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  1. I’m writing to introduce my 93 000 word debut novel, ‘The Promised Ones.’ It is complete and aimed at the young adult market. Like some of its illustrious predecessors I’m hoping it will ‘cross-over’ and appeal to all ages.

    The underlying theme of my narrative is magic; its origins and how it came to earth. The story suggests that an invisible conflict rages around us, as the forces of good and evil do battle for the souls of man. The fight has always been evenly contested, but now the dark side has concocted a fiendish plan to sway the battle in their favour and end mankind’s dominance on Earth. On the far side of our galaxy, lost among the billions of stars, is the planet Ashkarah, home to the Gorgons. They are an evil race, masters of black magic and obsessed with immortality. For millions of years these parasites have kept death at bay by feeding on the life force of other races. But now Ashkarah itself is under attack and is being decimated, for the attackers have vowed to rid the galaxy of the parasites forever. The Dark Lords now play their hand and allow one Gorgon to escape in his space craft. Travelling at many times the speed of light, they orchestrate the craft’s wild flight through time and space and crash land it on earth four thousand years in our past. The last of the galactic cannibals soon establishes its kingdom on earth and by the time the Lords of Light discover the danger, the future of the human race has already been severely compromised.

    In order to balance the scales, the Lords of Light visit the past, travelling back to a time when all the planets were about to align with the sun. The last planet to slot into place was Jupiter and as the gas giant fell into position a huge tug was exerted on our star, causing a massive tidal swell to race across its surface. The power of this monstrous ripple drew a deadly gamma ray from its mysterious depths and ejected it into space. As the lethal beam hurtled towards us; the Lords of Light altered the orbit of a huge comet, causing it to pass dangerously close to the earth. With the precision of a Swiss watch the gamma ray passed directly through the ancient ice that makes up the body of the celestial wanderer. An unknown, primordial element left over from the formation of our solar system was caught up in the photons, changing the ray into something that had never existed before. Moments later, this enhanced beam shone down upon a young kitten basking in the sunlight, instantly altering her DNA and creating a super intelligent, immortal being, unlike any other in the universe. This is Chickabiddie, the central character in the plot. Unaware of the role she has been created to play, she sets out on the road to her destiny.

    Armed with a colossal intelligence, Chickabiddie masters all the known languages and is soon able to converse with humans, but when the greed and self-interest of the men she interacts with becomes evident, she shies away from human contact and lives her life in the shadows. Her solitary lifestyle is briefly interrupted when magic appears on the earth for the first time and spreads like wildfire. She has no idea that this merely a watered down version of the real thing, passed on by Mogodon (the last Gorgon) to his acolytes. She travels halfway across the globe to study the mystic art at the feet of a master wizard. As the ages pass, Chickabiddie, now a consummate white magic practitioner arrives in our time. Bored to distraction, she is beginning to believe that her immortal life has no real meaning and is desperately searching for evidence to the contrary. Her quest leads her to a secret room in the British Museum. Located deep in bowels of the Grand Old Lady, this room is the last resting place of many of the strange artefacts that have found their way to the museum over the centuries. Because they defy the laws of nature and physics, they have been locked away until answers to their riddles can be found. As the decades pass, most of these enigmas pass from memory. Tucked away and gathering dust, it is as if they had never existed at all. During her search, she is drawn to an ancient box and finds it contains a manuscript covered with unusual hieroglyphics. These strange cartouches have defeated the museum’s best efforts to decipher them, but they present no problems to Chickabiddie. As she translates them, she is astounded to discover that they are a cry for help from the past and seem to be addressed directly to her. The message, penned in cryptic clues, urges her to find the ‘Promised Ones’ and use her magic to transport them to Olde England, three thousand years in the past. Here they must do battle against unnamed, but clearly formidable opponents, for at stake is nothing less than the future of the human race. Knowing that the reason for her existence has finally been revealed, she unravels the clues and sets off to find the ‘Promised Ones’

    At first glance, the saviours of mankind don’t seem much to write home about. The first is a skinny lad of fourteen named Johnny Delaney. Afflicted with terrible acne, he is bullied unmercifully at school. Only his pure spirit and a dream of one day becoming a stand-up comedian keep him going. Unbeknown to him, deep within his scrawny frame a mighty weapon slumbers; a perfect aura that may one day save the world. The other ‘Promised One’ is a very famous and fabulously wealthy Hollywood action star named Tom McQueen. He lives like a medieval prince, surrounded by an army of sycophants who pamper to his every whim. Using her matchless intellect, Chickabiddie deciphers the clues in the manuscript and brings ‘The Promised Ones’ together, and the mismatched, bickering trio travel three thousand years into the past, landing in the village of Mendip in ancient England.

