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The Impending Storm

Title: The Impending Storm

Series: The Imperium Saga: Fall of the Imperium Trilogy, 1

Author: Clifford B. Bowyer

ISBN: 978-0-9744354-4-2

Product Code: BK0001

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 480

Release Date: December 2003

Cover Price: $27.95

Our Price: $19.95

 

 

 

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Book Jacket

 

From the first page, The Impending Storm grabs your attention with a vise-like grip and doesn’t loosen it even after you’ve finished the final paragraph. This new fantasy thriller by first-time novelist Clifford B. Bowyer takes you on a mythic journey into a richly detailed world like none you have ever known. Follow the trials and tribulations of Warlord Braksis, Empress Karleena, and the Madrew elf Kai as they seek to unravel a conspiracy that will impact the lives of the Seven Kingdoms forevermore. This marks the bold beginning of…

 

The Madrew elves, an ancient and noble civilization have abandoned their homeland as an insatiable force swept the land and left only desolate destruction in their wake. The few fortunate survivors look to the child of prophecy as their savior, a twelve-year-old girl known to them as the Chosen One. A trio of volunteers – Kai, Arifos, and Rulysta – is sent to the Seven Kingdoms to find and protect the child until she is old enough to fulfill her destiny.

 

The Seven Kingdoms, better known as the Imperium is beset by skirmishes with its dissatisfied citizens. A young Empress, Karleena, has recently claimed the throne after the assassination of her father. Though she craves peace and prosperity for the land, where all citizens are equals regardless of their station, the revolts have escalated to the brink of war.

Warlord Braksis, a defender of the Empress, finds himself thrust into battle after battle to preserve the Imperium. From the Dartian Plains where the Imperial Army confronts a legion of rebelling hunters, to a three-headed reptilian creature, to a Shadow Mage, Braksis must persevere or all may be lost.

 

During his trials, Braksis will ally himself with the Madrew elf Kai, as well as other heroes of the realm. He soon learns that the plight of the Imperium may have origins more sinister than dissatisfied citizens – a single tyrant, Zoldex, may be behind the revolts and attacks throughout the Imperium.

 

In several confrontations of good versus evil, Braksis, Karleena, and Kai find themselves in grave danger. Will they manage to overcome the forces amassed against them? Will they uncover Zoldex’s true scheme in time to save the Imperium? At every turn, a new danger emerges to bar their path and make the future of the Imperium look bleak. The heroes of the realm will soon learn that the struggle for harmony has a very dear price.

 

The Impending Storm marks the triumphant beginning of The Imperium Saga, a captivating new fantasy world where action and adventure, magic and mystery come together to create a story of epic proportions. In this fascinating first volume, Bowyer has created a magnificent world that is palpable and believable. It is an enthralling tale that skillfully draws readers into an enchanting society of heroes and hooligans, magic and monsters.

 

v v v v v

 

An evil tyrant weaves a tapestry of deception as he plots to conquer the Imperium. Only a few heroes are brave enough to uncover the mystery and face Zoldex directly.

 

WARLORD BRAKSIS

The knight leading the Imperial Forces seeks to uncover the true threat to the Imperium.

 

EMPRESS KARLEENA

The newly appointed Empress struggles with her ideals as she tries to end thousands of years of prejudice and conflict to help overcome a common adversary.

 

KAI

An elf from a foreign land on a quest to find the one child that is destined to save them all.

 


 

Book Excerpt

 

PROLOGUE

The Forbidden Regions filled a vast portion of the sea with a misty atmosphere so thick one felt weighed down when trying to walk within its boundaries. These Regions were famed and feared. Sailors the world over turned away rather than risking the dense fogs and uncharted dangers that could reside within. Tales were told of ships that had sailed in and were never heard from again. Certain catastrophe was widely accepted.

For the Madrew elves, this venerable death trap had become their sanctuary, if not their home. Several years before, an evil plague swept the land, and those fortunate survivors fled to the seas seeking salvation in the unknown. Of a once proud race of elves, only a few hundred remained in hiding and seclusion. This island, which they hoped that they would not be at long enough to name, was fortunately large enough to sustain life after their fleeing vessels crashed into the rocky shores.

Existence here was harsh and at times unbearable. The elves unanimously decided they needed to find a way to go in search of a new home similar to the one they were forced to leave behind. At the same time, they needed to find some way to oppose the evil plague if they were to come upon it once again. To complete both tasks, the Elders, the most magically attuned elves, went into isolation and fasted while focusing on visions of the future. After several weeks of contemplation and self-im-posed suffering, Eldiir, leader of the remaining Madrew elves gathered all around to speak of the Elders’ revelations.

The Madrew elves strained to see their leader through the thick fog, but what they saw troubled them immensely. Eldiir, once so strong and vibrant with life, looked frail and weak. His muscles were depleted, leaving nothing more than skin and bones. Where once he had a rich shade of pink skin, now he seemed pale and white. His gray hair flowed over his face and down his back in disarray. The only remaining aspect the people could cling to was the sheer determination and fire that remained in Eldiir’s eyes.

