Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Everyone who touches you transforms you - Ydron Saga by Raymond Bolton

Thought Gazer



How does a world equipped with bows, arrows and catapults, where steam power is just beginning to replace horses and sailing ships, avert a conquest from beyond the stars?

Prince Regilius has been engineered to combat the Dalthin, a predatory alien species that enslaves worlds telepathically, and to do so he must unite his people. But when his mother murders his father, the land descends into chaos and his task may prove impossible. Faced with slaying the one who gave him life in order to protect his world, he seeks a better way. 

Set in a vast and varied land where telepaths and those with unusual mental abilities tip the course of events, Awakening goes to the heart of family, friendship and betrayal.

"Awakening is unlike most books on the young adult shelf today. [...] Bolton has a fascinating way of telling a story from multiple perspectives without the reader losing where they are in time or the thread of the story. You will cheer for Reg as he masters his new abilities and fights for the throne that should be his." - Lauren, Goodreads

Thought Gazer

Everyone who touches you transforms you, if only a little. But if you enter their minds, think what they have thought, in effect do what they have done, how complete will that transformation be?

If he had been born an ordinary man, his family would be safe--safe as anyone can be in a land torn apart by war. It is his singular gift, however, that causes his wife and children to be imprisoned and held hostage and him to be used as a tool. Caught up in a struggle between opposing warlords and refusing to play the game, Peniff elects to take the moral high road. This is the story of a man, in all other ways ordinary, rising above his fears to do what he must. Can he free his family before his betrayal comes to light? Moreover, what will he become before his journey is over?

"[A]n epic adventure tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. [...] Along with travel companions Bedistai and Darva, Peniff’s quest plays out in an action-packed, page-turning fantasy adventure that will surely please fans of this genre." [...] I absolutely loved the book and recommend it to all fantasy fans!" - Carla, Goodreads


In a world facing two divergent futures—eventual freedom or complete domination—too many unmade decisions cloud the yet-to-be. Those who can see even a tiny portion of the inevitable wield great power.

In this world where young and old, rich or poor, are at the mercy of armed marauders and the armies of the powerful, a warlord’s wrath forces a mother and daughter to flee for their lives. Despite being prescient, they cannot foresee all that lies ahead. Quickly separated, their every effort centers around reunion and survival. Without losing sight of these goals, one of them foresees that, if she travels to the conflict’s center and lends support to one of the two major powers, she has the ability to influence the final outcome.

Foretellers, the third volume of The Ydron Saga, is the second book of Awakening’s prequel trilogy.

"A Fantastic Adventure!
This story is for everyone who enjoys action, adventure, strategies and relationships. It all takes place in some unknown universe yet the landscape was familiar." - Richard, Amazon


Heroic battles are not always won by the mighty.

There are times when even the least likely among us play decisive rolls. Less able physically than anyone he knows, but paranormally unique, Bardik is recruited by a pair of psychics in the hope that, by combining his talent with theirs, they can turn looming defeat into victory.

In this, the concluding chapter to The Ydron Saga, a young man who has lost the use of his legs—someone whom earthly culture labels paraplegic—agrees to lend his telekinetic talents to the effort to bring down a tyrannical warlord.

Triad, the fourth volume of The Ydron Saga, is the third book of Awakening's prequel trilogy.

"Another adventure that I didn't want to end.
I loved this book. I suggest people get the first in the series and keep binge reading. You will enjoy the adventures." - Richard, Amazon

What is something unique/quirky about you?

I am often asked where the stories originate. The process is something that puzzles me as well and I’m fond of saying they tell themselves to me. That’s not far from the truth. While the creative process is largely the work of the subconscious and cannot be quantified, I can describe some of the ingredients that go into the pot, though I can’t say how they turn into stew.