    Once here, Chickabiddie puts on her detective hat, gradually peeling away layers of the mystery until three formidable opponents are unveiled. These are Maxaldy, the king’s wizard; Tongondaw, an evil warlock who has been brought back from the dead to do unspeakable deeds; and Mogodon, the last of the Gorgons. When Chickabiddie realizes that her puny magic stands no chance against the power of the invader, she follows the instructions in the manuscript, (shown below) and magically enhances Johnny’s aura, gradually transforming it into a mighty weapon.

    ‘Within this boy a luminance
    Shines forth in sacred blue
    Stoke up the embers in his soul
    With spells of magic true’

    Unfortunately, Chickabiddie has had no previous experience with auras and casts a spell that is far too potent. This results in the aura being too powerful for the boy to control and it wreaks havoc, almost killing them all on several occasions. In the brutal world of the past, Tom’s polished Hollywood veneer is quickly stripped away. Under the tutelage of the ‘Sword Master’ he develops into a fearsome sword fighter and bare knuckle pugilist.

    The inhabitants of Mendip all speak in rhyme and our heroes must learn to do the same in order to be understood. Here is a short excerpt from a chapter in which they are questioning the spirit of a deceased witch, who has been summoned from the ‘underworld’ by Chickabiddie. The witch died at the hand of Tongondaw and they hope to gather vital intelligence on their enemies:

    …..They sat in silence as the cloud took the shape of a young and exceptionally pretty girl. She was wearing a figure hugging robe and as she floated towards them, small wisps of smoke broke free; to fade and die in the utter stillness of the room. She stopped about three feet in front of them, her eyes shining like mirrors in the mist.
    Johnny nudged Tom with his elbow. “Wowee!” he whispered, “I didn’t expect her to be so hot!”
    Dollar signs were flashing before the actor’s eyes as he studied the apparition. “She’d be an absolute sensation in a ghost movie,” he agreed excitedly.
    The cat turned to them. “Be quiet you two,” she ordered, “I’ve been working on a rhyme for an occasion just like this.”
    Zelda’s long hair was moving constantly, as if caressed by the breeze. She ignored the cat and the boy, fixing her eyes upon the movie star of the future. He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
    “Look at that, even the dead chicks want a piece of Tom!” Johnny whispered to Chickabiddie.
    At the sound of his voice, Zelda tore her gaze from the handsome actor and floated toward the boy, her color changing from white to grey. Suddenly she wasn’t so hot anymore and Johnny winced as she came within touching distance.
    Chickabiddie held up a paw, and having gained the late witch’s attention, spoke in a calm, clear voice:

    “Greetings Witch Zelda
    We all wish you well
    And await to hear
    The story you tell”

    Zelda turned her shining eyes back to Johnny and spoke in a sad voice:

    “Then tell the young man
    To try and be brave
    For this is a tale
    Direct from the grave

    I loved a goblin
    Before my demise…”
    She stopped abruptly and looked at Tom, as if wondering what he thought of her choice of boyfriend. But when he gave her his trademark smile; the one that had sold more popcorn and milk duds than you could ever imagine, her smoky color took on a scarlet hue. Smiling coyly she whispered:
    “….Oh my but you have
    Such beautiful eyes”

    The cat flicked her tail and Zelda’s eyes focused again. She cleared her throat, coughed once, and continued with her saga……..

    Sword fighting, magical spells, counter spells, trolls, goblins, wizards, warlocks, witches, a giant hornet, and even an ogre feature in this rollicking adventure tale. Humor abounds around every corner as the boy’s never ending supply of one liners binds them together into a formidable team. In the end, after a titanic battle, Johnny’s aura eventually overcomes Mogodon’s mighty magic and the future of the human race, although greatly diminished, is saved. Johnny and Chickabiddie return to the future alone after Tom is killed in a bare knuckle fight in a tavern. But his death was always preordained, as evidenced by this verse from the ancient manuscript:

    “A Promised One will not return
    And this I surely know
    For I have seen beyond the veil
    And it is written so”

    Once home, our remaining heroes await their next adventure.

    I am recently retired, having spent my working life in the motor trade. Along the way I designed and manufactured several board games, mostly in the Christian field. Chief among these was ‘Bible Walk,’ which I sold at home, in the UK, and in the USA. I am married to my wife of forty years and have a married daughter. I live in Edenvale, a small town in South Africa, but will be moving to the seaside when my wife retires in a few years time. My contact details are: 52 Bush Willow Drive, River Ridge, Edenvale 1609, Gauteng, South Africa. Telephone: 0027116091359. Email: amaxwell@telkomsa.net

    I thank you for this opportunity to show my wares. The first three chapters of my novel are attached.

    Alan Maxwell.

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