This month, the Bandits are promoting the excellent steampunk, western, fantasy epic, Healer’s Touch, by Deb E Howell! This New Zealand author has a flair of her own!
Deb E Howell
For Llew to heal, something must die.
Llew, a young pickpocket who lives as a boy on the streets of a wild-west mining town, finds her real problems begin when she survives the gallows. Forced to run, she persuades a group of fighters escorting a young girl to her wedding to let her travel with them across the badlands. On the journey Llew faces hostile tribesmen, desperate bandits and, the enmity of her own companions should they find out who and what she is: a girl, a fugitive, and a feared Healer. One of the fighters, Jonas, possesses superhuman prowess as a warrior, and carries the knife able to ‘kill the unkillable’; the knife that can kill Llew. Despite being of races at war for centuries, they are drawn to one another.
During the journey, they encounter Braph the magician, Jonas’ half-brother and potential nemesis. He pursues them as they journey across the sea to the continent of Phyos and at the moment Llew finally feels safe, he abducts her. He begins to take what is most precious to him: her blood.
Healer’s Touch is a mesmerising mix of fantasy, steampunk and Wild West adventure – and even a dash of romance!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction.
Deb lives in Dunedin, New Zealand with her family and a menagerie of pets.
and many more…
Excerpt from Healer’s Touch
He gathered her to him. So alive moments earlier, now limp. All he could see was blood. It covered her hands, soaked her shirt and pooled on the ground. He clasped her chin, turning her to him. The touch sent a tingle through his fingers even as more blood gushed from her open throat and he jerked his hand away, letting her head fall back. His eye was drawn by movement in the grass. One of Llew’s hands had fallen to the ground and the grass around it was dying in an ever increasing circle.
Jonas swallowed down his revulsion and dumped her unceremoniously on the ground, jumping to his feet. In a daze, he reclaimed his knives from the corpses, taking them to the water’s edge to clean with vigorous sweeps of his fingers down the blades. He berated himself for even toying with the idea of getting involved with her. What did he really know about her? He knew her name. And now he knew all he needed to know.
He wiped the half-clean blades on his thigh, sheathed them in his vest and drew the big knife at his hip. He cradled it in his hands, watching the moonlight fly off as he tilted it back and forth. There was one purpose to this knife’s existence: to kill the unkillable. And there was no safer time to make an attempt on the life of an Aenuk than when they were already half dead.
Jonas turned from the water. The meadow was now like a hayfield. Each blade of grass, each leaf of clover, each dandelion had given its all to provide but a tiny fraction of the energy – jin, as it was known in Turhmos – needed to bring a person back from near-death.
She lay unconscious, but her breathing was steady now. He had limited time to act. He crouched beside her, knife hovering over her back right where her heart should be, assuming Aenuks had a heart. But this was Llewella. She wasn’t like the Aenuks he had faced on the Turhmos killing fields. She wasn’t trained to fight, to continue to fight, and to take the enemy with her when she faced final death. She was merely a girl doing what she had to do to survive.
Amazon US (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DJE8NSK/
Amazon UK (Kindle): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Healers-Touch-ebook/dp/B00DJE8NSK/
MY REVIEW – I purchased Healer’s Touch on Kindle and read it in a couple of sittings. I really enjoyed this – it has a fast pace and well developed characters, especially the MC, Llew, whose healing talent is a blessing and curse (depending on who and what you are). Along with a sympathetic and gutsy MC, there are a host of other great characters. I have a certain soft spot for the strong and brooding Jonas, and despised the baddie of the piece, Braph. To have such reactions to characters is a mark of good writing in my opinion. In particular, the tenuous (and tongue-in-cheek) relationship that develops between Jonas and Llew is very well handled, in light of the fact that Jonas has the implement which can kill Llew. And the book is full of such moments, which leave you wondering what will happen next!
It was a completely unique reading from the get go and the first book I have come across that has a mix of western, fantasy and steam-punk elements, and as I said in the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The world-building was very well detailed and I got a keen sense of the world and peoples Deb E Howell has created.
In saying that, I’m now really looking forward to the next instalment in the series. The ending of the first book left me wanting to know more – there were hints of drama and trials to come, so I guess I’ll just have to be patient!