I’m very excited to be a part of the blog tour for The Serpent’s Ring by H. B. Bolton! 🙂
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum . . . that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods. Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.
This story is about an adventure into Sagaas, the land of ancient gods.
Evan and Claire are siblings. While going on a tour in a museum, they discovered the Serpent’s Ring. Before they knew what’s really going on, they got transported into Sagaas. Still dazed by the bizarre experience, a bird swooped down, attacked Evan and snatched the ring from him. With the ring stolen, Evan and Claire must now find a way to move around the land of ancient gods and retrieve the ring. Can they succeed?
To me, The Serpent’s Ring is a delightful read. I like that the adventure is quite exciting and fun. I like that the characters are adorable. Evan and Claire may come across as typical siblings who love to annoy one another to no end, but when they face danger and challenges, they unite. I like that they genuinely care for each other even when they seldom talk between themselves in the story.
One thing that I especially like about the book is that this story introduces me to some mystical creatures and legendary hero of Norse mythology that I’m not familiar with. Before reading the story, I had no idea that there was a name for the Sea Serpent and it’s called Jormundgand. I did not know that in Norse mythology, there’s a legendary hero that slays dragons and bravely defeats monsters. After reading the book, I learn that this hero is Sigurd and that he is an immortal. I must say I’m quite fascinated by all the new things that I learn from reading this book!
The Serpent’s Ring is entertaining, interesting and easy to read. This is book one of the Relics of Mysticus series. Since I’ve grown to like Evan and Claire, I look forward to reading book two when it comes out.
To find out more about this series, visit http://www.hbbolton.com.
About the Author
Currently, H.B. Bolton resides in sunny Florida with her supportive husband, two adorable children, gorgeous greyhounds, and scruffy mutt. She is actively creating new worlds and interesting characters for the next book in one of her series. Shhhh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women’s fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that’s another story, altogether.
Would you like to ‘sample’ The Serpent’s Ring ?
Excerpt from The Serpent’s Ring
Forms, in the shape of men, protruded from the wall. Each of their faces resembled crumbling stone busts in a graveyard.
“What’s the big deal?” Evan asked, still staring at the figures’ vacant expressions.
“I am not entirely certain; however, I have an ominous feeling,” said Sigurd.
Wisps of smoke came from the ground, spiraling and spinning. The vapor separated, streaming toward each individualized form. Life sparked inside the human shapes, and they began to move. Each of their bodies stretched out from the wall. Slowly, their vague features defined. Crushed shells embedded deeper into their bodies. A few of the draugar were death black while others were corpse pale. Now, fully formed, they dragged their heavy frames toward the center of the floor.
The twelve guards remained motionless, strategically positioned like pawns on a chessboard. Each was equal in size and shape but held a different piece of battle armor in their colossal hands: swords, axes, clubs with spikes, clubs without spikes, and spears. Even more intimidating were the few without weapons.
“What are they?” Claire asked, hiding behind Sigurd. “Are they guards?”
“They are something like that. They are draugar,” said Sigurd. He stared ahead, his body tensing.
“Sigurd, even you are not strong enough to battle twelve draugar,” said Lazonia. “We must go back.”
“Sigurd, where did they come from?” Evan asked.
“They were once sailors on the great seas,” answered Sigurd. “That was before Ran captured them in her golden net, one by one.”
“She does not mean to kill them!” interjected Lazonia. “Once a sailor promises to worship her … well, let’s just say she quickly realizes how fragile humans are.”
“Yes, time and time again,” scoffed Sigurd. “In the end, she always wins. They forever serve her, guarding both her Undersea Hall and all of her treasures.”
“There are only twelve of them,” said Evan. “I watched Sigurd and Claire battle against more giants than that.”
“Evan,” said Lazonia, shaking her head. “Not only does a draugr possess superhuman strength, it can change into other creatures. Plus, they are already dead. Only a hero can defeat them, and it is extremely difficult.”
“But, Sigurd is a hero,” said Evan.
“But, there are twelve of them,” said Claire.
Finally, Sigurd addressed the guards. “Allow us to pass. We seek council with Aegir and Ran.”
The draugar did not budge or react at all to Sigurd’s request.
“They’re not moving. Maybe we should try to go around them,” said Evan. “I’ll go first.”
Evan had already begun to skirt around the draugar, when Sigurd shouted, “Evan, no!!”
Just then, Evan heard something shuffle. He peered over at the draugar. They hadn’t budged, but strangely their bodies were contorting; their chests heaved and their shoulders widened. The guard closest to Evan cricked his neck — creech! — and stared right at Evan.
