Book Boost: Bloodsworn by Tej Turner

7 Jan

Bloodsworn by Tej Turner

“Classic Epic Fantasy. I enjoyed it enormously.”

Anna Smith Spark

Everyone from Jalard knew what a bloodoath was. Legendary characters in the tales people told to their children often made such pacts with the gods. By drawing one’s own blood whilst speaking a vow, people became ‘Bloodsworn’.

And in every tale where the oath was broken, the ending was always the same. The Bloodsworn died.

It has been twelve years since The War of Ashes, but animosity still lingers between the nations of Sharma and Gavendara, and only a few souls have dared to cross the border between them.

The villagers of Jalard live a bucolic existence, nestled within the hills of western Sharma and far away from the boundary which was once a warzone. To them, tales of bloodshed seem no more than distant fables. They have little contact with the outside world, apart from once a year when they are visited by representatives from the Academy who choose two of them to be taken away to their institute in the capital. To be Chosen is considered a great honour… of which most of Jalard’s children dream.

But this year the Academy representatives make an announcement which is so shocking it causes friction between the villagers, and some of them begin to suspect that all is not what it seems. Just where are they taking the Chosen, and why? Some of them intend to find out, but what they discover will change their lives forever and set them on a long and bloody path to seek vengeance…

*          *          *

Endorsed by writers such as Anna Smith Spark (critically-acclaimed author of the Empires of Dust trilogy), Bloodsworn is the first instalment of a new and exciting fantasy series by Tej Turner.

Its tale begins as many epic fantasy stories do; a handful of characters from a medieval world – some of them coming of age – who find themselves swept into a series of world-changing events, but it takes a grim turn and becomes something darker. It is a novel which will simultaneously feel familiar to readers but yet keep surprising them.

Drawing his inspiration not only from the fantasy genre but also a wealth of manga and anime he absorbed during his youth, the world Tej Turner has created is divided between two rival nations; Sharma and Gavendara.

Sharma is a green country, blanketed in meadows, forests, and woodlands, whilst Gavendara is a land of grassy plains and much more barren. This stark difference between the resources at their disposal is but one out of many reasons that the two nations have a complex (and sometimes bloody) history with each other.

In the times preceding the beginning of Bloodsworn’s story, feudal and warlike Gavendara has seen some of its imperial ambitions become realised. It has annexed the lands Babua and Vallesh – to its north and south – but, its foremost desire has always lain to the east, beyond the Valantian Mountains, and within the green and fertile lands of Sharma.

A group of mysterious and secretive men, working within the shadows of Gavendara’s aristocracy, have discovered a new secret which they believe to be the answer to fulfilling their ambitions: a method of enhancing people, making them stronger, by carving runes into their flesh during arcane rituals. Initially, it seems like they have created the perfect warriors – for these people do not only become possessed by immense fortitude and dexterity, but they are also much more docile, and thus perfect, obedient soldiers.

But some of those involved in the creation of these soldiers are beginning to have second thoughts. They notice other, unforeseen changes, and start to wonder just how high the cost is for messing with nature… and how much of their humanity will both themselves and the subjects of their experiments lose along the way.

Tej Turner’s intention when he forged the concept of this series was that he wanted to create something which not only contained the usual tenets of epic fantasy – political intrigue, gods, swords, and sorcery – but also novums usually restricted to the genres of horror and science fiction, such as mutant creatures and metamorphosis. He has also – like in his two previous urban fantasy novels, The Janus Cycle and Dinnusos Rises – featured a diverse cast of characters, even channelling some of his own experiences undergoing prejudice growing up as a gay man into the threads of one of his central characters, making Bloodsworn an #OwnVoices novel.

One thing which might strike people as a little odd about the map of the world he has created is that there are very few human settlements on its coasts (and the ones which do exist lay a little inland from the shore), and there is a reason for this. Tej Turner has set this series in a world cosmologically different to our own, with longer years and, most notably, three moons. This means that the seas are more tumultuous, and thus coastal areas are not as safe for habitation. Other consequences for living in such a strange cosmic alignment include that the civilisations of the story have not yet discovered any other continents beyond their own, because seafaring is a much more dangerous (and thus seldom risked) venture. Nights are most usually brighter than in our own world, and thus, people are at liberty to be more active during such times, and rare occasions where the sky turns black and the sky fills with stars are events which can evoke a wide range of emotional responses from the members of its populace.

Bloodsworn is being published by Elsewhen Press on the 8th of January 2021. All digital editions are available to pre-order from Amazon (UK, US, Canada, and others), as well as Kobo and Google.

Paperback version will be available from the 8th of March.

About the Author

Tej Turner has spent much of his life on the move and he does not have any particular place he calls ‘home’. For a large period of his childhood, he dwelt within the Westcountry of England, and he then moved to rural Wales to study Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter.

After completing his studies, he moved to Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day and writes by moonlight. He is also an intermittent traveller who every now and then straps on a backpack and flies off to another part of the world to go on an adventure. So far, he has clocked two years in Asia and a year in South America. He hopes to go on more and has his sights set on Central America next. When he travels, he takes a particular interest in historic sites, jungles, wildlife, native cultures, and mountains. He also spent some time volunteering at the Merazonia Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Ecuador, a place he hopes to return to someday.

Bloodsworn is his third published novel. His debut novel The Janus Cycle was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015, followed by his sequel Dinnusos Rises in 2017. Both of them were described as ‘gritty and surreal urban fantasy’. He has also had short stories published in various anthologies.

He keeps a travelblog on his website, where he also posts author-related news.

One Response to “Book Boost: Bloodsworn by Tej Turner”

  1. Tej Turner January 8, 2021 at 8:24 am #

    Reblogged this on Tej Turner and commented:
    To finish off my little blog tour for the launch of Bloodsworn, here is a guest post in Chris Nuttall’s blog where I reveal more about Bloodsworn’s map, the history of its world, and the premise of the story. 🙂

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