Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates predominantly horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies. Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by sequels, Elevation in December of 2011 and Transcendence in November of 2012. Other releases include her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades (Magic University, Casualties of War) and her YA tribal dark fantasy, The Snowy Barrens Trilogy (self-published).
Abandoned and scared, but less alone than he could have ever imagined, Sam awakens to the screams of the other children on the island of Fervor, and the absence of all adults. To make matters worse, despite hearing this chaos in his head, he finds himself deaf to the normal sounds around him. His only answers are now being provided by a strangely charismatic boy named Francis who is about to lead Sam to a gathering that will alter his life. Why have things changed so drastically on the island, who is responsible for these changes, and what does this mean to the remaining inhabitants of Fervor?
Nine unusual novice mages have been invited to compete in a series of magical trials for three elite apprentice positions at the university. The misfits gradually display their strengths and their weaknesses, and soon find themselves battling their own personal demons as much as they are their opponents.
After what seemed like an eternity, the three travelers finally arrived in Anthis. As the wagon approached the school, Reid leaned forward in his seat. A solitary figure sat on the bench outside the front door. Reid recognized the short but muscular build as belonging to Nolan, one of his students. Gillis had labeled the young man as a lone wolf, and Reid considered it an apt description. Nolan offered no more friendly gestures than Dee, glaring with his black eyes through his unruly dark hair, which played mane to his bronze-skinned face. Reid drew the wagon up short.
“Wow, I didn’t expect you to be part of the welcome party,” Reid commented, trying to elicit a smile. The boy shrugged.
For the first time in hours, Dee spoke. “He would appear to be the entire welcome party,” she grunted.
Nolan glanced her way. He pursed his lips and jutted out his chin in an open sign of aggression. Typical, thought Reid. Nolan preferred to put on a tough guy show. Reid was not sure if the boy did it out of insecurity because of his small stature, or if there were underlying stresses which Nolan kept to himself. The fact was that the young man did seem to bear a chip on his shoulder. Nolan gave Dee one last cold stare then turned to speak to Reid.
“I wouldn’t go in there if I were you. It’s dangerous. I’d rather be in my mouse-hole of a room right now as opposed to out here exposed to the elements, but a cold’s nothing compared to what I could catch in there.”
It was Reid’s turn to frown.
“What are you talking about?” Reid climbed down from the driver seat and approached the surly student. “Where is everybody, Nolan?”
Nolan crossed his arms and eyed Reid with contempt.
“If you want to know so bad, go in and see for yourself.”
Without even considering the newcomer now perched on the edge of the wagon, Reid hurried over to the door. He opened it only to find Clayton, Gillis’s brother, standing on the other side. The lanky youth looked tired, and more nerve-ridden than normal, if that were possible. What disturbed Reid more than Clayton’s anxiety and obvious fatigue was the absolute expression of horror captured in the boy’s face.
“What is it, Clay?” Reid demanded. “Where’s Gillis?”
Clayton struggled to speak, glancing out past Reid at Nolan. Abandoning his attempts to explain, he resigned himself to silence and gestured for Reid to follow.
When they entered the space that had been designated the Common Room, Reid could no longer deny that something was drastically wrong. Several of the students were there, looking severely lethargic and drawn in the face. The more shocking sight, however, was Gillis. He lay sprawled in a settee when they came in, but struggled weakly to his feet when he realized exactly who it was who had arrived. His skin was grey in color and his cheeks sunken in. He wavered where he stood, having barely managed to muster enough strength to stand in the first place.
“Tell me I’m not hallucinating, Reid,” he breathed. “You’ve been here three times already, that I can remember…I’m sorry –so sorry.”
Reid remained frozen in place, trying to grasp what exactly was going on. Finally, he faced Gillis, who was now leaning on the settee for support.
“It’s the magic plague, isn’t it?” Reid stared at his partner, his eyes filled with dread. “How?” He sat back in one of the chairs, crumpling as though he had been kicked squarely in the groin.
