You Die When You Die


By Angus Watson

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You die when you die . . .

You can’t change your fate — so throw yourself into battle, because you’ll either win or wake up drinking mead in the halls of your ancestors. That’s what Finn’s people believe.

But Finn wants to live. When his settlement is massacred by a hostile nation, Finn plus several friends and rivals must make their escape across a brutal, unfamiliar landscape, and to survive, Finn will fight harder than he’s ever fought before.

The David Gemmell Award-nominated author of Age of Iron returns with You Die When You Die — an epic fantasy adventure in which a mismatched group of refugees battle animals and monsters, determined assassins, an unforgiving land and each other as they cross a continent to fulfil a prophecy.

“I loved every second of it . . . More please, as soon as is humanly possible!.” — The Eloquent Page

“Hugely entertaining.” — SFX

rip-roaring, swiftly paced adventure set in a sprawling and beautifully detailed world . . . sure to win the devotion of plenty of fans.” — RT Book Reviews

“The first book in Watson’s new fantasy trilogy is
raw, violent, and gritty . . . You Die When You Dieblurs the lines between hero and villain into who lives and who dies. He who survives another day wins for the moment; tomorrow might be another story.” — Booklist


Part One

Hardwork, a Town by a Lake, and Calnia, a City by a River

Chapter 1

Finnbogi Is in Love

Two weeks before everyone died and the world changed for ever, Finnbogi the Boggy was fantasising about Thyri Treelegs.

He was picking his way between water-stripped logs with a tree stump on one shoulder, heading home along the shore of Olaf's Fresh Sea. No doubt, he reasoned, Thyri would fall in love with him the moment he presented her with the wonderful artwork he was going to carve from the tree stump. But what would he make? Maybe a racoon. But how would you go about …

His planning was interrupted by a wasp the size of a chipmunk launching from the shingle and making a beeline for his face.

The young Hardworker yelped, ducked, dropped the stump and spun to face his foe. Man and insect circled each other crabwise. The hefty wasp bobbed impossibly in the air. Finnbogi fumbled his sax from its sheath. He flailed with the short sword, but the wasp danced clear of every inept swipe, floating closer and louder. Finnbogi threw his blade aside and squatted, flapping his hands above his head. Through his terror he realised that this manoeuvre was exactly the same as his rabbit-in-a-tornado impression that could make his young adoptive siblings giggle so much they fell over. Then he noticed he could no longer hear the wasp.

He stood. The great lake of Olaf's Fresh Sea glimmered calmly and expansively to the east. To the west a stand of trees whispered like gossips who'd witnessed his cowardice in the face of an insect. Behind them, great clouds floated indifferently above lands he'd never seen. The beast itself—surely "wasp" was insufficient a word for such a creature—was flying southwards like a hurled wooden toy that had forgotten to land, along the beach towards Hardwork.

He watched until he could see it no longer, then followed.

Finnbogi had overheard Thyri Treelegs say she'd be training in the woods to the north of Hardwork that morning, so he'd donned his best blue tunic and stripy trousers and headed there in order to accidentally bump into her. All he'd found was the tree stump that he would carve into something wonderful for her, and, of course, the sort of wasp that Tor would have battled in a saga. He'd never seen its like before, and guessed it had been blown north by the warm winds from the south which were the latest and most pleasant phenomenon in the recent extraordinary weather.

If any of the others—Wulf the Fat, Garth Anvilchin or, worst of all, Thyri herself—had seen him throw away his sax and cower like Loakie before Oaden's wrath, they'd have mocked him mercilessly.

Maybe, he thought, he could tell Thyri that he'd killed the wasp? But she'd never believe how big it had been. What he needed to do was kill an animal known for its size and violence … That was it! That's how he'd win her love! He would break the Scraylings' confinement, venture west and track down one of the ferocious dagger-tooth cats that the Scraylings banged on about. It would be like Tor and Loakie's quest into the land of the giants, except that Finnbogi would be brawny Tor and brainy Loakie all rolled into one unstoppable hero.

The Scraylings were basically their captors, not that any Hardworker apart from Finnbogi would ever admit that.

Olaf the Worldfinder and the Hardworkers' other ancestors had arrived from the old world five generations before at the beginning of winter. Within a week the lake had frozen and the unrelenting snow was drifted higher than a longboat's mast. The Hardworkers had been unable to find food, walk anywhere or sail on the frozen lake, so they'd dug into the snow drifts and waited to die.