He stood before them and spoke softly. All around grew silent and strained to hear his words: “My fellow Madrew, we have come upon unfortunate times that have led us here. This avenue. This path, where once we saw happiness and prosperity, now we see only despair and hardship. Our livelihood and way of being are but a memory.” Eldiir paused as he erupted into a fit of coughing. Slowly, he took several deep breaths and began again. “Yet our memories will motivate us to reunite our people, to find a new homeland, and to defend against our adversaries. What we were may seem to have been taken from us, but nothing can tarnish our will and spirit.”

Several of the elves cheered and clapped in response to their leader’s words.

“The Elders have spent many long days and nights in isolation trying to clearly ascertain our future. At long last, we have done so.” He paused again as he looked around. Although he had difficulty seeing all of the elves, he knew they were listening closely. “Our future lies in a faraway land, a land that we have never known of before, a land which is beyond the Forbidden Regions.”

“Beyond the Forbidden Regions?” one elf yelled out.

“That’s ludicrous! We crashed here when we even tried to get into the Forbidden Regions!” another chimed in.

“How would we get to this new land? We no longer have a boat!” screamed a third.

“Listen, my people, listen,” Eldiir pleaded. “There is a new land. We have seen it clearly. Yet we are unable to get there ourselves. That is not within our abilities.”

“Then how can that be our future?” inquired a member of the crowd.

“It can be our future, because the future is clearly written. A trio of Madrew elves will be sent via a portal the Elders will open for them. This trio will be in search of a young child, a human female we have foreseen as being the savior of all. The Chosen One.”

“A human female?” a tone of disbelief was clearly evident in the words.

“Yes, a human female. She has no knowledge of her future. Her power is locked within her. Without the success of the trio, she will never meet her destiny.”

“How will the success of the trio get this girl to change?” one elf yelled.

“Yeah, and who will be trusted as the trio?” inquired another.

“If you allow me to continue, all shall be answered. The Elders will have the trio go through a transformation. Each will then have the ability to unlock the potential within the Chosen One. She will then be a pure mystic, unlike anything this world has ever seen before. When trained, she will have the ability to save us all. Even to take all of us to her world.”

Eldiir looked around waiting to be interrupted again. He could tell his people were on edge and scared of what had happened and what might happen. He had seen much over his nine hundred and twenty-four years, and he patiently allowed them to interrupt. Still, seeing them listen when he asked them to, a tear formed in his left eye. “This girl also holds the key to defeating the horde which displaced us.”

This last comment garnished a gasp from many and shrugs of doubt from others.

“We have not selected the trio. We have some people in mind, but would like volunteers who truly believe and wish to see our people living in harmony once more. The transformation, so that one can unlock the girl’s potential, is not an easy one. The three will go through many changes. Only the truest of soul and heart will be able to complete this task.”

“If you need a volunteer, then I am at your service.” Arifos approached Eldiir with cheers from the crowd chanting his name. “There is none braver or stronger than Arifos.” He had been a famed Madrew for three centuries as both a hunter and warrior. An elf who was noble, honorable, and compassionate. He had dark pink skin and braided silver hair with light blue strands. He carried a bow and two lightweight handcrafted swords wherever he traveled. Arifos was considered an expert in physical weapons, but also possessed a strong affinity toward combative magic, both offensive and defensive. For Arifos, sitting on this island was like being in a prison. This quest was exactly what he needed to feel he was an asset, that he was helping his people. Against the horde, he was the only Madrew who managed to battle valiantly and claim minor victories. He also was primarily responsible for the survival of this segment of elves.

Eldiir smiled at his people’s champion. “Excellent, Arifos. You were naturally one of the people we anticipated going on this journey. We need two more now.”

In reply to the request for a second champion, Rulysta, a powerful female mystic, rose above the crowd and floated toward Eldiir. Rulysta spent much of her six centuries learning the ways of magic and developing her powers so acutely that the mystical arts accompanied her as easily and normally as clothing. With age taking its toll, Rulysta’s pink hide had also begun to fade, though not as much as Eldiir’s. Her hair had not yet lost any of the vibrancy of her youth and was still a reddish brown. Without ever touching the ground, she turned and remained afloat next to Arifos. When she spoke, the words were not loud, but every elf present heard her as if she were directly in front of them. “I, too, shall join this expedition.”

Eldiir nodded his assent at his longtime friend. The Elders should have known she would volunteer, but had not really considered her as an option. Still, as a powerful Mage, he could hardly think of anyone more suited to go on this most imperative mission. “Do we have a third volunteer to join with these two legends of our people?”

The third volunteer stepped forward full of confidence and poise. The light pink pigmentation of the skin portrayed the youth of the volunteer. Kai had in fact not yet reached her one-hundredth birthday. Like all Madrew elves, her skin pigmentation would continue to darken with age, before lightening again in the elder years. Her hair was a slightly darker shade of crimson and flowed down to her shoulders. As she spoke, none would suspect she was youthful and full of innocence. The experiences of the past few years had a way of aging everyone quickly. “It would be my honor to help restore our people to our former glory.”

