Tuesday, 9 May 2017

SPOTLIGHT & EXCERPT: OUTREMER BY D.N. CARTER (Historical Epic Fiction)

Today is my turn on the Outremer blog tour and I've got an excerpt from the first book in this new Historical Series


Outremer I
Who Controls The Past Controls The Future
 An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.
Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.
Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.
Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.

The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.


EXCERPT
La Rochelle in the main kitchen back at the Manor House, Paul’s brother Stewart and Alisha were sat at the dining table. Paul and Alisha had fallen out, Paul trying to keep his distance as advised and to not get involved with her. She had questioned his ability to look after her and called him a dreamer and still just a boy after he appeared to reject her.

   He hesitated just inches away from her face. Gently he leaned closer, their lips touching. Alisha pulled away briefly, as Stewart put his hand upon her face and kissed her again. Alisha felt herself responding to his touch as her heart beat faster and his lips pressed against hers. She slowly raised her hand to his face and as her hand reached his jaw, she thought of Paul. Instantly she broke the kiss and pulled her face away slightly from him. Stewart’s eyes darted as he searched hers.
   “I am sorry...I cannot do this,” she said in a quiet whisper.
   She pulled herself back and away and looked up. As she did, she saw Paul standing at the rear entrance, his arms hung loose, his face distraught and in shock. Alisha raised her hands to her mouth in shock. Stewart stood up quickly and flung himself around to face him. Paul just stood looking at them in utter bewilderment.
   “Paul...this is not what it looks like,” Alisha said emotionally beginning to shake.
   “Oh yes it is. It is exactly what it looks like,” Stewart said loudly and looked back at Alisha. Alisha shook her head it wasn’t. “You saw with your own eyes brother. You did not want her and I have fallen for her...tell him Ali,” Stewart shot back as he moved his sword to his side out of the way as it had been hanging to the front.
   Paul looked at Alisha as tears were welling in his eyes. ‘I will not cry this time’ he told himself fighting to control his emotions.
   “Two of the people I love most in this torrid world...and this is what you do to me,” Paul finally blurted out and stood down from the rear step.
   “We do to you! You sanctimonious Holier than though prig...how dare you! You rejected Ali, you crushed her heart without so much as a second thought, and you dare to stand there now in judgement of us?” Stewart shouted.
   Alisha cupped her hands over her mouth as tears began to well ever bigger in her eyes. She shook her head no several times just looking at both of them.
   “Paul...please,” she suddenly cried as tears just streamed down her face.
   “Well Ali...come on tell him...tell him you feel the same for me now,” Stewart said demonstratively as he stood up. Alisha shook her head more and stood up slowly. “Ali...tell him...please,” Stewart said loudly. All three stood in silence for several minutes as tears fell from Alisha.
   Paul looked at her wishing he could just grab her and hug her seeing the pain in her eyes, but also a large part wanted to scream and yell at her, the image of her kissing Stewart burnt deeply into his mind. Stewart stood up fully, pulled his chain mail and surcoat down straight and shook his head annoyed, anger clearly rising and evident upon his face.
   “I am sorry Stewart...Paul...” Alisha finally said, her voice broken and shaking.
   “Damn you. Damn you both. You have played me for a fool. Gerard was indeed correct when he said you are nothing more than a she devil harlot who would bring ruination upon many a man...well thankfully I have seen the light of truth just in time...you are welcome to her brother,” Stewart said bitterly, his face contorted with anger.
   “And damn you brother. You know full well how I felt...still feel...for Ali but it did not stop you from trying to bed her did it,” Paul suddenly exploded in rage as he rapidly walked towards Stewart. Instinctively Stewart went to grasp his sword, Alisha screamed as Paul kicked his forearm hard away from his sword handle.
   Stewart instantly swung his right hand backwards and up striking Paul hard across the face knocking him backwards. Paul fell hard against the stone step banging his head. Momentarily dazed he could not focus his vision as Stewart quickly loomed into view over him. Stewart drew his sword fast. Alisha screamed again and rushed at Stewart to stop him. She grabbed his arm holding the sword, but he flung his arm backwards hard flinging her hard against the wooden table. In pain she grabbed her side. As Paul regained focus, it was just in time to see Stewarts sword tip waving dangerously close to his face as he knelt over him, his knee pressing down hard into his chest.
   “I could kill you both this instant. You make a fool of me like this,” Stewart snarled.
   “And yet you brother, who insults me by having no respect for me over your own lust and base desires for Ali...not a second thought for me or my feelings, just your own selfish wants as always. Well go on then...kill me. This is not the first time you have wanted to, with that uncontrollable anger of yours. You are no better than Gerard...in fact I would say you are worse...at least he does not hide his arrogance and brutality behind some false mask of decency as you fake,” Paul said through gritted teeth as the pain in his chest increased. Stewarts face was red with rage.
   “You are no brother of mine. You are nothing but a weak and pathetic fool of a boy trying to be a man and that is all you will ever be with your stupid maps and poems,” Stewart snarled again, sweat forming upon his head, his sword shaking almost uncontrollably near to Pauls face.
   “Please Stewart...do not hurt him further,” Alisha pleaded as she tried to walk nearer cautiously still holding her side in pain. Her eyes met Pauls. He could see she was in pain.
   “Aaaaarrrgh!” Paul screamed loudly and with all his might and strength, placed his feet into Stewart’s stomach and pushed him hard away. Stewart staggered backwards and hit the side of the main stove hard. As he went to straighten up, Paul was already up and on his feet. As Stewart stood up straight and began to raise his sword, Paul grabbed his forearm, the strength and intensity of his grip surprising Stewart. As he looked at Paul, without warning Paul head butted him hard, Stewart’s nose instantly breaking and blood spurted downwards onto his beard and all over his white mantel surcoat and also onto Paul’s leather overcoat. Stunned, Stewart tried to use his left arm to grab Paul, but Paul brought his knee up hard into Stewart’s groin, his eyes widening in pain instantly. As he began to crumple to his knees, Paul stood back, twisted Stewarts right forearm, squeezed his wrist and snatched away his sword. Quickly Paul jumped backwards and pointed the sword at Stewart as he fought to get his breath in agony on the floor.
   “And you...you are no brother of mine for we are most certainly too different by far...” Paul said his voice deep with anger. “And this...” he said shaking the sword. “You think this makes you strong...eh...do you?” Paul shouted louder waving the sword at him. Stewart looked up in pain and then at Alisha who was stood still shaking with emotion her hands covering her mouth. Paul looked at her as he panted out of breath, his head and chest both hurting now. Alisha looked at Paul in utter surprise and shock. Paul looked back at his brother on the floor, his uniform covered in blood. “This is all a sword means to me,” Paul said and instantly outstretched the sword across his leg and in one swift movement, brought it down across his upper thigh, the blade snapping into three shards, a small middle section bursting upwards and imbedding itself in the main wooden cross beam, the tip end of the blade sliding across the stone slab floor. “Hear, take that to your Master Gerard,” Paul said as he threw the broken handle section on the floor in front of Stewart.
   Stewart rolled onto his backside and rested against the oven side. He looked at the broken sword amazed. He slowly looked up at Alisha. Paul looked at her too, and then walked straight past her and out of the back door slamming it behind him. He could feel blood beginning to seep from the cut on the back of his head.
   “Paul!” Alisha called out after him but he ignored her and kept walking away across the rear courtyard and vanished into the darkness.

