Traveller Inceptio by @robshackleford is a Fall Into These Great Reads pick #histfic #book #giveaway
Title: Traveller Inceptio
Author: Rob Shackleford
Genre: Science Fiction and Historical Fiction
If you were sent a thousand years into the past, would you survive?
After the accidental development of the Transporter, university researchers determine that the device sends any subject one thousand years into the past.
Or is it into a possible past?
The enigmatic Transporter soon becomes known as a Time Machine, but with limitations.
An audacious research project is devised to use the Transporter to investigate Medieval Saxon England, when a crack international team of Special Services soldiers undergo intensive training for their role as historical researchers.
The special researchers, called Travellers, are to be sent into what is a very dangerous period in England’s turbulent past.
From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers soon learn that they need more than refined combat skills and modern technology to survive the trails of early 11th Century life.
The Vikings dressed similar to Saxons. Their tunics were shorter and more ornately decorated, and they wore their beards long and unkempt, though a few beards included braids. They were dressed for battle, for two of the older men wore leather skullcaps and one, the leader, a battered helm of metal. They were filthy but carried themselves with a swagger as they smiled at what was obviously a fleeing family group: a soft target, and a wealthy one at that.
As Desmond drew his sword, the helmed Viking cried out in good humour. The Danes had lived long in England, so Michael found he could understand him, even though his speech was accented.
“Hoo hoo! Brothers, look to this fool! I claim that sword as my own and ye can have the cart and contents. That will come in handy to move our loot. C’mon, let’s be quick about it!” He grunted and hefted his axe, a well-used, long-handled weapon with a deep slim blade that flared with a terrifyingly sharp curve. The other axemen laughed and the younger men smiled and fanned out, weapons ready. It was an all-too-familiar move born of deadly repetition. One of the spear-wielders, barely more than a lad, pointed to Aedgyd and made a lewd comment that had the others laugh and make cat-calls to the women, who huddled, terrified, beneath the cart.
In their desire for spoil, the Vikings forgot to check their ground and surroundings before making their attack. Michael, aware of the imperative to gain the advantage, knew he had to act. Eadric watched fearfully as Michael drew his sword from the bolster between his shoulder blades. Illogically, Michael recalled how his sword was, as yet, unnamed. His heart beat faster and he hoped he and Eadric could name their swords together.
Michael jerked his head for Eadric and Hengist to follow. He saw their uncertainty and fear, but they gritted their teeth and nodded, so he smiled. Looking to the Vikings, he stood, and with a great cry, ran at the nearest warrior, the young, good-looking spear-bearer who had made the lewd comment.
One of the sword strategies Michael had learned was the traditional Samurai run-through attack. The Travellers had often discussed the effectiveness or stupidity of such a move. It might look great on Japanese samurai movies, but would it work in battle? Even Master Kim prevaricated on whether it was a sound strategy or just showy martial arts. As Michael ran forward, he hoped this would work and wondered how his sword would feel when slicing through human meat and bone. He was certain his momentum would force the sword through.
His training took over. There was no longer time to think.
So clear was his perception of the moment that Michael watched as if it was in slow motion. The Vikings turned in surprise at the attack from an unexpected quarter. The young spearman’s face barely had time to register surprise when Michael’s terrible sword fell in a blow that took his head clean off. The heavy, blonde head fell and bounced to the ground only a few paces ahead of the body while the man’s heart, designed to pump oxygenated blood to the brain, tried vainly to feed the now missing head. Blood surged in a crimson spurt as the body instantly collapsed, merely a puppet with its strings cut.
The run-through attack had worked. Master Kim would be pleased.
One enemy was down in a manner so bloody it would cause the others to hesitate. All of his training, drills, fighting and study had led to this moment. Michael felt exhilarated and free, the sword a terrible extension of his body. The first man died so quickly the Vikings had no time to react, and the second, an axe bearer, barely had time to raise his axe in a defensive reflex. The sword flashed and the Viking’s axe, with his hands still gripping the haft, fell to the ground. There was no time to register pain, only complete shock as Michael’s blade struck his leather helm above his left ear, neatly severing his head above his nose. The leather-clad skull case struck the ground and spilled its grey and white brain onto the gravel.
Brother Oeric watched in paralysing panic, for the Vikings had appeared from nowhere. He had never seen a real Viking, but had seen what they had done to young Brother Cearl, and in his beliefs they sat as far from God’s grace as the imps in hell. He watched as Michael felled two of the enemy, but the Vikings were well experienced in death and one immediately ran to thrust himself at them. The monks had practiced—oh, they had practiced—despite Brother Oeric’s strenuous objections, never knowing they would need those warrior skills. The monks would normally rely on the saving graces of the Lord, for if they were to fall it would be as martyrs, but Lord Michael had once told them that some of the mightiest warriors were monks. They laughed that off as a jibe.
The terrible steel of the spear blade sped at them, the young Viking a lad little older than Eadric. He gave a savage smile as the spearhead thrust neatly into Brother Tondbert’s chest and the young monk fell with barely a cry. As they had been trained, the monks raised their staves and blocked the second attack, though they cried out in fear and despair.
Brother Oeric cried to Brother Horsa as the spearman positioned himself for another thrust. “Brother, the relics!”
Brother Horsa nodded, for they must save the relic and the psalter from the destroyers. The learned monk’s face screwed up in terror as the spearman struck again.
Desmond saw the attack of the spearman, but was unable to assist the monks for he had troubles of his own. An attacking axe wielder fell upon him with a savagery he had never dreamed possible. Though he parried the blows, the big Viking was devastatingly accurate and fast. Desmond felt surprisingly calm, yet he knew that if he did not receive assistance soon, he would die this day.
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What’s your favorite thing about the fall season:
For us, this time of the year is spring!
So, we are heading for summer. The southern hemisphere loves to confuse things.
Thankfully our winters are not too rough. Having moved to a mountain area to the west of the Queensland’s Gold Coast, the temperatures have dropped 5 degrees, so the evenings are worthy of a fireplace.
Our autumn, around April and May, does experience a tree change and falling leaves, something we rarely see near the coast.
For us autumn is an excuse to wear nice clothes as we normally are too warm to wear a jacket or even long pants. It’s a time of fires, even if it isn’t cold enough yet, a time to wave goodbye to salads, where warmth is appreciated.
What inspired you to write this story:
The inspiration for Traveller came when I was sitting on a beach one day and observing the many resorts that proliferate around Australian beaches. I had just been ripped off by a crooked business partner and was feeling rather down. I began to think how the world has changed over twenty years, which then led to speculation of changes over the past two hundred years since the European settlement of Australia. So – why not 1000 years? The world was such a different place.
“Traveller – Inceptio” is my first novel and, like any first novel, is the result of years of writing, rewriting, editing, and then leaving it to sit and mature, or rather for me to mature, so I could go back and write new chapters and make adjustments. Originally titled “Traveller”, Traveller – Inceptio was rebranded to make the book name stand out more.
One of my motivations was in the research. I didn’t choose to write a Historical Fiction / Science Fiction blend novel. To keep the historical components accurate, I had to engage in considerable research. In so doing I have tried not to become too engrossed in the historical minutiae of Saxon or Gabi Gabi Aboriginal life but I did make a serious attempt to look at what it was like to be a person living there and then.
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