Sworn to protect, honour and slay. Because chaos won’t banish itself…
Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s encountered her unorthodox cousins and their strange lives. And her home-schooling now includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons. But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies. As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.
Our main character Kit, ia awesome – she has some serious attitude, is fierce and is just generally a pretty cool gal! There is also the most extraordinary mix of fantastic characters lurking around too – a totally swoon worthy prince called Thorn, and a cheeky chappy wolf called, Aiden (just to name a couple 😉 )
I grew up in a house with very few books. My mum didn’t enjoy reading for pleasure. She was however a hugely creative person, forever carving and making things with her hands. My dad on the other hand was the dreamer and reader. He is the one who smuggled books into the house and these were books that weren’t necessarily appropriate for me to read as a child.
He was however, a great storyteller and he would, before I could read, tell me stories before I went to bed at night. He’d tell me stories of Zorro and this guy called Ahab and a whale. He’d tell me Just So stories by Kipling (which I only afterwards discovered for myself) and he’d tell me local folklore which were heavily influenced by local and traditional African folklore. There’d also be Dutch folklore and stories about the Boer war thrown in for good measure.
I don’t recall having favourite childhood reads, purely because the books that I did get my hands on weren’t aimed at young kids. These were mostly Westerns as both my dad and brother enjoyed reading them.
Our favourite author was called Louis L’amour and I still own some of my favourite books by him. Three of my favourite titles by him are:
The Walking Drum
Warrior, lover, and scholar, Kerbouchard is a daring seeker of knowledge and fortune bound on a journey of enormous challenge, danger, and revenge. Across Europe, over the Russian steppes, and through the Byzantine wonders of Constantinople, Kerbouchard is thrust into the treacheries, passions, violence, and dazzling wonders of a magnificent time.
From castle to slave galley, from sword-racked battlefields to a princess’s secret chamber, and ultimately, to the impregnable fortress of the Valley of Assassins, The Walking Drum is a powerful adventure in an ancient world that you will find every bit as riveting as Louis L’Amour’s stories of the American West.
The Lonesome Gods
“I am Johannes Verne, and I am not afraid.” This was the boy’s mantra as he plodded through the desert alone, left to die by his vengeful grandfather. Johannes Verne was soon to be rescued by outlaws, but no one could save him from the lasting memory of his grandfather’s eyes, full of impenetrable hatred. Raised in part by Indians, then befriended by a mysterious woman, Johannes grew up to become a rugged adventurer and an educated man. But even now, strengthened by the love of a golden-haired girl and well on his way to making a fortune in bustling early-day Los Angeles, the past may rise up to threaten his future once more. And this time only the ancient gods of the desert can save him.
The Haunted Mesa
The Navajo called them the Anasazi, the “ancient enemy,” and their abandoned cities haunt the canyons and plateaus of the Southwest. For centuries the sudden disappearance of these people baffled historians. Summoned to a dark desert plateau by a desperate letter from an
old friend, renowned investigator Mike Raglan is drawn into a world of mystery, violence, and explosive revelations. Crossing a border beyond the laws of man and nature, he will learn of the astonishing world of the Anasazi and discover the most extraordinary frontier ever encountered.
Other books I do remember as a young reader were books like: Lorna Doone (and illustrated edition for younger readers); Prisoner of Zenda (which I loved) the H Rider Haggard books about Alan Quatermain’s adventures but also She which made such a huge impression on me. The idea of this lost tribe in Africa, ruled by an immortal queen…well, it just really appealed to me.
I remember also managing to steal books off my nephew (he hated reading books) and these were the Willard Price books. I loved the action and adventure so much.
I then went through this long period where I read books by a game warden, which were all essentially non-fiction, about his life as a game warden in Southern Africa. He wrote beautifully and eloquently about nature, about animals and what he observed of them as he went about his day to day job. I desperately wanted to become a game warden because of this. Sadly, none of his books are available anymore. And none of them were available in English, so I read it in Afrikaans. I obviously did not become a game warden as I happen to be allergic to so many things out there in the bush, I’d be a hazard to most folks. I am still however hugely passionate about protecting animals and would one day like to do something more with this passion.
When I got to high school I was made to read Alistair Mclean by my English teacher, Mr. Du Plessis. He sensed a fellow reader in me and so he would feed me these action driven thrillers. It taught me about pacing when I write and it’s lessons I’ll never forget. With Mr. Du Plessis backing me, I got my mum to take me to the local library where I could take out whatever books I wanted. It was BLISS. I dipped into history (fiction and non-fiction) and recently re-bought one of my favourite books THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR by Sharon Pennman. This book basically started my love-affair with history novels and I devoured them at an alarming rate. I also discovered Georgette Heyer and fell madly in love with The Masqueraders and I’m desperate to see it brought to the screen as the story is just incredible. I also read the Scarlet Pimpernell books and had the biggest ever crush on Percy.
I came home from school and my mum pointed to a box of books. They were from one of my numerous aunts (dad’s side of the family). She’d heard I liked reading so she decided to fill a box with books for me to read. Only thing is…they were all science fiction books. So I worked my way through the box – I read Asimov, every single Frank Herbert Dune book she could fit in the box, along with books whose authors and titles I do not remember. Actually, I lie! There was one set of books I will never forget and recently rebought – Stephen Lawhead’s In The Hall of the Dragon King. I loved this series so much, seriously. I channelled the main character Quentin and ended up, without realising it, writing (fan fiction) stories in which Quentin went off on quests. It was very Arthurian.
A friend of mine’s parents started buying the Belgariad books by David Eddings and I became a madly obsessed fantasy reader and we would have this vigil until the next book
was produced. It felt as if I’d come home discovering fantasy. It melded historical and fantastical elements and well, it was perfect. To me anyway.
So, as soon as I could afford to, I started buying my own books and I haven’t stopped. In fact, I think I’ve got a problem. I freely admit to owning over 3000 books in storage and possibly about the same again crammed into our tiny house in Kent.
My reading growing up wasn’t traditional as you can tell. It was a mixed bag which is why, when we moved to the UK I was really surprised to see the books everyone else seemed to have been reading when they were younger. So I went out and bought as many of them as I could to fill in my own gap … but I’ll be honest and say that my reading suited me perfectly and made me the avid reader and thinker and passionate defender of books and literacy I am today. *strikes a pose*
Thanks so much for having me and letting me witter on about my books growing up, you guys! There are even more books I can remember now but maybe that’s for another day!
While writing her debut novel, de Jager fostered her love of YA and genre fiction by developing the
popular My Favourite Books review blog. This ran for seven years and enabled her to gain a unique insight into the publishing industry. She grew up in South Africa and now lives and works in the UK with her husband Mark. Banished is de Jager’s debut novel.