“Ah!” cried out Evan.
“Evan, get out of there!” shouted Claire.
Evan ran toward the stairs. He screamed and did not look back until something smashed down to the ground. The sound ricocheted, and Evan turned around.
Lazonia hollered after him, “Keep going Evan! We will be okay! They are leaving us alone and only following you!”
Evan had almost reached a short flight of steps, when a catlike creature pounced on top of him. It was small, the size of an alley cat, but extremely heavy. It too was ghoulish. Its yellow eyes closed in on Evan. Soon, they were nose to nose.
“Get off me!” yelled Evan, swatting at the creepy cat.
Evan struggled, but could not get the cat off his chest. Although it didn’t move, Evan could feel its weight begin to increase. It wasn’t getting bigger, just heavier. The pressure on Evan’s ribcage was unbearable. Pretty soon, his bones were going to snap. When, suddenly, the blade from Sigurd’s sword flashed above, and the cat’s head was dislodged from its body.
“Sigurd, look behind you!” yelled Claire. She, Lazonia, and the imps had remained behind. It seemed the draugar didn’t show any interest in those who did not try to cross their path. But now, Evan and Sigurd were in serious trouble.
“Evan, you must go into the Undersea Hall and find Aegir,” instructed Sigurd.
“What about you?”
“Do not worry about me. Go — NOW!” said Sigurd as he spun around and slashed his sword into the chest of another draugr.
Evan darted up a flight of steps. Just a few feet more and he would reach the entrance to the Undersea Hall. A warm and inviting glow came from the other side of the gigantic entryway. The entire wall was made up of wooden archways and beams. The beams created a honeycomb pattern, stretching up four stories.
Clank! Crash! Evan turned to see what had happened. Sigurd continued to battle against one of the draugr. The other nine guards held tight to their positions and hadn’t moved, staring straight ahead at Evan’s friends. Sigurd was the only one in immediate danger. He whipped his blade through the air, chopping off pieces of the draugr, bit by bit — a hand here, a toe there. It was a disgusting sight to behold, but at last, the draugr lay in a broken pile of stones and shells.
Sigurd’s hand rested on his knee while he caught his breath. He lifted his head and sweat streamed down his face. He looked over at Evan and hollered, “You need to hurry!”
One of the remaining nine draugar turned around and rushed Sigurd, but Sigurd was too fast and leapt out of the way. Evan couldn’t stop watching and had to force himself to back up toward the columns. On both sides of him were large, golden statues. To his right, Aegir and to his left, Ran. Their bodies were angled toward Evan, as if welcoming him.
I don’t know about you, but when I first came across the word draugr, I was a little baffled.
“What’s a draugr?”, I asked.
Luckily, our lovely author, Heidi, came to my rescue, and I learn that the old Norse plural of draugr is draugar. 🙂
About the Draugar
By H. B. Bolton
Before writing The Serpent’s Ring I knew very little about Norse mythology. I had heard of Odin, Thor, Loki, Vikings, and Trolls, but my knowledge was pretty basic. My grandmother was from Norway, and my father’s name was Thor (actually, Torval – a family name). I wanted Evan and Claire to visit Asgard, but wasn’t sure who they should meet or what islands they should sail to. I started researching different gods, goddesses, creatures, and realms. After discovering there were many interesting and virtually unknown creatures in Norse mythology, I was anxious to bring a few different characters to life.
One of the most interesting creatures from Norse mythology was a draugr — who was basically the Viking equivalent of a zombie. This zombie-like creature could change its form, often into a cat where it would then sit on its victim’s chest until he suffocated. Only a hero had the strength to be able to defeat a draugr. And if that weren’t bad enough, not only did it stink with the stench of decay, it was immune to most weaponry. A hero would have had to break the draugr into pieces for it to have finally been destroyed.
A draugr could “swim” through rock and appear out of wisps of smoke. An interesting visual I decided to include in my story. And although a draugr would have been greedy and protected its own graveyard treasure, it didn’t have a strong connection to the sea goddess Ran (I made up that part.). The truth was that Ran enjoyed drowning sailors with her net and keeping them around to worship her. She was also known to have taken mounds of treasure from many of the Vikings’ ships; and it was said that if a sailor offered her gold then she would have spared his life.
I wondered: if I were Ran, what sort of creature would I command to guard my treasure? I knew the draugar would fit into the story perfectly – like pieces of a puzzle. That was when I merged Norse myths together, thus forcing Ran’s drowned sailors to forever serve her and protect the entrance to her Undersea Hall.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the excerpt as well as the guest post.
Thank you for stopping by! 🙂
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