Gillis shook his head. “I don’t know, but it’s worse than you might think. Nattie, she’s dead, Reid. She wasn’t in the best health to begin with. She only made it three days. I don’t know how long the rest of us have either.” As he spoke, he gestured towards the sickly students huddled about the room. He sat down quickly to avoid falling over.
Reid sat near catatonic in his chair, overwhelmed by the situation. His dream had been blossoming, growing. There was still a great deal of work that had been ahead of him, and he had known that there would be challenges, but he had never expected anything like this. It was like a giant foot had come out of nowhere, treading down with great force and crushing everything he had managed to build.
“What are we going to do?” Reid murmured. His head was spinning.
When a seemingly harmless dispute between youths within the tribe ends in tragedy at their Rites of Passage, the Snowy Barrens Tribe finds themselves divided and without compromise. Three splinter groups result: the Tribe of the Wolf, the Tribe of the Bear, and the Tribe of the Owl. With the threat of possible monsters overshadowing them and the loss of their strength in numbers, how will they survive? The first in a three part/three generation tale, this YA tribal dark fantasy will whisk you away to a different world and a different time, where you get to be a part of the adventure that shaped a people and their ways.
Alder gazed upon her for a few moments longer, not wanting to disturb her obvious reverie. She seemed pleasantly lost in thought, casually bobbing her line in the river and dangling her toes in its cold water. That’s when Alder caught sight of some movement on the far bank. The person who crept there, well camouflaged in greens and browns, could not be seen by Willow, completely hidden by the tall reeds. But from his perspective, perched near the top of the hill, Alder could see the black haired man easily. He thought for a moment that his heart would stop beating. He recognized all too well the tattoos that marked the prowler as one of the Black Talon Tribe. The man began to stand, so he could see over the top of the reeds well enough to aim his blowpipe at Willow. Without another moment’s hesitation, Alder threw himself down the hill.
“Willow!” he cried, as he ran towards her. “Watch out!”
Willow turned to look at him and smiled, having heard him call out her name, but not capturing his warning – his words had been drowned out by the noisy burbling of the river at her feet. As Alder saw the Black Talon lift the solid reed to his lips and blow, he leapt for Willow, dislodging her from the log she sat upon and knocking her into the cold river, splashing violently in after her. Fortunately for the startled girl, he managed to push her out of the way just in time to save her from the drug-coated projectile that had been hurtling towards her exposed throat. The Black Talons rarely killed anyone but the warriors, the hunters, the elderly or the very young. They preferred to take all others prisoner, as their tribe was a society that functioned through the use of slaves. Alder could just imagine what that man would have wanted Willow for, and the thought of it made him shudder.
Leaving a shivering, sputtering Willow standing waist deep in the spring waters of the Ice River, Alder waded his way to the far bank as quickly as he could manage, and grabbed a handful of marsh grasses in order to pull himself up onto the shore. Forcing himself to shake off the numbness in his limbs, caused by the chilling cold, the young man bolted in the direction where he had last seen the Black Talon man, pulling out his bone knife as he ran. While Alder was grateful that he had managed to reach his tribes-mate in time, he was furious that the Black Talon man had dared tread into their territory to begin with. As far as Alder was concerned, the intruder should pay for that error with his life.
The Black Talon man had already begun running for the woods when Alder arrived at the spot where he had last seen him. The attacker had left a trail of broken reeds where he had passed, so it was not difficult for Alder to follow, gaining distance on the man as he sprinted after him with great leaping strides. By the time the Black Talon man had reached the edge of the woods, the Snowy Barrens youth was upon him. Alder tackled the invader and they fell to the ground, the youth stabbing wildly at the man with his knife. Before the Black Talon man had abandoned his blowpipe and reached for his own knife, Alder had succeeded in stabbing him three times, once at the base of his ribs, once in the hip and a grazing blow to his thigh. Finally bringing forth his own weapon, the intruder reciprocated, with a deeper blow to Alder’s leg.
The youth recoiled from the pain. His hands slick with the Black Talon man’s blood, Alder lost his grip on his opponent, who seized his opportunity to make his escape, staggering away into the forest while holding onto his injured side. Alder tried to follow, but realized the damage done to his leg would make pursuit difficult