Partial image of Time: The Immortal Divide cover


We have three excerpts here. The first one, at the top, is from Before the Gods, the first book from The Chronicles of Fate and Choice trilogy. Keep scrolling down the page and you'll come to the nect excerpt, from Tumultus, the second book from the trilogy. And keep going (yes, it's lots of scrolling!) and you come to the excerpt from Time: the Immortal Divide.

Regarding this frst excerpt, Kate says:

"Before the Gods is written in alternating chapters; between the complex and beautiful kutu, and the first population of humans. The paths of both are interlinked and grow ever-closer as the story unfolds. The human chapters are written from Tachra's perspective. Because Before the Gods unfolds lots of mysteries, I had to make sure I picked an excerpt that didn't spoil the storyline. So, I've chosen a section from the beginning of the novel; from Tachra's introductory chapter. At this point, Tachra has no knowledge of the kutu or her own place within the scheme of things. She truly is an innocent."

...from Before the Gods

Father was working fast and, even though it was only just midday, my fifth basket of Junir was almost full. I half watched his stiffly stooped, sun-browned back and strong arm swinging his long knife back and forth, as I collected the shafts from his trail.

Light reflected off his blade, off the sweat on his body and off the pale golden Junir crop. It was hot and bright, and I hoped we’d soon stop for water.

The birds didn’t seem to be bothered by the heat, but left their shady perches to peck at the discarded grains. Their boisterous twittering, along with the swish of the blade and the rustle of the falling Junir, made a pleasant rhythm. I laid the shafts in my basket in a way that added its own cadence and entwined my thoughts in the sounds, moving in time to the rhythm and creating a smooth dancing motion.

As I worked to my imaginary tune, I began picking out unfamiliar, yet beautiful, sounds. They were more melodic than the birds, more rhythmic than father’s blade, and full of the strangest, most wonderful noises all fused together.

I stopped, putting down my basket, and the sounds seemed to grow louder, filling my ears with a multitude of fascinating noises. I had never heard anything like this. This was not his voice, what I called the Earth-voice – the low rumbling calls that I usually heard in my head. This was something very different indeed.

“Father, do you hear that?” I said quietly.

“Oh yes, the birds are happy,” father laughed, without halting the motion of the harvesting. “It seems they’ve a taste for Junir. It’s a good job there’s plenty for all.”

“It’s not the birds,” I replied. “It’s something else. It’s beautiful.”

Father stopped cutting, cocking his head to one side. “I can hear the birds, Tachra,” he concluded, after listening for a moment, “and a faint breeze over the crops, but nothing else.”

He turned his back to me and resumed his work, while I just stood and listened. By now, the rolling music filled my head with its enchanting sounds merging to form something beautiful, like a melody I had dreamt of, but couldn’t remember. It was truly wonderful. It made the back of my neck tingle and my mind fill with glorious yet unfamiliar images.

Surely this cannot be my imagination, I thought. I could never imagine such a pleasing noise. But I didn’t want to think about it; I just wanted to listen.

It seemed like only a moment had passed when father’s call snapped me from my daydreams.

“Tachra,” he shouted.

With an effort, I focussed on him. He was at the far end of the field, looking at me with his hands on his hips and a long line of neatly cut Junir spanning between us.

“Are you sure you cannot hear it?” I asked absently. “It’s like music, but more . . . well . . . just more. I’ve never heard anything like it.”

“I can’t hear anything unusual, child,” he replied, putting down his knife and walking towards me, looking concerned. When he reached me, he put his palm against my forehead. “You’re not overly hot,” he decided. “Still, you may have caught the sun. Go fetch yourself some water and, once you’ve rested, bring me some back too.”

“Yes, I’ll fetch the water,” I responded vaguely, wishing he wouldn’t talk over the melody.

“Go on then child, make haste,” he nodded sternly.

Father crouched down and picked up my basket, gathering the shafts that I’d missed. I didn’t even mind that he called me child – I’m past seventeen summers and normally I would have reminded him – but the music still played and everything seemed perfect.

Father looked up at me, but before he could hurry me on my way yet again, I turned on my heel and ran towards our hut.

I took the shortest route home, cutting across the field where it bordered Rew’s orchard. I saw Rew with two of his youngest children, all heavily laden with baskets of ripe apples.

“Do you hear those amazing sounds?” I called to Rew.

Rew stopped and frowned, and the two little ones mimicked his movement. “Nope,” he shook his head, “I don’t hear anything.”

I could tell by the look on his face that he really couldn’t hear my music, so I just shrugged and continued running, leaving him staring in my direction. The music was still rolling through my head, but it was changing, it was as if it was coming to an end. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted it to go on forever.

When I burst in through the open door of my hut, mother was cooking. She turned unhurriedly from her pots. “Tachra, it’s too early for food. Is father coming too?”

I ignored her question. “You must hear it,” I insisted, as the music played its final notes, “Those wonderful sounds.”

