The first part of my fantasy novel “Archipelago” is now available to read on Channillo. Read the opening below:

Caerlin Kengarl stared towards the distant Bay of Kelmardos, her destination a distant smudge. There was going to be a spectacular sunrise, with a slice of fierce vermillion already catching the wrinkled underbelly of the blanket cloud shrouding the eastern sky. Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning. It was what her father would have said, not that she had ever listened to him.

She stood with her hand against the cold wood of the main mast. Her boat, The Piper, moved slowly, making the most of the westerly, which soughed through the rigging above her, a rhythmic clanking keeping time with the wash of water under the prow. The Piper was a trading vessel, and whilst not built for speed, it was practical, with two masts, a small cabin, a space below for the galley, sleeping dormitory and hold, which took up most of the space. Designed for island hopping and large river navigation, for the last six months the boat had been her charge. She felt wistful about the approaching end to this arrangement.

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The mongrel has one ear. The other is missing, a jagged flap of skin covering the skin-puckered hole. From the set of his jaw, he’s part staffie, with a lurcher’s long tail and part something else. He walks jauntily through the road dust and litter and the new black ash, his tongue lolling like a freshly sliced piece of ham. That’s how I first see him, owning the lonely street and leaving pawprints. He’s the first living thing I’ve seen here.

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