Friday 13 October 2017

Blog Tour Excerpt & Giveaway - Berserker (Berserker #1) by Emmy Laybourne

(Berserker #1)
Emmy Laybourne
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (October 10, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250055202
ISBN-13: 978-1250055200

Book Description:
Are Hanne's powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It's not Stieg's fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn't commit.

No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous "gift"--she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of  Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.

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Praise for BERSERKER
"Emmy Labourne deftly melds Viking lore with the American West and creates something wholly new, a journey filled with heart-pounding suspense and surprising tenderness. Loved!"―Danielle Paige New York Times-bestselling author the Dorothy Must Die series

"Berserker combines the magic of Norse mythology with the thrill of the American West with staggering results. Startlingly original, unputdownable, and electrifying." ―Kass Morgan, author of New York Times bestseller The 100

"A completely winning, romantic, and heart-wrenching historical fantasy. Your pulse will race from page one of this rich, rugged adventure of a book."―Alyson Noel, New York Times-bestselling author of The Immortals series

"Berserker embraces the beautiful brutality of both Viking lore and Frontier tales, and it does so without resorting to tired tropes or toxic masculinity. This is a brilliantly unexpected fusion of cowboys and old gods―intense and gritty and yet surprisingly tender―but the real strength of Emmy Laybourne's writing is that, for all their superhuman abilities, her characters are so very human."―William Ritter, author of the New York Times-bestselling Jackaby series


“Simultaneously terrifying, hilarious, and action-packed, Sweet is a wild ride that holds up a warped mirror to our society. I loved it from the first line to the last.” ―Marie Lu, author of Legend and The Young Elites on Sweet

“Frighteningly real . . . Riveting.” ―The New York Times Book Review on Monument 14

“A tense, claustrophobic, and fast-paced thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review of Monument 14

“Pretty darn breathless.” ―Booklist on Sky on Fire


When Owen opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was his dog’s pink tongue. It was broad daylight and he was laid out on the wooden walkway, close to a building. Daisy wriggled with joy, seeing Owen responsive. She licked him all over his face.

“All right girl, I’m alive,” he said. She made a joyful whimper. Owen pushed her off with his arm, which gave him a sharp pain in the side. He felt like he’d been caught on the cattle hoof side of a stampede.

Passersby clucked and shook their heads.

Owen prodded his teeth with his tongue. They seemed to be intact, though the inside of his cheek was all cut up. Tenderly, he touched his face.

With a stiff neck, Owen looked around for his hat and saw it over on the walkway at the other side of the doorway, where his friend Hoakes was laid out. Owen’s hat was covering Hoakes’ face.

Owen looked up and squinted, trying to see what building they were leaned up against. Daisy’s tail thumped against the wooden boards of the walkway.

A man opened the door. He wore a fine black suit, spectacles and had a neat, trimmed beard.

“Come in when you’re up. I’ll see if there’s anything I can do for you. And if you’d be so kind to bring in my blankets.”

Owen saw, now, that the sign above the door was of a winged staff with two snakes curling up around it – it was a doctor’s office.

“Shhh,” said Hoakes from under Owen’s hat. The doctor shook his head and closed the door.

“Hoakes,” Owen said. “I’m glad you’re not dead.”

“I might be,” Hoakes answered. “Daisy, go fetch us some water.”

Daisy perked up her ears. She looked over to Hoakes and back to her master.

“Why are we sleeping on the street?” Owen croaked.

“I dragged you over here last night, you ingrate.” Hoakes lifted the hat brim and glanced at Owen. 

“Figured I ought to get you out of Whistler’s way. Then I got awful tired and it seemed like a good place to rest and here we are.”

Owen sat up slowly. The street was spinning in a disquieting way. One of his teeth felt loose in the socket but at least it was still in place. Owen spat out a mouthful of foul rust-colored saliva.

“Say, I hope you weren’t depending on your good looks to get a winter gig, son. ‘Cause you look a fright,” Hoakes offered.

Owen suddenly felt for his pay. There was a pocket sewn inside his vest, especially made to keep money close.

It was gone. Every cent of the thirty dollars he’d earned was gone, along with the thirteen dollars he had saved doing odd jobs, back home.

He cussed.

“What is it?” Hoakes said, sitting up with a grimace.

Owen couldn’t answer for a moment, he was so angry. Forty-three dollars! That was to be his seed money! All gone. And he couldn’t even go after Mandry or Whistler for it. He’d been laying, passed out, on the public walkway all night and half the morning. Anyone could have taken it.

Owen cussed again. A stringy woman carrying two live chickens head down in each hand stopped and cocked her head to listen.

“Listen to you, carrying on! If you was my own, I’d thrash you good!” she said, with a brittle, southern accent. “Someone oughta call the sheriff on you. Laying about in the street, sleeping off a drunk. This is a decent town got here. Helena’s gonna be the state capital, once we get ratified!”

“I’ve been robbed,” Owen said. His voice came out with a crack in it and even to his own ears, he sounded foolish and younger than he wanted to be.

“Well, if I were you I’d count that as a lesson learned!” She turned on her heel and walked away.

Owen swallowed. He’d never felt such anger and despair. Daisy licked at his face, but he pushed her away.

“I’m sorry about your money, Owen,” Hoakes said. “You should go see the sheriff. He might be able to help.”

Owen shook his head.

“Look, I can stake you five dollars out of my pay,” Hoakes said.

“No.” Owen wouldn’t take his money.

“Consider it a loan.”

“No,” Owen said. He didn’t want to look at Hoakes. He didn’t want to see the pity in his eyes. “I don’t intend to go into debt one month after I leave home.”

“What’ll you do?”

“I’ll find work what comes with room and board for the winter. Get signed up on a drive come spring.” He struggled to his feet. The whole street swam.

“How’re your ribs? Anything feel broke?” Hoakes held out Owen’s hat and Owen took it.

“Nope. Just sore, is all.”

“Aw, take the five bucks, kid. You don’t have to pay me back. You might have a hard time getting work, your face all smashed up.”

“I’m not taking charity,” Owen said. “Thanks just the same.”

“Well, stop and think for a minute. Why don’t you come with me to Virginia City? My sister’s got a big place and two little’uns. I bet she could use us both.”

“Thank you, Hoakes, but no. I’ll make my own way.”

Owen swayed on his feet.

Now, he knew he ought to fold the blanket and return it to the doctor, but more than that he wanted to get out of Hoakes’ sight as fast as he could. He was going to vomit and he didn’t want Hoakes to feel any worse for him. Kicking the blanket aside, Owen walked stiffly away, his hat clutched in his left hand, Daisy padding faithfully on his right side.

About the Author
Emmy Laybourne is a novelist, screenwriter and former character actress. She is the author of the upcoming release BERSERKER ("You will love Emmy Laybourne's vision of an American west studded with Viking glory." -, as well as the MONUMENT 14 trilogy ("Frighteningly real… riveting" - NYT Book Review, Editor’s Choice) and the novel SWEET (“A gripping action-adventure survival story” – VOYA, rated Perfect Ten).

Before her life as a novelist, Emmy performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV and VH1; and acted in the movies "Superstar," "The In-Laws" and "Nancy Drew," among others. Emmy lives outside New York City with her husband, two kids and a flock of 9 nifty chickens.

Photo credit: Kit Laybourne

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