Action sample Sunday: The Avar horsemen



A golden jug from the Treasure of Nagyszentmiklós depicting a possibly Avar warrior with his captive. Notice the severed head hanging from the saddle. Source: Wikipedia.

This week, I am again presenting a fan favourite: an action excerpt from my first book, The Bones of the Earth.

This passage comes from Part 2: Tests. In this section, the hero, Javor — cast out of his own village because of his autism and tendency to attract trouble — and Photius, the mysterious traveller, have found refuge in another village. But it’s not long before the village is attacked by raiders, a group of the horsemen who swept across Europe during the Dark Age. Javor and Photius have tried to organize some defence of the village’s wooden stockade, to little effect.

The riders charged from all directions at once, standing on their saddles to vault the stockade. One landed behind Javor, whose sword seemed to find its own way to the raider’s head, biting through the mail and killing him on the spot. Javor wrenched the sword free of the falling body and ran toward another attacker. His sword led the way, piercing the man’s chest.

But there were too many of them. They killed villagers indiscriminately. Spears and swords bloodied tunics and skirts. Mstys wielded a scythe, cutting down the raiders until a blow to his head knocked him down. Photius had his sword out and Javor saw him dispatch two raiders before another blocked his view.

Javor swung his sword, but the raider was quick and skilled and engaged him in a terrifying bout. Time after time, Javor barely dodged swipes of the curved blade. He couldn’t connect and was conscious of his own lack of skill and experience.

The other man knew he had the advantage. He hit Javor on the arm, then on the head with the flat of his blade. He drew no blood, but the pain slowed Javor down. He swung his blade again and missed again. His opponent seemed to go for his chest, but suddenly swiped savagely at Javor’s legs, tripping him. Javor went down hard. The amulet fell out of his jerkin then, but its chain was still on his neck, and Javor grabbed it unconsciously. The curved sword struck his back, ringing on the armour, but it didn’t penetrate.

Javor rolled on top of his sword. He tried to get out his dagger, but the raider brought his down on Javor’s chest. The blow winded Javor, but the armour held, ringing.


I hope you liked that. Leave a Comment below, one way or the other!

And if you want to find out what happens next, you can get The Bones of the Earth on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and other e-tailers.

About the Author