I am of the persuasion life is too short to squander. I enjoy fine food, so I have learned to cook. I am endlessly curious about the world around me, so I read and I travel. I like people—who else is there?—so I talk and listen and try to understand what I hear. Over the years I’ve driven trucks, been an FM disk jockey, produced concerts, served as a mainsail trimmer on racing yachts, piloted gliders, written software, worked as a hair stylist and owned and operated my own business—all with varying degrees of success, but all have imparted a wealth of experience and taught great lessons. In the course of these doings I have had the privilege of meeting very accomplished individuals in the areas of music, movies, sports, technology, industry, finance and politics. Ultimately, all of this background comes together, struggles to find coherence and emerge. 

Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!

From September 1971 through August 1972, I hitchhiked and backpacked throughout Europe, spending days, weeks, even months in various locales. My adventures ranged from wondrous to perilous. Once, I lived with the owner and staff above Kipp’s, London’s sole vegetarian restaurant, where I mingled with the likes of Warren Beatty, Julie Christy and Marc Bolan. On another occasion, I milked cows on an Israeli kibbutz and explored ancient Jerusalem, sleeping in the prison where Christ was held. Some events, however, still chill me …


In this scene, Prince Regilius, or Reg as he’s called by his frinds, is fleeing the city of danYdron. At this point in the story, he has become inexplicibly telepathic and clairvoyant and is overwhelmed by the thoughts of its citizenry:

Reg was awash with faces. Their stories came upon him like a flood. Wave followed wave and inundated him to the point of drowning. These were not simply imaginings. They were beyond any concepts he had ever known and many were contrary to his way of thinking. As he fought to retain stable footing in what was rapidly becoming a maelstrom of misery and despair, he grew uncomfortably aware of the vividness and intensely personal feeling each experience brought. These were not other lives. Each seemed to be his own. It was he, Regilius Tonopath, who had been beaten, who drank, who failed and despaired. It was he, the heir to the throne of Ydron, who was the robber, the washerwoman, the child. On one hand, he knew this could not be, and contrarily he recalled each life with the clarity and certitude with which he knew each step and turning of the palace corridors.
Beneath this misery, simmering steadily to the surface, arose ever new and alien thoughts. Immersed as he was in these lives, his perceptions of things familiar were changing. Soldiers, his lifelong protectors, were not to be trusted, but rather, feared. No longer guardians and enforcers of the law, they were the source of brutality and kidnappers of husbands and children. Women hid themselves from the helmet and shield of the throne.
It did not pay to be successful outside the palace walls. Any surpluses or gains were sure to be confiscated. One could never quite pay one’s tax. The collector made sure of it. When one had managed to acquire a little more than one’s customary lot, a visit from the taxman was inevitable. Since none ever knew how the news got out, each suspected his neighbor. It probably was true spies were everywhere. A word in the right ear would likely put food in an empty belly, so distrust abounded.
Reg’s head hurt and he trembled as he drove through the horror. He could not believe any of this could be true in the land his family ruled, but the images were relentless. This flight from danger had become a plunge into reality. He was unprepared for and unable to come to terms with what each moment drove home. Had he been so sheltered he could not see his world as it was?
Somehow—he knew not by what providence—the roadster hurtled on without incident. Even when he tried, he could barely focus on his surroundings. Carts, streets, banners, men, women and children all blurred into a stream, while the dreams or revelations—he could not say which—bombarded him until he was lost in the confusion. He no longer knew where he was, yet the car careened onward.
Eventually he passed through the city’s outermost wall. He did not remember the gate or the guards, but the density of outer danYdron thinned into scattered farms and villages and his head began to clear. He breathed deeply, with only dim recollection of his purpose as the cacophony of sights and sounds receded. Like a badly beaten fighter trying to see through senses numbed by countless blows, staggering toward his corner and his seconds for relief, Reg drove westward. Familiarity kept him on his path, though his mind was still dazed, unaware of the road spinning under the wheels and away behind him.