The local tribe of Scraylings, the Goachica, had come to their rescue, but only on two big conditions. One, that the Hardworkers learn to speak the universal Scrayling tongue and forsake their own language, and, two, that no Hardworker, nor their descendants, would ever stray further than ten miles in any direction from their landing spot.

It had been meant as a temporary fix, but some Scrayling god had decreed that Goachica continue to venerate and feed the Hardworkers, and the Hardworkers were happy to avoid foraging and farming and devote their days to sport, fighting practice, fishing, dancing, art or whatever else took their fancy.

Five generations later, still the Goachica gave them everything they needed, and still no Hardworker strayed more than ten miles from Olaf's landing spot. Why would they? Ten miles up and down the coast and inland from Olaf's Fresh Sea gave them more than enough space to do whatever they wanted to do. Few ever went more than a mile from the town.

But Finnbogi was a hero and an adventurer, and he was going to travel. If he were to break the confinement and track down a dagger-tooth cat … He'd be the first Hardworker to see one, let alone kill one, so if he dragged the monster home and made Thyri a necklace from its oversized fangs surely she'd see that he was the man for her? Actually, she'd prefer a knife to a necklace. And it would be easier to make.

A few minutes later Finnbogi started to feel as though he was being followed. He slowed and turned. There was nothing on the beach, but there was a dark cloud far to the north. For an alarming moment he thought there was another great storm on the way—there'd been a few groundshakers recently that had washed away the fishing nets and had people talking about Ragnarok ending the world—but then realised the cloud was a flock of crowd pigeons. One of the insanely huge flocks had flown over Hardwork before, millions upon millions of birds that had taken days to pass and left everything coated with pigeon shit. Finnbogi quickened his pace—he did not want to return to Hardwork covered in bird crap—and resumed his musings on Thyri.

He climbed over a bark-stripped log obstructing a narrow, sandy headland and heard voices and laughter ahead. Finnbogi knew who it was before he trudged up the rise in the beach and saw them. It was the gang of friends a few years older than he was.

Wulf the Fat ran into the sea, naked, waving his arms and yelling, and dived with a mighty splash. Sassa Lipchewer smiled at her husband's antics and Bodil Gooseface screeched. Bjarni Chickenhead laughed. Garth Anvilchin splashed Bodil and she screeched all the more.

Keef the Berserker stood further out in Olaf's Fresh Sea, his wet, waist-length blond hair and beard covering his torso like a sleeveless shirt. He swung his long axe, Arse Splitter, from side to side above the waves, blocking imaginary blows and felling imaginary foes.

Finnbogi twisted his face into a friendly smile in case they caught him looking. Up ahead their clothes and weapons were laid out on the shingle. Bodil and Sassa's neatly embroidered dresses were hanging on poles. Both garments would have been Sassa Lipchewer creations; she spent painstaking hours sewing, knitting and weaving the most stylish clothes in Hardwork. She'd made the blue tunic and stripy trousers that Finnbogi was wearing, for example, and very nice they were too.

The four men's clothes, tossed with manly abandon on the shingle, were leathers, plus Garth Anvilchin's oiled chainmail. Garth's metal shirt weighed as much as a fat child, yet Garth wore it all day, every day. He said that it would rust if the rings didn't move against each other regularly so he had to wear it, and also he wanted to be totally comfortable when he was in battle.

In battle! Ha! The Hird's only battles were play fights with each other. The likelihood of them seeing real action was about the same as Finnbogi travelling west and taking on a dagger-tooth cat. He knew the real reason Garth wore the mail shirt all the time. It was because he was a prick.

Despite the pointlessness of it, many of the hundred or so Hardworkers spent much time learning to fight with the weapons brought over from the old world. All four of the bathing men were in the Hird, the elite fighting group comprising Hardwork's ten best fighters.

Finnbogi had expected to be asked to join the Hird last summer when someone had become too old and left, but Jarl Brodir had chosen Thyri Treelegs. That had smarted somewhat, given that she was a girl and only sixteen at the time—two years younger than him. It was true that she had been making weapons, practising moves and generally training to be a warrior every waking hour since she was about two, so she probably wouldn't be a terrible Hird member. And he supposed it was good to see a woman included.

