Friday, March 9, 2012

Sponsorship: The Nameless Dwarf Omnibus by D.P. Prior

Book blurb:
The Nameless Dwarf Omnibus contains the first three books of the highly acclaimed Chronicles of the Nameless Dwarf:

The Ant-Man of Malfen
The Axe of the Dwarf Lords
The Scout and the Serpent

Following the massacre of the dwarves in their ravine city, the Nameless Dwarf pursues the survivors to the brigand town of Malfen, where he learns they have crossed the mountains into the lands of nightmare. His only intention is to save his people from extinction, but he's the last person they'd want to find them.

Buy links:
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Referee comments:
“The Ant-Man of Malfen's story drew me in quickly, captivated me with its characters and kept me reading feverishly until the very end.” -- Media Man

“ … fantasy adventure at its most pure. In a short novella Prior packs in a massive amount of world-building and history.” -- T. Edmund Jenkin

“If you like Moorcock, Melville or Hobb, read this.” -- Kristan Dawkins

“All of the characters were skillfully drawn by the author so that they came off the page fully developed and ready for action.” -- Red Adept Reviews

“The Ant-Man of Malfen is steeped in the tradition of good old-fashioned swashbuckling fantasy, reminiscent of Robert E. Howard.” -- Valmore Daniels, author of Forbidden the Stars

“All authors have a tale to tell, but only a few can really tell a tale...and Derek Prior belongs in the latter category.” -- Ray Nicholson


Author bio:

D.P. Prior has a background in theatre, music, theology, psychiatry, and physical training.
He is the author of the SHADER series of fantasy books, the first of which, "Cadman's Gambit" is now available in paperback and ebook formats. Other works by D.P. Prior include: "The Ant-Man of Malfen", and "Thanatos Rising".

His main writing influences are Edgar Rice-Burroughs, David Gemmell, Stephen Donaldson, Mary Doria Russell, Robert E. Howard, and Michael Moorcock. His work is also infused with his passion for mystical theology, philosophy and a childhood love of Dungeons and Dragons.
Works to date:
Black Death (unpublished) - an absured comedy for the theatre
Megan (Homunculus 1995) - a play in three acts
Megan (completey revised; unpublished) - a play in three acts
The Resurrection of Deacon Shader (Homunculus 2009)
Foundations for a Better Physique (Homunculus 2009)
The F.I.S.H. Training Log (Homunculus 2009)
Thanatos Rising (Homunculus 2010)
The Ant-Man of Malfen (The Chronicles of the Nameless Dwarf part 1)
Cadman's Gambit (SHADER series book 1) (Homunculus 2011)
Best Laid Plans (SHADER series book 2) (Homunculus 2011)


