Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Michael R. Baker visiting with his fantasy novel, The Thousand Scars, the first book in his Counterbalance series. He’s also shared an excerpt from the book, but first let’s get to know Michael.
Michael R. Baker studied history at University of Sunderland, and at last he found a use for his degree. The idea for Counterbalance came off the back of an exhausting bus journey, ironically starting an even longer voyage into writing and publishing fantasy. Alongside his passion for storytelling and worldbuilding, Michael is an avid video gamer and cartographer, bringing his fantasy world and others from the mind onto paper reality. The Thousand Scars is Michael’s debut novel, and the first of the epic fantasy series.
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About the Book
Counterbalance tells the brutal story of a land in turmoil, as two desperate superpowers battle for survival in a war of terror and clashes of morality. A complex series, it involves bloody battles and sieges, vengeful necromancers, rampant mercenary companies, a young man desperately searching for a new home, and powerful conspiracies.
For good or evil, The Thousand Scars shall bleed the world…and they will save it. Or will they? The first book of the series releases on December 9th, the opening book of this epic fantasy series.
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Keep reading for an excerpt:
War will reach us soon. The white haired patriarch of Valare, Lazarus Oltor, sat at his wide, oak desk, his already wrinkled brow furrowing. He glanced up to the window. Outside lay the city, blanketed in a dense cloud of fog. It was quiet, sounds muffled, the normal hustle and bustle subdued. Even Lancil, his pet falcon, was not his usual vocal self.
Footsteps rang out on the marble floor. Piez Vertigen entered the Atrium. He stopped before Lazarus’ desk, bowing low, his eyes puffy and grey. He’s tired. They all were.
“Morning, my Jaal.” The youthful man’s perfunctory smile did not reach his eyes.
Piez chuckled. “Just force of habit, Lazarus. Apologies . . . my Jaal.” His shrewd eyes gleamed and this time the smile was real.
Piez Vertigen was young for a chancellor. His father Samuel had died during the siege when he was just a baby, and Lazarus had become something of a surrogate father to the boy. He was a good man, and intelligent. Just like his father. Although Lazarus was the supreme leader of Valare, most of the day-to-day business of running the city was down to Piez. That suited Lazarus. Valare belongs to him, not me.
“I’ve recruited another two hundred men into the Keep Guard,” Piez said.
“Good. They can join Cassel for training drills. It’s essential we hold the port.”
Piez shivered, looking pointedly at the open windows. Lazarus’ chambers were cold, but he didn’t feel it, in spite his old age. “I apologize for the chill.” he added. “Should I call for a fire?”
Piez shrugged. “No need. I won’t take up much of your time.” He glanced over the table where Lazarus was sitting. It was littered with old letters, maps, and details on the city’s defenses.
“Anything from across the Tangent?” Lazarus asked, as he did every day. Instantly, Piez’s face darkened.
“Not today. We’ve kept a lookout across sea. I sent out the few warships we have left, though I fear they won’t see much in these conditions.” He grimaced. “The Dominion has already broken the lines and attempted invasion. The Empire’s forces cannot hold the tide much longer.”