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Yes, we have a vaccine. More than one, in fact, and well ahead of all the predictions on timing. So that really is something to celebrate this Christmas. We can now see the beginning of the end and imagine our lives returning to normal. By this time next year, if everyone does their part, the pandemic should be in the rear window.
But I’ve got something else to celebrate this week. Yes, Book Three of The Ravenstones is now for sale on Amazon, both in print and eBook. Not only does Olwen and Eisa pick up from where The Invasion of Aeronbed left off, it introduces the reader to a whole new cast of characters — the big cats.
As faithful readers will know, the Ravenstones series began with the story of Eirwen, a lonely polar bear who sets off on a quest, accompanied by Fridis, a feisty eider duck who has her own set of challenges and adventures. Although theirs was a story unto itself, it wasn’t long before I realized there was a great deal more to the saga than I’d expected. I had a lot more tale to tell, and when I reached the end of the second book, my mind began to turn to the enemies of our heroes.
Eirwen and the wolves had invaded Aeronbed, and Eirwen had accepted leadership of the bears of Heimborn. But who were they taking on? Who were these cats? Would they remain nameless, without identity (I think of the faceless stormtroopers of Star Wars), mere foils to be fought and killed off camera? Were they all evil and nasty? Did some of them have redeeming features? What would be their place in the evolving saga of Eirwen and Fridis? This was what I set out to explore in Book Three.
Inevitably, just as in real life, each character has a place and a story of his or her own. The big cats had to be more than just superficial villains. On the contrary, some would be the heroes of their own story. Like all of us, the more admirable characters would be flawed, with something to prove, hurdles to overcome, and aspirations in life — sometimes honorable, sometimes not. On the other side of the ledger, the villains among them would not be without some redeeming aspects. Altogether, their stories would intertwine with those of Eirwen and Fridis.
And that’s where things really get interesting. In Book Three (and beyond), the themes of struggle against great odds, of prejudice, and of friendship and betrayal are explored. And now they are mixed in with magic, prophecy and dreams.
The exceptional cover art, once again produced by Kari Rust, maintains the style and theme of the first two books, focusing on the two new characters: Olwen the lioness and Eisa the panther. From here on, these two will share center stage with Eirwen and Fridis.
I look forward to sharing these and further stories with you. To everyone out there (readers or not), I wish you a merry Christmas and all the best for 2021.