Book Blitz | Windborn by Alex S. Bradshaw


 Today is the release day for Alex S. Bradshaw's new book Windborn

The book is a Norse inspired Dark Fantasy

In addition to running this tour, Storytellers on tour is also doing a giveaway for the book. And her we have the details


 If you waant to enter this is the Direct Link it is open internationally.

So, before we learn a bit about the book, here is some information about the author, Alex S. Bradshaw.


Alex S. Bradshaw grew up in Kent in the UK and spent much of his childhood hiding (sometimes under tables) and reading a book.

He has always been a fan of epic stories (as well as dinosaurs and cake) so it came as no surprise to anyone that he went on to study Classics and Ancient History at university.

Now Alex works in publishing and has turned his hand to making epic stories of his own.

Website: http://www.alexsbradshaw.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexSBradshaw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexsbradshaw/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexSBradshaw

So, a bit about the book
Book Information

Windborn by Alex S. Bradshaw
Published: April 28, 2021
Series: Windborn (#1)
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 558 (Print Length)

Book Blurb

Drowning is only the beginning...

Edda Gretasdottir is a raider, a fell-handed shield-maiden, feared along every coast. Hers is a life woven in battle scars.

But she never wanted to walk the warrior's path. All she wanted was freedom, to earn enough gold to buy her family their own remote farm, and to escape their oppressive chieftain. Now, she has enough plunder so that she can finally hang up her shield and live in peace.

That peace is stolen from Edda, however, when raiders burn her home, destroy all that she loves, and toss her, wounded and bleeding, into the ravenous ocean.

But the fates are cruel and this is not the end for Edda: she rises from the bloody surf as a Windborn, a cursed warrior whose supernatural gifts are a poor exchange for everything she has lost.

What others are saying about Windborn
"Absolutely Incredible"  The Swordsmith.com

"I thoroughly enjoyed Windborn and would recommend it to anyone who likes Norse fantasy and well-written battle scenes"  Sue's Musings.com

And now there is an excerpt from the book

Windborn

Chapter One: A Glut of Plunder


The longship was too small.

Men and women, stained from our raid, dripped sweat and worse onto the
wet sand. They shouted and pointed, trying to be the first to load their
spoils.

The taste of blood still bothered me and I turned back to the small waves
clawing at my feet. As I crouched down to wash the blood from my face,
the taste of salt seeped past my lips to mix with the iron. I spat a glob of
blood and seawater onto the sand. Up and down the shoreline others did
the same. We stained the sea red.

“Edda.”

I splashed another handful of water on my face before I stood and faced
Atli.

“What is it?” I snapped. This was our first rest in what felt like forever and
we were about to be stuck together on a sea voyage for five days, if we
were lucky, longer if we weren’t. Ask any raider and they will tell you
their last moments of solitude are precious.

“Go and get Bjolfur,” he said and pinched the bridge of his nose.

I pushed myself to my feet and stormed over to the longship. It was
beached in a sheltered cove near to the temple we had raided. The temple
was too large for us to raid alone, but we had joined forces with other
longships who had beached themselves further along the shore. Each of
them would be hauling their plunder onto their ships and making ready to
leave before nightfall.

The argument had grown more heated, and the air was heavy with a
tension that suggested bloodshed was a single misstep away. I sighed as I
heard my husband in the middle of it, his voice the loudest, and saw him
jab a finger at the raid leader.

“—need to get home. We took the hostages to put them to work. We
shouldn’t wait to see if anyone comes to ransom them back. We need to
sail.”

A chorus of agreement from the fighters behind him.

Malka, our raid leader, raised a hand to try and placate the crowd. “We
should give them a few days to pay the bounties, Bjolfur. Gold is easier to
carry across the sea. If they come for the captives by then, we should still
be back with plenty of time for you to do your work on the farm.”

Some of the others looked unsure. Whatever Bjolfur had told them, he
likely hadn’t told them the whole truth.

“I took my hostage to help me with the farm. What good is gold when I
need to get the flock in for the winter?”

Malka balled her fists and looked around. She saw me and relief washed
over her face.

“Can you talk to him?”

Bjolfur spun around but his anger faltered when he saw me. He looked
ready to continue the argument regardless, but my arrival provided enough
of a disruption and most of the onlookers had started to move away to
collect their shields for the return journey. Bjolfur came over to me as he
grumbled to himself. I took his hand and dragged him to the sea.

“She wants me to leave the hostage behind,” he said as I bent and soaked a
strip of cloth in the water.

“Do we really need an extra pair of hands on the farm?”