“Shog,” Nameless said. “Now look what I’ve gone and done.”
A vast, undulating shadow moved with frightening speed beneath the surface of the lake. The water above bubbled and churned, falling away in a V-wake that extended back to the shore, where Nils was still visible, scrambling to his feet and waving like a lunatic.
“Think we get the message, laddie,” Nameless muttered as he hefted his axe and set himself, one boot on a knob of rock that was lapped by gentle waves.
“Get back from the water,” Ilesa said. 
Nameless looked at her over his shoulder. The island grew to a peak some thirty odd feet above the lake. It was like a fist of rock that had burst to the surface, and Ilesa stood above him at the base of the pointing finger. Her back was to the pinnacle, and she stared wide-eyed down at the approaching horror, dagger in one hand, sword in the other.
“Not till I’ve taken at swing at it,” he growled, raising his axe.
A colossal scaled head broke the surface and twirled skywards on a sinuous neck. Eyes like evil suns glared venomously, and the jaws parted wide enough to swallow a mule. It swayed and then lunged, fangs like scimitars glistening in the dawn light.
“Smile, you ugly shogger!” Nameless bellowed. 
He swung the Axe of the Dwarf Lords overhead and brought it down with thunderous force on the monster’s skull. It was like striking steel. The axe bounced off, spinning through the air even as Nameless lost his footing and tumbled straight towards the waiting maw. He flailed about for something to grab onto. He found nothing, but something found him: Ilesa’s fingers wrapped around his wrist, stronger than he’d imagined, and she yanked him away from the water’s edge.
Nameless rolled to his knees and held out a hand to catch the axe, which seemed to wait for him in midair. His goat was well and truly gotten, and he was damned if a shogging snake was going to make a fool of him. He stood with a snarl and spun to face the serpent, but its hissing head was already barrelling straight at him. Nameless twisted aside at the last second, but a curved fang caught his mail hauberk and sent half a dozen links clinking to the rocks.
“Retreat, you stumpy bastard!” Ilesa said, leaping down and weaving her blades through the air in a glittering blur. 
The serpent reared up and watched the display, head swaying, body coiling and rippling in the water.
“I’m not done yet.” Nameless spun with the axe, throwing his entire body weight into a concussive blow against the monster’s lower jaw. The jolt that ran up his arm felt like he’d been struck with a war-hammer. 
“OK, fair point, lassie,” he said, backing onto higher ground.
Ilesa stepped away from the serpent, still twirling her blades. The monster’s great head shook, as if it were clearing the effects of too much grog, and then it lunged at her. Nameless gawped as Ilesa backflipped, landing with perfect poise right beside him.
“Up,” she said, and led the way with the easy grace of a panther.
Nameless didn’t need telling twice. He felt the blast of the serpent’s breath on his back as he climbed the natural steps towards the pinnacle’s top. He had visions of razor-sharp fangs ripping out the seat of his breeches—or worse.
“Can’t reach us up here,” Ilesa said, sitting on the summit and leaning her elbows on her knees, weapons held limply.
Nameless wasn’t so sure. He pressed his back to the rock and kept his axe ready.
The serpent’s head darted towards them but pulled back at the last second. Ilesa was right. It barely came up to their ankles. It roared and shook its writhing body, spraying them with brackish water.
“Sorry, shogger,” Nameless said. “This dwarf’s not for eating. Go catch yourself a fish.”
The jaws gaped so much Nameless thought its head might split. It flicked out its tongue, hissing like a forge bellows, thrashed about in the lake, and then dived beneath the surface with an almighty splash.
“That told him,” Nameless said, sitting down beside Ilesa. “So, lassie, this is cosy.”
Already the thrill of battle was ebbing away and the darkness was crowding out his good cheer once more. He couldn’t afford to let it cripple him this time, not stuck out in the middle of a lake with a monstrous serpent hunting them. “Know any good songs?”
Ilesa turned her nose up, then looked down at her feet. Nameless could tell she was still struggling with what had happened earlier, back when she’d almost left him to the wolf-men. He reckoned she’d more than made up for it with the serpent, though. He knew people. He knew she’d come out right.
“About what happened earlier, lassie.” Ilesa stiffened, but Nameless pressed on. He needed to keep talking before the dark mood robbed him of the power of speech. “You did good.”
Ilesa snorted and turned her back to him, glaring out over the settled waters of the lake. Her shoulders were bunched up about her neck, and the slightest tremor rippled through her bodice. She may have been crying.
“More than good,” Nameless went on, giving his voice a jollity he didn’t feel. “You did as much as anyone could, given the circumstances. So what if you panicked? That’s just the way of things. People aren’t much different to animals, when all’s said and done. Got our need to survive, same as they have.”
“Drop it,” Ilesa muttered. She sniffed and wiped her nose with her forearm.
“What I mean to say is—”
“I said drop it.” She spun round to face him, not attempting to hide the dampness in her eyes. “I know what I am, got it? No pussyfooting around by you is going to change that. You stayed for me and I returned the favour by trying to leave you behind. Big shogging deal. That’s what I’ve always done. Always will. Brau employed me as an assassin, for shog’s sake. What do you expect?”
Nameless laid his axe against a rock and rubbed his new growth of beard. The damned thing hadn’t stopped growing since he’d found the axe. Maybe the Pax Nanorum didn’t like the thought of being wielded by a hairless dwarf. Seemed like a good idea at the time—to wear his shame like a badge. The deeper they went into Qlippoth, though, the more his sense of purpose returned, the less patience he had with self pity. It wasn’t his way. It wasn’t the dwarvish way either. He might not have seen himself as much of a dwarf, but King Arios had in his city beneath the waves; and according to him, the axe had too. 
If you are not of the bloodline of the Immortals, the Pax Nanorum will reject you.
Nameless kicked the axe. 
Well maybe it should have, the voice of the darkness welled up from beneath the surface of his mind. Remember what happened before?
Don’t, the last threads of resistance replied. Don’t even go there. Why would the axe accept me if  it believed I was nothing but a butcher? What if I truly carry the blood of the Immortals?
The darkness replied, Tell yourself that if it helps, but did you not feel something similar when you found the black axe in the depths of Gehenna?
“No,” Nameless said out loud, and then muttered into his beard, “I will not succumb. I will not.”
“What?” Ilesa said, pressing her face up close, eyes burning and indignant. “What did you say?”
“Hmm? Nothing. I was just…”
Her face softened, her scowl giving way to a frown of concern. “You getting morose again? Shutting down?”
It was an effort to lift his chin, but he managed to give her a weak smile.
“Well you can forget it. I’m not doing that dwarf thing, OK? I’m not in the mood.”
Nameless sighed and tried to push himself upright. Heaviness had seeped into his limbs and he sank back down. He was aware of splashing nearby, knew the serpent was still out there. He shook his head. He’d been useless against it. Even with the mighty Axe of the Dwarf Lords he’d been like a child throwing stones at a dragon, or one of the irritating roaches that plagued the miners in the hills outside Arx Gravis.
Ilesa’s hand fell to his shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
It was a simple statement, but Nameless heard the sincerity. He felt her shudder, knew tears were running down her face, but couldn’t bring himself to look. She leaned into him, brought her face close to his.
“Maybe this will help.”
Her lips touched his, warm and wet. He was too shocked to respond, but then she pulled his mouth roughly against hers, her kissing fierce and urgent. Her hands fumbled at his belt, found a way inside his breeches. A brand of fire lit up the darkness, set his heart pounding.

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