Friday 14 April 2017

Blog Tour Excerpt & Giveaway - Rise of the Branded by Scott Keen

Rise of the Branded
(Scar of the Downers, #2)
Author: Scott Keen
Publication Date: November 22nd, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult 

Book Description:
Pursued into the wild by the soldiers of Ungstah, former slave Crik and the other freed Downers encounter the magical and terrifying nature of their world. They face spectral Shepherds, man-eating Rukmush, and the ancient giants of the earth. When two of their group are captured, Crik is distraught and powerless. 

Meanwhile back in the city, Durgan, former Captain of the King’s Guard who allowed Crik and his friends to escape from Ungstah, is now a Downer, one of the Branded. Amid the murmurings of an uprising among the Branded, Durgan just wants to be left alone to search for his missing son. But in the process, he discovers how dark the powers of Sulfus the king truly are. Durgan must take a stand in the coming war between the Branded and the powerful armies of Sulfus.

To kill any hope of escape for the city’s Branded, the army comes after Crik and his friends to make an example of them. The answers for Durgan, Crik and freedom for all Downers lie hidden in the dark recesses of the Northern Reaches, in the treacherous places Crik and his companions are about to enter.

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A twig cracked behind them. “What are you two doing?”
    It was Tinker. Seeing her suddenly lifted Crik’s spirits.
    Arpyne apparently noticed and laughed. “I’ll leave you two to speak alone.” His chuckle trailed behind him as he walked back to the fire, mumbling something about young love.
    “What was that about?” she asked.
    The white flame revealed her blushing cheeks. Crik could feel his own face burning with embarrassment.
    “I’m not sure,” he said. “But it looks like Edem and Chaser are getting on pretty well.”
    Tinker craned her head around and saw the two of them sitting even closer on the downed log, their heads close, huddled together.
    “They’ve been talking a lot,” said Tinker. “I’m glad for them. I just hope he doesn’t always go sneaking off like you do.”
    “I wasn’t sneaking off. I was speaking with Arpyne.”
    “Was that your intent?” Tinker gave him a knowing look. “I’ve known you for a long time. You were trying to sneak off.”
    “I guess some habits are hard to break,” confessed Crik. “What about you though? Were you following me?”
    “Like you said. Some habits are hard to break.”
    A dark mood suddenly fell over Crik. He grabbed Tinker’s hand and took several steps further into the forest, away from the others and the white flames.
    “What’s the matter?” she asked.
    “What do you think is happening back there in Ungstah?” Though Crik was whispering, his voice was sharp and ricocheted off the trees. “What do you think they’re doing to the other Downers?”
    “I don’t know,” admitted Tinker. “I’m afraid to think about it. There was so much smoke rising from there.”
    “There was always smoke rising from there,” said Crik. “And there will probably be a lot more before it’s all over.” He paused and turned toward her. “I killed him, you know.”
    “Who?” Tinker looked up into his face. “Who’d you kill?”
    “Kilvar.” He could barely get the word off his tongue. “I stabbed him through the chest with Andevin’s sword before we left. He tried to stop me. It just sort of happened. I never killed anyone before.”
    Crik was staring westward, instinctively toward Ungstah. Tinker touched his chin and pulled his gaze back to her. “It’s not your fault. You know that, right? None of them would’ve let us leave. Ever. They would’ve killed us all. You did what you had to do.”
    “I guess.” He turned back toward the wall of darkness surrounding him. “I have a feeling there will be a lot more dead before it’s all over.” Taking a breath, he kicked his foot against a root that was bulging out of the ground. “Do you think we’ll make it to Arined?”
    “Of course we will,” said Tinker. “I can’t believe it will be more difficult than escaping from Ungstah. And look, we did that. It’s a big world out there. They won’t be able to find us.”
    “I’ve been trying to imagine what Arined is going to be like. What do you think we’ll do there? Especially when there’s nothing left to fear.”
    This time, Tinker squeezed Crik’s hand. He smiled at her, but something in the darkness moved.
    “What was that?” she asked.
    “I don’t know.” Slowly, Crik let go of her hand and squinted into the black. “Arpyne?”
    “Can you see anything?” whispered Tinker.
    “No, it’s completely—”
    An arrow still nocked on the bow pierced the dark. It was held within an inch of Crik’s face and aimed directly at his forehead. The conversations behind him instantly ceased, replaced by the sound of stretching bowstrings. Out of the darkness stepped a Dendron, who pushed both Crik and Tinker back to the fire.

About the Author
Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he home schools.

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  1. Thanks for being on the tour! :)

  2. The book description and excerpt sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Love the cover too.

  3. Thank you for the excerpt & giveaway.

  4. The cover art is really cool and the story sounds exciting and hard to put down.