Jake Flynn’s parents disappeared when he was a baby. On his twelfth birthday, the mystery of why his parents disappeared begins to unravel when he discovers a glowing talisman with a message from his father.
Jake is directed to a derelict sailboat in a field. He watches in awe as the talisman knits ropes and sails for it out of golden energy. Awash in light, the boat sails up into space, and the voyages of Jake Flynn begin.
During the quest to find his parents, Jake encounters space pirates in tall sailing ships, channelers that can wield energy like magic, and evil cabalists led by a sinister snake-woman. Assisted by a young healer and her aged protector, a spirited cabin girl, and a salty space captain, Jake learns that he too can channel, and that he is central to stopping the cabalists from resurrecting a long-dead evil.
Puzzles, a pirate asteroid, walking the plank, fantastic magic, traps, treasure caves, multiple planets and great ship battles – Jake must experience them all on this epic sword and space adventure.
By the end, Jake will discover the truth about his destiny, realize that family can transcend blood lines, and understand that his own needs are sometimes less important than those of others.
You can find Destiny’s Gambit on Goodreads
About the Author:
R. J. Wood has been creating stories and adventures for others since 1979. A bard at heart, he trained in Drama (BA) and History (MA) while at university. He currently lives near Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State with his wife and children. There he does a little fishing, some adventuring, and of course, his writing.
Like everyone of my generation and beyond I have been heavily influenced by film. I like to think of my books as movies in my mind. I developed my creative writing through fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal RPGs. My degree in drama helps me with story, characters, and especially dialogue. Having an advanced history degree is excellent for plots and characters, but it also helps me with world building.
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The roar of the crowd had grown much louder by the time Jake made it to the center of town. Just ahead, a palisade crossed the road, but the gate stood wide open. Beyond it the way was choked with people.
Jake was cautious as he approached the gate, still wary from the encounter with the hooligans. Not seeing them inside, he tossed the stick away and walked into the throng of people.
Everyone around him was dressed like they were at a Renaissance fair with a sea-going theme. Along with the strange clothes, came a jumble of odors – perfumes, spices, salty scents, and undefinable funks. Jake mingled his way through the crowd until he made it to the pit, a massive deep hole through the asteroids with space visible far below.
Surrounding the pit on three sides were rails protecting the crowds. The people were mostly humans, but intermixed were several different types of aliens. Amongst them was some kind of bird lady, a lizard man standing upright with scaly skin who had a crocodile like head, and even a Ratling pirate. A dozen other equally strange beings, the likes of which Jake had only seen in movies, were mixed among the crowd. He would not have believed it if they had not been right there before him alive and breathing.
Opposite Jake’s position, and above the crater, was the central building that looked like a large galleon. Wooden stairs came down from double doors in its belly to a two-tiered platform. The lower platform was larger and built out over the edge of the pit. Black tiles inlaid with white, made the design of a hammerhead shark upon the lower tier, but Jake could not see it clearly due to the number of people standing on top. Suspension bridges connected the lower platform to the sides of the crater where the people lined the rails. Guards were posted at the entrances of both bridges. A long plank extended from the lower platform out over the pit.
Standing on the upper platform was a uniformed pirate captain, but this was no man. His face was chiseled of black obsidian, smooth and polished like glass. Yellow light alone was visible from his eye sockets – alive like flame. Next to him was a pirate woman with pale-grey skin and a posh brimmed hat the color of purple roses. It was adorned with a large black plume. Beside her was a big man dressed as a swashbuckler. His short beard ran up under a black and white scarf tied over his head. They looked down upon the lower platform where pirate guards managed five prisoners. Two of the captives looked like gopher men, short but with wide shoulders and furry skin. One had a bandage with a red spot wrapped around his head over a yellow scarf with a ship’s wheel. He was being held up by another whose nose worked up and down as he looked around in a nervous fashion. Next to them were two tall prisoners, both gagged. One looked like a bald monk from a monastery. The other was a dignified older gentleman with long gray hair clad in robes of oranges, whites and reds. He had also been blindfolded and gagged for some reason. Last was an older teenage girl with the prettiest blonde hair Jake had ever seen. She was dressed in green satin robes and stood out amongst the others like an emerald nestled in a bag of coal.
Jake wanted to see her face, but she was too far away, so he began to work his way around the pit while keeping an eye out for his father.
The stone pirate on the upper platform pointed at the monk and the guards brought him forth. The crowd began to call and cheer as the guards unbound his hands, took off his gag, and shoved him out onto the plank. He turned to face the crowd and Jake could now see that one of his eyes was pale and dead. He balanced on the board, then peered down into the chasm and star filled space beyond the bottom. A smile curled at the ends of his mouth. He raised both arms and addressed the mob in a terrible voice.
“Be warned!” he yelled and the crowd quieted, though a few voices continued to cheer and jeer for him to fall. “Be warned, the wrath of the Destroyer is coming, the Shadow Queen will soon rise again!” There was little attention paid from the crowd after that and an evil grin formed on the man’s face. “She is coming, the Amulet of Life will be found, and then you will all bend to her will.” Loud boos and jeers erupted from the crowd. “Not even the Justicar will be able to save you!”
As the man finished, he started a laugh that turned into an eerie cackle. The rock pirate on the upper platform dropped his wrist and pointed a finger down. Two guards moved with pikes to push the bald monk into the hole. With a final wicked grin, the dark monk turned to face the obsidian man. He flew his arms straight out and fell backward into the hole of his own accord.
“She is coming!” he yelled and then cackled again as he fell to his death. The crowd roared.