Steve’s Four Novels to date are from The Botolf Chronicles & WarWrold
Part I Cosmogonic Marbles
& Part II Temporal Tome
In the endless Cosmoses that exist in the Multi-verse (with equally endless possibilities) the adventures of two brothers, on an Earth where all myths are real and on our own dull magicless Earth, don’t amount to a hill of beans (except in the Cosmoses where they do amount to hills of beans …but that’s another novel).
In this story Philip Philips, a failed businessman, and his twin brother James, are unwilling participants in a battle of Good versus Evil when a mysterious gateway is opened by a minor God from a Dark-Age twin Earth.
It should have been James Philips who was found by the Dark Stranger and transported by an inter-dimensional being in the guise of a Womble to the Dark-Age Earth filled with every magical creature imaginable. But, as Fate would have it, it’s Philip, the useless one, who ends up leading a group of misfits across Medieval England to mount rescues, battle Hobgoblins and generally save the World(s).
James Philips meanwhile is stuck on dull, magicless, Earth in his old college, Botolf-almost-Oxford, which he discovers is staffed solely by men dedicated to the protection of our Earth from the paranormal. His old mentor, now living in a video recording, introduces him to an array of strange allies, as London, England and the World face an ‘alien’ invasion of swords and sorcery.
Others are caught up in the events of the inter-cosmic connection between two Earths; Vortigern the King has been bred for conquest and now his eyes are on our world. He brings with his armies many wizards, who themselves have gained an eye for the throne.
Sam, a young boy from West London has been sent through the gateway to the dark world of magic where he meets Snodrod and the children of an enslaved village, their only wish to get back to their homes; but they face enormous challenges … not least, Dragon-shaped ones.
The story, as told here in the first Chronicle of Botolf, takes place simultaneously in both Earths, where the connection between worlds has a strange echoing effect on every character.
Will the world be saved? Can the Wrong man do the job? Is this a rhetorical question?
All will be answered in this comedy/fantasy/mock-u-history tale.
p.s. There’s also a sarcastic Oak Tree in there somewhere.
Part 2 of the Botolf Chronicles
* SPOILER ALERT
For those of you who haven’t read the first instalment of the ‘Botolf Chronicles’, or did and have forgotten it, or have had it surgically removed from your brain, here is a brief and, largely, inaccurate summary of what has happened so far.
James Philips, a former student of the infamous Botolf-almost-Oxford College has found himself in the heart of a hidden supernatural world, centred on two groups, one human and one inter-dimensional. In a bizarre (and quite frankly hard to believe) set of circumstances England has been invaded by an ancient magical group of Wizards and a warlord King from magical version of our Earth.
With me so far?
You poor sods.
James Philips is a worried man at the start of our story. By the middle of it he is an extremely worried man; his worry is so great it could worry a blue whale and still have enough worry left over for an elephant or two (if you stood them close to each other). Firstly, his wife, Elizabeth, is missing (she is in fact on the alternative Earth about to marry the warlord King Vortigern), secondly, his brother Philip is also missing (he is also on the alternative Earth and marriage is very far from his mind, but we will come to him later) and thirdly, he finds himself an unwilling member of a secret organisation that protects the world from inter-dimensional threats. James is also worried about his former mentor’s soul, currently occupying a video cassette but that, for the moment, is the least of his worries.
The aforementioned Philip Philips is not having a good time. Having spent forty years in a state of perpetual scrounging and career failure, he now finds himself stuck in a magical medieval world, with some rather dubious company. He is desperately trying to find a way back to his own world for reasons that he’s not entirely sure of.
Back on our Earth the governments of the World are trying to explain away the strange events of the last few weeks. Some people have vague recollections of an alien invasion and mass destruction across southern England. Others woke up in their beds convinced that they had spent several days being dead. But on a certain dull Monday morning the world appeared normal, no one was dead (who wasn’t dead already) and no damage could be found (only James Philips and his new colleagues were aware that the world was missing two people). The population of the planet felt that something was wrong, something from their collective memory was missing but they couldn’t quite put their fingers on it. It was a bit like when you go to the supermarket and fill up a trolley with biscuits; you stand at the till knowing you came in for something else but darned if you can think of it, only to get home to find your house has burned down and you had left to phone the fire brigade.
