Escape the mundane and time travel with the Traveller series by @robshackleford #histfic #bookseries
Title – Book 1
Sci-Fi / Historical Fiction
If you were sent 1000 years into the past, would you survive?
Traveller Inceptio describes how the Transporter is accidentally invented and becomes public knowledge when it sends a subject 1000 years into the past.
A Special Forces team of Travellers is then selected and trained with the intent to send them to Saxon England to explore what could be a very dangerous period of history.
From the beaches of Australia, to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller Inceptio reveals how Travellers discover they need a lot more than technology to survive the trials of early 11th Century life.
Something about the fox unsettled him. As the bushy tail vanished into the undergrowth, he frowned. What would make a fox hurry so?
He shrugged, but as he looked back, he gave a start of surprise. Not ten paces away skulked a presence absent only a moment earlier, a presence of silent power. Intelligent, golden eyes gazed fearlessly. The magnificent creature had simply appeared from the forest gloom. A warning tingle ran up his spine.
Michael's eyes locked onto those mesmerising orbs and the moments stretched into eternity. A large, healthy wolf like this would not be alone. His scalp prickled as he slowly moved his left hand from a diminishing urination, while the wolf's moist nose wiggled slightly to drink in his scent.
Was the wolf a decoy? His back was to the oak, so attack from behind was unlikely, but he took a slow, deep breath in preparation and tensed, unwilling to initiate unnecessary confrontation. If he was to draw his sword, it must be with speed and precision, as practiced countless times.
The creature was utterly still. Only a quick glance of the yellow eyes to his right, then left, betrayed intent.
Prey. He was prey!
Michael deftly drew his sword, to pause only a moment, his blade pointed skyward and his arms stretched above his head. There was no room for doubt, not now. A whisper, and a fleeting movement glimpsed from the corner of his eye, told him what to expect. He swung the sword in a smooth, silver arc where it met a powerful, silver-grey body caught in mid-leap. There was a slight jar as the blade struck and passed through. He had at least hit something. A furry barrel of muscle struck his left arm and shoulder with a terrific jolt as he dropped into the swing, but his angle deflected the impact.
There was a spurt of dark blood and an impression of falling pieces.
With no time to evaluate his strike, Michael reversed his sword along his left arm and twisted in a thrust, hoping to strike the dark flicker that meant another attack from that quarter. There was a shadow, massive teeth agape, and his blade simply disappeared. This time his balance was off and the powerful predator slammed directly into his arms with a shock that tumbled him into the leaf litter. The sword twisted from his grip with a painful wrench.
Expecting to fall under the powerful jaws of the wolf pack, Michael scrambled to his back and nimbly leapt to his feet. He drew his second sword and imagined them tearing at his face and throat. A quick glance confirmed the dark wolf by his feet had claimed his precious blade, impaled to the hilt. The wolf's body stiffened as wide, silver eyes quickly glazed. Michael raised the shorter sword, a blade that would leave killing far too close. His wrenched right wrist sent a shaft of pain up his arm, but he was ready.
He waited and watched for what felt like an eternity of heartbeats, but there was no further assault. The wolf leader, which must have ingeniously organised the attack, was no longer concerned with the man as it jumped about in apparent confusion. A large, silver female wolf ran in circles and peed in frantic spurts as she screamed out her agony with a wail that was pathetically human.
The brief diversion might be sufficient for him to survive. As the silver wolf turned to face him, Michael was sickened at what he had done. The terrible blade had severed her entire muzzle and part of her skull, removing her left eye to expose the pink sinus cavity. All without making a clean, quick kill. A limp showed she had also lost her left foreleg.
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Title – Book 2
Sci-Fi / Historical Fiction
Would you survive if sent one-thousand years into the past?
Development of the Transporter saw highly trained researchers, called Travellers, successfully sent one-thousand years back in time to early medieval Saxon England.
Traveller Missions now mean enormous national prestige and the recovery of priceless lost artefacts and knowledge, so nations vie for the use of the Transporter and more daring Traveller missions are planned. Politics and power soon come into play.
To study lost peoples and civilisations, Special Forces researchers have to be even better trained, equipped and prepared to put their lives on the line.
