Tag Archives: darrell drake

Excerpt and Giveaway: A Star-Reckoner’s Lot by Darrell Drake

author

Darrell Drake has published four books, with A Star-Reckoner’s Lot being the latest. He often finds himself inspired by his research to take on new hobbies. Birdwatching, archery, stargazing, and a heightened interest in history have all become a welcome part of his life thanks to this habit.

http://www.astarreckonerslot.com

.


A Star-Reckoner’s Lot (excerpt chapters 1-3)

by Darrell Drake

I

There comes a time in every child’s life when even the disappointed stare of a much-loved, much-respected father is not enough to smother the stupidity of youth. This was Ashtadukht’s time.

She’d wandered off some time prior, her brother reluctantly in tow, as she was wont to do. It had occurred to her that doing so during a royal hunt would be dangerous; it had also occurred to her that it’d be thrilling. Caution had lost that battle, squashed beneath the tenacious curiosity of childhood.

So it was that this day found the siblings mired in an especially precarious situation, one of the sort that threatened the course of history.

“I think we’re lost,” said Ashtadukht. She gripped her brother’s arm and leaned into him. Having an illness that made physical exertion bothersome on the best of days never really stopped her. If anything, it only made her more intent on finding trouble—to challenge her handicap and overcome it. And the presence of her brother meant she benefitted from the reassurance of his carrying her back if she overexerted herself, as he’d done many times in the past.

“We are not lost,” contested Gushnasp. He accepted her weight without realizing it; it’d become second nature for the boy. “We are right where you want us to be. You are not fooling anyone.” He’d been dragged on these adventures often enough to know her aim, and more than anything it irritated him that she persisted in her lie. It was insulting. He wasn’t dull, and he didn’t need convincing to take care of his little sister. “You are—”

“Oh!”
“What?”
“Shhh! There’s something up ahead.” Ashtadukht hunkered down behind an old yew

and peered around, eyes gleaming with excitement. A feeling had led her to this spot, had expressed in what were unspoken but very clear words that she wanted to be here. The why never mattered; she never even bothered asking herself why.

Because he wanted to indulge her, and because he was the more circumspect of the pair, Gushnasp followed suit and squatted behind the trunk.

The thicket they’d been exploring gave way to a small clearing just ahead. The far edge was lined with low-hanging branches and dense shrubbery that stirred in the wake of some hoarsely grunting creature. Ashtadukht leaned forward. Her brother’s hand came to rest gently but firmly on her shoulder, a preemptory tether.

Out charged what Ashtadukht believed to be the largest boar anyone had ever seen, raking at the earth and shaking its head. The beast had shoulders higher than Gushnasp,

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Author Interview and Giveaway: Darrell Drake

author

Darrell Drake was kind enough to provide three (3) free ebook copies of A Star-Reckoner’s Lot to go along with his interview! The link and details for the giveaway are located at the bottom of the post, following the interview:)

Today I am interviewing Darrell Drake, author of the new, historical fantasy novel, A Star-Reckoner’s Lot!!!

[Insert 80’s montage with guitars and fireworks and Canadian flags]

◊  ◊  ◊

DJ: Hey Darrell! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Darrell Drake: There’s one thing you should know about me above all else: that I’m fond of birds. How fond? I once let a Canadian goose eat out of my hand, and Canadian geese are nothing if not vicious. Really. Also, I regularly serenade my cat with power ballads.

DJ: What is A Star-Reckoner’s Lot about?

Darrell: The thriving, culturally rich late-antique empire of Sassanian Iran; a strong yet tragically real heroine whose illness and bereavement hangs over her like a cloud of soot and grime; a system of luck-based magic fueled by astronomy (and unpredictable at best in the case of the heroine); a companion who is, perhaps above all else, a liability, with an unconventional take on reality; and all of this inspired by classics such as the Shahnameh and Arabian Nights.

DJ: What were some of your influences for A Star-Reckoner’s Lot?

asrl_cover

Darrell: For the execution of stories within the greater story I drew obvious inspiration from Scheherazade’s delivery of her tales in Arabian Nights—though not nearly as recursive. The tales themselves were influenced in part by the Shahnameh, Iran’s national epic, and the folklore and mythology of the region.

The setting allowed me a wealth of content to draw from, which further seeded the adventures of Ashtadukht and her cohorts. The history and multifarious lands of Sassanian Iran would be the core around which their path wound. The empire spanned four centuries; its domain stretched from Mesopotamia to Central Asia. Needless to say, I had quite a bit to work with on that front.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?

Darrell: Ashtadukht, the heroine of A Star-Reckoner’s Lot, is perhaps the most appealing because of her flaws. She’s constantly struggling with her illness, the weight of her husband’s death (and her headstrong pursuit of the div responsible [a sort of monster]), the enormity of her title as star-reckoner, the contempt with which her peers view her (due to her unpredictable star-reckoning, and leniency toward the divs she’s meant to root out). All the while, she maintains her bearing. She is proud, intelligent, and capable—neither above her faults nor weakened by them. In her adventures, readers will come to find just how heedlessly she follows her course for justice—or what she would call justice.

Waray is one of Ashtadukht’s companions, one who has already endeared readers, and is above all else a liability. A glance at her semi-keeled scales and otherwise viper-like appearance imparts a clear impression of her terrible lineage. She is no normal div, though. A normal div would be a more straightforward problem; Waray is half-div. Her troubled state becomes immediately manifest in unusual idiosyncrasies and an unconventional take on reality, symptoms of her grim personality disorders. What’s more, she harbors a lie so great it entices her own kind to turn on her. Hunted by both sides, running from her past, Waray is in a bad … way when Ashtadukht finds her. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,