Meet the Author


First off I have to say that I consider myself to be a spiritual, not necessarily religious person for there is a massive difference. I have learnt and believe that religion is a vehicle that has been used to impart certain moral rules and guidelines, sadly often grossly misunderstood or interpreted, but also to carry intact, very real complex mathematical and harmonic codes, which to me at least clearly demonstrates there is a higher intelligence behind all of it. We are only now waking up to see those codes as our own scientific and technological knowledge grows; beforehand we could not recognise them for what they are.

I was lucky enough to have travelled quite extensively in my early formative years to places such as Cyprus, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan as well as other countries around the world due to my father’s profession. The whole of the Middle East held a special place in my heart, but Cyprus, the island of love as it is known, certainly had a profound effect upon me where I lived for many years. I recall seeing smoke stacks on the far horizon across the Sea whilst high up in the Troodos Mountains and being shocked to learn they were in fact fires from conflict in the Lebanon because of differing religious views. I also experienced at first hand the fear and reality of terrorist bomb attacks by the IRA whilst living in Yorkshire when they bombed a camp I lived beside, and later when my friend’s father was blown up in Northern Ireland, fuelled my desire to learn and understand why people do such things. I am the first to admit I am a soft soul, too forgiving I am often told, but I do not see that as a failing. I am a hopeless romantic at heart too which probably explains my early interest in chivalric Knights on great quests rescuing fair maidens and princesses...in truth it is probably the princess who would end up rescuing me, for as I have learnt, women are actually the stronger sex. I was for a long time very naive to the realities of how people can treat others. I only ever saw the best in people. I still do for I refuse to become cynical, but the harsh realities of this world did and still do concern me...how could a God, if he really exists, allow or tolerate such cruelty and suffering? This led me to study as much as I could on all the major religions, including the not so well known philosophies.

It was whilst trying to get answers, and after being totally captivated by the Pyramids of Giza, I was further inspired to delve deeper into the mysteries that surrounded them. On a visit I was fortunate enough, when all the lights suddenly failed, to jump into the sarcophagus within the so-called Kings chamber. I knew at that moment as I lay motionless in total silence, other than a concerned Japanese lady getting slightly upset, that the Great Pyramid was no mere tomb...it was a deep absolute knowing that I could not rationalise at the time, but I became deeply fascinated by ancient myths, legends and Celtic folklore and it soon became even more apparent that both a mathematical and harmonic pattern, a code in fact, was common to all the major religions no matter how far they were separated by distance globally or time across the centuries. The codes were not just similar...they are exact! With an avid interest in astronomy too, which led to further connections being seen within ancient myths and legends and stellar alignments that went far beyond mere coincidence, I decided upon a full investigation, as well as visit all the main locations, now recounted within Outremer, from the Hill of Tara in Ireland, Glen Lyon of Scotland to the Pyramids at Giza and the deserts of Arabia; even Antarctica. Outremer has been forty years in the making and my interest in these matters led to a career in science and research. I am now in my fifties and presently spend my time living between France and England with my family, plus dog and some gold fish of course, but I continue in my travels researching and exploring; a path that shows no signs of slowing down and I shall continue for as long as I am able.

In what little spare time I do have, I paint and draw. My ‘normal’ work mainly revolves around ancient history, archaeology and scientific research so I don’t really consider it work at all is it is my passion. Now that Outremer is complete...all four volumes, I am already working upon a prequel and then a factual compendium to compliment the series. I run to keep fit...coughs...still enjoy parachuting when I get the opportunity and now the proud owner of a microlight.  But you can’t beat a good book and I will always put that up there as my favourite hobby...curled up somewhere quiet and warm, cup of tea to hand and music in the background.   

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