So is that all clear ? …No? …Good! …Then we can get on.
The third and final book of the Botolf Chronicles
For once a fantasy novel that promises you ‘The End of the World’ and doesn’t disappoint.
Gadzooks Armageddon is the third and final part of the Botolf Chronicles, charting the mishaps and adventures of the Philips brothers as they battle powerful and magically forces across a cosmic divide. Two worlds are facing two extinctions and even the Gods are struggling to survive.
The Four Horsemen are about to ride forth … if they can find their horses!
In a world divided by endless conflict, war that has raged for thousands of years between two Races on a planet now almost devoid of resources, three brothers must fight to survive as they are played as pawns in a greater game.
Snippet from WarWorld:
Prologue: Sleep Means Death
Sleep means death. He ran the words through his mind over and over. His lips were now so frozen that he could no longer form the sentence with his mouth. On the ice, sleep means death. In his mind’s eye he could see the letters in bold print standing out from the paragraphs of his Aerial Navy Survival Book. He wished he had the book now, perhaps he could find a way to help himself or better still, burn the book for warmth just as suggested in its final lines.
His heart gave a startled jump as his eyes opened, he hadn’t even realised he had closed them. Sleep means death … sleep means death … sleep means death. He raced that single thought across his mind. Forcing his eyes wide open with fear, he surveyed his position. It was bleak. He was going to die here on the Ice Wastes of the Northern Sea, hundreds of leagues from his homeland. The ice floe on which he sat, as a black dot on a blank white canvas was about ten feet in length and eight wide, was mostly flat on top and stood a foot or so from the lapping waves of the forbidding ocean. This ice had saved his life, if only to drain it away again slowly by freezing or starving. His crewmates had not been so ‘lucky’. The sea had taken them quickly and in the soup of night-fog their calls and cries had died within minutes. With all his strength he had screamed out for them, “Over here …. Over here …. Swim to safety over here!” He even cried out some of their names as he bent his ears to define individuals among the chaos of drowning.
Forgael, gunner’s mate second class, tall lad, dark hair, serviced guns one to eight on C deck, good swimmer, champion twice over – now dead. Captain Leonide had once told him if he played his cards right he could be an officer in three years – dead! Ottoway, gunner first class, number seven gun-pit. Number seven was his own gun-pit; Ottoway was his partner and friend. You get to know a man when you share a small space with him twenty hours of the day on a three month tour of duty. You know a man when you recognise the scent of his woman from her letters, when you know his aspirations and dreams, when you argue and make jokes to pass the time. You know a man when his next bullet could kill the enemy aiming at you, when his or your mistake could get both of you killed or take down a whole ship. Ottoway was dead too, he was sure of that. Ottoway was dead before the ship hit the water; the hole in his chest was as big as a fist. The bullet had passed through his body and into the armoured deck behind.
They were all dead. “They’re all dead!” he screamed, stirring up within himself a deep resolve he didn’t know was there. He tried to sit up a little more; it was hard to move now. “You won’t kill me! Do you hear me, you bastard, I’m going to live, bastard! Bastard! I’m going to live!” The lie and the screaming made the adrenaline flow around his gut, “Sleep means death.”
He tightened his arms around himself. He knew he was going to die, but he wasn’t going without a fight, that wasn’t the way a gunner for the Spectre should die. He should have perished the same way as Otto, with a Quat bullet in his chest. That’s the way a gunner from the Spectre should die. He thought about his ship, and it was his ship, just as much his as her Captains or any other man on her. She was probably directly below him now. How far down, he wondered, how deep is this part of the Northern Sea? Over three leagues straight to the bottom anyway. She’d be crushed by the weight, her armour buckling, her superstructure bending under pressure. The guns would survive, thrown clear by the impact, and the engines were almost solid, the batteries of course could not break, but everything else was designed to be light, reduce her weight, and keep her in the sky where she belonged.
He wanted her to be up there now, over Leisia, his homeland, protecting his people with her sisters of the Fleet beside her.
If only he’d thought of grabbing something useful on his way out before she hit the water, but in the scramble to survive his only thought was for the exit. Just like three hundred others he’d jumped from the burning decks into the Northern Sea. He supposed many of his crewmates didn’t get to jump and their ship became their coffin. He’d rather freeze than be under the waves with no way out.
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