R.B. Watkinson’s ‘The Cracked Amulet’ embroils readers in a land where danger, magic, quirky creatures and chillingly-vivid characters run amok. There’s nothing else like it on the market, with critics tipping the adventure as the perfect candidate for the big screen. In fact, one critic recently wrote, “Enter through the portal and be swept up in a whirlwind of a vividly described new world. RB Watkinson writes like a dream”.
R B Watkinson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
United Kingdom – While most authors use their first release to do nothing but simply test the literary waters, R.B. Watkinson is rapidly proving that a debut novel also presents an opportunity to rival the bestsellers. In fact, Watkinson’s ‘The Cracked Amulet’ is being praised by critics for totally redefining the YA/Adult crossover fantasy genre.
It all comes down to the author’s fierce ability to defy convention and her refusal to succumb to the ‘same old’ concepts. Yes, her novel contains all of the unique, intricate creatures and characters fantasy fans crave, but with a narrative unlike anything else on the market.
This is an epic though grim story is as intricate and as powerful as any fantasy you have ever read, full of adventure, mystery, danger, magic, and strangely magical creatures. A dark and compelling world full of nuanced, quirky characters that seems too real to be described as fantasy.
The power known as the Wefan, which weaves through everything animate and inanimate, drains from the world, and Wealdan-bearers, those who can draw on the Wefan for their magic, are fewer and weaker than ever before. A new Priest-king rules in Mureck, and the Murecken blood-priests of the oppressive god Murak rise again to bring war to the lands of Dumnon. They search for those with Wealdan in their blood, for it gives them power. Power to twist, alter and control other beings – human and beast – and ultimately to gain yet more power. They practice horrifying blood-rites on both humans and creatures to gain that power, they gorge on the blood of innocents, destroy farms and families, towns and cities, conquer swathes of territory and gain new followers.
But not all Wealdan-infused blood carries the same intoxicating potency. The blood-priests seek one above all others.
Against a background of failing states, religions, magik and spirits, Coryn and Katleya lose all that they have and must flee all that they know. Coryn, ex-soldier, ex-slave, ex-farmboy, protected by a cracked amulet given to him by a Wealdan-bearing woman also fleeing the Murecken, must find his sister and fulfill an oath. An oath as powerful now as when he gave it over a decade ago.
Katleya, alone in a terrible world, survives through bloody-minded stubbornness, wits and an unbelievable skill with knives. Frustrated that she is able to see the Wefan but not draw on its power, Katleya is determined to reach one of the fabled havens, colleges full of scholars and teachers, where she can learn to use her Wealdan fully. But she is hunted by those who would use her and the Wealdan in her blood for terrible purposes of their own.
Leveen has a single ambition, one she is willing to do anything and everything to achieve. She believes she has found one with so much Wealdan in her blood that the High-priest of Murak himself would give her anything she wants in exchange. And though she hates him with blood-soaked vengeance, she needs him.
And then there’s Mureen, trapped and desperate. Too old for such terrible adventures and dangers, she almost loses her faith in her god, Lehot, as she struggles to save the few survivors left in her care from the blood-priests and their writhen – the blood-magik controlled and twisted creatures that some say are descended from human survivors of blood-magik gone wrong centuries ago.
With wyrms, lacerts, pirates, desert warriors, ifrits, writhen, and blood-priests to contend with, how will any of them survive? Will swords, daggers, bows and and a very small amount of magic be enough for them to survive their journeys and achieve their goals?
“This novel was primarily written for both the young adult audience and adults, as the story’s culture and values transcend any single age group to make it a hoot for readers in any stage of their life,” explains Watkinson. “It’s all about retaining the hallmarks of the fantasy genre, while also breaking new ground to produce something that sits as totally unique in the market. It was no easy job, but I’m delighted with the final product.”
Continuing, “And remember, this is just the very start of the saga. The next book is currently on my writing desk and should be released later this year.” But here is an excerpt from Chapter 24 of ‘The Cracked Amulet’:
“He looked up. In the flickering light, ranks of pillars faded into the distance of an immense hall and stretched up to a ceiling lost in darkness.
Coryn turned, ready for another test. He’d listened to the stories of how ifrit worked. The games they liked to play on humans. He’d even met a few, but never alone. He stepped back a pace when he saw her. A female ifrit. He didn’t know why it shocked him. Maybe because he’d never seen them take on anything other than a male form before. If he were honest though, his shock would be because of the blatant, sensuous nakedness of her.
‘You do not burn, human.’ She sounded curious and Coryn saw it reflected in her eyes.
‘No,’ Coryn agreed as he took in the sight of her. He felt heat rise in him. She looked wondrous. Every luscious curve and swell outlined in tiny ever-rippling flames. Her slanted eyes glinted like sun-caught emeralds.
The ifrit stretched over an ancient stone sarcophagus, luxuriating in his stare. ‘How very unusual. All the others burned. Why is it that do you do not? Are you not human? You smell human, you look human, all my senses tell me you are human.’
Coryn ignored the question. ‘I’ve come with a proposal.’ He tried to keep his eyes on her face. He wasn’t quite successful.”
This first volume has been received with critical acclaim. Reviewer Emily Davies comments, “I adored every single page of this beautifully written novel, I found my self hooked from the first page by the intriguing landscape and the fabulous characters. The fantasy genre is my favourite genre to be absorbed into. I love the feeling of being transported somewhere new, getting engrossed by the magic seeping through the pages. This book definitely falls under the characteristic of epic/high fantasy. If you’re a fan of reading novels set within or paralleling this mystical landscape you definitely have to pick up a copy of ‘The Cracked Amulet’. What interested me most about this novel is the diversity of the audience it is aimed at. I read a lot of young adult novels and Watkinson’s characters really seem to fit the desired tastes of that audience. However, I do feel that this book is written to target older age groups and I think that it’s very cleverly done.”
Sylvia Vetta adds, “Enter through the portal and be swept up in a whirlwind of a vividly described new world. RB Watkinson writes like a dream – a fast moving dream- as the narrative goes at a pace. It is not long before you are attached to her main characters. Although the characters are particularly attractive to young adult readers, this is the kind of fiction that has appeal across the generations.”
Michael Smith concurs, “Watkinson has created a world of nuanced, quirky characters which feels far too real to be described as fantasy. Her smooth writing and compelling characters draw the reader in and never let go. This is a fantastic read.” (Michael Smith – best selling author of Station X and many other books).
‘The Cracked Amulet’ paperback book is available to be ordered from most bookshops, as well as from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Book Depository. The ebook is available through Kindle, Sony Koble, iBooks, and other eplatforms. The audio book will be available in the autumn from Essential Audiobooks.
Publisher: Claret Press (2016)
Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1PeQEHW
Barnes & Noble link: http://bit.ly/1Xy69Dx
Waterstones link: http://bit.ly/1YbxrOJ
Goodreads link: http://bit.ly/1raf6UV
About the Author:
R B Watkinson was born in the Netherlands of Dutch parents. She now lives on a smallholding in the wilds of west Devon, England and runs a holiday let. She is married, has raised three children, and wrangles a menagerie of animals. She held down many jobs over the years: PA, editorial secretary, special educational needs. Her favourite ‘work’, however, is writing. Which she now does almost full time.
After gaining a Diploma in Creative Writing at Oxford University in 2011, she embarked on writing epic fantasy. In March 2015, she signed a three book deal with Claret Press, London (www.claretpress.com), for the epic fantasy trilogy – The Wefan Weaves. She also created the interior artwork for her book, including the map of Dumnon.