While Michael Hunter continues to build a life in Saxon England, the tragically injured Tony Osborne finds his resurgence in a mission to ancient Byzantine Turkey, a mission Professor Adrian Taylor joins to better outmanoeuvre his calculating academic colleagues.
From the misty shores of New Zealand to the shining splendour of the ancient Byzantine Empire, it is proved how sending modern researchers into the past carries enormous rewards and tragedies.
The patupaiarehe was not as Ruhi had imagined. Described by their elders as of pale complexion and with white hair, this patupaiarehe was the colour of the forest and could be barely seen unless one knew exactly where to look. It was not one of the People, that was certain, so its forest-colour was put down to magic. If it was not one of the repulsive fairy folk, lovers of darkness and the mist, then what was it?
Ruhi tensed and glanced again to Tapata, who barely nodded as he stealthily began to move forward. Every hunter knew that to remain too long in observation might risk the prey sensing their presence and fleeing.
As two of the People’s mightiest warriors and hunters, Ruhi and Tapata had been requested to investigate this patupaiarehe interloper. Gathered together the night before, the warriors and the elders had said much. Finally, Tehu, he who was first among them, had pondered as ghost-like fingers of campfire smoke coiled about them in the darkness. Ruhi and the others watched and held their breaths. Then, Tehu’s great head nodded. Struggling to hide his elation, Ruhi glanced at Tapata while the others sighed. The decision was made.
The hunters crept silently as heavy rain masked their movements even further. Ruhi could no longer see his friend, but the big man was there, shadowing his every move.
He paused as the watcher again scanned the surrounding forest, another sign that the spirit-man was becoming increasingly alert. Ruhi froze in place and became invisible in the dim morning light, willing himself not to be seen. The patupaiarehe returned to its watching. They heard a thin hum as it talked to itself and chuckled, odd behaviour so beyond Ruhi’s understanding. Was it singing up a strange curse? Was it planning something dire for the People, such as a storm or sickness? Its look, actions, sounds, and even its slight but unmistakable odour were foreign, unfamiliar and detestable.
Ruhi felt a rare pang of fear that brought a sheen of sweat to his face and under his arms and was grateful for the rain. But he could never turn from his task.
They knew what to do.
As agreed, they crept to the shelter of a small clump of trees and rocks only a short dash from the watcher. Ruhi gripped his short club, his mere, tightly. Carefully crafted from whalebone scavenged from the stormy shores, all agreed the weapon was a fearsome work of art. It had been created by his father, the great warrior who had taken long, patient moons to refine this elegant death-bringer. Its power had been further enhanced by the appropriate chants and muttered offerings to the great gods and spirits. Though never used in battle, the weapon’s smooth strength reassured the young warrior. He felt the magic surge, as if it recognised that the glorious work of death was finally at hand.
Eyes glaring and legs coiled, Ruhi tensed and then leapt in an explosion of energy that propelled him in a swift dash to his victim. He made only a whisper of sound through the short ferns. In one fluid motion he struck savagely with all of his awesome strength. Whether it heard the whisper of sound or saw a flicker of movement, it was too late for the crouching spirit-man who was in the act of turning. As Ruhi had been taught and endlessly practiced, he thrust his mere at the side of the unprotected head with a twisting flick of the wrist that was designed to wrench the victim’s skull open. In this case he was successful, so the second shattering blow dealt by Tapata was entirely unnecessary.
Blood and brains flew and the spirit-man fell without a sound.
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Title – Book 3
Sci-Fi / Historical Fiction
Traveller Manifesto is Book 3 of the Traveller Trilogy, the explosive final sequel to Traveller Inceptio and Traveller Probo.
To use the enigmatic Transporter and send Special Forces trained Researchers back a thousand years is now the biggest game in world politics.
But not only politics, as academics scramble to outdo each other and harness prestige in the increasingly influential field of History.
As Professor Taylor is rescued from Byzantine Rome, a heavily-armed US Traveller team explores Mississippian Cahokia to experience a situation beyond even their control. Michael Hunter and Tatae flee Giolgrave in the hope of finding safety from modern interference. But at a terrible cost.
And something seems to be happening in Israel, resulting in the creation of a high-profile investigation team to uncover if there is a clandestine Traveller mission operated by the US and Israel.
