‘Soren’ is a middle-grade fantasy story derived from my adult fantasy series – The Light and Shadow Chronicles. The adult version, ‘The Shield of Soren‘ was released in 2016. The basic plot is more or less the same, however the content is toned down for the children’s copy. Soren has a pet fox named Dash in this version, and this is a stand-alone book, whereas the adult version is larger because it is linked into the wider series.
10-year-old Soren is the prince of Alcherys, a land that has been at war for hundreds of years. One day, he will lead his people into battle against the kingdom of Meraxor and their deadly leader—Vincent Wilder.
Soren should be training to become a soldier, but he is more interested in causing trouble with his trusty fox cub, Dash. When one of Soren and Dash’s mischievous adventures goes wrong, they unleash a deadly virus. It appears that an age-old prophecy is finally coming to pass, and Soren and his family must take a perilous journey deep into their enemy’s land.
Can Soren fulfill his destiny or will the virus destroy him first?
Chapter One – Ruins of the Gods
Eventually, the cart began to slow as it approached Alexiria. The boys had heard of the place before. Everybody in Alcherys had. It was an ancient city, now ruined and abandoned. Soren was quite sure there must be ghosts prowling the city and he was a little afraid. But he couldn’t stop jiggling up and down with excitement about the adventures they might find here in Alexiria.
A grey stone wall crept into view, dilapidated and covered in moss and creeping ivy. The wall was solid in places, but some parts were completely worn away by weather. Vines and plants sprouted from the cracks.
Soren, Deveron and Callista watched in silence as the cart slowly passed through the cobblestoned ruins of the city.
Callista called for the driver to stop as they rode up to the tallest building. There were enormous crumbling columns supporting the roof. Patterns and sculptures ran all around the top of the building showing parades of people, animals and what looked like humans with wings.
Callista, Soren and Deveron dismounted from the cart and Soren ran ahead, bounding up the steps.
The hall they stepped into was the size of a cavern and the walls stretched up into the air like the cliffs Soren often played by.
The stunning ceiling, at least 25 metres above their heads, was covered in splinters of coloured glass. The bright sun rays shone through them, casting kaleidoscope emeralds, rubies and sapphires across the floor.
Soren and Deveron stopped in the centre of the room, their eyes cast up to the ceiling, and their jaws nearly hit the floor.
“Welcome to the library of Alexiria, boys,” Callista said with a smile.
Hundreds of thousands of crinkly old books were stacked neatly along the shelves, covered with dust.
“What are all these?” Deveron asked, as he pulled a leather-bound book from the shelf.
Callista smiled. “These are documents, written thousands of years ago. Over the last 111 years, I have read them all. They tell of ancient history—age-old battles, angels, demons, dragons—all sorts of fantastical things.”
Soren and Deveron’s eyes were wide with fascination, watching their mother carefully as she spoke.
“How much of it is true, and how much just fairy tales, I do not know. But some of these books speak of things nobody could possibly know—of gods and monsters and even of the future…”
“The future? That’s impossible,” Soren said.
Callista smiled. “I thought so too at first, but whoever filled this library knew an awful lot about our family. How can that be, when these books were written so long ago? We can only guess that the person who wrote them had magical powers.”