The Elders had suspected Kai would volunteer despite her youth. Although she had no mystical abilities of her own, she was well versed and skilled in the theory of magical abilities. She also worked hard to make up for her lack of powers by increasing her flexibility, dexterity, motion, and speed. She was acrobatic and possessed intricate knowledge of various strategies of physical hand-to-hand combat.

Eldiir paused as Kai approached the other two volunteers. “Our trio has been assembled. From now on, they shall be referred to as the Triad. May fables and legends be written in their honor for years to come.” He then gestured for the Triad to go to the isolation area where the Elders convened. After they nodded and turned to leave, he addressed the crowd once more. “We shall now transform them so that they can unleash the powers within the child. These three will be the keys to our salvation.”

With the conclusion of his words, the crowd erupted in cheers again, chanting, “To the Triad!”

A young elf walked over to Eldiir and assisted him as he made his way back to rejoin the Elders and the Triad. “Are you ready for your journey to begin?”

In one voice, the three responded with a confident “Yes.”

“Very well. This process of transformation will be like a light flowing over you. It will happen very quickly, and when done, you will not feel any differently. However, you will have the ability to find the Chosen One and unlock her potential.”

At the close of Eldiir’s words, the Elders all joined hands and closed their eyes. The Triad looked around, then felt a burning sensation deep within themselves. Although Eldiir mentioned it would be painless, the trio felt as if their insides were on fire. Light erupted from the pores of their skin, mouths, and eyes. Then as quickly as it began, it was over. The trio collapsed to the ground and struggled to rise and regain their footing.

“Is everyone all right?” Eldiir questioned.

Arifos looked at his two companions and answered for the group. “But a little price to pay for the salvation of our people. We are fine.”

“Excellent. Now, we will open up a portal for each of you to go to the land that we spoke of. This land will present new challenges and obstacles that will get in your way. You must overcome them and remain focused on your true mission. Each of you will start off alone, hopefully to expand the search area, yet you all will be in the same land mass. Do you all understand?” All three nodded yes to Eldiir’s query. “Excellent. The future of our people, and quite possibly the world is in your hands. Be brave, be strong, and be successful.”

As the three adventurers watched the Elders, a slice in the fabric of reality opened beneath each of them and slowly moved up their bodies. Below the slice, the Elders could no longer see the trio’s legs. As the slice slowly moved up, more and more of the three disappeared until finally all were gone and the slice dissipated as well.

Eldiir closed his eyes as the exertion from the Elders’ combined effort sapped him of most of his strength, and spoke softly to his colleagues. “Our future now lies solely with them. There is nothing more we can do but wait and hope.”


 

CHAPTER 1

As an inn, Springs’s was better than most in the kingdom of Dartie. With the land full of hunters, innkeepers began to capitalize and create lodgings that a hunter would find useful. A place where they could get drunk, tell tales of the hunt, and sleep on mattresses that often had not been cleaned. The hunters would break their fair share of tables and chairs, so most inns lost their desire to maintain a clean atmosphere, and grew darker and grimmer. Springs refused to give in to this trend. He ran a clean operation and prided himself on it. His nine children created a full-time staff to wait on people from the moment they first walked in. His lounge area served alcohol to its patrons and had tables for comfort and privacy, as well as a well-lighted atmosphere so all could see. His youngest son played the piano throughout the evening with calm and soothing tunes for people to enjoy. His family also spent extra time cleaning the entire area whenever a patron had moved on so that the next guest would receive a clean, warm, and friendly experience.

His rooms were also far more luxurious than his competitors’. No bed would ever be remade without cleaning the garments. Springs’s wife and daughter-in-law saw to the upkeep of the rooms, and they took great pride in it. In terms of size, his rooms offered more space than others in Dartie as well.

Springs liked to consider himself an entrepreneur of a fine establishment. One that royalty would be willing to occupy when traveling in his area, and quite frequently, royal families did check in when they wished to go hunting in the Dartian Woods. These occupants he gave special care to and catered to their every need so that more royal families would return in the future.

Springs’s Inn had been in the family for seven generations. Each firstborn son took on the name Springs to follow in his father’s footsteps. Springs himself was the eleventh, with the name lasting even longer than their time as innkeepers. He was relatively short for a human, and gray hairs covered what remained of a balding head. He dressed in comfortable blue pants with leather shoes rather than boots, and a lighter blue shirt with a red ribbon around his neck. A small set of spectacles rested on his nose to help eyes that at one time could spot a customer long before they stepped foot into his establishment. Springs’s elder son was the twelfth to take on the name, and eagerly was learning all aspects of the business.

As Springs proudly looked over the patrons on this warm afternoon, he thanked the gods as he did so often for the way things turned out. Unlike other inns, he couldn’t recall the last time a brawl broke out. He remembered something from when he was a child and learning from his father, but he was young then and that was during the Great Wars. Wars have a way of upsetting even the most peaceful of places.

With all of those thoughts flowing through his head, he would later think that he must have jinxed himself, because his entire world turned upside down the minute that five hunters walked through the doorway.

