For those of you that haven’t been following my Facebook page, I have been posting short mini previews of the book over the last month. There are six of them so far and I will be posting a few more up to the Christmas release date.
Think of these mini previews as the kinds of flashes of a scene you get when watching a film trailer. Each one is just a few paragraphs long, enough to tease a few scenes and character interactions.
Any spoilers are minor. I don’t give away any major plot points, though if you haven’t read up to The Troll King, you may find some of the character’s interactions confusing.
Here we go.
Mini Preview #1
— Deathclaw darted forward, keeping his body low to avoid a sweeping attack. His senses were heightened, his mind in complete focus, slowing the world down around him as he found a narrow opening for his blade. He thrust Star out in a fierce stab.
“Whoop!” cried Cletus, jumping backwards and sucking in his narrow gut to avoid being skewered. “Almost!”–
Mini Preview #2
— A rumble reached his ears and the warmth of the sun was diminished by a cool breeze thick with the smell of rain. A storm was coming. Fist groaned. It was happening again. He tried to ignore it.
“Let the dream stay nice,” he pleaded.
A sudden weight settled on his lower body, pushing him deeper into the cloud. A thin hand smacked his face and an insistent female voice said, “Hey! What are you groaning about, Big Guy?”
Fist cracked an eye open and saw Maryanne’s amused eyes looking down at him. She was leaning over him, the tips of her hair dangling down to tickle the sides of his face. The sun behind the gnome’s head lit her auburn hair, turning it the color of fire. Fist smiled up at her, his cheeks flushing as he realized she was straddling his hips.
“What?” she asked, sitting up. Her skin-tight leather armor creaked as she folded her arms. “Don’t just lay there grinning stupidly. We’ve got things to do.”
“No we don’t,” he said and reached up one arm to grasp the back of her neck. He pulled her back towards him. Her eyes narrowed in playful protest but she allowed him to bring her in for a deep kiss.
It lasted only a few moments before she pulled out of his embrace and sat up again. “I mean it, Fist,” she said and pointed off to the right. “That storm’s coming on quick and it ain’t made of clouds.”–
Mini Preview #3
–“Naughty Jack, pullin’ Momma’s hair,” Lenui said reproachfully.
Bettie bent down and Lenui reached up to help extract his son’s pudgy fingers from his momma’s curls. It wasn’t exactly easy. His little fists were clenched hard and his fingers were sticky. He also seemed to think this game of tug of war was funny. He giggled as his daddy pried and when Lenui finally pulled the baby’s hand free, he pulled several hairs out with it.
“Sorry ‘bout that, Darlin’,” Lenui said.
“Darlin’?” she asked suspiciously. “You butterin’ me up or somethin’?”
“I can say that. Yer my dag-gum wife, ain’t you?” he said, then changed the subject, planting a big smooch on the boy’s face. “Our Jack here’s got strong hands, just like his daddy. Don’t you, bo- ack!”
One of those strong hands had just grasped a fistful of Lenui’s mustache. It wasn’t in a nice spot, either, but just at the base of the nose where it was most sensitive. Half ‘stache hair and half nose hair. Jack laughed at his daddy’s pained expression.
“That’s right. You get him,” Bettie said approvingly, then attempted to assist Lenui. —
Mini Preview #4
–Sarine sped up, her needles clicking again. “Wait just a moment, Dear. I still haven’t mentioned the reason I wanted to speak with you in the first place.”
“No?” Darlan said. “Then what did you wish to speak to me about?”
“To be blunt, Dear, I was wondering why you haven’t been named yet,” Sarine replied.
Darlan’s foot caught on a step and she nearly stumbled forward. After a brief pause, she continued on as if nothing had happened. “That is a strange question. The Bowl names whom it will.”
“Don’t be disingenuous, Dear,” Sarine chastised, her needles clicking away. “The Bowl can’t name those who don’t approach it. I’ve seen the way you avoid going up to the Hall of Majesty. You don’t attend when students you know are being raised. From what I hear, you had Fist raised to apprentice without even taking him to the Bowl.”–
Mini Preview #5
–“Squirrel problems?” asked Maryanne with a yawn. She frowned sleepily and reached into her bedroll to pull out a handful of tiny seeds. “Blast it! Got seeds down my smallclothes.”
“At least that means he likes you. Otherwise it’d be poop,” Fist said. He sighed and rubbed his face with his hands. “I’m worried about him. He constantly thinks about fighting.”
Maryanne pushed her blankets aside and sat up, shivering in the morning air. Fist tried not to notice the way her undershirt gaped open at the neck. She leaned against his arm. “Don’t worry too hard, Big Guy. He’s a resourceful critter.”
“I know, but . . . I liked it better when he preferred to hide in the trees.” Fist said.
“I get it. But people grow. They change. Especially ones that started out without much smarts. I should know.” She rolled to her knees and leaned in to kiss him. “Don’t worry too hard. Also don’t think I didn’t notice you look down my shirt.”
Fist blushed. “I didn- . . . I tried not to.”
“I know you did,” she said with a chuckle. The gnome warrior turned away and started pulling on her leather armor. “That’s one of the things that makes you so cute.”
Rufus’ voice sounded loudly through the bond. Attack coming!–
Mini Preview #6
I’m proud of the chapter this scene is in. When you get there, you’ll know why. Be prepared for an epic curse fight!
–“I never said I was no great leader,” Lenui harrumphed. “And don’t act all high and mighty to me, dag-blast it! Yer supposed to be a dwarf. Cursin’ is a proud part of our heritage!”
“I’m not saying that cursing doesn’t have its place in our tradition,” the old dwarf allowed. “But only during holidays! And the cursing competition was done as a joke! Your generation is the one that started bringing that muddy language into every day speech!”
“That’s blasted bunk! My grandpappy used to curse me to sleep at night!” Lenui declared.
Old Bill rolled his eyes. “That’s right. You’re from Corntown where coarseness is second nature. But the rest of us weren’t ever that way. It’s your generation that spread it around to the rest of the dwarves. Now it’s become so common place nobody can speak the common language proper anymore!” He pointed his pipe at Lenui. “It’s one of the great travesties of our age. Two hundred years of young dwarfs so empty headed, they can’t spit out a coherent sentence!”
“That’s tiddle-pucky!” Lenui snapped. “Yer just against it ’cause you ain’t quick witted enough to keep up with me.”
“I’ll have you know that back in my younger days I was the champeen curser of my town!” Bill claimed. “I just knew the proper time and place for it.”
Lenui let out a belly rumbling guffaw. “Bull-apples!”
Old Bill’s face twisted into a deep scowl. “You challenging me, boy?”
“I been challengin’ you since we left the dag-blamed Academy,” Lenui growled.–
I hope you have enjoyed them. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Feel free to speculate!
Trevor H. Cooley