Introducing Elizabeth Hull
Elizabeth Hull, known to her readers as C:N Lesley, is one of my favourite fantasy authors. Her dialogue, descriptions of worlds she creates, and the storytelling prowess, which keeps me glued to the pages of her books, are just some of the reasons I am highlighting her work, right here.
Let’s take a look at her, shall we.
Elizabeth Hull, writing under the by line of C.N.Lesley, lives in Alberta with her husband and cats. Her three daughters live close by. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth likes to read and to paint watercolors. She is also a keen gardener (despite the very short summers) and now has a mature shade garden. Once a worker in the communications sector, mostly concentrating on local news and events, she now writes full time, and fusses over her cats. She was senior managing editor of FlashMe Magazine and now is assistant flash fiction editor for Abyss and Apex.
Abandoned as a sacrifice to the wyvern, a young girl is raised to fear the beast her adoptive clan believes meant to kill her. When the Emperor outlaws all magic, Raven is forced to flee from her home with her foster mother, for both are judged as witches. Now an outcast, she lives at the mercy of others, forever pursued by the wyvern. Soon her life will change forever.
A unique and unsettling romantic adventure about rejection and belonging.
REVIEW BY JEANNE HASKIN
Author of ‘Love, War and Magic’, Artema Press
Raised in the world of Darkspire Reaches to heal the sick and fear the wyvern, Raven is an immediately accessible and lovable character, for whom the road from servitude to motherhood is paved with persecution, betrayal, and ultimately a showdown for who will command the loyalty of her mate. At times, the book is heartrendingly brutal, and, at others, filled with a tenderness that inspires happy tears. Comic relief, in the form of Raven and Connor’s wit, not to mention the antics of Kryling, a much smaller cousin of the wyvern, raises the book another notch from excellent to brilliant. With layers of complexity that attain additional depth each time I return to the story, this is a book to be read again and again. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
In C.N. Lesley’s “Darkspire Reaches”, when Emperor Chactar order the death of witches by burning, Raven and her foster mother, Margie, leave their village and seek shelter from the very man who is responsible for their misery. In exchange for a secret that Margie threatens to expose, they are granted shelter by the wicked emperor. From that moment onward, Raven’s life continues to change, and she will learn so much more about herself, about Samara Maidens, a Drakken male and the beast Wyvern that has plagued her mind like a nightmare.
I love the cover art by Alex Boca which grabs my interest right away. The dialogue was confusing at first until I figured out the difference of a ‘peasant talk’ and the normal speech that Margie and Raven use. The author’s beautiful writing style easily sparked off interest and my imagination about the story. I rooted for Raven from the beginning as I felt her pain and sympathized with the harsh life that she had to endure. Honestly, I didn’t like the things that happened to a protagonist that deserves so much more. I couldn’t find it in me to like Connor, the Drakken male, at all. Only when Raven accepted him that I followed suit. A tumultuous but otherwise entertaining read, this is an adult fantasy novel with solidly-built worlds, characters and creatures. If you love dragon-themed tales like me, the Wyverns are definitely on par with the dragons as a large, mythical winged creature.
AN EXCERPT FROM DARKSPIRE REACHES—
The late afternoon sun gave a red tinge to the sky as Raven emerged from the rank tunnels onto the lake shore. She wrinkled her nose in distaste at the smell coming from her wet clothing. Foul water found and polluted every dry shred of fabric on her body.
The hunters used vargel hounds to track, and they would come to this place, so she would spread her scent to confuse them. Raven waded out into the lake, keeping within her depth, then, using the sun as her guide, she headed northwest. They would figure a direct north line of escape to the settlements of the tribes. Raven didn’t doubt Margie would help foster that notion to save her own skin. Again, a bitter smile curled her lips upward. As long as she remained in the water, she left no trail. Almost as an afterthought, she dipped her torch into dull, gray waters and let it fall.
Cold seeped into her bones while she waded on the fringe of the lake. It made a harsh contrast to the foul, but warmer, temperature of sewer filth. Hunger clawed at her insides, bringing another form of cold, one that started from within. The baying of hounds startled Raven into a misstep and she fell; her feet rose to the surface, turning her on her back, the motion warring with the wet clothes pulling her down. If she shed them, she would give the hunters another clue to her passage, and how would she get new ones? The fabric belled out to catch a current and draw her to the center of the lake.
She drifted north to the sounds of the horn call of hunters and the baying of their hounds. Maybe they would burst from the thick line of trees almost reaching the edge of the lake. No pyre could send her spirit on its journey now.
She didn’t know the size of the lake. She hadn’t seen the other side across a vast expanse of water, sunlight sparkling off the waves and ripples. No doubt it drained in the direction of her passage for the current to pull her, but that soon ceased to concern her as the icy waters leeched at her, sucking out her life. A small bird fluttered down to settle on her chest and under his bright gaze, she let herself become enveloped by death’s cold arms.
Waves of sleep lapped around her, washing away hurt. She closed her eyes, feeling the wind on her face, on her body, as she hurtled through the air. For a moment, she imagined herself back at the citadel, throwing herself off a turret to ride the wind. One last image of Margie, a smile lighting her face after a good scrying session, and then flashes of gold lanced through the picture in her mind’s eye until only gold remained. Gold upon gold, fading down into nothing—nothing but a pair of shining, golden eyes.
*The sequel, Serpent of the Shangrove, is coming soon. Here is a taster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMwPuG0FEys
This book is first of a series and delves into science fiction, fantasy and myth. Ever wondered what happens when the legendary King Arthur is returned to fulfill his vow to protect his people in the time of their greatest need? In Earth Year 3874 all hell breaks loose. Stay tuned for what happens next.
Beyond the mists of time, a dying warrior binds his soul to his sword with an oath to protect his people. His shade now rides with the Wild Hunt while he waits for the call of greatest need. When it comes he doesn’t know it is a lie.
A War Maid princess is raised to be fearless, ready to sacrifice her life to defend her kin, but faced with the unthinkable; she must die or devolve into a creature worthy of loathing.
In the undersea city of Avalon, a Seer Acolyte nears the end of his training. He wants to serve on the surface world with the air breathing Terrans, fighting their common enemy instead of serving the Archive. Others have plans for him and the price will be his life.
On Moonbase, a predator finds a threat to the comfortable existence led by his species. How did Terrans diverge to generate an amphibious branch? They must all be killed.
An ageless man sits in a cave conjuring images in his fire. Weave a twist here; pull the weft of compulsion there and the plan is ready to set in motion. Fortune twists in the strongest of hands.
Arthur and Kai have escaped the threat of Emrys, but now they must face life on the surface world—and all the fearsome creatures that dwell there. But just as they assemble the beginnings of a fighting force, they discover a vital component to their safety has been compromised. This means a return to Avalon, where Arthur has an unexpected encounter with the untrustworthy Merlin. The magician’s orders are clear: Arthur must find the sword to save the surface-and Avalon. There is no alternative.
Kiri Ung, leader of the Nestines and ultimate controller of the Terran slaves on the surface, needs Arthur in order to ensure of the continuance of his species. With the Nestine Queen dying, failure means ultimate extinction. Wherever Arthur goes, so goes Kiri Ung. Whoever finds the sword first gains control over all humanity. But simply gaining possession of this powerful artifact is not enough to wield its power. Let the battle commence.