Just the other day, I featured Blake Charlton’s Spellwright as a book to keep an eye on. It’s got neat cover art, great early buzz and an interesting (if slightly typical) setup.
Imagine a world in which the written word can leave a page to physically lift a man into the air, sharpen his pitchfork, or stop his beating heart.
Such a world is home to Nicodemus Weal, a young wizard with tremendous talent for forging the magical runes which can create spells. Indeed, throughout his adolescence, Nicodemus was thought to be the Halcyon, a powerful magic-user prophesized to save the land from a coming apocalypse known only as the Disjunction.
There was only one problem: runes must be placed in an exact order to create a spell. Any deviation results in a “misspell”–a flawed spell that behaves in an erratic, sometimes lethal, manner. It so happens that Nicodemus is a “cacographer,” one unable to correctly reproduce even simple texts.
Now twenty-three, Nicodemus lives in the devastating aftermath of having failed to live up to prophecy. His magical talent is restricted to the kitchen, where he cleans pots and scrubs walls with childish language. Life slips by one aggravating day at a time until a visiting author identifies an ancient curse infesting the young wizard’s mind. The malicious text has, in fact, stolen his ability to spell. Suddenly, the two wizards closest to Nicodemus are murdered violently and he is forced to flee his home in a desperate quest to recover the stolen part of his mind.
SPELLWRIGHT is the first volume of Nicodemus’ journey across the kingdoms of Faragard, his encounters with monsters and gods who distort language to their own ends, and his internal struggle to accept himself as whole without his ability to spell.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Charlton has made the prologue at the first four chapters of the novel available to read for free on his web site. Just be warned that they are early drafts, and may not totally represent the final published novel.
You can find the sneak peek of Spellwright HERE.