As the bell on the door rang, Springs the twelfth went to great the new patrons with a warm welcome. He was repaid by being shoved aside by the first hunter inside the door, with a yell to get out of his way.

The elder Springs quickly moved over to the five new patrons to try to prevent hostilities in advance. “Welcome, hunters, to my establishment. If you would please leave your weapons by the door and wipe the mud off your boots, it would be greatly appreciated.”

The man that pushed his son took two steps closer to Springs. His breath smelled of liquor and his teeth were rotted. The dirt and grime smeared on his face and tattered clothing looked as if he had not bathed in months. He looked down at the shorter Springs and grinned. “Greatly appreciated? Well we would greatly appreciate it if you would get the hell out of our way so that we can get a decent drink!” With that, he took his foot and smeared it along the floor, leaving a trail of mud as he walked over to the bar area. “Barkeep! Drinks for my men and I!”

The barkeeper was Springs’s second son, Barrow. He preferred hunting to staying and working, but enjoyed talking to the customers about their latest games. At the age of thirty-three, Barrow often gave in to his emotions and did things that would embarrass his father. Yet never has he acted inappropriately here at the inn. He looked up at his father with a plea in his eyes to let him do something, anything, to try to remove the new group, but his father just shook his head no and gestured for him to serve them.

Disappointed that his father wouldn’t do anything, he realized that the hope must be for these people to have a quick drink and leave. “Anything in particular, gentlemen?”

“Har, har!” Another hunter bellowed. “Ya hear that, Jenks, he calls us gentoilmen.”

The man he addressed as Jenks turned out to be the same man who had pushed the younger Springs and smeared the mud on the floor. He looked at his grubby companion and hit him in the chest. “Other than you, Riff, we are gentlemen. Hell, you can’t even say the word!”

Springs closed his eyes and prayed this would end quickly. He could see the disruption and watched as several patrons packed up and got ready to leave. Something like this, if it got out, could ruin him.

As the customers slowly left, he thanked them all and apologized for the disruption. Most seemed to regard him warmly and stated that they understood. He truly hoped they did. Looking back inside, there remained only a few patrons sitting at tables, and the five hunters at the bar. He noticed one man in the back corner lean back into the shadows and watch the newcomers intently. He was wearing a red cloak that covered most of his features, but Springs could tell that his eyes had not swayed from the direction of the hunters since they first walked in.

As the five men drank more, they began to speak more freely. Conversations moved from the hunt, then twisted into derogatory remarks of the Imperium.

“I’m tellin’ ya, Syke, ever since that old geezer Conrad kicked the bucket, the Imperium has fallen to pieces.”

The man addressed as Syke swatted at a few insects swarming around his head before providing a drunken retort. “Emperor Conrad knew how to keep things going. His whelp of a daughter is a joke.”

One of the other hunters was leaning against the bar looking for more liquor. “Who wants a chick to be in command anyways?”

Syke laughed with the deep tone of a man under the influence. “Yeah, Wolmn, you tell ’em!”

The original speaker looked to add some more insightful commentary. “Hell, even Lord Braksis himself can’t keep the Imperium together for little Karleena!”

The leader of the group, Jenks, knocked the speaker off his stool. “Quiet, Vrent. We all know that the time of Zoldex is coming, and that the Imperium will fall. Stop advertising. That goes for all of you!”

Standing back up, Vrent lashed back at his leader. “Come on, Jenks, the army Zoldex assembled here in Dartie alone will march all over the warlord and his troops. We can celebrate a little.”

The man sitting in the corner continued to watch the exchange intently. He was becoming intrigued by the conversation and wanted to hear much more.

“I told you to shut up, Vrent!” Jenks screamed to his fellow hunter. With the steadily rising voices and potential for increased hostilities, all the remaining patrons jumped up and ran outside—except for the man in the shadows.

The innkeeper lowered his head and sobbed. How could things have gone so poorly? He had such a reputable inn. Now, five vagrant ruffians had run off his entire clientele.

With the conversation of the hunters dying down, they started to vandalize some of the surroundings. Wolmn jumped behind the bar and started tossing bottles to his comrades. Both elder and younger Springs, as well as Barrow, tried to reason with them. The youngest son and six daughters fled the inn to the safe haven of their mother who was cleaning the rooms.

The cloaked man in the corner had heard and seen enough. He stood up slowly and took a few steps to place himself between the five hunters and the door.

Jenks looked at the man quizzically. “What the hell do you want?”

The man lowered the cloak from his head and allowed it to open to reveal the armor underneath for the first time. As his greenish-blue eyes bored into the hunters, they could feel a sense of intimidation and self-doubt. He stood a little taller than six feet and with the confidence of success. He had light brown hair that feathered back in layers down to his neckline. His face had a perfectly trimmed goatee of the same color. Certainly an attractive man, but a man not to be trifled with.

