In a world where it is normal to fly, what happens when you can’t?
Page Count: 242 pages
Publish Date: August 17, 2018
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure - This book is targeted toward a general audience.
About Unreachable Skies:
When a plague kills half the Drax population, and leaves the hatchlings of the survivors with a terrible deformity – no wings – suspicion and prejudice follow. Continuously harassed by raids from their traditional enemies, the Koth, the Drax are looking for someone, or something, to blame.
Zarda, an apprentice Fate-seer, is new to her role and unsure of her own abilities; but the death of her teacher sees her summoned by the Drax Prime, Kalis, when his heir, Dru, emerges from his shell without wings.
A vision that Dru will one day defeat the Koth is enough to keep him and the other wingless hatchlings alive – for a time. Half-trained, clumsy, and full of self-doubt, Zarda must train Dru to one day fulfil the destiny she has foreseen for him, even if it is quickly becoming clear that the Prime’s favourite adviser, Fazak, is not only plotting against the wingless, but is gaining more of Kalis’ trust by the day.
Efforts to fight prejudice and superstition are certain to lead to death for some and exile for others; while Zarda’s own journey to understanding her role in events may lead her to abandon all tradition in order to protect her peoples’ future.
Mirror World Books
“Very well – but only if Morel agrees to fetch a healer to look after you.”
Vizan rasped something that might have been, “I don’t need looking after,” but I waited till Morel nodded agreement.
“I’ll fetch Doran – she’s the nearest since Symur died – but not until after I’ve taken you to Kalis. We can’t afford to waste any more time.”
It would have to do. At least I could trust Doran to brew the right mixture for Vizan – she had visited often while I nursed him, bringing plants and herbs for his medicines, and helping me to blend and mix them as we talked. She and I had been hatched in the same cluster, spent our first cycle together, and had expected to remain within a few dwellings of each other throughout our lives. Even when the Sight came to me as a half-grown I did not think to be taken to the Fateseer, since he already had an apprentice far more gifted than I would ever be. But the Sickness came, the apprentice – and his successor – died, and there was no-one else for Vizan to teach. Doran had moved from our hatching-place too, but we had remained friends and I could always rely on her to tell me the latest news from the Expanse.
“She will talk my ears off,” muttered Vizan, his voice a strained whisper.
I smoothed his matted mane, something I would never have dared do if he had been well. “You will enjoy hearing all her news.”
“She has an egg…” He broke off to cough again.
“Miyak can keep it warm.” I left the beaker where Vizan could reach it and stood up, ushering Morel ahead of me as we moved around the screen to the living space. I saw his snout wrinkle again and I realised that I’d not kept the place as tidy as I would have if Vizan had not been sick. A stack of unlicked bowls sat on the workbench next to a pile of unsorted herbs. A blob of branmeal had dropped onto the table from one of the bowls, and the smell of unwashed tunics rose from the basket beside the screen. I hesitated, wondering whether I might take a moment to clear the worst of the mess away – I could at least put the waste bucket outside – but Morel had already spotted the Fateseer’s silver badge of office and he plucked it from the hook behind the door, holding it out for me to take.
Soft light from the westering sun angled through the see-shell, making the badge, with its intricate spiral pattern of raised dots, sparkle. I spiralled a paw over my chest, seeking strength. I couldn’t do this! Yet…if not me, then who?
Morel was hopping from foot to foot, his ears twisting in alarm. “Come on, Zarda, take it! We have to go.”
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"In the tradition of Ursula K. LeGuin and Anne McCaffery, with Unreachable Skies Karen McCreedy has created a nuanced alien culture populated by compelling characters." ~ James Swallow, bestselling author
Brought up in Staffordshire, England, Karen McCreedy now lives in West Sussex where she recently retired from the University of Chichester. She has written articles on films and British history for a number of British magazines including ‘Yours’, ‘Classic Television’, and ‘Best of British’.
Karen has had a number of short stories published in various anthologies. She also won second prize in Writers’ News magazine’s ‘Comeuppance’ competition in 2014 with her short story ‘Hero’.
‘Unreachable Skies’ is her first novel.