Bjolfur huffed. “You can never have too many hands.”

“Maybe,” I conceded and passed him the wet rag. “But we’ve managed
fine so far. And if Malka takes the gold and silver instead of hostages then
we’ll be able to hire help. If we get enough gold we might even have
enough to start our own farm.”

He stopped washing his face and frowned at me. “We need help more than
we need gold.”

We looked at each other. His face shone with half-washed blood and dirt
and there was a blunt tiredness in his eyes. It had been a long raiding trip
and Bjolfur always worried about the farm, even if we were only away
overnight.

I sighed and went to him. His arms fell around my waist and he rested his
head on my chest. I leaned down and kissed the top of his head.

“If you keep arguing with her, Malka will never let us leave.” I tugged
softly on his braided beard. “And then it won’t matter if we have extra
help or not. We’ll be stuck here, watching the winter storms. What’ll
happen to Scratcher or the rest of the chickens? To the sheep?”

Bjolfur scowled then kissed me. The taste of iron and salt pressed against
my lips again.

“She wants to keep us waiting here, anyway. What do you suggest, wise
wife of mine?”

I shoved him playfully. “Let’s see if we can convince Malka to leave
tomorrow. If they don’t come to get their loved ones by then they probably
never will, and if we leave any later then we risk winter storms.”

Bjolfur looked unconvinced. He scrubbed his hands over the stubble on his
head that had grown in the weeks we’d been raiding.

“Look, one day’s delay won’t matter and the longer we talk about this, the
less likely we can set sail today anyway.”

He stopped scrubbing his head and stared at the horizon through the gap in
the cove’s cliff walls.

Gulls laughed above us. People shouted to one another as they gathered
supplies and weapons. At the other end of the cove, a larger longship
slithered into the sea. Compared to our band of fighters their crew moved
with a slick precision that they had mirrored on the battlefield.

“Fine,” Bjolfur said, then slapped my hand. “Stop picking your scabs.
They’ll scar.”

“I like my scars,” I said. “They remind me of things. You see this one? I
got this three years ago the last time we came raiding in Ertland.”

“I remember,” Bjolfur muttered. “Some fucker stuck you with a knife and
was about to finish you off.”

“And you leapt out of nowhere and killed him.” I ran my thumb over the
puckered skin with exaggerated affection. “It reminds me that you love
me.”

“Atli’s wife is content with jewellery,” Bjolfur said, shaking his head. “He
gave her a gold ring last raiding season.”

“I might lose a ring. Come on, let’s talk to Malka.”

After I had taken Bjolfur away, the dissidents dispersed to tend to their
equipment. Malka and Atli were the only two people on board, moving
sacks around to pack as much as they could into the small vessel. The line
of twenty-seven bound captives huddled in the longship’s shadow ducked
their heads as we approached. Too many to fit comfortably on our
longship, but they were hard-won and could fetch a pretty price.

“Malka!”

Bjolfur’s voice echoed through the cove. Everyone glanced up like
feasting crows from their carcass. For a little man, my husband can make a
lot of noise. Two heads appeared above the shields hung over the side of
the longship. Malka squinted against the setting sun, then rolled her eyes
when she realised who it was.

“You were supposed to talk some sense into him, Edda,” she called out
and leapt down onto the sand.

Bjolfur bristled. I put a hand on his shoulder.

“I tried, but I think you need to reconsider what he’s been saying.”

Malka narrowed her eyes. “Edda, we took those hostages to be ransomed
back. We have no room on the ship, and no room at home for them.”

“Here we go again.” Bjolfur threw his hands in the air. “You and Dagnur
don’t have room for them, maybe, but there’s plenty of us who’d

appreciate the help over winter. Try thinking for yourself instead of
thinking like that gold-hungry bastard.”

Malka took a step forward, putting Bjolfur into the shade of her bulk.
“There’ll be none of that talk, Bjolfur. This is Dagnur’s ship and I’m his
representative out here. You speak ill of him, you speak ill of me.”

“Malka,” I said, stepping between her and Bjolfur. “We’ve been out here
for weeks. Dagnur wouldn’t want us to get back so late we miss the
harvest, or can’t get our animals in, would he? All for a little extra gold?”

Malka bit her lip. She played absently with the ring of woven copper on
her arm, the ring Dagnur had given her to show the oath sworn and loyalty
owed. “We wait another three days for them to pay, one day for each of
the sacred trees. Then we leave.”

I could almost feel the heat behind me as Bjolfur’s anger rose again.

“It’s taken us longer than that to drag them back here,” I said.