His suit of armor beneath the red cloak, which flowed to the floor, was predominantly black. The breastplate was intricately designed and portrayed a flaming bird rising from a sea of darkness that burst through with the flood of a raging inferno. The emblem of the phoenix quickly identified the man who opposed the hunters. The armor itself had its own unique origins: It was forged from illistrium, a material located in the molten magma of the planet terra itself. It fit on his body and was as malleable as regular cloth, yet at the same time the fabric was harder than any known metal. An enigma to even the best blacksmith throughout the Seven Kingdoms.

The eyes of the hunter known as Riff widened. “That’s, that’s, that’s…”

“Shut up, Riff. We know who it is,” Jenks ordered. “Warlord Braksis.” He sneered.

Braksis focused on Riff specifically and yelled out a loud and piercing “Boo!”

Riff screamed and ran toward the closest window and crashed through it as he fled the inn.

Springs watched with horror as he realized what was about to happen. Myriad reactions flowed through him. The most honored and revered warrior of their time was here to rid him of the infestation of the hunters, but at the same time, his poor inn was about to become a battle zone. Without saying a word, he gestured for his two remaining sons to follow him, and they walked out the door praying that when they walked back in, they’d still have a bar for the inn.

Warlord Braksis looked at the remaining four hunters and smiled, watching as they pulled their swords and prepared to fight. They were shaking in either fear or intoxication, it mattered little. “I’ll give you this one chance. Surrender and leave now, or face my wrath.” His voice was stern and full of authority. From the tone, one could ascertain that very few would ever disobey an order once given by Braksis.

“Wrath, huh?” Jenks screamed out. “There are four of us, armed, and only one of you. Not a weapon in sight.”

Continuing to smile, Braksis nodded as he began to taunt the hunters. “If you are so confident, then shall we begin? I know from your comments how little you think of me and the Imperium. Of course, four hunters of your ilk can take one defenseless man.”

Jenks started to spout orders. “Ready, men! We’re going to enjoy this!”

Leading the charge, Jenks ran toward Braksis, who remained where he was. The smile never left his face. “I’m going to enjoy this, too,” he commented under his breath as Jenks arrived and lunged toward him with his sword. Braksis motioned quickly, parrying to the side and allowing Jenks’s sword to find nothing but air. Finishing his movement, he brought his open hand down in a chop on the back of Jenks’s neck. As the man crumbled to the floor, Braksis uttered another challenge. “Next?”

The remaining three looked at each other in awe. None of them could believe that Jenks had fallen, much less how quickly it had happened. The three charged together. Braksis began to loop around them, weaving in and out, creating confusion as the three kept trying to connect with him.

In the doorway left open by Springs, a woman walked up and leaned against the arch. She was of good height but not as tall as Braksis. She had long, silvery-white hair flowing freely down her back. The left side of her face had the mark of the mystral, a dragon-shaped birthmark of intricate detail. She was garbed in a skintight red outfit that appeared strong as armor, but also flexible, which would allow her to be agile. The outfit itself displayed all of her features, revealing bare arms and legs that clearly showed signs of muscle tone and strength. She wore boots that came up to her knees in the same shade of red as her one-piece armor. On her right leg, she had a ring around her bare skin that held small throwing blades. Latched to her waist was an elongated sword. Crossed upon her back she also had two holsters holding swords in each.

The woman watched the scene inside and spoke to Braksis. “Need any help?”

Braksis swirled around dodging the thrashing sword of Syke. “Nope. I’m having too much fun with these imbeciles.”

“How about a sword?” the woman inquired.

“Come on, Solara, that would take the fun out of it,” Braksis retorted while still smiling.

Wolmn ran toward Braksis with his sword held high above his head. Braksis dropped and rolled onto his back, lifting his legs to catch Wolmn’s torso and using his own momentum to launch him through the air and into a wall. Wolmn started to scream but was silenced as he broke through the wall and lost himself to unconsciousness.

Solara watched the move. “Not bad, but destructive. You’ll be paying for that wall.”

“I know,” Braksis replied as Vrent started swirling his sword trying to hit him.

Syke approached Braksis from behind trying to end it quickly, if cowardly, now that the numbers were slowly losing their favor. He stabbed forward as Braksis dodged and found his sword clanging with Vrent’s. Braksis then turned and jumped, launching a kick at Syke’s head while in midair.

Vrent momentarily lost his balance when Syke’s sword impacted his. He watched as Syke fell and he was alone against Braksis. As the Warlord came back down to the ground, he picked up a barstool and tossed it toward Vrent. Vrent dodged, but the stool hit his sword hand and he dropped his blade.

Unwilling to surrender, the hunter Vrent, who had always believed he could best any beast with his bare hands, threw a punch at his foe. Braksis caught the punch in midair, and simply smiled at Vrent. He then twisted Vrent’s arm back and punched him in the face with his other arm.

As Vrent fell, he heard a few last words before he slipped into unconsciousness: “Did you enjoy it?”

Standing straight up, Solara took a step into the inn. “Not bad. Not bad at all.”

“Thanks. Did you get the fifth man who fled when this all started?”

“Tiot has him. He’s not going anywhere.”