Thought Gazer
At this point in the story, Peniff, the Thought Gazer, has been kidnapped by Harad, the minion of a warlord who is seeking to use Peniff to locate his enemy’s sister. Harad has has been driving his party to the breaking point. He controls Peniff by collaring him and leads him around with a leash.
To say Harad was relentless is to understate the rage that drove him. He had pushed his party mercilessly until eventually, one of the horses, driven to exhaustion, fell and refused to rise. When Harad began flogging it, Peniff tore his leash from Kord’s grasp, strode up to Harad and grabbed him by the wrist, arresting the whip at the top of its arc. Harad turned to glare.
“You will kill it and still it will not rise.” In a soft, but deliberate tone, Peniff went on. “In fact, if you continue to deny the other horses rest or sleep, you will kill them all. Then what? Do you expect us to walk all the way to danHsar?”
Harad’s face became a mask of hate, but Peniff persisted.
“Even now, the man and the woman are entering the prison. Do you expect that somehow they will run away and evade us? I promise you, they will not escape any time soon. Look at your men. Even should we stumble on the pair in the next minute, they would be too exhausted to act.”
Harad was breathing heavily, but he opened the fist he had formed with his free hand and lowered it.
“We all want the same thing,” said Peniff. “Even this poor, dumb creature wishes to rise and avoid your wrath, but it cannot. Look at its eyes. They are filled with terror, but the animal is spent. It can do no more and neither can we.”
Harad could not deny the truth. The horse’s chest heaved, its mouth frothed and the whites of its eyes showed how deeply it feared the next strike of the lash.
“Very well, Thought Gazer,” Harad said as he looked from the horse to his men. “We will rest, even sleep if you like, but not one minute past Jadon’s rising. I intend to arrive at the city’s gate tomorrow.”
“And this poor beast will carry you there, if you but allow it to sleep the night, then feed and water it in the morning.”
As the two stood staring, it was hard to say who was in charge: the one with the whip, or the one with the collar around his neck.
“There are some things even you cannot simply will into being,” said Peniff.
Harad stared a moment longer, then threw the whip to the ground.

At this point in the story, two prescients, Roanna and her daughter, Pandy, are on board a ship with Harad, whom readers will remember from Thought Gazer.
“I won’t leave you here,” she said. “If we have to leave, we’re leaving together. We’ll jump ship if we have to.”
She turned and took Pandy to the railing across from Harad. She grasped it and stared out over the water. Her head spun through what could happen if both were to go, and all of the outcomes were tragic and black. Panicked and uncertain what to do next, she stood watching the bow wave stream past in an endless ribbon until a tug on her sleeve returned her to the present.
“What is it?”
“There isn’t much time, Mother. A critical moment is approaching.”
A critical moment was a concept Roanna had taught Pandy long ago when she was trying to describe a point in time when an opportunity could either be seized or lost forever. Roanna thought of time as a river and had always pictured herself floating down the stream on a platform. Most of the time, all one could do was move the platform a little to one side of the stream or the other, changing the view a bit as one headed towards an unvarying destination. Every now and then, however, the stream branched and a new platform, heading down the other fork towards a new destination would present itself. Sometimes one would have a great deal of time to consider the consequences of jumping onto the second platform, sometimes almost none at all. But there was always a point in the flow of events when, if a decision were not made and acted upon in that instant, the opportunity would disappear forever. Pandy was saying that one of these instances—a critical moment—was almost upon them.
“There’s lots of time between now and daybreak. We can find a way,” she said, trying to diminish the urgency in the girl’s words. Roanna was about to ask her to clarify what she had seen when Pandy said, “I love you, Mother. Grab the log.”
“What … ?” she started to say, but Pandy pushed hard against her middle with both hands, almost knocking the breath from her lungs as she launched Roanna over the railing.
Not all outcomes are foreseeable. Too many unmade decisions cloud the yet-to-be. But as Roanna cleared the railing, floating weightless—before her heels struck wood and upended her— she thought she saw a look of satisfaction in her daughter’s eyes and knew Pandy’s choice had been correct. Never mind they would not see each other for a long time to come. Pandy would live and so would she. Her feet flipped upwards and sent her spinning and plummeting downwards.

