Title: The Salamander Stone
Author: C.J. Fenge
Date Published: April 2, 2012
Publisher: Champagne Books
She’s just the girl-next-door, that long-legged pretty thing with the flowing auburn hair. Nothing special, just ordinary Amber Brigantia, a sixteen-year–old with boyfriends on her mind; nothing more.
But you’re wrong. Beneath that enigmatic smile lie dark secrets hiding an elemental power, and when those secrets come out, everyone wants her. Everyone wants a piece of Amber.
They murder her father and lock her mother in an asylum. Then they come after her, led by the charismatic Dr. Pitt who wants that power for himself. And he doesn’t care how he gets it, smiling and smiling as he twists the knife. But Pitt has a rival, the sadistic Mrs Fedorowicz. She wants Amber too and she is an expert at making people dance to her tune - a tune that can really hurt.
Even those who love Amber cannot help her. Khiza, the African boy, is the lost other half of Amber’s soul, yet when she encounters the damaged and demonic Meshak she is torn in two and cannot decide what to feel any more.
Then the demon Azmodeus suckers onto Meshak and time itself rocks in chaos, for the demon is after Amber as well - and what he wants is unspeakable.
So let the power-games begin. And let that long-legged pretty thing be the prize.
I’m an English Teacher, and all my working life I’ve been telling students: “Don’t put labels on yourself. They’re restricting.” I little realised that I was guilty of exactly that because I’d classed myself as analytical, not creative. And it was only when I was forced into some writing that I discovered I could create worlds, not just comment on other people’s creations.
So that’s what I do now and I have an increasing amount of time to do it in. My teaching career is winding down, my two children have grown up and left home, my husband of 40 years, also a writer, is busy creating worlds on his computer all day. To a casual observer ours is a very quiet, boring household. There aren’t even any pets making a racket since my two adorable, but elderly, ‘rescue’ cats died last year. But the inner life of our house is far from boring. Take a journey with Amber and her Salamander Stone and see what I mean. And remember not to put labels on yourself. If I can break free, anyone can.
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That weird cry came again, much closer now, cutting through the thick air—a high thin wail thrown far into the darkness and returning as a series of diminishing mocking echoes. Like a baby, thought Meshak, though no baby ever cried like that; no human ever cried like that.
Meshak stood up shakily on the sandy path, straining to see, trying to make sense of this alien world. Below him, on the trail he’d just crawled, another thing was crawling. He could sense it as a furry black shadow shifting and sliding, sucking its way towards him. It cried again as it slithered closer.
Meshak knelt in the sand on the pathway, and the thing, the black shadow, stopped crying and snuffled up close, filling the air with its rotting reek. It slithered behind him and he waited. After a moment he felt a soft suction as it burrowed under his clothes and battened greasily onto his back, inching its way up his body until it reached his left shoulder. Its voice hissed, insistent as it whispered interminably in his ear. It filled his mind, blocking out all other thought. Meshak stood up, his body giving little shivers of excitement like greeting an old friend. A long slow smile split his face in half; an evil gleam glinted in his eye. He moved down the path and back into his own world.
And the shadow on his shoulder went with him.