"This is a fast, insanely compelling read. I was supposed to be studying for my final exam when I thought I would take a break and read the first couple of chapters.[...] The chapters are written with miniature cliff hangers that just made me read and read and read. I had to know what would happen next, and I love when a book can do that to me." - Goodreads, Connor
Release Date: May 10th, 2016
More demons, epic battles, and fights to the death: introducing the unmissable next installment in the Summoner Trilogy...
On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future - the process is gruelling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher's tragic origins.
But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the king announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission. With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together to triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and PEACE.
With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there's a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire.
With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory.
19th Century Warfare – Why it’s the BEST setting
Most high fantasy books use a medieval setting. Think Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, the Earthsea Quartet. This is a great time period to use, but I chose a different path. In my fantasy series, Summoner, swords, bows and other medieval staples are still used, but so too are old-timey muskets and pirate style pistols. This is sometimes known as gunpowder fantasy. Below are eight reasons why the 19th Century ROCKS.
That’s right. Even though there are guns, cavalry were still a huge component of 19th century warfare. You could still see epic cavalry charges smashing through the ranks of terrified infantry, cutting down retreating armies or flanking formations to throw them into disarray. 19th century cavalry were so deadly that new strategies had to be developed to counter them, where infantry would fall into square formation to leave their flank secure and face the horses with tightly packed ranks of bayonets.
2. Cannons were deadly.
Let’s forget the cannons of old, which were primarily used to smash away at a castle’s walls for weeks on end. 19th century cannons were a different kettle of fish, which could be dragged around the battlefield by horses to keep them as mobile as any infantry regiment. These monstrosities fired primarily three types of shot.
· Grape/canister shot, which acted like a giant shotgun, firing grape sizes pellets or shrapnel to decimate infantry.
· Round shot, to destroy fortifications, damage other cannons or tear bloody murder through the ranks of approaching infantry.
· Chain shot, two balls connected by a chain, designed to de-mast ships and slash rigging.
· Shells, explosive filled metal balls that shattered like a grenade.
Then there were the mortars and howitzers, cannons that could arc explosive shells over walls to rain down hellfire on cowering infantry. Let’s not forget the hand cannons – cavalrymen could use culverins to fire 4.5kg balls from horseback, and swivel guns could be mounted on battlements or ships to swing back and forth and fire shrapnel into where the fighting was fiercest.
3. Sieges were insane.
Even with the advent of more powerful cannons, castles and fortifications were still as important as ever. Only, this time they fired back. Wall-mounted cannons shooting at siege engineers as they tried to get their own artillery in place, perpetuated the first stages of a siege. The attackers were forced to build earthworks, even use wicker baskets filled with soil (gabions) to protect their own guns during the siege.
You’d think there would be better ways of getting up walls, but ladders were still the preferred method. Only this time, bullets and shrapnel would be fired at you from the ramparts, and there was no armour to protect you, only the cloth of your uniform. Often the first wall would have a sheer drop on the other side, and the attackers would carry bales of hay to cushion their fall when they jumped down on the other side, often breaking their legs in the process.
Even when there was a breach in the wall, attacking it was so dangerous it was considered near-suicide. The first men into the breach were known as a “forlorn hope”, almost always volunteers who knew that casualties would be so high and their actions so heroic, that they would likely earn themselves a promotion if they survived.
Muskets were the most prevalent weapons, which an experienced infantryman would be able to fire four shots from in one minute. Cartridges were torn open with teeth, poured into the firing pan of the weapon and then rammed down the end of the gun with a ramrod.
If you think of the revolutionary war, men would march slowly towards each other and blast away. More often than not, it was the most disciplined and fastest loaders that won. British redcoats invariably did better than their rivals because of this – they trained endlessly with live ammunition, and had one of the most organised armies in the world. But let’s not forget the other guns.
Rifles were similar to muskets, but they had “rifling” inside the barrel, grooves that imparted spin on the bullets and made them go further and more accurately than their smoothbore counterparts. Each bullet had to be wrapped in leather before firing and loading was harder because ammunition was hard to ram past the grooves. These weapons were used by the British greenjackets, men who would snipe away during battle to take out officers and artillery with surgical precision.
Then there were blunderbusses, primitive shotguns that would fire shrapnel in a wide arc. Pistols were used by officers, from double-barrelled pistols that fired twice, to the duckfoot pistols, which had three barrels that splayed like their namesake and fired in three directions. Guns were awesome back then.
Although piracy was on the decline, pirates still roamed the Caribbean and African coast, preying on merchantmen, taking slaves, burying gold and living in debauchery. There was even a legalised form of piracy – privateering. Independent ships could take letters of marque from a warring nation and capture enemy trading ships, taking them as prizes. Broadside cannons would blast into each other during sea battles, with boarding actions started by grapnel hook and finished by cutlass and pistol. There was even a brief time where a seven-barrelled volleygun was introduced, designed for clearing decks of the enemy before boarding.
6. Nobility and succession.
Despite the relatively modern setting, royals and their respective noblemen were still prevalent during the 19th century. British soldiers would still shout “Long live King George” before going into battle, and Napoleon’s men would yell out “Vive l’Empereur” as a mantra to keep their spirits up as they walked into massed gunfire. Napoleon named his various family members as kings of the places he conquered, and the British army fought various sultans across India during that era too. As for the nobles, primogenitor succession was still very much in place, and most officers and generals were from some form of noble family. Some of the richer nobles in Britain would raise their own forces and take them into battle themselves, though even they had to do so as part of the British army, subject to their rules and regulations.
7. Close combat
Bayonets were a staple of the armies of the 19th century and bayonet charges were not uncommon. In fact, bayonets remained part of a footsoldier’s equipment until late into WW1. Bayonets were mostly used for stabbing, but there were also sword bayonets with razor sharp edges for slashing and parrying. These weapons were essential for countering cavalry charges, forming a wall of spears to skewer horses on. That being said, there were dozens of other awesome weapons used by soldiers during this era.
8. Clashes of civilisations and cultures.
The 19th century was a time of warring empires and cultures, where modern infantry battled peoples from distant lands. The British Empire fought Indian sultans, African tribes, Chinese empires and Australian aborigines. The United States battled the Ottoman Empire and Barbary pirates, fought with and against Native Americans and invaded Mexico itself.
19th century warfare keeps the dynastic, combative appeal of medieval wars, but blends it with the awesome power of firearms, mixes in naval clashes, piracy and plunder and adds a dollop of clashing cultures and technologies. Now add demons, spells, a military academy for mages, sprinkle with orcs, dwarves and elves and pop it in the oven for twenty minutes. Summoner is served.
About the author:
Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.
Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’.
Thanks to Wattpad.com and updating daily, its popularity dramatically increased, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months.
After being featured by NBC News, Taran decided to launch his professional writing career and has never looked back.
His SUMMONER trilogy is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan and Record in Brazil. Book 1 will be published by EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria and Alpress in the Czech Republic.