reddit AMA

Duncan

Win a Signed Proof Copy of The Squire!

The Squire Paperback Copies

As part of the launch for The Squire – coming out next Tuesday 27 April! – I’m running a giveaway over on Goodreads for signed proof copies of The Squire.

You can enter the competition here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/323106-the-squire

As usual, I’m afraid it’s only open to residents of the US and Canada. There’s nothing I can do about that unfortunately. As soon as I work out how, I’ll try to run some giveaways available to everyone!

Best of luck to everyone who enters, and don’t forget, next Tuesday is the big release day!

The Squire – Blood of Kings Book 1 Cover Reveal

With the release of the first part of my new fantasy trilogy on the horizon, I thought it was beyond time I made some announcements!

The first of those is, The Squire, the first book of my new Blood of Kings trilogy, will be coming out on 27 April. We return to the Northlands to meet a host of new characters against the backdrop of a new and deadly threat to the good people of the Middle Sea world. If you’ve read my Dragonslayer trilogy, you may have a sneaking suspicion of where I’m heading with this trilogy, but that’s all I’m giving away for now!

The second item for this post is the cover reveal. I wanted to do something a little different with my cover this time, and spent hours researching artists before settling on one whose images I bookmarked over and over before realising they were by the same person. We worked together on the image for a couple of months (my involvement in the process was largely limited to saying ‘wow, that looks great!’). Below is the result of that work, a beautiful piece of art, and an awesome book cover that I’m utterly delighted with.

The painting was done by the incredibly talented Andreas Rocha. You can check out more of his beautiful work here: https://www.artstation.com/andreasrocha . Every single one of his paintings makes me want to make up a story about them, and I think this cover beautifully gives a sense of the energy and peril contained within The Squire.

I hope you like the cover! I’ll be posting some more details about The Squire in coming days, so stay tuned!

The Alpha Protocol out in Paperback!

Hey folks, just a quick post to let you all know that The Alpha Protocol is now available in paperback! Apologies for the delay, but getting proof copies has been a lot slower than normal recently, as they are quite correctly not considered high priority items for postage.

I hope you’ll think it’s been worth the wait! You can pick up a copy at the following links:

Amazon.com (US)
Amazon UK/Ireland
Amazon Canada
Amazon Germany

There’s still a bit more of a wait for the audio edition, I’m afraid. I really wanted to get Scott Aiello on this project, and as he’s one of the most talented narrators in this genre, that meant waiting my turn to get him. The audio will be out in July!

Finally, I’m still on track to release my new fantasy novel, The Squire, in early April. Keep an eye out for updates on that over the next couple of weeks!