By Steven Seng
In a world where cities float, airships sail the skies and mythical creatures are summoned in a pinch, Celes Vale is distinctly average. Living in the shadow of his talented cousin and his powerful aunt and uncle, Celes is resigned to a future of soot, factories and well, more soot.
But on the night of his twelfth birthday everything changes. A blinding light, a whispered voice and in an instant Celes becomes the first ordinary child in history to develop magic, sending him on a fast-track ticket to the greatest of the floating cities, Gardarel. Boasting grand, elegant buildings wrought from shimmering white stone, the entire city appears as though it has been built from light, and so it has come to be called the Kingdom Lights.
Though some welcome Celes, others want the dirt-ridden up-start off their city preferably head first. Nowhere is this clearer than in the attitude and actions of the beautiful and haughty Lady Ban and her sneering nephew, Marcus Blackwood. But Blackwood, with his gang of goons and unimaginative one-liners, is soon the least of Celes s problems.
With a little magic and a lot of detective work, Celes and his group of Scurriers and Wisps unravel the dark truth behind Lady Ban s prim, perfect smile an alliance to the villainous Wardens and the masked man who leads them. However, in his attempt to expose Lady Ban, Celes unwittingly stumbles onto an even darker conspiracy a plan that could lead to the complete destruction of Gardarel itself.
Light. Beautiful, pulsing, bathing him in its emerald glow…his eyes were peering open now, his mind fumbling for thoughts and memories, a taste like metal upon his tongue.
“Are you hurt?” said a voice, faint, distant. “I didn’t want to hurt you, but I didn’t have a choice.”
“Choice?” the boy croaked. He tried to reach up, but his hands had been bound, thick ropes cutting into soft flesh. I’m back in the Gravity Rooms, he realized, though the chamber itself had been transformed entirely. The emerald light now dripped with the crimson of hundreds of Flare Crystals, as though an angry swarm had surged forth against a far larger beast.
“I know why you’re here, but I...you can’t stop this.” As his eyes began to focus, Celes saw the Warden standing before him, draped in a white cloak, his iron mask half-hidden beneath his hood. It was strange, so strange to find the spectra amongst shadows for once illuminated.
“You can’t,” said Celes his lips cracked, his thoughts dizzy. What’s…my head, I can’t think… “You can’t destroy Gardarel. Please. I know you’re working for Lady Ban. You don’t…you don’t have to do this!”
The Warden took a knee before him. “I do,” came the whispered reply, soft and sad. “They made their choice; and I, mine.”
AUTHOR INFORMATION:A resident of the sleepy coastal town of Bexhill, East Sussex, England. Steven graduated in the summer of 2013 from the University of Southampton with a Bachelor of Medicine Degree and a Master’s Degree in Global Health from Sussex University – where he spent the majority of his time in Shawcross writing this novel!
In between writing and dreaming Steven is a medical doctor and has worked at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and the Princess Royal where he fights the system with quirky lanyards.
Steven’s debut novel steampunk fantasy The Kingdom Lights is out on October 17th published by Neverland Publishing.
1. Do you ever wish you were someone else? Who?
Have you ever read Watchmen? There’s a character in it called Dr Manhattan who has the ability to travel across space and perceives time as happening all at once. I’ve always wondered what that might be like – to travel across the universe, to see everything there is, in the blink of an eye.
2. What did you do on your last birthday?
This is going to sound terrible, but I don’t celebrate my birthday! So for my last birthday I just had a small dinner with my best friend, though she then surprised me with a cake, and posted it all over Facebook, for the whole world to know!
3. Do you have any tattoos? Where? When did you get it/them? Where are they on your body?
I don’t, but I am planning to get one. I had a difficult time growing up and would love this one game Battle Realms, where one faction was the Wolf Clan who overcame hardship and slavery to becoming free once more. I always said that if I made it, I would get a Wolf tattoo – I am currently too chicken, but it is on my to do list!
4. What are you working on right now?
In terms of what I am writing, I started working on the sequel to the Kingdom Lights but was so fatigued by that whole world, that I really wanted to do something else. So I am currently working on the sci/fi novel Infinite which involves parallel worlds and a whole lot of self-deprecating on the part of my protagonist.
THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY:
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