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"A dark fantasy world that will suck you in" - The Newcastle Herald
"Brave... Innovative... Bold..." - Stefen Brazulaitis, reviewer and columnist, Australian Bookseller and Publisher.
"I stayed up all night!" - Sara Douglass.
Ossard is falling...
Growing up in a city of Merchant Princes, Juvela discovers she can see what others can’t. The very currents of the celestial are open to her, and that includes the truths they hide: An escalating series of unsolved kidnappings have been haunting the city-state, leaving its shadows pooled deep with innocent blood.
Has Juvela been cursed with the Witches’ Kiss - or perhaps something worse?
Yet, more is to come, for not only has she witnessed an abduction, but she will have to endure a role in the victim’s ritual death. For Juvela is about to become forsaken, and that’s before she learns the real truth of not just the crimes plaguing Ossard’s bloody streets, but the wider world: A world at war and governed by gods whose highest pleasure is to sup on the taste of death.
The Witches of Ossard
The fiery brand seemed weak, its flame all but lost under the glare of the summer sun, yet the black robed man who wielded it stepped forward with all the chill and menace of the deepest winter squall.
Vilma watched the young Inquisitor cross the cobblestones to the base of the long, stake-studded, and oil-soaked pyre. She wasn't alone. Four-dozen others also stood naked and bound as if some macabre forest had sprouted from the heart of
Standing as straight as her bonds allowed, she tried to show her defiance despite her racing heart.
This wouldn't be quick, and by the gods, it would hurt!
Inquisitor Anton met her wide blue eyes, waiting for her to break – they always did. As a member of the
’s Expeditia Puritanica, he’d already cleansed scores of souls across the Heletian League, yet here he’d truly excelled: His superiors had warned that the harvest in Ossard always came heavy and rich. Church of Baimiopia
Thanks be to Krienta!
It was the Northerners’ penchant for blood mixing, the intermarrying of pious Heletians with foreign Flets, that created such fertile ground for heresy. Ossard stood ripe for a good burning, and fortunately he had the faith to kindle it.
He could smell a witch at a dozen paces, tasting their vileness just as his keen nose could catch the dirty blood of a fertile woman. Anton was good at what he did, very good indeed.
The Flet witch continued to stare at him. He smirked, letting her sample his smug disdain. Most of her fellows begged for mercy or persisted with cries of innocence, yet it was the few who maintained their silence that he focussed on. They were where the danger lay.
He turned his back on her to bring his attention to the crowd being forced into the heart of
Market Square. They needed witnesses, as many as they could get, to learn the lesson that the Inquisition dutifully taught: That none should stray from St Baimio’s righteous path, for that was the only way to Krienta.
Thousands of hesitant townsfolk came forward, forced by a reluctant city watch, they were in turn driven by the Sankto Glavos – the Inquisition’s holy knights. With barely a murmur, the two peoples of Ossard closed on the pyres, both the dark featured and olive skinned Heletians, and the blonde and fair Flets. Usually, their differences kept them apart, but today it was the true outsider – the Inquisition – that brought them together.
About Colin Taber
Colin Taber lives in Australia, currently haunting the west coast city of Perth. He’s done many things over the years, from working in banking, to retail, dish-pigging, publishing, landscape design, and even tree farming. All he really wants to do, though, is to get back to his oak grove and to be left to write. Thankfully that day is coming.
Interview with Colin Taber
N.L. Earnshaw: What will readers like about your book?
Colin Taber: The Fall of Ossard is a unique book that tells a coming of age tale in the style of a dark fantasy. The book is also the opening part of a trilogy that broadens in scope, but remains character driven. This is a tragic tale of sacrifice and hope, not just a formulaic tale of swashbuckling heroes. In fact, if you just want swashbuckling, you should probably read something else. What most readers have enjoyed about Ossard is the layers revealed as they wade deeper into the world.
N.L. Earnshaw: Why did you self publish?
Colin Taber: I have worked in various areas of publishing and the book trade for over twenty years. The Fall of Ossard is not easy to pigeonhole, so while it had interest from the majors, finally, after 18 months of consideration, they informed me that they were unable to commit. I wasn’t surprised as its structure and style meant it only suits a publisher prepared to take a risk - not really what the traditionals are known for. At that point I decided to release it myself, knowing enough about the industry and the importance of promotion and distribution to be confident that I could make it a success.
The Fall of Ossard launched with cover art by Academy Award Winner Shaun Tan, a cover quote from bestselling author Sara Douglass, and managed to break into the Borders (Australia) Top 20 shortly after release. The book has thousands of readers both in Australia and around the world.
N.L. Earnshaw: What is your writing process?
Colin Taber: To firstly come up with the seed of a story I feel strongly about. Once I've established the basics of it, I just roll up my sleeves and get to work. I try very hard to hook the story up with things I love whether in direct content (being a former tree farmer, I love a good tree, so watch for them!) or just in working habits. For example, I often choose theme songs or music for myself to listen to while working on various sections of a book that help convey the emotion of a chapter or a pivotal scene.
Writing for me is also a series of rewrites and revisions, something improved if you can put a project aside to sit and brew while you work on something else. I have two uncontracted series that I plan on releasing next year, so for now they each get a space on my dance card along with the third and final Ossard book, letting me rotate projects and keep things fresh and interesting.
N.L. Earnshaw: How long does it take you to write your first draft?
Colin Taber: Usually, I'd write a first draft over a couple of months, but it all depends on what else is happening in my life. The Fall of Ossard’s first draft was written many years ago and took two weeks as I was able to work on it full time. Typically I do dozens of rewrites and revisions.
N.L. Earnshaw: What inspired you to write this particular story?
Colin Taber: The Fall of Ossard is actually a story of hope. The story takes place in a dying world where the gods have become addicted to soul feeding - they are literally getting high on consuming their unsuspecting followers. The book tells of one of the world's last free cities falling into chaos, but amidst it, at this pivotal moment when all seems lost, there’s a flaring spark of hope. As someone who has all too often been haunted by my own gloom and demons, I am attracted to the notion of telling a story of hope blooming when it seems all too late for such a thing. Having said that, the tale is not all butterflies and flowers, hope comes at cost, as it should. Nothing is easy.
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