She looked at me. I saw the tension in her jaw loosen. We’d been on
enough raids together to know that the longer you held hostages, the less
likely it was their ransom was paid. She was wavering, and I was about to
try and push her over the edge when a couple of rocks tumbled down from
the nearby cliffs. Something about the stillness that followed made the
hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Malka felt it too. She
straightened and looked away.

The beach was silent.

No one packed or spoke. Not even the gulls made a sound. Atli threw us
our shields, then jumped from the longship and picked up a spear. We
looked around, trying to find the source of our unease. All I could hear
was the wind swirling in the cove and the rhythm of the waves, but years
of raiding had taught me to trust my instincts and my fellow raiders. We
gathered our weapons.

Something snapped. A tiny sound nearly lost under the quiet hiss of the
sea. It came from the rocky path leading out of the cove. The path that led
back to the temple.

We moved together without a word. Malka, Bjolfur, and I layered our
round shields to make a shield wall as Atli moved behind us, ready to stab
his spear over our shields at whoever came too close.

A bush beside the path twitched.

“Form up,” Malka shouted out over the beach. “Shield wall.”

Raiders all over the beach grabbed their weapons and scrambled toward
us. A shout echoed out from the cove and caught the attention of the crews
of the distant longships, though they were too far to tell what was
happening.

Ahead of us, a warrior leapt from the bushes.

“For Edwyn,” he cried and drew his sword.

As he ran forward more figures emerged from the shadows of the cliff path
and joined the charge. Chain shirts and half helms glinted in the dim
afternoon sun.

“Where were these fuckers when we attacked the temple?” Bjolfur
muttered.

“They must have gone for help,” I replied and slipped the knife from my
belt.

More and more fighters spewed from the cliffs like a tide of steel and
vengeance. Ertland had rallied its defenders, though some clutched
woodcutting axes and wore no armour. There were so many, they
threatened to overwhelm us with numbers alone.

“Shield wall!” Malka shouted, voice strained with urgency.

A few fellow raiders caught up to us and slammed into our shield wall. It
wouldn’t be enough.

The rest of our raiders sprinted across the sand. They wouldn’t reach us in
time. We had dragged the longship too far up the beach, our crew had
gone too far in their need for solitude, and we would pay the price. The
charging Ertlanders enveloped us like a sea serpent’s jaws.

“Brace,” Malka called.

We set our feet in the sand and they hit us.

The first charging warrior bounced off Bjolfur’s shield. Atli stabbed at
him, but the spear scraped off their chain shirt.

Someone rammed into my shield. The force of it pushed me back in the
sand. I held firm.

A woman’s face, mad with grief and rage, appeared above my shield. She
reached over to bludgeon me with a hammer. I shoved her back and sank
my iron knife into her gut as she fell. She screamed and crawled away.

Two more fighters battered my shield. Axes swung down at me. I ducked
and their shafts bounced off my shield’s rim.

“There’s too many,” Malka said. “Fall back to the longship.”

As we tried to retreat the Ertlanders charged around the edges of our shield
wall and cut us off from the longship. They slashed and stabbed at us from
all sides. Atli cried out and went to a knee as an axe found his leg. He
speared his attacker through the rib but another warrior took their place.
We were stones in a river and the Ertlanders washed over us with murder
in their hearts.

More raiders joined the fray. Too late to help the shield wall, but they
evened the fight. The sounds of battle became mixed with cries of anger
and pain as we sank iron teeth into our enemies.

Bjolfur and I pressed our backs together. Our shields swung wildly to try
and deflect the mad horde’s attacks. A knife slashed and I blocked. An axe
hacked at Bjolfur and I twisted to save him.

Something clawed across my back, ripping easily through my shirt, tearing
deep into my flesh. I yelled and spun to face my opponent. The man wore
a light tunic and trousers, no armour. One of his arms hung bloody and
limp at his side and in his good hand he held a small knife. He slashed at
me. It was clumsy and I ducked to one side before my own knife tore out
his throat. He put his good hand to his neck as though to keep the blood in,
but it was too late. He was already dead.

People shoved at me as they rushed past to get to the hostages. I tried to
stop them with knife slices and shield bashes, but there were too many.

The once quiet cove echoed with the cries of the dying and the laughter of
gulls above us, waiting for the dead.

A hostage sprinted away from the longship. Rope still dangled from his
wrists and ankles. He tried to leap through the gap between Bjolfur and
me, but Bjolfur turned and caught him with his shield. The man scrambled
up and jumped onto Bjolfur’s shield. He clawed at Bjolfur’s head and
gouged bloody tracks across it.