Braksis stepped outside and saw his faithful timber wolf atop Riff, growling at the cowering hunter. From his nose to the tip of his tail, Tiot was six feet in length and weighed close to one hundred and fifty pounds. He was predominantly gray, with white legs and paws, a white outline around his nose and mouth, as well as a much darker shade of gray flowing to the tip of his tail.

Seeing that Tiot did indeed have things under control, Braksis walked back inside the bar, opened the cabinet by the door, and reclaimed the sword that was famed throughout the Seven Kingdoms. His trusty blade, the Phoenix, handcrafted just like the armor he wore.

The innkeeper Springs slowly walked back inside and surveyed the damage. Tears were streaking down his face. “I’m ruined.”

Braksis reached into a pouch hung behind his back and pulled out a small bag. He looked inside, tossed it up in his hands a couple of times, then tossed it over to Springs. “I apologize for the mess. On behalf of the Empress, this should cover the damages.”

Springs opened the small bag and his eyes widened as he saw the contents: pure grains of gold, untampered and worth more than his entire inn combined. “Why, thank you. This is most generous, kind sir.”

“Think nothing of it. I apologize again for the destruction. However, I could not sit back any longer. I am Lord Braksis, after all.”

Springs thanked him again and quickly called his sons over. “Go bring this to your mother,” he told them. Next he addressed Barrow. “You go contact the ISIA and have them pick these five up.”

With his work done, Braksis walked over to where Tiot had Riff cowering. “We’re leaving now, but if I hear that you ran off, I’ll have Tiot here track you down, and this time, I’ll let him do what he wants with you. Understand?”

Stuttering, Riff complied. “Y-y-y-yes, y-yes, sir! Not going nowhere is I.”

“Good.” Braksis stood and walked to his horse, Solara, in stride. As they mounted their horses and started to head off, Braksis let out two short whistles. Tiot jumped off Riff and ran alongside the two riders.

Springs stood there watching as they slowly vanished over the horizon. Dreams of an even bigger and more luxurious inn danced through his head.


 

BOOK TRAILERS

Fall of the Imperium Trilogy

 

 


 

Book Reviews

 

Review by: Midwest Book Review

Beginning "The Imperium Saga" series, The Impending Storm is a grand work of high fantasy by Clifford B. Bowyer. An ancient civilization of elves, all but brought to ruin by an insidious force, sends a trio of emissaries and protectors to find a chosen girl of the Seven Kingdoms, prophesied to be their savior. The Empress of the Seven Kingdoms, and those allies closest to her, are struggling with rebellion, ruthless enemies, and the machinations of a hidden tyrant. A sweeping saga of dire conflict and sparkling hope, The Impending Storm is a well crafted heroic fantasy and will leave the reader looking eagerly towards the next volume in what promises to be a truly outstanding "Fall of the Imperium Trilogy" crafted by a skilled and talented master of the genre.


 

Review by: J.D. Charles, The Logan Banner

Sometimes the Best Reading is for Fun

 

Most folks that know me, know that I like to read. Over the past year, I have been trying to squeeze a little more fiction into my reading and back off on the serious stuff.

Not so long ago, I saw an ad for a new fantasy novel by an author I had never heard of before, from a publisher I was unfamiliar with.  I looked around on E-bay for a copy of "The Impending Storm" by Clifford B. Bowyer, but to no avail. (I used to buy a lot of books from E-bay - the worlds biggest online flea market as it is cheaper than buying new books.) So I contacted the publisher about obtaining a copy.  And boy am I glad that I did.

Bowyer's Imperium Saga may tread a similar path to other fantasy novelists (most particularly J.R.R. Tolkien), however it treads that path very well, and ads a few new things along the way. Bowyer's prose is modern and snappy, his characters are well drawn out and not interchangeable with each other, and he doesn't fall prey to three page long paragraphs that seem convoluted to the reader. (I never could get into Tolkien's fiction because of his meandering prose.) Thankfully there are no traditional hobbit breakfast songs in it either.

Bowyer’s saga begins fittingly enough with a traditional quest, this time as Kai, a Madrew elf with a penchant for archery and swashbuckling is sent out to find the Chosen One - in this case a young human named Kyria. Kyria will eventually have a greater impact on the archer than the elf could imagine, helping her reach her full potential in a world of wizards and warriors, dragons and trolls and adventure.

Bowyer has assembled a very interesting cast of characters with Braksis, a human warlord who was raised by a non-human troll named Ferceng; Solara, his traveling companion and bodyguard (sort of a female Samurai warrior); the beautiful and strong willed Empress Karleena who is attempting to hold together a loose confederation of human city states along with other races (including Centaurs, aquatic amphibians and flying bird people) and a hardy band of warrior dwarves.

Opposed to Bowyer’s stalwart heroes are the mage Zoldex, who tends to influence the thoughts and actions of others, making them pawns in his own game, and various trolls, goblins and hobgoblins, along with two old foes from Braksis past, his relative Rawthorne and the outlaw Durgin. One of this duo actually committed an act of cannibalism in prison when another inmate snatched some food from his serving tray. Hardcases don’t come any harder than that.

