Title: The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks
Author: Charles E. Yallowitz
Genre: Fantasy Action Adventure
Enter the world of Windemere with 11 action adventure short stories featuring a man who is out to make an honest living. Some heroes seek fame. Some seek fortune. Others simply want to save the world. Ichabod Brooks only wants to put food on the table for his family. Known and respected as the man who can get any job done, Ichabod has seen his share of adventure. Most of which have been highly exaggerated by bards. Still, the man has his famous reputation for a reason. Whether it be climbing a temperamental mountain for eggs or escorting orphans to their new homes, Ichabod takes every job seriously and makes sure he is as prepared as he can be. Not that it helps since things always take a turn for the worse.
Stripped of his gear and dangling from the ceiling, Ichabod Brooks patiently waits for his captors to return. There are no furnishings in the cell, so he hopes that he will be visited soon or the guards will listen when he has to yell for the bathroom. The adventurer is not as worried as he was when the locals swarmed him at the port and dragged him to the hilltop manor. Only a few cuts and bruises on his legs remain from the attack, which he put up little resistance against due to being severely outnumbered. Ichabod has spent the last hour wondering what is going on and doing what he can to stop his muscles from aching. With his own muscular weight pulling on his shoulders, he can feel the joints locking up and repeatedly swings to wrap his legs around the window bars. The awkward stretch is enough to take the pressure off his arms, but his lower back will not take much more. Even with the rising pain, the adventurer remains calm and passes the time thinking of what kind of mess he wandered into.
With a click, the door opens and three muscular men enter the room with a cart that has a bowl of soup on it. The one with a sword lowers the prisoner to the floor, but remains with his hand on the chain in case Ichabod tries anything. A single yank on the tether is all that the barely clothed guard needs to send the dark-skinned man to the ceiling. The other two silently go about feeding the adventurer and removing his clothes. Due to the chains, his shirt and pants are carefully cut apart with scissors and the strips are thrown into the hallway. Once the food is gone, two more guards and three young women enter. Ichabod tenses when they wipe him down with warm sponges that have a familiar perfume on them. He is busy trying to place the smell when a fresh set of clothes are placed on the floor and everyone leaves. A loud snap from the ceiling is enough of a warning that the adventurer can leap away from the severed chain, which lands with a thud.
“That could have killed me,” Ichabod mentions while he frees himself. Squinting at the door, he can barely make out the shadow of someone moving on the other side. “Do you mind telling me why I’m in jail? I came here on a job. Something about a garden that needed magical care that only I could provide. My employer, who I assume owns this estate, even gave me a list of equipment to bring. That should have been a sign that this was a trap. My wife isn’t going to let me live this one down.”
“It is an honor to meet and serve you, Lord Brooks,” the guard says with an odd click of his heels. The man’s voice is devoid of emotion, but its power helps it to be clearly heard through the door. “We have been asked to prepare you for an introduction to our Empress. I apologize on behalf of Errenshar for any confusion you are suffering from. It was our orders to bring you here and hold you until our Empress was ready. She has stated that you have a habit of overreacting and causing trouble, so she thought it best to prepare you in the dungeon.”
“This is a dungeon?” the adventurer asks while he gets dressed. The clean floor and white walls remind him more of an unfurnished bedroom than a place where one would normally place criminals. “Well, your Empress might not want to listen to those bard tales too much. I don’t go out of my way to cause trouble. Just seems to happen. These are pretty fancy clothes. Makes me think there’s something you’re not telling me.”
“My only job is to escort you to lunch when you are ready.”
“Do I get my gear back?”
“All of your equipment has been given to the Empress.”
“Of course it has.”
“Would you like to know today’s menu?”
“We’ll save that for the walk.”
What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
The first binge-worthy book that I remember reading would have to be ‘Jurassic Park’ by Michael Crichton. I was in middle school and had to read it in order for my parents to take me to the movie. It was the first book I read where the characters hopped off the page and the action came easily to my imagination. Didn’t hurt that it had dinosaurs and I was getting into science at the time too. There was also a fascination since I hadn’t read anything with this level of violence and gore before, so it really grabbed me.
What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?
‘The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks’ is a short story collection, so it’s great for people who want to read and have limited time. There are 11 adventures that are filled with colorful characters, tense action scenes, and fun humor. At the center of everything is Ichabod Brooks, who is a very charismatic protagonist. It isn’t that he’s charming and handsome, but he comes off as human. He isn’t trying to save the world or battle gods like in bigger adventures. Ichabod only wants to finish a job and get enough money to food on the table for his family. Yes, he has a reputation as a legendary figure because he has been doing this for decades. His lower back and knees will attest to this as well. The charm comes from him being very down-to-earth and average once he is interacted with because he doesn’t come off as the exaggerated stories make him. This strikes a chord with readers who can see their own daily ambitions in his because we all really just want to make ends meet at the end of the day.
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Runs August 1 – 31.
Drawing will be held on September 1.
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After spending many years fiddling with his thoughts and notebooks, he decided that it was time to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house with only pizza and seltzer to sustain him, Charles brings you tales from the world of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and drawing you into a world of magic.
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