All Hardwork's children learnt the reasons that Olaf the Worldfinder and Hardwork's other founders had left the east, sailed a salty sea more vast than anyone of Finnbogi's generation could supposedly imagine, then travelled up rivers and across great lakes to establish the settlement of Hardwork. Unfair treatment of women was one of those reasons. So it was good that they were finally putting a woman in the Hird, but it was a shame that it had robbed Finnbogi of what he felt was his rightful place. Not that he wanted to be in the stupid Hird anyway, leaping about and waving weapons around all day. He had better things to do.

Out to sea, Wulf the Fat dived under—he could stay down for an age—and Garth Anvilchin caught sight of Finnbogi on the beach. "Hey, Boggy!" he shouted, "Don't even think about touching our weapons or I'll get one of the girls to beat you up!"

Finnbogi felt himself flush and he looked down at the weapons—Garth's over-elaborately inlaid hand axes the Biter Twins, Bjarni's beautiful sword Lion Slayer, Wulf's thuggish hammer Thunderbolt and Sassa's bow which wasn't an old world weapon so it didn't have a name.

"And nice outfit!" yelled Garth. "How lovely that you dress up when you go wanking in the woods. You have to treat your hand well when it's your only sexual partner, don't you, you curly-haired cocksucker?"

Finnbogi tried to think of a clever comeback based on the idea that if he sucked cocks then he clearly had more sexual partners than just his hand, but he didn't want to accept and develop the him-sucking-cocks theme.

"Fuck off then, Boggy, you're spoiling the view," Garth added before any pithy reply came to Finnbogi, curse him to Hel. Garth might be stupid but he had all the smart lines.

"Leave him alone," said Sassa Lipchewer. Finnbogi reddened further. Sassa was lovely.

"Yes, Garth," Bodil piped up. "Come for a wash, Finnbogi!"

"Yes, Boggy boy! Clean yourself off after all that wanking!" Garth laughed.

Wulf surfaced and smiled warmly at Finnbogi, the sun glinting off his huge round shoulders. "Come on in, Finn!" he called. Finally, somebody was calling him by the name he liked.

"Come in, Finn!" Bodil called. "Come in, Finn! Come in, Finn!" she chanted.

Sassa beckoned and smiled, which made Finnbogi gibber a little.

Behind them, Keef, who hadn't acknowledged Finnbogi's presence, continued to split the arses of imaginary enemies with his axe Arse Splitter.

"I can't swim now, I've got to … um …" Finnbogi nodded at the stump on his shoulder.

"Sure thing, man, do what you've got to do, see you later!" Wulf leapt like a salmon and disappeared underwater.

"Bye, Finn!" shouted Bodil. Sassa and Bjarni waved. Garth, towering out of the water, muscular chest shining, smiled and looked Finnbogi up and down as if he knew all about the wasp, why he was wearing his best clothes and what he had planned for the stump.

"I don't know why you give that guy any time …" he heard Garth say as he walked away.

He didn't know why the others gave any time to Garth Anvilchin. He was such a dick. They were okay, the rest of them. Wulf the Fat had never said a mean word to anyone. Bjarni Chickenhead was friendly and happy, Sassa Lipchewer was lovely. And Bodil Gooseface … Bodil was Bodil, called Gooseface not because she looked like a goose, but because Finnbogi had once announced that she had the same facial expressions as a clever goose, which she did, and the name had stuck. Finnbogi felt a bit bad about that, but it wasn't his fault that he was so incisively observant.

He walked on, composing cutting replies to Garth's cock-sucking comments. The best two were "Why don't you swim out to sea and keep on swimming?" and "Spoiling the view am I? You're the only person here with a good view because you're not in it!"

He wished he'd thought of them at the time.

Chapter 2

A Scrayling City

Three hundred and fifty miles to the south of Hardwork, Chamberlain Hatho marched through the main western gateway of Calnia, capital of the Calnian empire and greatest city in the world. After almost a year away, the teeming industry of his home town was such a joyful shock that he stopped and shook his head. Had he been one of Calnia's uncouth Low, he would have gawped and possibly cursed.

He inhaled slowly through his nose to calm himself, swelling his chest with sweet Calnian air. By Innowak the Sun God and the Swan Empress herself, Calnia was an impressive sight.