Another interesting addition to the traditional swords and sorcery fare is the inclusion of an organized crime element known as the Hidden Empire, which acts a lot like the mafia in that corrupt businessmen and even kings like the sleazy King Garum wind up being the public faces, while the leadership of the Hidden Empire really calls the shots behind the scenes.

Another innovation for fantasy fiction is the appearance of Nitorum a ninja like bad guy who assaults the castle and makes off with Karleena.  Into this mix, Bowyer brings a variety of creatures from folklore and myth such as cat people centaurs and minotaurs.

Braksis, the main character is in some ways a traditional fantasy hero. Like Siegfried from Norse mythology, he is raised by a non-human smith who crafts for him a special sword, the Phoenix. Unlike the majority of  modern authors, Bowyer takes time to describe to in detail what his various characters look like, sound like and even happen to be wearing, to help the reader paint a vivid mental picture of the World of the Imperium in his or her mind.

Through the course of the book, there are battles and action aplenty, and Braksis and Solara finally realize they have feelings for each other and at last give in to them.... only to be attacked by the villains and a pack of goblins along the way. (Bowyer and Silver Leaf Books have a spin off series aimed at young adults featuring Kyria the Chosen).

If you enjoyed the Lord of the Rings trilogy in movie theaters and found out that Prof. Tolkien's florid prose was a bit too much, but want more of that sort of wide screen epic feel to your fantasy reading, I can definitely recommend "The Impending Storm" by Clifford Bowyer, an exciting new talent in the world of fantasy fiction.


 

Review by: About Books

Phenomenal Fantasy Takes

Readers on a Daring Crusade

From the first page, The Imperium Saga: The Impending Storm, grabs your attention with a vise-like grip and doesn’t loosen it even after you’ve finished the final paragraph. This new fantasy thriller by first-time novelist Clifford B. Bowyer takes you on a mythic journey into a richly detailed world like none you have ever known.

Bowyer’s deft storytelling abilities shine as he details the adventures of Warlord Braksis, Empress Karleena, and the Madrew elf Kai. These heroes seek to unravel a conspiracy that will impact the lives of the Seven Kingdoms, or the Imperium as it is better known, forevermore.

The book begins with the foreshadowing of an ancient evil as the Madrew elves, an ancient and noble civilization themselves, have abandoned their homeland as an insatiable force swept the land and left only desolate destruction in their wake. The few fortunate survivors look to the child of prophecy as their savior, a twelve-year-old girl known to them as the Chosen One. A trio of volunteers is sent to the Seven Kingdoms to find and protect the child until she is old enough to fulfill her destiny.

The Imperium is beset by a multitude of skirmishes with its dissatisfied citizens. A young Empress, Karleena, has recently claimed the throne after the assassination of her father. Though she craves peace and prosperity for the land, where all citizens are equals regardless of their station, the revolts have escalated to the brink of war.

Warlord Braksis, a defender of the Empress, finds himself thrust into battle after battle to preserve the Imperium. From the Dartian Plains where the Imperial Army confronts a legion of rebelling hunters, to a three-headed reptilian creature, to a Shadow Mage, Braksis must persevere or all may be lost.

During his trials, Braksis will ally himself with the Madrew elf Kai, as well as other heroes of the realm. He soon learns that the plight of the Imperium may have origins more sinister than dissatisfied citizens – a single tyrant, Zoldex, may be behind the revolts and attacks throughout the Imperium.

In several confrontations of good versus evil, Braksis, Karleena, and Kai find themselves in grave danger. At every turn, a new danger emerges to bar their path and make the future of the Imperium look bleak. Will the forces of Zoldex win out? The enigmatic ending gives fantasy fans future books in this series to look forward to.

In this fascinating first volume, Bowyer has created a magnificent world that is palpable and believable. The Imperium Saga: The Impending Storm is an enthralling tale that skillfully draws readers into an enchanting society of heroes and hooligans, magic and monsters.


 

Review by: Bookwire Book Reviews

Once the Seven Kingdoms were populated by many races that banded together against a common enemy. But after their victory, humans turned on their allies. Having driven out the other races, the human kingdoms formed the Imperium under the leadership of the Emperor.

 

Now cracks are forming in the once-stable empire. The Emperor is dead, and his good-intentioned but inexperienced daughter, Karleena, sits on the throne. Old enemies are reuniting under a new leader, and peasants throughout the Imperium are rioting. Most disturbing of all are whispered rumors that the powerful tyrant Zoldex is preparing to strike.

 

In this first novel of his fantasy trilogy Fall of the Imperium, Clifford Bowyer builds a complex foundation for the wars and race conflicts that threaten to destroy the Imperium. The separate struggles of three characters−Karleena, Braksis, and Kai−are woven neatly together to form the backbone of the story.

 

During these turbulent times, the elf Kai is sent by her people in search of the Chosen One, a young girl prophesied to save them. The girl's name is Kyria, and Kai shows up just in time to rescue her from a village on the edge of revolt. As the two adventure together, Kai teaches Kyria how to unlock her hidden powers and fully become the Chosen One. Once Kyria begins using her awesome magical skills, the two are pursued by a group of Mages with hidden, and possibly nefarious, goals.