From the windswept mountains of Wales, to the hills of Cahokia and the dusty wadis of the Negev, researchers find that to visit the past may not necessarily provide the answers they seek.
The encounter did not progress as smoothly as Anderson had hoped.
Maybe it was the desert setting, or that they now held the boy while those who had chased him through the parched ravines panted and watched cautiously. He was just a lad, no more than fifteen at the most and would be running still if he wasn’t pinned so tightly, face-down in the dust. His captor, Sergeant Simon Rahmer of Israel’s elite Sayeret Matkal relaxed, knee on his back, weapon ready. The boy gasped and struggled feebly, causing Rahmer to quietly growl in Aramaic Hebrew, “Careful boy! Try that again and I’ll carve my initials into your stomach.”
The boy understood and became very still.
The scene was one of the most surreal Anderson had ever experienced. A Roman patrol carefully arrayed themselves across the narrow ravine to prevent escape. The two closest legionnaires, the red-faced pursuers of the lad, breathed deeply but remained watchful, their hands on the hilts of their infamous short swords, their gladius. The others from their patrol soon arrived and also puffed, sweating as they were laden with the other soldiers’ shields, spears and helmets. They looked hard and fit and appeared unfazed by the sudden appearance of Anderson’s men. In fact, they looked eager for some action.
“Pax! Pax!” called out Anderson as he raised his gloved hands and stepped forward, his assault rifle left to hang at his chest. He paused to raise his goggles so they could see his eyes, for the goggles would make him too otherworldly. He then took a few more deliberately casual steps forward. But not too many. The legionnaires looked vicious and primed for attack, which surely would result in their deaths, for Anderson’s men had them covered. Their leather and metal armour would offer scant protection against the deadly 45mm rounds if his men were forced to use the assault rifles that were now so carefully aimed. Anderson desperately hoped violence would not eventuate.
If it did, Professor Cowen would not be pleased.
A stern legionnaire, most likely the patrol’s NCO, stepped forward a pace, his face flushed under his helmet. “Who in hades are you?” he demanded curtly.
“Peace brother, we mean you no harm,” reiterated Anderson with a smile.
“I’m no sodding brother of yours,” declared the Roman brusquely as he removed his gladius from the timber and leather sheath. The blade looked razor sharp.
“Unwise,” warned Anderson as he shook his head in warning.
The Roman snorted, raised his shield and took a step forward. As he did so, his highly disciplined men formed behind him, swords bared and shields moved to protect. Hard eyes stared from under each iron helmet that peeked above their metal-embossed timber Scutum; the Roman Legionnaire’s distinctive rectangular shield. There was more than one satisfied gleam and grim smile.
Oh, they looked to be so looking forward to this.
There was a thunder as three rounds were expertly placed through the corner of the lead soldier’s shield. Rounds ricocheted from the rocky walls with an angry hum that had a couple of the legionnaires duck in reflex. Predictably, the Roman paused, though he refused to be cowed. He merely looked at the fragmented corner of his shield with narrowed eyes, for the wood had been shattered to leave the leather cover in shreds. The Scutum was normally impermeable to light projectiles, so at the sight of the shattered shield, he frowned.
“Next time, that’ll be your head,” smiled Anderson, “but we have no desire for conflict.”
“Are you Zealots?” asked the Roman. His face had screwed up into a mixture of anger and a reluctant fear. The thunder of the assault rifle had been deafening in the confines of the wadi and the Romans behind him looked wary. They were superstitious, that much was known. Thunder might mean a belief in otherworldly forces, like the intercession of Jupiter himself. Anderson hoped so.
“Do we look like dog-fucking Zealots?” replied Anderson.
The Roman just grunted. “Then who are you, cunnus? You try that again and I’ll carve off your face.”
A resident of Australia, Rob Shackleford has lived in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with a career that has varied from Scuba Instructor and Customs Officer to College Teacher and IT.
Interests include travel, SCUBA diving, History, martial arts, astronomy, and playing Djembe and Congas. Despite that, he is actually not that boring.
Rob is father of two and has made his green escape with his lovely lady into the Gold Coast hinterland.
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