April 16, 2013 by Heidi
I have a confession. For the most part, I’m like you. Usually anyway. Usually I root for the good guy, you know evil vanquished and good triumphant and all that, but sometimes–just every so often–I like to root for the bad guys.
It’s no secret by now that I simply adored Christopher Healy’s debut, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. It is, if you will excuse the expression, simply charming. I fell for the exploits of the League of Princes, but even more so I fell for Healy’s dastardly villains: Princess Briar Rose, bounty hunter Ruffian the Blue, Deeb Rauber the Bandit King, and of course my favorite logophilic witch, Zaubera. And if I had to pick something to love about Healy’s books besides these wonderfully creative characters? I’d go with Todd Harris’ wonderful artwork hands down.
And so it is my absolute pleasure today to be able to present you with a short excerpt from the upcoming The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle–Releasing April 30th by Walden Pond Press–accompanied by one of my favorite pieces of art from the book which features (you guessed it) some new villains. Not only that, but one other villain lover has the chance to win a print and a copy of the book!
The Warlord of Dar closed the door to his guest suite: a posh room carpeted with pilfered animal-skin rugs and furnished with sophisticated armchairs and armoires that Rauber had stolen over the years. He turned to address the Darian soldiers he had gathered there. First in line was Madu, the Keeper of the Snake. Tall and lithe, Madu wore a tattered kilt and a loose vest that hung open to reveal scores of serpent tattoos covering his skin.
Beside the snake handler stood a stocky bodyguard named Jezek, who was clad from collar to boots in spike-studded armor. And next to him was Redshirt, a thick-necked barbarian with a penchant for licking the edge of his ax.
The final member of Rundark’s cabal was Wrathgar, the dungeon master. A walking mass of muscle, Wrathgar was larger than the Warlord himself (larger than all Gustav’s brothers, too—in case you’re keeping score). A red-and-black mask covered the top half of his face, while below it, a freakishly long mustache hung down to his chest like a pair of face-ponytails. Tied to each end of his mustache was an unidentified bone: the remnant of a lion’s claw, perhaps, or a human finger, or maybe just a chicken leg (it’s not like anybody was going to ask).
Lord Rundark had discovered Wrathgar years earlier. The Warlord had been leading a platoon of barbarian soldiers to raid and ransack the Darian village of Hocksnath, but when he arrived, he saw that the town had already been reduced to a blackened field of burning timbers and smoking rubble. Standing in the center of all that debris was Wrathgar. As the Warlord approached the masked behemoth, Wrathgar simply said, “The people of Hocksnath didn’t like my facial hair.” To which Rundark responded by offering the man a job. Wrathgar had been Rundark’s secret weapon ever since.
Text Copyright © 2013 by Christopher Healy
Okay villain lovers, isn’t Wrathgar awesome? Not even Game of Thrones can compete with that facial hair. The wonderful people over at Walden Pond Press are offering up not one, but two awesome prizes for one lucky winner! Enter to win:
- A framed print of the ax-licking good artwork shown here signed by the artist, Todd Harris.
- A hardcover copy of The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy
Giveaway is US only.
I will e-mail the winner once selected, you will have 24 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.