Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: Rise of the Branded by Scott Keen @XpressoTours

Rise of the Branded
Scott Keen
(Scar of the Downers, #2)
Publication date: November 22nd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Pursued into the wild by the soldiers of Ungstah, former slave Crik and the other freed Downers encounter the magical and terrifying nature of their world. They face spectral Shepherds, man-eating Rukmush, and the ancient giants of the earth. When two of their group are captured, Crik is distraught and powerless.

Meanwhile back in the city, Durgan, former Captain of the King’s Guard who allowed Crik and his friends to escape from Ungstah, is now a Downer, one of the Branded. Amid the murmurings of an uprising among the Branded, Durgan just wants to be left alone to search for his missing son. But in the process, he discovers how dark the powers of Sulfus the king truly are. Durgan must take a stand in the coming war between the Branded and the powerful armies of Sulfus.

To kill any hope of escape for the city’s Branded, the army comes after Crik and his friends to make an example of them. The answers for Durgan, Crik and freedom for all Downers lie hidden in the dark recesses of the Northern Reaches, in the treacherous places Crik and his companions are about to enter.


Crik could tell he was in some sort of large vestibule deep in the mountainside. Scattered across the floor of the hall were puddles, formed from water that dripped down the stalactites. Each drop echoed through the chamber and revealed to Crik how alone he really was. Then, his eyes were drawn to the hundreds of stone tombs throughout the cavern.
“What are those?”
The Kurokah drew Crik’s gaze. Its face had a blank, dead expression. He stared into the black mouth and felt the hopelessness inside. He wanted to cry out, to yell, but was powerless to do so. The Kurokah moved toward Crik in one swooping motion and was now only inches away from his face. Out of its mouth came a voice not its own.
“You have rebelled against me.” It was a woman’s voice, and it croaked. “And now a lesson must be learned.”
Crik was unable to speak, but somehow the woman on the other side of the Kurokah knew what he was thinking. “Please. I’ve done nothing to you. We just wanted to be free.
The woman’s voice cackled, which sent shivers down Crik’s spine. “Free? You can never be free. Why would you think such a thing, Crik?” There was another sharp screech of laughter. “Yes, I know who you are. I know you killed your master Kilvar.”
“Who are you exactly?” he thought.
“I am the King’s Eyes, and I see everything.”
“How is that possible?”
Another laughter rippled out of the Kurokah. “Yes, you would like to know. Many people would like to know who I am. But that is not for them to know. I am a secret. All you need to know is that we will soon see each other face-to-face. You and all of your friends. Now you shall just have to wait.”
“What are you going to do with me?” cried Crik, though the words were only in his head.
“I am going to keep you, Crik. You are one of my possessions now. But do not worry. I am not finished with you yet. Before you die, I will reveal to you the power that is within me. I will show you what awaits your friends. But for now, I will place you where I place all my treasures. Bury him.”
“What?” He screamed the words in his mind. “No!”
The Kurokah closed its mouth and lifted Crik off the rock.
Everything went black.
Before another vision came to him he found himself lying in a stone tomb looking up at the ceiling of the cave. Something crunched beneath him. Crik’s eyes searched for the sound and discovered what it was just before the stone lid scraped shut.
Now Crik couldn’t see anything. His mind raced and he started to panic. He tried to think of ways that he could escape, but it was pointless. He couldn’t even move. Nor could he cry out for help. He was too powerless to do even that.
This was not what he had envisioned when he had fled Ungstah. Already, he had been separated from his friends and captured twice.
Where was Aniel? Why had she left them? He wished he could take it all back. Even now, Ungstah didn’t seem so dangerous from where he was lying, trapped in a tomb deep in the mountains. Kilvar he could withstand, but there was no way he could fight against Sulfus and the King’s Eyes.
This was why no one ever tried to escape from Ungstah, he thought to himself. 

Author Bio:
Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he home schools. 



Giselle said...

Thanks for being on the tour! :)

Mary Preston said...

I would need to read the first book. Great cover.