Bardik is telekinetic: able to move objects with his mind. His powers are still unfolding when he, his father, Hammat, his mother, Ada, and other refugees like the three of them are attacked by one warlord’s soldiers.
Hammat’s team was backing way from the fight, threatening to move his wagon into Ada’s. Her own were rearing up to avoid the collision. Horrified, Bardik watched as her wagon began rolling backward, before pivoting on its transom to swing toward the ditch. Lacking an unimpeded view of their reins, he was trying to decide how he might alter her team’s direction when the wagon’s right rear wheel travelled off the roadway. As her wagon began tilting, he found himself wishing there were some way he could level it. His thoughts became deeds when, in the next instant, the wagon came upright. The wheel hovered over empty air and Bardik, in wide-eyed surprise, found he could support it. As her team continued to back, the other rear wheel left the roadway and Bardik struggled to keep the wagon level. Sweat beaded on his brow and his body started to shake under the effort. Curling his fingers into his bedding, uncertain how much more exertion he could tolerate, he struggled to prevent the wagon from overturning. He cried out as, all at once, he found himself suspending the entire load with all of its wheels hanging. He did not know what he would do if Hammat’s wagon did likewise.

In the next instant, just as Bardik’s vision started to tunnel under the strain, Ada’s horses began walking forward, drawing the wagon back onto solid ground. The pressure on him lifted and Bardik collapsed, breathing deeply as he stared at the sky from his bedding, marveling at his accomplishment and the ways things were changing. He no longer needed to assess an object’s mass or dissect the elements of his intended action before assembling the parts of the problem to put them into action. He no longer performed the act of moving something distant. Now he was the act. He was the object he transported. And at the same time, he was the mover. It came to him he was all of these: act, object, and telekine. Moving those objects had become like moving a limb. Just as one does not analyze the elements of hefting a rock and throwing it, neither did he when he acted moments before. And though what he had done had required a great amount of effort, robbing him of more energy than anything prior, he could already feel himself recovering, as if the exercise had strengthened him.

About the author:
Raymond Bolton lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Toni, and their two cats, Georgie & Sophia.

Regarding his debut novel, Awakening, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author, Mike Resnick says, “In Awakening, Raymond Bolton presents us with an intricate and interesting problem, characters you care for, aliens who are alien, and a carefully-thought-out future.”
Matthew J. Pallamary, author of Land Without Evil and Spirit Matters said, “Raymond Bolton’s genre shattering Awakening is a skillfully woven hybrid of science fiction and fantasy that brings cultural conflict to a whole new, thoroughly believable level that goes straight to the heart of what really matters.”
International award-winning author of the Daimones Trilogy, Massimo Marino, endorsed Awakening, saying, “Bolton navigates through the plot lines and the mixed genres (Science Fiction but not exactly, Fantasy but not entirely, Paranormal but not completely) with the clear gesture of the conductor of a large orchestra. A new voice and author who is bound to grow a faithful readership.”
Finally, Britain’s BookViral.com states, “it’s a grand debut. An ambitious and well considered SF crossover [that] breathes originality into the genre.”

Raymond's goal is to craft gripping stories about the human condition, whether they are set here or another world. He has written award-winning poetry and four novels. Awakening, an epic, was released in January, 2014, and Thought Gazer, an adventure and first volume of a prequel trilogy, was released on January 1, 2015. The third in the series, Foretellers, came out on March 1 , 2016. The trilogy’s conclusion, entitled Triad, aired January 1, 2017. Awakening was recently translated into Spanish and was released as El despertar – La saga de Ydron on July 1, 2015. Amazon has already listed El despertar as the Number One New Release in Ciencia Ficción.

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Ally Swanson said...

I really enjoyed reading the excerpt! These books sound like very interesting and intriguing reads! Looking forward to checking them out!

Jodi Hunter said...

Sounds Incredible!

Stephanie LaPlante said...

I think that all of these books sound great.

Debra Holloway said...

These books really captured my interest and held my attention, definitely must reads for me.