I lunged and stuck my knife into his back. He yelled as I stabbed him
again and again. Then, he screamed and dropped to the ground.

Before I could check on my husband, the man grabbed my shield and
yanked. The force of it took me by surprise and I was pulled down to one
knee.

I let go of my shield and slashed at him. The knife caught his chest,
bouncing off his ribs before slicing into his jaw. He went down.

“Are you—” Bjolfur’s question was cut off as another opponent found us.

This man had a woodcutter’s axe gripped with both hands and swung it at
Bjolfur with all his might. The axe stuck in the shield and the force sent
Bjolfur stumbling backwards. The Ertlander let go of the axe and, without
pausing for breath, pulled a knife and came for me.

I tried to regain my shield but he was driven by righteous fury and I had no
time. He thrust the knife at my neck.

A spear burst through his chest. The man’s eyes went wide. His relentless
fury carried him forward and I was forced to dodge out of the way of the
gore-soaked spearhead jutting from him. The Ertlander stopped himself
and looked down at the wooden shaft coated with his insides. His eyes
fluttered and he collapsed.

I looked past him to see who had saved me, but I saw no one, only the
distant silhouette of a woman running into the cove. The spear quivered
and ripped itself out of the corpse, though no one held it, and floated above

my head. Bjolfur moved to stand next to me and grunted as he pulled the
axe from his shield.

A shadow passed over us and we looked up to see a man’s silhouette cut
through the clouds like a falcon. I felt the tension ease in my chest.

Bjolfur turned to me and grinned. “The Windborn are here.”

The floating spear twisted in the air to point at another would-be rescuer,
then flew off as quick as an arrow. An anguished cry told me it found its
target.

The rage in the air distilled into fear as the two Windborn took to the field.
The Ertlanders spun to face their new foes. Perhaps they wanted to try and
slow the Windborn, to give the rescued hostages time to run. The fools.
There weren’t many stories about the Windborn on this side of the sea, but
they had to know that each of those resurrected warriors was worth five
strong fighters. Or ten Ertlanders.

I looked back down the beach and saw several Ertlanders converging on
the woman with crow black hair. Dalla Thyrisdottir. The Windborn who
could move objects with a thought. She walked with predatory grace.
Knives and axes, picked up from nearby corpses, floated in the air around
her. Whenever anyone stepped too close she flicked her fingers and a
blade sundered flesh. With every few steps she took, she found another
spear and threw it at an Ertlander.

As I watched her pick her way purposefully through the battlefield, two
burly warriors wearing chain shirts charged at her from either side, trying
to catch her in a pincer movement. Dalla raised open palms and they were
lifted off the ground. They kicked and clawed at their necks as though they
hung from a noose. Dalla closed her fists and the warriors’ necks twisted
with a crunch. They fell limp to the ground.

The fighters ahead of Dalla began to retreat.

“Have mercy.”

“They have brought demons to our shores. Demons!”

“Gods save us.”

She smiled and walked forward. An axe lifted from the ground and, with a
twitch of her fingers, Dalla sent it spinning through the air before it sank
deep into someone’s chest. More screams filled the air.

It was too much for the Ertlanders to watch their friends killed without a
weapon being touched.

They broke.

Any fighters that escaped Dalla’s deadly projectiles met Finnr Gellirson;
the Sky Treader.

Finnr struck like an eagle snatching rabbits. He brushed the clouds in slow
circles then swooped down towards the fleeing warriors. He swung a
massive piece of driftwood like a club and cracked open skulls as easily as
I would crush a dry leaf.

A few of them tried to stand and fight Finnr. They hunched low to the
ground and jabbed up at him with spears. Before the spear-fangs could
sink into the Windborn, he twisted in the air and launched the driftwood at
them. Spears snapped and Finnr slammed down into the fighters and lay
about his enemies with Windborn fists. Shields cracked and skulls
crumpled.

We had all stopped, mesmerised by the show of supernatural force. As
Finnr crushed an Ertlander’s chest with a well-placed kick, another
Ertlander, the last one standing, stabbed their shattered spear into Finnr’s
shoulder. The Windborn snarled and whipped his hand out to grip the
Ertlander’s throat. The man clawed at Finnr’s iron-strong fingers as the
Windborn lifted him off the bloody sand then began to float above the
ground.

I marvelled at his speed, his power to lift himself up off the ground as
easily as I could walk. Finnr raised his captive into the air, higher than our
longship’s mast, and then let him fall. I shuddered as the man flailed
before he hit the ground. I prayed I would never have to face a Windborn
myself.

After a few more heartbeats of pained yells and wet crunches, it was over.

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