Friday, 28 June 2019

Eye of the Observer is Out!

Yup, the third in the Black River Chronicles series, Eye of the Observer, is finally out to buy!  And it's hard to know what I can add to that announcement, since it feels like I've already been talking about this book for such a long while now.  I guess I'll just have to settle for summing up everything I've said elsewhere, now that people can actually read the thing for themselves, right?

Eye of the Observer has been a major part of my life ever since before The Ursvaal Exchange came out, and that was an entire year and a half ago!  In that sense, it's actually a bit weird to be finally letting it go out into the world.  Some of why it's arriving later than I'd hoped is to do with a bit of general rejiggering at the publisher end - all positive, mind you, and which will hopefully get the series under the eyes of yet more people - but part of it is undoubtedly my fault, so sorry for everyone who's been itching to see what misadventures Durren, Tia, Arein, and Hule get up to this time.  At any rate, I'm confident in saying the gap until book four will be a good deal shorter; with the first draft already finished, there's a solid chance we'll have it out before this time next year.

But back to Eye of the Observer ... and as I'm sure I've said before, you can get a  good idea of where the focus of each Black River book lies from who gets most space on the cover.  Durren was our viewpoint into the series in Level One, The Ursvaal Exchange dug into Tia's background and motivations, and here we have two characters sharing almost equal space.  Of course, part of the reason for that is that one of them happens to be a heck of a lot bigger than when we last saw them.  Can that really be the party's faithful companion creature Pootle squaring up to Arein?  Obviously the answer is ... maybe?  Look, I'm not going to spoiler my own book in the week it comes out, am I?  Let's just say that, as the title suggests, we're going to be learning more about a certain eyeball creature, and as the cover suggests, this one is in many ways Arein's book - which is great for me, because she's a joy to write and has always felt like the heart of The Black River Chronicles.  Indeed, since her character was my personal starting point for these books, there's a lot here that's been on the boil since before the first word was ever written.

Right, I think that's enough out of me!  To give you a taste of what Eye of the Observer is actually about, here's the blurb:
Durren Flintrand, student ranger at the Black River Academy for Swordcraft and Spellcraft, finds his life thrown into fresh confusion when his party's latest quest goes disastrously awry.  Magic is malfunctioning in strange and terrible ways, and what's worse, it might be their fault.  Certainly that's what their wizard Arein believes, and her doubts may be enough to accomplish what countless threats haven't: to tear their group apart.
Along with Tia the rogue and fighter Hule, Durren is determined to put right what's gone wrong, no matter the cost.  But when they embark on a desperate mission of their own, the friends end up far from home and lost in a subterranean labyrinth of monsters, traps, and buried secrets.  With Arein's fate on the line and Pootle the observer, their unofficial fifth party member, undergoing a bizarre transformation, the stakes have never been higher or more personal.  Yet they may prove trivial compared to what lies in the heart of the mountain Gongurren, an ancient horror now stirring toward the light of day.
And if you fancy a copy, you can find it on Amazon in the UK here and in the US here.

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