Category Archives: Free Story

THEN OF COURSE ENTER THE YOUNGEST OF THE MOUSETTES AND OUR HERO – BOBOLAN

But if the Mousettes are both troubled and noisy, and Victor is obsessed with practicalities, our stuttering hero Bobolan simply must go on dreaming…

LYRICS – ‘DREAMS’

Dreams, we’re all made of dreams
Or so it seems.
Dreams, we’re all in a dream
What can dreams mean?
I dreamt last night
While I wandered the moon
That her snout was made of cheese.
And I dreamt the earth
As I dozed in my room
Was rich with kindness and ease.
Dreams, we’re just made of dreams
Or so it seems.
Dreams, we’re all in a dream
What can dreams mean?
I dreamt one day that I’d walk like a King
And climb on a marvellous throne
Then love a girl on a beautiful swing
With her I’m never alone.
Oh Dreams, we’re all made of dreams
Or so it seems.
Dreams, we’re all in a dream
What can dreams mean?

(Bobolan’s head almost explodes as he looks around the theatre)

Dreams, we’re all need our dreams
Like bright sunbeams.
Bright, that’s how you should dream
The brightest dream.
To take you far from the dark and fear
To a world where all is light
Where all our loves are so happy and near
And no one fears the night.
Dreams, that’s just what they seem
They’re bright sunbeams.
Dream a beautiful dream
That’s what I mean.
For nothing’s as bright as a dream
There’s nothing as bright as a dream…

(Return of Moliere’s Company to the old Paris theatre)

 

Royal Academy of Music workshop of Mr Moliere’s Mouse (aka Cheese). Story, book and lyrics by David Clement-Davies, music by Michael Jeffrey. Phoenix Ark Press 2014. All rights reserved.

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TO CELEBRATE A DRAGON STREET TEAM PHOENIX UNVEILS THE MUSICAL ‘CHEESE’!!!

Hello, in fact it’s called Mr Moliere’s Mouse (aka CHEESE or Les Mouserables!), written my David Clement-Davies and Michael Jeffrey and work shopped at The Royal Academy of Music in London. It’s about a family of mice who live under the stage of the old Paris Theatre, the Mousettes, and especially the youngest and bravest, our hero – Bobolan. Poor Bobolan has absurdly long ears he keeps tripping over and is teased mercilessly because of his terrible stutter. But who, while trying to avoid the rats led by the vicious Scarapino, high in the balconies, goes on dreaming of one day becoming a great actor. Just like the celebrated playwright Jean Baptiste Moliere, who returns one day to woo the whole of Paris with his genius. Never give up on your dreams!!!

This song is about Bobolan’s meeting with the pretty Colette, as the Mousettes flee down into the terrible Paris sewers – So the all important bit happens, falling in love, as they sing the duet ‘Now I know his face…“. Though the recording is scratchy, the young performers at the Royal Academy were wonderful and this is in honour of them and the young talent who have helped Phoenix Ark Press.

To return to the right place in the story too JUST CLICK HERE

LYRICS

What’s this, what’s this feeling,
Tell me, am I dreaming dreams?
Now I know his face
Now I’ve seen that smile
How my heart is racing
Shall I stay a while?

Now I’ve touched his hand
Now I’ve heard his voice
Is this understanding
That I have no choice?
No choice – but to love him, no choice – but to care
Is it true I love him, now I know he’s there?

Tell me, show me, is this love – that I feel?
Show me, tell me, can this be real?
Tell me, show me, is it wrong, is it right,
Am I feeling – love at first sight?
What’s this, such a feeling
Pinch me, am I dreaming – dreams?

Now I’ve seen that face
Like the summer skies
How my soul is pacing
Will he realize?

And how shall I love him
How should I care
Should I simply miss him
Till he’s standing there?
Tell me, show me, is this love – that I feel?
Help me, tell me, can this be real?
Tell me, show me, is it wrong, is it right,
Am I feeling, love at first sight?

Now I’ve seen his face
Now I love those eyes
This is understanding
That I’ve found the prize.

What’s this,
What’s this feeling?
Tell me,
Am I dreaming – dreams?

So Bobolan, lost in the sewers, further from the theatre, turns and sings of his love for Collette too. (The song is just over 5 and not 7 minutes)

Copyright Clement-Davies and Jeffrey 2014, Phoenix Ark Press. Story, book and lyrics by David Clement-Davies, Music by Michael Jeffrey. Unathorised redistribution of this work in any other form is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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May 17, 2014 · 1:21 pm

HORRID HEROES AND CRAZY COOKS

Sweeney-Todd-sweeney-todd-24817430-1024-768[1]

Since everything on TV nowadays is celebrity chefs, here’s another from HORRID HEROES AND CRAZY CROOKS by David Clement-Davies, with cooking, murder and Master Chefs in mind…

