Temples of a Fantasy Revenge by Christopher Griffith is a Halloween pick #yalit #halloween #giveaway
Title: Temples of a Fantasy Revenge – The Revenge Chronicles Fantasy Series
Author: Christopher Griffith
Genre: Young Adult / Coming of Age / Adventure
This is Temples of a Fantasy Revenge, in which age-old Saman is seriously miffed with the Earth-goddess Thera; she’s punished him an aeon ago for misdemeanour you see, which he firmly believes really wasn’t his fault at all. Anyway, when you’re immortal and old as the hills themselves it doesn’t bother you too much to wait a few millennia before exacting your revenge on modern day teenagers Jack, Roxie, her boyfriend Mark and his brother Norman. But what is the young people’s relation to Thera, to the temple ruins on top of their village's hill, Shadyridge, and to the old man himself who seeks retribution against those whom he's seemingly never met before?
Brilliant blue sky bedecked the heavens above Rathe. In the east the sun shone low but bright whilst away in the south the great hill Shadyridge stood firm and sentinel, half in shadow, half in light. Birds sang merrily in the trees which surrounded the fairground, avidly watching the funfair attendants tend to their rides and check they were in working order.
Already an air of expectancy permeated the town. Over the road from the fairground, the landlord of The Harp and Orange was busy about his flowers, trimming, pruning, watering, and thanking heavenly providence that even at this time of year they seemed always to flourish under his careful hand.
In front of his pub and to the left stood a makeshift tent, closed at the moment on all sides. He made his way over there and with much effort lifted up the canvas flap at the front, first on one side, then with a great heave the other. Inside, rows of shelves ran round the back, each filled with barrels of beer and a small cardboard sign hanging off the taps proclaiming their contents. He checked them all, placed the signs on the shelves in front and turned to look out across the quiet road before him. It’s going to be a busy day, he thought to himself, a darned busy day indeed. He walked back to the main body of his pub and disappeared inside.
A little way from the Harp and Orange stood Rathe’s parade of shops, each one beginning to show its first signs of life for the day. Awnings were lowered, Closed signs reversed, and shopkeepers inside could be seen busying themselves for the day’s work ahead. Across the middle of the street outside hung a large banner signifying that this was the festival of All Hallows Eve whilst lampposts on the side of the road sported a host of different coloured light bulbs round their body. Rathe’s inhabitants began to make their way up and down the parade and gradually the small centre of commerce became a hive of activity.
Further down the road that led to the main village stood the library, a grand old building which both welcomed and intimidated in equal measure. The Head librarian, an elderly man called Cedric, struggled to open the heavy large doors at its entrance though when done he made his way happily enough back to the front desk stopping only to help one of his colleagues who was struggling with a pile of books in her arms. He laid his hand gently upon her and pointed to a trolley which lay nearby. She thanked him, put the books on it and made her way to the lift at the back of the floor, from there down to the basement.
It was spooky as ever and the librarian was keen to replace the books on their shelves as quickly as possible. Before long she had completed her task and was about to return upstairs when she saw a large book lying open on a table nearby. A quizzical look spread across her features and she glanced round. Nobody was down here yet, it was too early. She crossed to the table and slammed the book shut releasing a big puff of dust from under the front cover. Shelving it, she noticed the title on its spine: ‘Battle of Rathe, First Age of Mankind.’ She shrugged her shoulders, turned back to her trolley and wheeled it towards the lift.
By the now cold ashes of the bonfire stood three figures. A fourth approached from the east and stooped short when he saw the expressions of the others. ‘Well,’ he asked impatiently, ‘how many are there?’
‘Three,’ replied Roxie, ‘two are missing.’ She looked despondently in Mark’s direction but he remained silent, looking at the ground.
‘And you really believe what that old freak told us?’ barked the newcomer. ‘For all you know he could have come back and taken two away when we’d left.’
‘Jack could be right,’ said Norman, ‘that was one of our possibilities.’
‘I still don’t buy it,’ said his brother. ‘Why would he get us to put the stones in the fire and then come back and take them later?’
‘To get you scared like you are now,’ said Jack, ‘it’s pretty obvious.’
‘That’s not Saman’s way of doing things.’
Jack laughed raucously. ‘How do you know, Carter? You only just met the bloke last night.’
‘It’s not him, though, is it? I mean, didn’t you see his face? He was loving every minute of that game right to the end when he knew he’d caught us out. Then he was even more pleased with it all.’
‘You actually believe that Stones of Doom rubbish? Man, you’re even more of an idiot than I ever thought you were.’
‘We don’t believe all of it,’ said Norman, ‘only that we don’t trust him and he seemed to know that two stones would be missing today.’
Jack sighed. ‘That’s because he came back and took two stones away when we’d all gone home. Either him or someone else.’ Roxie and Norman both looked at each other. ‘What’s up with you two?’
‘Last night,’ said Roxie, ‘when we were heading home, I thought I saw someone following us. I turned round to get a proper look but there was no one there.’
‘Probably because there wasn’t anyone there in the first place.’
‘No, there was definitely someone running behind us. You saw him too, didn’t you, Norman?’
‘Only for a second.’ He looked nervously at Jack. ‘I was closing the gate behind me at the entrance to the park when I thought I saw something standing in the rain a few feet away staring at me.’
‘It must have been Saman,’ grinned Jack, ‘come to check you were really going home before he went back and took those stones.’
‘No, it wasn’t Saman.’
‘How do you know?’
‘Because Saman didn’t have horns on his head.’
‘And I suppose it had red, glowing eyes that shone angrily at you as well.’
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The whole narrative is set against the backdrop of Halloween when the ghosties and ghoulies, well Shifters, Trustles & the Keeper Mordron appear to trouble the characters! The book has a village celebrating Halloween with a Beer Festival to keep the darkness at bay and a library which encourages it to play. There are separate mythologies running through the story and it’s a good old-fashioned coming of age tale in which four friends must join forces if they’re going to defeat Saman and his minions. It’s not too scary, but it does ask the kind of questions with which teens and young adults are familiar.
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I read English at the University of Bristol and had always intended to remain in academia after graduation, but it was my misfortune to fall very ill during the course culminating in a diagnosis of bipolar disorder when I left the west country for home; much soul-searching soon indicated to me that perhaps life wanted me to be a writer rather than a literary critic.
I was given tremendous support by loved ones through this time of mental fragility including that from my great aunt who advised me not to engage in self-pity regarding the condition. At first, as with many I suppose who receive gut-wrenching diagnosis, I did feel sorry for myself, but over time her counsel grew wiser within me and I learnt to abide by its direction.
In a way, with all the common sense hardiness of her generation this relative of mine was expounding what has come to be known in our time as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the replacing of negative thoughts with more life-affirming ones; CBT has been fundamental in correcting and balancing my state of mind, and I still employ its skills to this day.
After a while, I did return to tertiary education pursuing a postgraduate qualification in Creative Writing from that most prestigious of institutes for the discipline, the University of East Anglia. At the very end of this course my great aunt passed away, yet she it was who with her original advice imbued me with resolve enough to write, and edit, and here publish.
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