 

Karleena struggles to salvage the empire by giving more power to the people, but many of the Imperium's kings are resistant. She also seeks to bring the races together once again to defeat Zoldex.

 

Karleena's defender, the Warlord Braksis, travels from battle to battle, fighting and clawing his way through ranks of adversaries in a desperate attempt to hold the Imperium together. As Karleena, Braksis, and Kai's paths cross, they combine their wit, strength, and pure willpower to overcome the evil rolling across the Seven Kingdoms.

 

In its concept and execution, The Impending Storm is a classically written fantasy novel. With echoes of other fantasy epics−those of Mercedes Lackey come to mind−The Impending Storm has much to offer those who love swords and sorcery. The novel can be a bit jarring, particularly dialog that at times uses archaic forms and at other times sounds like modern American slang, depending upon the race. And the sheer number of races can be difficult to keep track of. These are relatively minor quibbles, however, especially compared with the imagination on display here.

 

Clifford Bowyer is the author of the Fall of the Imperium saga, as well as The Adventures of Kyria, a series of fantasy books for younger readers set in the Imperium universe. Bowyer lives in Massachusetts.


 

Review By: Kirk Lucas, Klucasspot.tumblr.com

Quick to Grab your Attention

and Maintains Control Until the End

 

This is an interesting start to a set of books from Author Clifford B. Bowyer. This is an action, adventure, fantasy realm book. It has a very good plot line and flows smoothly through out the book. The book is quick to grab your attention and maintains control of your attention until the end.

 

Being that it is a fantasy genre of books it covers your monsters, magic, and intelligent creatures of all sorts. The book goes into "mages" as anyone that uses magic as a whole. For instance, the wizards and necromancers are both classified as Mages.

 

Now for the action and adventure parts of this book. These two categories start off with in the first couple of pages. The action/adventure holds true until the conclusion of the book. The best part of this whole book is how the author provides great detail in a short manner. This makes it where it is not a grooling read of the boring surroundings.

 

If reading fantasy genre books are something you enjoy that will hold your attention with great action/adventure, this is a great book to consider. It is available for Kindle with Amazon, and available in hard cover from Silver Leaf Books. I would like to thank Silver Leaf Books and affiliates for sending me this book to read and leave my opinion.


 

Review By: Frederick Woolsey III, Technodrone

Bowyer Paints a Vivid Landscape

and Fills it with People You Care About

 

It can be hard for me to get into a book, I tend to either find fault in the author's writing style, or the characters won't get me interested or drag me in. Clifford B. Bowyer's The Impending Storm caught me from the very beginning, he paints a vivid landscape for his world right off, and fills it with people you care about almost immediately. I don't want to spoil anything for a new reader, so I'll just say wait until you meet Brakis! Even well before his great introduction, the author gives you a real feeling for need for an adventure and, throws you in a world of peril.

 

The cover art used is really nice. I found myself going back and looking at it when the characters would show up in the book. Logan Lubera, Norman Lee, and Lisa Lubera did a great job (even if someone's daggers are missing).

 

I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy as much as I do. I will be keeping an eye out for more of Mr. Bowyer's books as well as I really enjoyed his style of writing.


 

Review By: Shanna Gebhard, Peyton's Penny Pinching Momma

Engaging, Intriguing, Suspenseful, and Well Written!

 

I love to read, but ever since having my daughter it's hard to find time. But I was intrigued with The Imperium Saga: The Impending Storm by Clifford B. Bowyer, so when I was offered a chance to read it and give my honest opinion, I agreed. I was eager to find a new author I would enjoy.

 

When The Imperium Saga: The Impending Storm arrived, I was impressed with the size and cover. The cover grabs your attention and sucks you in. It's intriguing and dynamic. I would not mind having this sit out on my bookshelf or nightstand!

 

I do not get much free time or down time, so when I read a book it has to grab my attention and keep me engaged. The Imperium Saga: The Impending Storm does just that. In my opinion it's very well written at a level easy to read. The writing style flows and the storyline is wonderful. I was easily able to read 10-20 pages, put it down for a few days, and then pick it back up. I much rather would've loved to had read it in a few days. But being a single parent that is not a possibility. I appreciate the book is engaging, intriguing, suspenseful, and well written.

 

If you are looking for a book full of mystery, suspense, and more, this is it. It's a great book to read this summer while at the beach or pool.


 

Review by: Rachel Spooner, Triniricanttc.wordpress.com

 

Well I've been reading a lot, very happy to review this book for free and I've been extremely fascinated by this one especially. I love anything to do with dwarves, and elves. It's all very interesting to me and I can't get enough of it. If I could I would live in a fantasy world. Ha, ha. This book is well written and the characters stay with you, because the writer goes into details and implants their journey in your mind. If you enjoy Lord of the Rings, you would definitely enjoy this saga.

 

Be sure to read the rest of it. I know I will. I am glad I started from the beginning. I don't want to go into the storyline, it will keep you entertained for sure.

 

 

 

 
 

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