As the Swan Empress Ayanna's ambassador to the other empires, Chamberlain Hatho had travelled thousands of miles. Some of the cities he'd seen did in fact rival Calnia in size and splendour, but for the last few weeks he'd been travelling by dog-drawn travois and boat through less sophisticated lands. The greatest settlements he'd seen for a good while had been casual collections of crooked cabins, tents and other meagre dwellings. Staying in those village's finest lodgings had made Chamberlain Hatho itch all over. How did the Low live like such animals?

"Chippaminka, does Calnia not rise above every other town and city like an elk towering over a herd of deermice?"

His young alchemical bundle carrier and bed mate Chippaminka gripped his arm and pressed her oiled torso against his flank.

"It is truly amazing," she replied, her bright eyes satisfyingly widened.

He held the girl at arm's length. She was wearing a breechcloth embroidered with an exquisite porcupine-quill swan, the gold swan necklace that he'd given her to reflect light and her new allegiance to Innowak the Sun God, and nothing else. She held his gaze with a coquettish smile then licked her top lip.

He had to look away.

He was pleased with his new alchemical bundle carrier. Very pleased. The woman who'd fulfilled the role previously had disappeared early on his embassy, in the great port town at the mouth of the Water Mother. Walking along, he'd turned to ask her something and she hadn't been there. He'd never seen her again.

That evening a serving girl had seen he was morose and claimed her dancing would cheer him up. He'd told her to clear off and protested as she'd started to dance anyway, but his angry words had turned to dry squeaks as her sinuous slinkiness, smouldering smile and sparkling eyes had stunned him like a snake spellbinding a squirrel.

At the end of her dance he'd asked Chippaminka to be his new alchemical bundle carrier. She'd been at his side ever since. She was the perfect companion. She knew when he needed to eat, when he wanted time on his own, when to let him sleep, when to talk, when to stay silent and, most joyfully of all, when to make love and how to leave him smiling for hours.

Chamberlain Hatho was forty-five years old. He'd always thought that love was at best a delusion, at worst an affectation. But now he knew what love was. Chippaminka had shown him. At least once every waking hour and often in his dreams, he thanked Innowak that he'd met her.

She gripped his hand. "It is a wonderful city. But what are all these people doing?"

He pointed out the various stations of industry that lined the road running into the city from the western gate. "Those are knappers knapping flint, then there are metalworkers heating and hammering copper, lead and iron nuggets dug from soil to the north. Next are tanners curing skins with brains, marrow and liver, then there are artisans working with shells, clay, marble, feathers, chert, porcupine quills, turquoise and all manner of other materials to create tools, pipes, baskets, carvings, beads, pottery and more. That next group are tailors who sew, knit, twine, plait and weave cotton, bark fibres and wool from every furry animal in the Swan Empress's domain."

"They seem so diligent. They must be very intelligent."

"On the contrary," smiled Chamberlain Hatho. "These are the Low, the simple people who perform mundane but skilled roles so that people like me—and you, dear Chippaminka—might soar higher than our fellow men and women."

The girl nodded. "What are those Low doing?" She pointed at a team of women spraying white clay paint from their mouths in ritualistic unison onto leather shields.

"They are using paint and saliva as alchemy to create magic shields."

"Magic! Whatever next?"

Chamberlain Hatho surveyed the wondrous, teeming array of sophisticated industry and nodded proudly. "Yes, you must find it simply amazing; like something from one of your tribe's legends, I should imagine. And this is just the artisan quarter. As you'll see when we explore, there are thousands of others beavering away throughout Calnia, all dedicated to the tasks essential for keeping a city of twenty-five thousand people clothed, fed and ruling over the empire."

"So many?"

"The empire stretches north and south from Calnia for hundreds of miles along the eastern side of the Water Mother, so, yes, that many are needed."

"And what are those mountains, Chamberlain Hatho?"

Chippaminka nodded at the dozens of flat-topped pyramids rising from the Low's pole and thatch dwellings like lush islands in a muddy sea. The flanks of the largest were coated with a solid-hued black clay and topped with gold-roofed buildings blazing bright in the sun.

"They are pyramids, constructions of great magic that house Calnia's finest. The highest is the Mountain of the Sun, where we are headed now to see the Swan Empress Ayanna herself. You see that pyramid behind it?"

"The little one on the right? The much less impressive one?"

"Yes … That is my pyramid. It is not as high as the Mountain of the Sun, but broad enough that its summit holds my own house, slave dormitory and sweat lodge. It is where we will live."