“Hear what?” Mother asked, with the same look on her face as father and Rew. “The only noise is the bubbles from my pot and, pleasant as it is, I wouldn’t call it wonderful.”

I sat down heavily on the bench. The music had finished and I felt both sad and happy. How I wished someone else had heard it so that I could share it with them.

“It’s stopped now,” I sighed, burying my head in my hands. “But I did hear it; the most wonderful music. It was like birds and breezes and blossom and sunshine on water and movement and . . . oh . . . just wonderful things. Someone else must have heard it too, they must have. But you didn’t and father didn’t and Rew didn’t either.”

Mother frowned. I could tell she didn’t think the music was real. She probably thought I was imagining it, rather like she used to think I was imagining the Earth-voice until I stopped telling her about it. She walked towards me and lifted my head, putting the palm of her hand on my forehead, just as father had done.

“You feel well enough,” she said.

“I am well enough,” I replied indignantly. “I’m better than well, and I did hear the most astonishing sounds, unlike anything I know. I just can’t explain them; they were just wonderful. I feel . . . wonderful.”

“You stay sitting. I’ll fetch you some water,” she decided firmly.

Moments later, mother handed me a pot of cold water. I gazed down. The water seemed to shimmer with a colour I’d not seen before, a colour which seemed to tell me things about the water. I knew instantly that the water was fresh, that it was gathered from the river only that morning, and that drinking it would be good. I didn’t know how I knew these things, I just did.

I took a long draught and looked around the hut. I sensed many other things: the movement of insects in the wood, the fact that the wood was too dry, and that mother’s stew would burn if she didn’t stir it. Even the empty spaces seemed to have an invisible substance. I felt aware of something in everything my eyes perceived, and even more in the things that they didn’t. These were not things I’d experienced before and nothing like the Earth-voice that I heard every day.

Surely, I am imagining this, I thought. Yes, I decided, father must be right; I must have caught the sun.

So, you want a peek at Tumultus too? Let's see what I can do...

"Selecting a piece from Tumultus, I'm throwing you in at the deep end as this isn't from the beginning of the book. But, I have been careful to choose a piece that doesn't include any spoilers. I can't have that!
The following is taken from the begining of Chapter 6 (Tumultus has 35 chapters in total). I've chosen this piece because it's the first time we meet two new characters. Both are black-winged ones who dwell in the shadow realms. Both have significant roles to play in the plot. In this section, we also get the first ever glimpse at life on Immorah, the Nigh-kutu homeworld. So, with all the reasoning analysed enough to justify my choice, I can admit that, in truth, I've chosen this piece simply because I love the characters and what they become."

...from Tumultus

Aeons away, on the far side of infinity, where the shadow was darkest and laughter now rare, Mardoch, senior warrior of Nigh-kutu warrior clan, paced a darkened room in agitation.

“You cannot try again; you are not strong enough!”

On the far side of the room, motionless on the resting bay, lay a Nigh-kutu. His black wings, tinged with darkest cyan, were tendrils of energy hanging limply to the floor, as if frayed by a thousand battles. The remnant of a tattered healing sheet lay across him. It was an antique, something Mardoch had been lucky to find. The healing sheet was almost depleted now, scantly charged with what little energy Mardoch dared take from supplies.

“I am strong enough!” the bed-ridden Nigh-kutu replied with surprising vehemence. “Do not let my crippled appearance deceive you.”

He closed his eyes, as if the energy to speak so strongly was a thing he could only sustain for a moment.

Mardoch walked to the doorway of the room, checking once again that the long, dark corridors were empty, and then strode to the side of the resting bay. The coarse dust on the bare floor crunched under his heavy boots. He knelt down to the injured Nigh-kutu, his black dreadlocks hanging forward, making the little emerald green crystals embedded in his hair chime out.

“Let us swap places so you can heal yourself. It is my turn to try. You can teach me what to do,” he implored the injured kutu.

“No, we agreed: one to burn, one to turn. You must keep your strength to stay safe, to see this through. The future of our clan, even all Nigh-kutu, will rest on you.”

“But you are too weak to succeed. This requires new strength. Cranun, my brother, you must let me try.”

Cranun the brave, one of the last of the clan, a senior warrior now spent with weariness, mustered a smile.

“I will not fail. The strength at the end is the strongest, my brother.”

“No! This will not be your end. I will not lose you too!” Mardoch protested under his breath.

“Mardoch,” Cranun sighed. “We are too few. We have lost too many. You know what I must do. Using my life energy is the only way. I must do everything I can to warn and protect our brother. Rejoice that he lives. Rejoice that we now have hope.”

The injured Nigh-kutu strained to lift his hand. He brushed the hair from his brother’s concerned face, holding onto one tendril that glimmered with several of the small, green crystals.

“These,” Cranun closed his eyes, “each one of these crystals is all that is left of the spirit of one of our old clan. You are their keeper. You keep them safe now. You will know how to save my spirit. If it comes to that, to my end, keep my spirit with you too. Hide my consciousness deep in another crystal. Then you must find our brother. Save my spirit, save them all.”

