I’m working on a interest-catcher to start Chapter 1 with as my beta-readers have said it starts a bit slowly. I thought I’d post it here and see if anyone had any thoughts – if you read this would it spark your interest enough to read past a slow-ish start?
The book is On Dark Shores Part 1: The Lady.
Most of you know what the cover is like (there’s a link in the first post on the homepage of http://www.weaselgreenpress.co.uk if you haven’t).
After this excerpt it talks about Eliset and her mother for a while before cutting back to Scarlock.
There’s quite a lot of conversation before anything dramatic happens, so the question is, having read this, would you have a chapter and a half’s worth of patience before thinking it was too dull?
All feedback gratefully received; text follows.
It was a time of dark dreams. They washed in like flotsam on the night tide, slipping beneath doorways and window latches, rising through the streets and hills; and the little fishing-town of Scarlock foundered deep.
The moneylender dreamed of the woman they said was his mother. The fury of her fit over, she subsided on the dirty straw of the madhouse, seemingly unmoved by the stench and the noise. She made no sign of recognising her boy; he was glad. He wanted nothing to do with her. Then the twitching began. His heart began to hammer as he realized that it was happening again. Like the mad woman, his muscles convulsed, and he jerked and raved like a puppet on its strings until he was gripped in the clutch of the padded shackles, pulling him in to share the cell with the drooling wreck of his mother.
The bodyguard dreamt of his final boxing match; the crowd chasing him, the broken shoulder that ended his career, and the brandy he laced with Angel Feathers to dull the pain. He wanted to give up the drug, but everywhere the Angel Feathers touched him a sore blossomed, gaping open like a hungry mouth, while he moaned with bitter pleasure.
The thief dreamt of the storm in which her parents had drowned. Dark waves thundered, smashing onto the reef where the ship’s bones lay broken. The wind-whipped surf lashed up and fell like salt rain. Somewhere in the voracious waters the thief’s memories were dissolving, but she could do nothing; she had to hide. It was not so much for herself, but the young girl whose beauty shone out, burning through the tattered cloak that the thief held up to cover them.
And further out across the sea and high up into the mountains the dreams insinuated themselves, even into the heavily-guarded sleep of the Mother of the Shantari….
…the old woman awoke in tears, full of the piercing sorrow which never left her. The time was close, so near that the echoes of it haunted her dreams, and of all her people, the most terrible sacrifice had been demanded of her. She wanted to rail against it, but this was the price of being guard and guide to her people; the women of her line were gifted, but the balance had to be paid in the blood of their own.
With an effort, she hauled herself out of the bed and crossed the room to open the heavy green shutters and then the window itself. She looked out over the harsh craggy slopes that fell steeply to the dark green of the tree line. Up here on the shoulders of the mountain it should have been bitterly cold at this time of year, but the hare was still wearing his summer coat and the waters of the stream were running freely.
The signs were everywhere. She grimaced; she was deceiving herself like a silly old woman, hoping against hope that she was wrong when in her bones she knew the truth.
“Mother?” Eliset paused in the doorway. “I dreamt it again, the same vision as before; about her.”
“Yes. She was walking along the pale beach, and behind her the sun rose over the Dark Seas. What does it mean?” Eliset hesitated, looking keenly at the older woman. “Mother? Your dreams walked a different path, again…”
“It was Absalom….” Her mother’s voice was barely a whisper. “It is always Absalom. I cannot see beyond his death. I cannot see anything but his death. I cannot see any way for it to end that could possibly make his death anything but wasteful. And I cannot forgive myself for setting his feet on a path that can only lead him to death and the Dark Waters.”
So: thoughts, guys? Reading this, would you want to read a bit more or have got a bit bored yet?
All comments gratefully received…