"If you will consent to live with me?" He felt the surge of fear, that terrible fear that had grown with his love, as if Innowak could not allow love without fear. The terror that Chippaminka might leave him dizzied him and loosened his bowels.

"I would love to live with you," she said and he resisted the urge to jump and clap. That would not look good in front of the Low. He'd never known such a swing of emotions was possible. He'd been terrified. Now, because of a few words from a girl, he had never been happier. Had humans always been so complicated, he wondered, or had the Calnians reached a pinnacle of cultural sophistication which was necessarily accompanied by such conflicting and high emotion?

"Come, let us report to the empress, then you will see your new home."

He headed off along the road with Chippaminka half walking, half dancing to keep up. Her dancing walk was one of the thousand things he loved about her.

He wrinkled his nose at the acrid whiff from the tanners and turned to Chippaminka. She'd already delved into the alchemical bundle and was holding out a wad of tobacco to render the stench bearable. He opened his mouth and she popped it in, fingers lingering on his lips for an exquisite moment. He squashed the tobacco ball between his molars, then pressed it into his cheek with his tongue. Its sharp taste banished the foul smell immediately.

Industry banged, chimed and scraped around them like a serenading orchestra and the joy in his heart soared to harmonise with its euphoric tune.

Ahead on the broad road children who'd been playing with bean shooters, pipestone animals, wooden boats and other toys cleared the way and watched open-mouthed as he passed. As well they might. It was not every day that the Chamberlain, the second equal most important person in Calnia, walked among them. Moreover, his demeanour, outfit and coiffure were enough to strike awe into any that saw him.

Chippaminka had plucked the hair from his face and the back of his head with fish-bone tweezers that morning. Tweezers gave a much fresher look than the barbaric shell-scraping method of the Low. Long hair fanned out like a downward pointing turkey tail from the nape of his neck, stiffened with bear fat and red dye. The hair on the top of his head was set into a spiked crown with elk fat and black dye, enhanced by the clever positioning of the black feathers plucked from living magnificent split tail birds. He could have used ravens' feathers, but those were for the Low. Magnificent split tail birds were long-winged creatures that soared on the tropical airs in the sea to the south. Young men and women would prove their skill and bravery by collecting feathers from the adult birds without harming them. It was nigh on impossible, so the feathers were fearfully valuable; the six in Chamberlain Hatho's hair were worth more than the collected baubles of every Low in Calnia.

His breechcloth was the supplest fawn leather, his shoes the toughest buffalo. The crowning garment was as wonderful as any of Empress Ayanna's robes, commissioned in a fit of joy the day after he'd met Chippaminka. Six artisans had worked on it for months while he'd travelled south. It was a cape in the shape of swans' wings, inlaid with twenty-five thousand tiny conch beads. The whole was to honour the Swan Empress, with each bead representing one citizen in her capital city. He hoped it would impress her.

Despite his splendid cape, his most subtle adornment was his favourite. It was his strangulation cord. He hoped that he would die before Empress Ayanna. However, if she were to die before him, he would be strangled with the cord of buffalo leather that he'd tanned himself, cut and worn around his neck ever since. He might love Chippaminka with all his heart, but that did not dim his devotion to Ayanna, Swan Empress and worldly embodiment of the Sun God Innowak who flew across the sky every day, bathing the world in warmth and light.

"Will we be safe from the weather now that we are here, Chamberlain Hatho?" Chippaminka asked. Their journey had been plagued by mighty storms. They'd seen two tornados larger than any he'd heard of and passed through a coastal town which had been destroyed by a great wave two days before. The root of the astonishing weather was the chief finding of Chamberlain Hatho's mission. He hoped that Empress Ayanna already knew about it and, more importantly, had laid plans to deal with it.

"Yes," he said. "You will always be safe with me."

They passed from the industrial zone into the musicians' quarter, where the air vibrated and shook with the music of reed trumpets, deer-hoof and tortoise-shell rattles, clappers, flutes and a variety of drums. A choir started up. The singers held a high note then stepped progressively lower, in a sophisticated, well-practised harmony so beautiful that every hair that Chippaminka hadn't plucked from Chamberlain Hatho's body stood on end.

Two other voices rang out, sounding almost exactly like screams of terror. Hatho looked about for the source, intending to admonish them and to have them executed if they did not apologise to a satisfactorily fawning degree.

