The ‘Wraiths of War’ by Mark Morris, the third and final book in the Obsidian Heart trilogy, was released on 14th October. The Obsidian Heart trilogy consists of ‘The Wolves of London’, ‘The Society of Blood’ and ‘The Wraiths of War’ and is a mixture of time-travel, fantasy, crime and horror. I have yet to start this series but I hope to start it very soon, it sounds amazing and perfect to read on a dark evening, especially being so close to Halloween.
Below is an extract from ‘The Wraiths of War’ to celebrate the release of the book-
‘The transition was smooth, the after-effects comprising of nothing but a slight tingling in my arms and legs, a few moments of light-headedness and mild nausea. I stood swaying in the darkened room, a room I was acutely familiar with, and for which I suddenly experienced an almost overwhelming ache of nostalgia.
It was this, combined with the now relatively mild effects of time travel, that caused me to grope my way to the squashy old settee and sit down. The springs creaked as the depression in the seat cushion welcomed back my familiar weight. It had been months since I’d sat here, although I guess as far as the flat (and the settee) were concerned, it had been only a matter of hours.
In front of me was the toy chest, which served as a coffee table, with Kate’s Toy Story colouring book on top of it. At the sight of it the rush of nostalgia, which had made me feel jittery, was unceremoniously swept aside by a more powerful torrent of emotions – longing, loss, hope, excitement, fear. Last time I’d seen this room it had been trashed, the sofa I was sitting on shredded and overturned, the colouring book torn to pieces. But I’d now travelled back to a time before that had happened, to a time before the Wolves of London had been after me – or at least before I’d known that they were. If the heart had brought me to where I wanted to be, this was October 1st 2012. The reason the flat was empty was because my past self was currently on his way to meet Benny Magee at the Hair of the Dog, and Kate was across the hallway in the flat belonging to my neighbours – neighbours who my past self knew as Adam and Paula Sherwood, but whose real names were Linley and Maude Sherwood, and who had been brought here from Victorian London, presumably by the Dark Man, to abduct my daughter.
Although the sight of Kate’s colouring book had set me off, it was the thought that she was probably, at this moment, no more than a couple of dozen metres away from me that caused me to literally shake with emotion. Ever since waking up in 2097 and discovering not only that I could use the heart to take me where and when I wanted to go (an ability I had only recently mastered), but also that the heart would now transport me to my chosen destination without also ripping me apart in the process, I’d been thinking about going back in time and preventing Kate’s abduction. No, scratch that; I hadn’t been thinking about it – I’d been obsessing over the idea.
The only thing that had prevented me from heading back here straight away was my fear that by changing history I would somehow make things even worse. I’d experienced the knock-on effects of altering events before, in the form of visions, which had been ‘shown’ to me possibly by the heart. In that instance I’d seen visions of what might happen if I failed to use the heart to meet Frank, or to pay off Candice’s boyfriend’s debt. In this case, though, it was different. Now my concern was what might happen if I used the heart to alter what to me was already established history.
Maybe nothing. Or maybe things would change not for the worse, but for the better. It could be that time was malleable, constantly in flux, and that altering history didn’t necessarily always equal disaster.
Whatever the outcome, though, I knew deep down that I had to try it. I think I’d decided that even before my conversation with Frank in The Globe a few hours (and almost a century) earlier, but his words had served only to make up my already made-up mind. Before speaking to Frank I’d been teetering on the brink, bracing myself for the jump. His words had simply given me the extra push I needed.
I took several deep breaths in the hope it would stop my legs from shaking, and then I stood up. If the heart had brought me to the time of day I’d wanted to arrive – and judging by the darkening sky outside it had – it would now be just after 5 p.m. In truth, I had no idea what time Kate’s abduction had taken place, but I knew it couldn’t have happened during the school day, otherwise the school would have contacted me. It was possible that the Sherwoods, having cleared out their flat while I was at work, had picked up Kate and their own son, Hamish, at 3:30 p.m. and driven straight to wherever it was they’d disappeared to with my daughter. But if they had done that, then I’d just use the heart to try again; I’d use it to allow me to pick Kate up from school myself if needs be.
What, though, if that brought the Wolves down not just on me, but on the both of us? What if Kate was with me when they attacked?
No. I wouldn’t allow myself to harbour doubts. I thought back to what Frank had said earlier: I can’t cope with maybes. If you always think about what might happen, then you’d never do anything, would you?
‘Who dares wins,’ I muttered, and felt my lips twitch in a shaky smile at the dumb bravado of the phrase as I walked out of the room and across the short hallway of the flat. I fumbled at the catch of the main door with numb fingers, then tugged the door open and stepped on to the landing.
I half-expected to see the Sherwoods’ door standing open, and them to be tiptoeing down the stairs, a suitcase in each hand. But the door of their flat was closed. I walked across to it and listened.
Muffled sounds, too vague to be called thumps or scrapes, suggested occupation, movement.
Gotcha, I thought, and raised a hand to thump on their door, imagining how shocked Paula’s face would be when she opened it.
I couldn’t believe it was really going to be this easy. Or was I being naive? Perhaps I should have come prepared for violence? I was about to thrust my raised fist forward when a hand grabbed my wrist from behind and tugged me off-balance. I stumbled backwards with a grunt of pain, then twisted to face my assailant, instinctively swinging my left arm round in a clumsy attempt at a punch. But my attacker anticipated the movement and stepped smartly aside, yanking my raised arm back even further. I cried out in pain, and my attacker’s free hand immediately clamped over my mouth.
‘For Christ’s sake, shut up,’ a familiar voice hissed in my ear. ‘Do you want to ruin everything?’
My momentum spun me all the way round until I was facing my assailant. My eyes widened.
It was me.’
Thank you to Titan Books for letting me take part in this Blog Tour, be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the Blog Tour below.