Mardoch wanted to fight against the old kutu’s words. Cranun was precious to him. He was the head of the Walker clan, his true original clan. Now they were the last of the Walker clan. Their kind, those who could move between realms, had been slaughtered and hunted by Arrunn’s armies until only the two of them remained. They had survived by deception, keeping their true identities secret, adopting the lives of warriors instead of the Walkers that they truly were.

Seeing his clan-brother prepared to sacrifice himself in such a terrible way for the chance of life for others angered Mardoch. It angered him enough to want to rip out his own heart. But he was a warrior now, warrior as well as the keeper of the Walker clan. He knew what must be done. He must honour Cranun, honour his action as the fearless chief that he was.

Mardoch straightened his shoulders, fighting back his own turbulent emotions.

“Do you still have it?” Mardoch asked.

“Of course,” Cranun lifted his chin, pulling down the top of his armour, which covered his throat. Embedded in the base of his throat was a small, glowing, green crystal.

“Very good,” Mardoch smiled.

He covered his brother once again, ensuring that Cranun was as comfortable as he could be in such a dire situation, and then moved to the old metal table at the side of the bay. There, he began silently mixing a healing potion. He had not been able to get any of the Psia to add to the potion. That potent, living liquid was too heavily guarded. What he had would have to do.

Mardoch carefully ground the substance, adding oils to make a soothing poultice, hoping it would help ease Cranun’s pain.

“I do not know why you bother,” a voice suddenly came from the doorway.

Mardoch’s mind spun, but he disciplined himself not to move. He must not act suspiciously. He managed to shrug dispassionately, as if he didn’t care.

“If he heals, then he is another worthy warrior to add to your army,” Mardoch stated flatly. “Surely you wish every strong kutu possible. If he does not heal, so be it.”

“He is not worthy,” the voice in the doorway said with scorn. “Any warrior who loses a leg during nothing more than arena combat is not worthy. Let him go. He is stripped of his rank. He is no longer High-Warrior: you are. I do not wish you to have further contact with one so weak. Understood?”

Mardoch paused. “Understood,” he nodded. He casually put down the healing potion, now properly mixed, within arm’s reach of Cranun, and then turned to the voice in the doorway.

“Arrunn,” Mardoch bowed.

So, you want a glimpse at Time: The Immortal Divide as well? Goodness! Okay, then lets find a little gem...

"Selecting a piece from Time: the Immortal Divide was more difficult than I expected it would be. If you've not read any of the novels, most pieces would have far too many spoilers. So, I've taken quite a simple piece, yet it's powerful too. The kutu characters fascinate me. So here I have chosen a excerpt where Tachra meets an unknown Nigh-kutu."

...from Time: The Immortal Divide

The passageway had widened to a large square, clad entirely in matte-black stone that seemed to draw in any light. It was dark, almost black. I sensed shadows. I sensed deeper shadow. I sensed shadows within shadow.

At the end of the square, sitting, was Meah. She was tense, agitated, and defensive. Low growling sounds were coming from her throat. Her fur had risen to bristles. She was facing a direction I could not see. Her eyes had narrowed. She did not like what she was seeing, but she would not look away.

“When you also see,” Viir spoke, “do not fret. You are quite safe.”

I walked forward to stand beside Meah.

I looked.

By the skies!

A Nigh-kutu!

Before me was a Nigh-kutu imprisoned. Several transparent energy walls and several walls of metal bars stood between us. Nevertheless, my inner defensiveness immediately rose, creating another barrier between the creature and Meah and I. He looked fearsome.

The huge black kutu crouched at the back of a large room. His broad black wings were splayed out, undulating in time to the slow, tense rhythm of his deep breaths. I could hear guttural growling as he breathed. Every breath he exhaled released pent up, furious tension. His hands were tethered by golden rope. The rope was secured to the walls behind him. His pure black energy darkened the space around him. He was fully dressed in war wear. His black skin trousers tucked into strong boots with straps around his legs and body where once he would have kept weaponry. He was muscular, and emitted the power of one of the most formidable Nigh-kutu warriors.

The Nigh-kutu felt my presence. He looked up. His eyes flashed with shadow-light. His expression was full of hate. His breathing and growling did not change. He just held my stare with restrained fury. He wanted to kill me. He wanted to kill us all.

He slowly stood.

“Are you sure he cannot get out?” I quietly asked.

“Yes,” Viir confirmed. “I have done much research into rock, metal and energy to make a place that is inescapable.”

The Nigh-kutu walked closer. His energy was so tense, so angry, that it made all appear to ripple around him. I wanted to back away, but held my place, trusting Viir’s assurances. The huge Nigh-kutu stopped when the tethered rope would allow him to go no further. He just stood staring at me, his arms pulled taut behind him, his wings breathing with vehemence, emitting that same fearless energy that all the warriors exuded.

That's all the excerpts for now folks... until the next book...