Instead, his mouth dropped open.

Several of the choir had stone axes in their hands and were attacking other singers. It was no musicians' squabble over a muddled melody; these were full-strength, killer blows to the head. Blood was spraying. Time slowed as a chunk of brain the size and colour of a heartberry arced through the air and splatted onto Chamberlain Hath's eye-wateringly valuable cape.

Further along the road, more men and women were producing weapons and setting about unarmed musicians and other Low. By their look, the attackers were Goachica.

Chamberlain Hatho guessed what was happening. This was the Goachica strike that he'd warned about for years. The northern province of Goachica had been part of the Calnian empire for two hundred years. Many Goachica lived and worked in Calnia. One of Hatho's direct underlings—which made her one of the highest ranking people in Calnia—was Goachica.

Five years before, a few Goachica had stopped paying tribute. This happened every now and then in the empire and it was simple to deal with. You either flattered the rebels into restarting their payments with a visit from a high official such as himself, or you found the ringleader or ringleaders and tortured him, her or them to death in front of the rest.

However, the previous emperor, Zaltan, had overreacted with the Goachica. He'd sent an army with the orders to kill all who'd withheld taxes. Dozens of Goachica had failed to give tribute only because Goachica's leaders had told their tax collectors not to collect it. To any objective eye these people were as near to innocent as makes no difference; many even had the bags of wild rice that was Goachica's main contribution stacked and ready to go to Calnia.

The Calnian army had killed the lot of them.

Many relatives and friends of the slain Goachica lived in Calnia and many more had moved there since. Chamberlain Hatho had warned that these people would make trouble and advocated either apologising and giving reparations, or slaughtering them. Other issues, however, had taken precedence, not least Ayanna slaying Zaltan and becoming empress herself.

Because the massacre was entirely Zaltan's doing, and because actions like that one had been the chief reason for his assassination, people had thought the Goachica would have forgiven Calnia. Chamberlain Hatho's had warned that this was unlikely. He was less happy than usual to be proven correct.

To his right, several of the choir were fighting back with their instruments as weapons and the attackers were held.

Up ahead, he saw to his relief, three of the Owsla—Malilla Leaper, Sitsi Kestrel and the Owsla's captain, Sofi Tornado—had appeared. They were making short work of the attackers.

Malilla Leaper leapt over a man, braining him with her heavy kill staff as she flew. Sitsi Kestrel was standing on a roof, legs planted wide, her huge eyes picking targets, her bow alive in her hands as she loosed arrow after arrow. Sofi Tornado was dancing like a leaf in a gale, dodging attacks and felling Goachica with forehand and backhand blows from her hand axe. They said that Sofi could see a second into the future, which made her impossible to kill. Certainly none of the attacking Goachica came close to landing a blow on her.

Chamberlain Hatho felt a thrill to see the Owsla again. He had been ashamed when Emperor Zaltan created an elite squad based on his perverted desire for seeing attractive young women hurting and killing people in varied, often grim ways. However, the Owsla had proven to be a fearsomely effective squad of killers. More than that, the unbeatable ten had come to symbolise the success, power and beauty of Calnia.

Just as their chief god Innowak had tricked Wangobok and stolen the sun, so Calnia's rise to power had begun with alchemy-charged warriors rising up and freeing the ancient Calnians from imperial tyrants. Now Calnia ruled its own, much larger empire and the Owsla were its cultural and martial pinnacle; the beautiful, skilful, magical deterrent that kept peace across the empire. No chief dared antagonise Ayanna, knowing that a visit from the Calnian Owsla could follow.

There was a roar as a crowd of Goachica warriors rushed from a side street and charged the three Owsla.

Chamberlain Hatho gulped. Surely even Sofi Tornado, Malilla Leaper and Sitsi Kestrel would be overwhelmed by such a number? This was a much larger attack than he'd imagined the Goachica capable of.


On Sale
Jun 20, 2017
Page Count
560 pages

Angus Watson

About the Author

Angus Watson is an author and journalist living in London. He’s written hundreds of features for many newspapers including the Times, Financial Times and the Telegraph, and the latter even sent him to look for Bigfoot. As a fan of both historical fiction and epic fantasy, Angus came up with the idea of writing a fantasy set in the Iron Age when exploring British hillforts for the Telegraph, and developed the story while walking Britain’s ancient paths for further articles.

Learn more about this author