Blog Tour Book Extract: THE WOLF MILE by C. F. Barrington

Title in white on dark red clouds

Today, as part of the blog tour for this adult dystopia trilogy, where an underground battle rages between warring factions, I’m bringing you an extract from the very start of the book that introduces you to the thick of the blood games.

Synopsis:

Book cover for THE WOLF MILE: title in red o

A forbidden contest. An international game.

Bankrolled by the world’s wealthy elite and followed by thousands online, two teams of warriors vie for dominance, and the streets of Edinburgh run with blood.

Into this secret struggle steps Tyler Maitland, seeking his lost sister, and Lana Cameron, grieving her dead child. When they are accosted by figures in black hoodies and each handed a silver amulet, they recognize the Triple Horn of Odin – the talisman of the Valhalla Horde.

They are being recruited into the great game known as The Pantheon. And one day they will change everything.

Now they must risk their lives and join the ranks of seven ancient warrior teams which inhabit this illicit world. Their journey will be more wondrous and horrifying than anything they could have dreamed, taking each of them to the depths of their souls … and testing them to breaking point as they search for loved ones and for the meaning in their lives.

Let the Season begin.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Extract:

As soon as they emerged, the rain embraced them, misting their faces and sluicing off their helmets. Timanthes hated being at street level and he could sense the tension in his troops. They were high, straining, just a whisper from breaking. But that was good. It meant they were primed for a fight. The two pedestrians hurled themselves into a doorway and he spied the glow of their phones as they filmed the progress of this Titan troop. On a less urgent night, he would have harried them into surrendering the devices, but this time it would have to be tolerated. Let them post their footage and the online masses have their moments of hysteria.

The Titans swept across the empty junction at George IV Bridge, skirted around St Giles’ and crossed the street to Advocate’s Close. He halted them with a hand and peered down steps, but nothing moved. With another gesture, they bounded forward. Two doors on their right were locked, but it was the third he was seeking. It had a metal grill which stood ajar and the door beyond was open.

He glanced at his Captain and there was a soft hum as thirty blades emerged from oiled scabbards.

‘Use this opportunity, Companions. Take them by surprise and bleed them. Tonight we even the odds.’

He opened the grill and shouldered through the door. For a moment he could see nothing. The fresh air was replaced by a stale odour of damp stone and the acrid scent of piss. Steps dropped into darkness and he cocked his head to listen. Somewhere a vehicle hooted, but the shadows below yielded only yawning silence. He edged forward and began to descend. Within such confined space, the noise of their advance felt like a din. Men swore softly. Swords knocked corselets. Shields bumped on the wall. For the love of Zeus, Sveinn will hear us coming from a league away!

He could feel the fear of his Hoplites. They were Sky-Gods, born to bound across the rooftops, but now they were fumbling like moles, hemmed in by stone. And worse, they were in the terrain of the foe. This was the Horde’s stronghold and its troops knew every inch of the tunnels and crypts and vaults that ran beneath Edinburgh. They were masters of its secrets. They had spent years burrowing and building, reinforcing, widening. It was said that a warrior could run the mile from the Castle to Holyrood Palace in ten minutes without once seeing the stars.

Inching down, Timanthes saw the flicker of flame. Olena had noticed it too and the whole company rounded a corner and emerged into a cellar, about forty yards in length, low-ceilinged, musty, frigid, with torches burning from sconces on each wall. There was a closed door on either side and another at the far end. He stepped forward and behind him the Hoplites fanned out.

‘This doesn’t feel right,’ Olena whispered, because the room seemed to be awaiting their arrival.

‘Aye,’ Timanthes nodded as he eyed the doors. ‘Titans, shields.’

In practised movements, the Hoplites swung their circular, leather-and-bronze-faced hoplons from their shoulders and locked their left forearms into the straps. Even as the movement died away, the returning silence was broken by a single howl, like that of a wolf. On its final note, it was joined by the rest of the pack.

‘Titans to me!’ Timanthes yelled and each figure stepped together, interlocked their shields and braced.

The cry died away and then the doors opened and the warriors of Valhalla stepped wordlessly into the room. In that closed space, they were a multitude. Booted, helmeted, mailed, some with heavy bearskins, many with silver arm-rings which shone in the torchlight. They carried war axes and broadswords. There were women among them too, their faces hidden behind the iron eyepieces worn by every player in the Pantheon to conceal their identity, but their figures betraying their gender. The Horde kept coming. Forty, fifty, sixty. They filled the room, arraying themselves in front of the Hoplites with just ten yards between the two lines and Timanthes knew this would be the killing ground.

Blog tour graphic: names of participating bloggers on blue smoke next to image of two books

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