Today on The Tattooed Book Geek I am pleased to be bringing to you all a spotlight for The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter Book 1) by K. S. Marsden.
The author reached out to me through my blog and asked if I would be interested in posting the spotlight, I agreed and to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the books initial release (which is today) here is the post.
The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter Book 1).
Author: K.S. Marsden
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Witches are real, and to be blunt, they’re all black-hearted, and evil. These are not wiccans; witches are a different breed that use magic with devastating effect.
Charged with stopping the witches, taking whatever measures necessary, there are witch-hunters, all reporting to the Malleus Maleficarum Council (MMC). For hundreds of years witches have been persecuted and when the powerful Shadow Witch rises again, they have their opportunity for revenge.
The best the MMC has to offer, the talented seventh-generation witch-hunting Hunter Astley has his own part to play. In his own way.
Excerpt from The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter Book 1).
Sophie was sitting against the trunk of a shady oak, wondering how best to phrase her thoughts. “So… what have these witches done? To upset the MMC?”
Hunter stopped his pacing and looked at her. “What do you mean?”
Sophie kicked the dirt in front of her. “I was just curious as to what their crime was. The usual murder and mayhem?”
“Their crime is that they’re witches, love.”
Sophie looked up at the sound of the rough voice; Dave, or Matt, she couldn’t remember which, was looking back with a laughing sneer.
Hunter ignored the Marshall boy. “They’ve done nothing that we know of, yet. This is a pre-emptive strike.”
“So… they’re going to be punished, possibly killed, in case one day they are guilty.” Sophie frowned, trying to get her head around the concept.
Her statement stunned everyone. One of the lads guffawed; and Gareth gave a sharp ‘ha’, throwing Hunter a dirty look. Even Toby and James looked mildly disgusted at the insinuation.
Poor Hunter felt a flush of embarrassment at his trainee’s ignorance. “You’re doing it again, Sophie, you’re thinking they are like humans. They are witches, it is inevitable that they’ll do evil – should we wait for innocent people to get hurt before we act? And we can’t punish them for things they haven’t done – we’ll just bind them and process them, and set them free. I doubt it will be necessary to kill them.”
“More’s the pity.” Gareth grumbled.
Hunter’s head snapped round at this. He knew that some of his colleagues harboured this opinion privately, but no one ever voiced it. Apart from this bastard.
“Oh, I know you champion the non-violent outcomes, but be serious, binding witches wastes time and resources. Honestly, the only good witch is a dead witch, and if I had my way…”
“I know what would happen if you had your way.” Hunter warned. Oh, he knew. He was very much aware of Halbrook’s trigger-happy reputation. “But I’m in charge here and we’re doing it my way.”
“Sorry, sir.” Gareth responded sarcastically. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll take care of myself. You just watch your witch-loving first.”
Hunter took a stride towards him, not sure if he was going to shout, scream, plead or punch. Maybe all four. But he stopped in his tracks. There was a faint hum of a whisper in that part of his mind that was always alert and dominant.
“It’s time.” Hunter said, suddenly realizing the sun had dropped below the horizon.
The Shadow Rises is FREE to download from ALL E-Retailers:
Kelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.
Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has two successful series under her belt.
The story behind Hunter:
Yes, it’s hard to believe that it has been 5 years since my debut was released!
It has always been an ambition of mine, to be a published author, and these last five years have been an absolute dream. (An incredibly steep learning curve, but still a dream).
The Witch-Hunter books continue to draw in new readers and are my best-sellers; and it is still the story that I get most excited about.
What prompted the Witch-Hunter trilogy?
Despite the fact that this series pegs the witch-hunters as our heroes, and follows the famous Hunter Astley; the story actually started with the bad guy.
I used to practise Wicca when I was younger, and I wondered what would happen if you had a bad witch. One that broke all the wiccan rules, and inflicted pain for the fun of it. I decided the witches in my story would be a different breed, distinct from their wiccan cousins, and not restricted by human morals. And my main antagonist had to be the most powerful witch in history, naturally. Magic without limits…
Once I had my bad guys, it seemed almost too easy to create the people that would stop them: the witch-hunters working for the Malleus Maleficarum Council (MMC).
A witch-hunter named Hunter?
Yes, I know it’s cliche. I struggled to come up with a name for my main character. He’s the best the MMC have at their disposal; he comes from a witch-hunting family, and has some ridiculous inborn skills to deal with fighting witches.
So, I used “Hunter” as a placeholder until I found a name that suited him. And it stuck. And he’s enough of a pretentious git to pull it off.
It’s actually a bit of a running joke in the series – Hunter’s real name is George. Sexy, I know.
Fact vs. Fiction?
So… this might be a straight-up fantasy story, but a lot of it is based on real events.
The Malleus Maleficarum was a real book, published in 1487 as the guide for finding and persecuting witches, recommended by Pope Innocent VIII. (There’s a lot of contention surrounding the “authors” and how legitimate the papal bull is, but I won’t go into that here)
This book helped legitimise mass killings, persecutions, and the general witch-craze that swept the world.
Witch-hunters of questionable morals attacked people, regardless of gender or position. The incentive was often money, claiming the possessions of the “witch”, or even to enact a grudge they were holding.
The most common “witch” was female, and if you were a woman with any ounce of independence, intelligence, free-thought, charm…
My Malleus Maleficarum Council is based on the premise that they quickly saw the damage that was being done by the ignorant general public, and immediately started working in secret. The MMC employs real witch-hunters, who track down real witches.
Until our modern-day Hunter Astley.
When I was looking for a new project to start writing, I knew that I wanted to do something in Urban Fantasy.
At the time, I thought the literary world was inundated with vampires and werewolves, and I wanted to steer clear of these popular tropes. I wanted something I could put my own spin on, something that felt like it was mine.
In the end, I nervously started fleshing out a story about witches. I’ve always been fascinated by stories of magic and wicked witches, and I started to put to use all the random facts that I’d gathered.
The fascination with witches actually comes from a long-running family joke that all the women in my family are witches, and that my nanna would turn us into a toad if we misbehaved. Y’know, the usual silly stuff.
It felt weird, taking something that had been a family joke, and turning it into a bunch of books for everyone to read. I’m just grateful that it went down well!
Even though Mrs Astley is just a background character – as Hunter’s mother, she does little more than hang around the estate, and has nothing to do with witches – she is the one that leaves the biggest impression.
She is horrible to those around her. She doesn’t intend to insult everyone, she just doesn’t have a filter. She’s very entitled, and thinks that the people around her will benefit from hearing her opinion.
A couple of fun facts about this character:
1) She doesn’t have a first name. Well, she does, it is just never mentioned. Did you notice?
2) Her husband died five years ago (although it was never a happy marriage), but Mrs Astley has been kept company by Charles, the butler. Nothing is ever said outright, but they do play “chess” (amongst some of my friends “playing chess” translates into relations).
Drew side note: Oh my! 🙂 I have heard that “playing dominoes” means relations but never “playing chess“. A new term to use at work me thinks! 😉
- The Shadow Rises.
- The Shadow Reigns.
- The Shadow Falls.
Remember folks The Shadow Rises is available for FREE from ALL E-Retailers.
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