Today’s Sunday Snippet is from the fantasy fiction novel The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series
Name of book: The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series
Name of author: Mark Piggott
Genre(s): fantasy fiction
Target audience age range: 15+
Does your book contain any explicit content: No
Format, ISBN and date published: paperback, 978-1528920889, 02.28.20
Format, ISBN and date published: ebook, 978-1528920889, 02.28.20
Name of publisher: Austin Macauley
Synopsis of The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series
It is an island frozen in time and space. For more than 3,000 years, the island of Avalon remained hidden from the outside world; a place of eternal magic, where the descendants of King Arthur ruled over a land filled with magical creatures, Elves, Dwarves and dragons. The island was only accessible through a rift in the Bermuda Triangle, where mariners and aviators disappeared throughout history. No one believed Avalon was anything but a myth.
In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, in the heart of a naval exercise, Avalon suddenly reappeared, causing disruptions on both fronts. The US Navy, now circling the mysterious island, wants answers. On Avalon, they fear Outlanders would intrude on their home; and caught in the middle of it all is Lord Bryan MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh of Avalon, Knight Eternal and champion of the magical realm.
The Gil-Gamesh was once a US Navy sailor, lost at sea in a freak storm, who found his way to Avalon. After his family followed him to the island, they decided to stay and make this their home. Now they are torn between loyalty to their new home and compassion for their old one.
The tensions build as modern technology faces off against ancient magic on an island where the laws of magic supersede the laws of science, causing mechanical weapons to falter and shut down. As military forces continue to surround the mysterious island, bringing both sides to the brink of war, an ancient evil arises from within, one that has been seeking the throne of New Camelot for three millennia.
Name of chapter: Chapter 1 – Avalon Returns
Captain Larry Rich sat in his chair on the bridge of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, savouring a fresh cup of coffee as he watched the flight deck crew scrambling to get ready for the first launch of the day. As the captain of an aircraft carrier, he commanded more than 6,000 sailors on one of the largest warships afloat.
Rich reflected on this past year. He recently had taken command of the warship, back at sea for the first time after an extended shipyard overhaul and carrier qualifications. The ship was operating in the Caribbean as part of ‘Global Triad’, a joint exercise with combined US and South American forces. This was the first major exercise of combat readiness for the ship and Captain Rich wanted to make sure there were no hiccups on deck. As a former ‘Air Boss’ of an aircraft carrier, he knew what it took to keep the action on deck moving, so he expected the same from his crew.
The only thing Larry hated about the exercise was its location. Call him superstitious, but he never liked flying or sailing anywhere near the Bermuda Triangle. This notorious stretch of ocean had long plagued mariners and pilots due to reports of countless, strange disappearances happening there.
For Larry, it was personal. He lost a good sailor—and the sailor’s family—to the Triangle. Chief Bryan Drake worked for Captain Rich as Air Boss on USS George Washington. He mentored and moulded Bryan into being one of the top sailors in his command. During a particularly bad storm, Chief Drake saved a sailor from going overboard and ended up in the soup himself. Less than a year later, his wife and children disappeared near the same spot while paying their respects. Only his oldest daughter, Ashley, had survived the ordeal.
“Captain, the Air Boss says he’s ready to go.” An officer’s voice returned Larry’s thoughts to the present. “Request permission to turn the ship into the wind to begin flight operations.”
“Permission granted,” Captain Rich said. Within minutes, the aircraft carrier turned and its speed increased to give the flight deck perfect conditions to launch aircraft. As soon as the recovery helicopters lifted off into the air, the first aircraft were lined up on the catapult, ready to launch. Captain Rich took another sip of coffee and sat back in his chair to watch the action unfold.
Without warning, a loud, inhuman roar pierced the air, causing the Captain to spit out his coffee. He looked out the window, forward and aft, thinking maybe it was an explosion on deck, but everything appeared to be normal, aside from the flight deck crew being just as stunned by the unexplained sound. Suddenly, a wave of luminous energy cascaded toward them from the west, flooding the air as it swept across the ship, sparking off the deck and aircraft like static electricity.
Every instrument on the ship and in the aircraft—on deck and in the air—shut down for a split-second before flickering back to life.
Captain Rich opened his mouth to request a status report from the nearest officer when he noticed a wall of water, more than 200 feet tall, rushing toward his helpless ship. There was no time to react before it was upon him. It lifted the carrier into the sky, rolling it out and about, before rushing past.
Miraculously, the ship and its crew were safe. Everyone on the bridge watched as the wave headed east toward the coast of the United States. Captain Rich knew the potential devastation it could cause. “Get on the horn to Fleet Forces Command and warn them about that wave.”
“Aye-aye, sir!” the officer acknowledged.
“Captain! Look!” one sailor shouted, as he pointed out the window. Captain Rich turned around, and his eyes grew as wide as hen’s eggs. He couldn’t believe what he saw. Out in the ocean, an island had appeared from nowhere. It sat more than a mile from the carrier and its coastline stretched southeast beyond the horizon. To make matters stranger, a second island, this one smaller with a towering mountain in the middle, hovered in the air just off the larger island’s coast. Waterfalls flowed out of the mountain and into the clouds below that formed a ring around the base.
“What the hell is that?” someone asked, as shock settled in.
“Sound General Quarters! This is not a drill!” the Captain ordered, as he rushed out onto the bridge wing with a pair of binoculars in hand. As the clanging bells and whistles sounded the general alarm across the ship, sailors rushed to get to their battle stations. Captain Rich stared at the floating island through the binoculars, trying to comprehend exactly what he saw.
As he examined the floating land mass, he saw something even more extraordinary. Flying about the central peak were creatures of myth and legend that half of his brain recognised immediately, and the other half rejected outright.
He blinked several times and the creatures didn’t disappear. They were dragons. He couldn’t deny it. They moved in and out of various cave openings in the mountain as if it were their home.
“Captain!” the nearest officer shouted. “Contact South, Southwest over that island!”
“What is it?” Captain Rich asked.
“Unknown, sir. It’s something no one’s ever seen before, and it’s moving very slowly!”
Captain Rich looked through his binoculars and was equally as stunned as his crew. A wooden ship, like an old, Spanish galleon with full sails and canvas wings, soared through the air toward the floating island. The surprises kept getting bigger and bigger, and Captain Rich didn’t need any more surprises.
“Tell CAG to put a Hawkeye in the air immediately. I want to know how big that island is. Send up a couple of Hornets as its escort. Also, shut down all external communications. I don’t want somebody’s pictures or video ending up on YouTube or Facebook until we know what we’re dealing with.”
The captain’s orders were quickly relayed. The CAG, or Carrier Air Group commander, helped air operations get the right planes into position and ready to launch, along with its fighter escorts. Even with all this, Captain Rich knew he needed some more guidance from his chain of command on how to deal with this.
“Get me Fleet Forces Command, now,” he shouted. “This is completely beyond me.”