The Toy Sorcerer
BOOK ONE OF THE ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE
by laura hart
A gift for storytelling that really puts the reader into the heart of the story…
– Fantasy Book Review
By Laura hart
The Toy Sorcerer
Imagine surviving a car crash that claimed your mother and brother. You are fourteen, struggling with terrible injuries and horrific memories that haunt your dreams. Now imagine waking up in a dimension where every dream created in the human mind is made real.
Add a host of demons, a collection of fantastical creatures, ancient Wiccans, Merlin, and the entire human population driven to the brink of insanity, then place yourself in Alice Towers shoes.
The Toy Sorcerer - Synopsis
Trapped as a mortal in a dimension where human dreams become reality, Alice Towers endures a journey of unmerciful persecution and excruciating self-discovery. Guided by an extraordinary realm creature named Shammerwack, she must find Magog; a boy imprisoned for over three centuries who holds the key to her release.
Unaware that her incarceration heralds the dawn of the Final Prophecy; Armageddon, Alice is pursued by an ancient being that plagues humanity with relentless nightmares, until the world hovers on the brink of insanity and self-annihilation.
Alice’s only earthbound ally, Leona, is also an antediluvian soul who has lived and reincarnated as a human for thousands of years. As one of the Ancient Coven and practitioner of the old knowledge, Leona summons shadows to protect Alice’s slumbering body and Magog’s timeworn effigy. But Leona’s maleficent sister, Lillian, another of the ancients, is equally as determined to capture Alice; the vessel by which the Demon Lord of the Realms intends to escape the confines of his nebulous world.
A bloody battle ensues on Earth as Lillian’s underworld demons and Leona’s defensive forces tear lives apart, whilst an increasingly insane world creeps inexorably closer to the Final Prophecy.
Read the first chapter
The ancient shadows stirred: the scent of freedom had begun to penetrate the crumbling sorcery that had held them for so long. As they sloughed off an eternity of enforced slumber their anger began to swell. The heat of it spread slowly at first, creeping through the earth like viscous jelly gaining speed and liquidity as the fury grew. Once free, the heat of the dark shadows’ rage spread quickly, reaching out to the malevolent souls who would recognise it and seek to liberate them.
The animals felt it first. The unaccustomed sensation — and yet instinctively familiar — unnerved them. A distant memory stirred, something learned and passed on from generations ago. This heat was a bad thing; an ancient and wicked thing. And it was just the beginning.
“Scream, Alice, scream,” the beast urged as Alice stumbled and staggered through sticky mire. “It’s close behind you and gaining,” the dream demon warned, prompting her to shriek.
The forest was swallowing her; flanking like a pack of wolves, forcing her closer and closer to oblivion. The eyes would appear soon, glaring at her, blaming her, despising her. The beast drove her on, pressing her along an all too familiar path.
The game would be over soon. Alice was close to the gate, but the demon slavered with pernicious glee as it meted out her torment; savouring each epicurean moment of her terror.
The door appeared in the clearing up ahead; an obsidian monolith writhing with the amorphous faces of a thousand captive horrors. Her pursuer’s breath roared in her soul. So close she could almost taste the foetid stench of it. The demon. The door. The demon. The door. The rhythmic thundering of fatal choices. Only insanity could save her now.
Madness manifests in myriad form.
The demon. The door. The demon. The door.
Powerful muscles flexed and bunched beneath her. Thundering hooves pounded out a new rhythm of choice. Alice opened her eyes and grabbed a handful of mane. Her valiant rescuer tossed his head. A livid flare of nostrils. A fiery glint in black eyes. He snorted and powered away from the beast behind. The horse veered away from the dreadful portal and galloped into the darkness. The beast of her nightmare bellowed its anger as she sped out of its reach.
The Gate swallowed her up.
All but a desperate breath remained of her screams as Alice passed back to wakefulness, her eyes bulging with terror, mind grasping for reality. Had she escaped the nightmare? She was never sure. Her heart still pounded to the rhythm of galloping hooves. The earthly scent of her mother’s lavender sleep pillow tugged gently at the sleeve of her fractured senses and the tension stiffening her slight frame released its grip. This was merely the dark hour before dawn and not the blackness of the forest that held her.
She flicked the switch on her bedside lamp and a welcome pool of diffused yellow light drove away the last of the night demons. The livid scar crossing from left to right across her shins itched like crazy and although she’d been told to resist the urge, she scratched furiously at it. The doctors said that the wound would heal to a bruised bluey grey in time, but would never completely disappear. She didn’t care, but they’d insisted she had counselling to help her deal with the psychological effects of the . . . crash. Counselling! Hah! Weeks of being harassed by a sickly sycophant who never stopped trying to make her talk about . . . it. That’s what said they wanted to do. ‘Help her let go of the pain’. Make her cry in other words. As though she didn’t cry enough as it was. How could she possibly ‘let go’ of this pain! How could they possibly have any idea!
Alice covered her legs and stared at the ceiling, identifying and counting the animals and other objects she’d created in the random Artex plasterwork. She knew every inch of her bedroom ceiling; it had distracted her from dwelling on unpleasant thoughts a thousand times. But this night was the last she’d spend under her canopy of imaginary creatures, for tomorrow she and her father were leaving the concrete and congestion of London and heading for the green pastures and serenity of the North Devon countryside. Alice had been looking forward to the move for months, but now that the day had arrived its imminence prompted a deluge of memories and an unmerciful agony gripped her, squeezing an already broken heart.
42 Jay Crescent had been the family home all her life; stuffed with fourteen years of memories, none of which she ever wanted to forget; good or bad. To forget one moment of her mother’s or brother’s lives would be to betray them. And yet, everywhere she looked were constant reminders that they were never coming home again; her mother’s unfinished sewing in a bag by the machine, Tommy’s school books still irreverently stuffed on the book shelves. Little things, insignificant details like the stain on the sitting-room carpet where Tom had spilled blackcurrant squash years ago and tried to hide it rather than own up. By the time they found it the stain was there to stay and now proved a source of torment and despair. A memory so trivial and yet so clear it cut like a razor through Alice’s heart. Neither she nor her father could bear to continue living with the constant pain of such recollections littered about the house, snapping at them like bear traps.
Alice reached under her pillow and pulled out the dog-eared copy of estate agents details she’d kept since they first went to see Sunday Cottage. It wasn’t exactly the idyllic picture postcard she’d always imagined. The tatty little house was in desperate need of attention, but had enormous potential. And if one had the vision to see beyond the flaking paint, saggy roof, and bramble-choked garden, it was rustic perfection.
Her mother would have loved it, would have spent hours choosing pretty materials to make curtains and bed throws. And Tom, how he would have enjoyed hacking his way through the overgrown garden pretending he was in some X Box war game.
Alice chastised herself for including them in her vision; she’d broken her own rule. But too late, the images persisted and squeezed her heart, forcing the well of tears to rise to the surface. She rolled over and stuffed the corner of a pillow into her mouth. Mustn’t disturb Dad again tonight. He was exhausted. And she’d promised herself that today she had to be strong.
An absolute page turner … an impressive debut novel…