Origin of Shadow covers the same time period as Genesis of Light, but from the perspective of Vincent Wilder. Vincent is the leader of the Brotherood of Shadow and this novella tells his beginnings in the seedy underworld of crime.
Creativia (my publisher) has accepted the manuscript and it is now going through final editing, with a view to being released later this year.
I can’t reveal the cover design just yet, as it is still being finalised. However, here is a sneak peek at some of the first art draft (credit again to Irina French).
Origin of Shadow Extract
The ticking of the timepiece was far louder than it should have been. Every innocuous click of the hands reverberated around the room. Sixteen-year-old Vincent Wilder stood perfectly still, making sure his chin was raised and his expression stony. He tried to hide the fact that his fingers twitched nervously behind his back. This meeting needs to go off without a hitch. There’s so much resting on it. He made an effort to narrow his eyes and puff out his chest, hoping his young frame was imposing.
A single drop of sweat trickled down his forehead, running a sticky trail across his skin. He wanted to reach up and wipe it away, but didn’t dare draw attention to the fact he was perspiring. If they saw it, would they take it as a sign of weakness? So he did nothing and let the salty drop work its way down his forehead, running into his dark eyes. He blinked to clear the drop, but his vision blurred and his eyes itched. He could hold off no longer and was forced to swipe at his eyes with a hurried hand.
His eyesight cleared and he took the opportunity to glance down at the table and the people sat around it. A couple in their early forties sat on one side, close together, huddling for comfort. Their eyes were strong and defiant, the woman’s in particular. Her hands were flat on the tabletop, and she leaned forwards, speaking with determination.
The ashen-faced man beside her was silent. Despite the stony expression on his face, Vincent could see the man’s hands trembling.
Across from them sat Franco Wilder, Vincent’s father. Once, he had a thick shock of dark hair, long and wild, draped across his shoulders. That was how Vincent always pictured his father, but the figure that sat before him had changed drastically in the past few years. As soon as Franco’s hair had started thinning, he had shaved the lot, and the bald head made the most terrifying man Vincent had ever met even more intimidating.
Franco’s posture was rigid and unmoving, a coiled snake waiting to lunge. The dark eyes that had chastised Vincent since childhood were now zeroed in on the couple before him. His father’s fingers were locked together tightly, but Vincent knew that it would only take a split second for Franco to wrench the knife from his concealed thigh pouch. Vincent’s muscles too were primed, ready to propel him into a fight. Never relax around Franco Wilder. He’d learnt that very young.