SWEENEY TODD – THE DEMON MASTER CHEF OF FLEET STREET

I hope wise parents understand
I’d have this story quickly banned
Because the crimes I have in store
Are stewed in blood, guts, gunk and gore,
Hearts, lungs and livers, hands and toes
And human entrails, lined in rows
Then diced up finely where they lie
To bake up in a human pie.
We’d all go blind and surely deaf
To show the likes on Master Chef!
But what’s revolting, in my view,
Is that it isn’t even true:
In Fleet Street, close to London harbour,
Lived Sweeney Todd, a Demon Barber,
Whose shop front told, with cockney pride,
His skill in cuts – Short, Back or Side
But when Todd’s clients took the chair
He’d seize them by a knot of hair
And with his razor, where they sat,
He’s slice their heads off, just like that.
Then throw a lever on the floor
Which tipped them down a neat trap door
To send his victims down the shoot –
Off to the kitchens they would scoot
Where Mrs Lovett, stashed below,
Was greasing tins and rolling dough.
And when she got the bits Todd sent her
She’s stuff them smartly in a blender
Or, short on new electric fangles,
Would grind the hand cogs on her mangles.
Then mince ’em till the dish looked tasty
And cover folk in short crust pastry
So in the oven pop the mix
For fifty minutes – Gas mark six!
It’s vicious, please don’t tell your mother,
But people sometimes EAT each other.
Then when the pies were freshly done
Todd turned up with his marker gun
To stick a label to the side
And off to market he would ride
To sell hot pielets round the town
Todd’s Steak and Kidneys – Half a Crown
While hawking round, for all to hear
Exotic with a pint of beer!”
I try and try, from time to time,
To justify Todd’s ghastly crime,
Regardless of how close I look
There’s nothing to redeem the crook.
Except for this, I’m glad to say,
Which I unmasked the other day.
For not just anyone would do
In Sweeney’s filthy human stew.
Oh no, of this pure fact I’m sure
The barber was a connoisseur,
Indeed the very heart and soul
Of careful Quality Control,
And since real Master Chefs are few
A sort of gruesome Albert Roux.
Who only picked on clients that
Were grossly rich, or hugely fat,
And I’m quite sure Todd left alone
Poor folk, of barely skin or bone,
(Unless, of course, they failed to dip
Deep in their trousers for his tip.)
Todd never harmed a comely lass
Or any girl with cheek or sass
And rarely ever touched the heads
Of pensioners, or newly-weds.
Instead Todd favoured Counts and Earls
And Barons, Viscounts, Dames, or girls
Whose noble parentage he knew.
Todd even diced a Duke or two!
A Master Chef, not of Provence,
But purest London provenance
Who, as he dropped them down his ditch,
Would cry “Take that” and “Eat the Rich!”
Which proves another thing I’d missed
This Sou Chef was a Socialist!
Who wanted all his crimes to be
The finest in Society.
Which also shows why, from that blender,
His Steak N’ Kidneys came out tender.
The other thing in Sweeney’s favour
Lay in the pies’ exquisite flavour
For with her Ramsey recipe book
Todd’s love became an expert cook
To add some spice, or fresh chopped herb,
And make ingredients taste superb
Not least the essence of their stew
With all that tasty blood, so blue,
Indeed the kind of human pottage
To grace the likes of River Cottage!
Yet this, since life can be unfair,
Proved fatal to the Demon Pair
Because the Todds became, I guess,
The victims of their own success.
But not, as all the news hounds lie,
Because of buttons in a pie.
Oh that bit happened, as you’ll see,
When Sherlock Holmes was having tea,
And found a shirt stud in his stew
Jumped up, cried “Watson, here’s a clue”
But then the daft, eccentric twit
Completely missed the point of it,
Concluding that the Ku Klux clan
Were smuggling fasteners to Japan!
No, with their pies they showed such flair
Chez Todd produced a billionaire
And baking finest pies by far
That barber won a Michelin Star!
At which the crook was so elated
He had his business automated.
The Todds installed, in steel and pine,
A Patent Pie Production line,
Which with its new electric switch
Could, single-handed, EAT THE RICH.
So send a hatchet round the shop
To slice and slash, to cut and chop
And dice them, minceur, while below
It rolled ’em up in baking dough
And then, with all the Gas it saved,
It had them swiftly Microwaved.
Then even packed them, on the nail,
To post them off by Royal Mail.
Which surely anyone can see
Was quite a smart utility,
Until they learn the fuel crisis
Brings threats of escalating prices.
Now this last part provides our clue
To what befell the grizzly two.
For once she’d given up her job
Todd’s sweat-heart turned a dreadful snob
A selfish, snotty, bitchy prig
Who bought a coach and powdered wig
Then, dressed in pearls and crinoline,
Would dream of dining, with the Queen!
And asked her love, eventually,
To change their First Class recipe
So use, instead of Earls, alas
The members from the Working Class!
At which Todd’s lower jaw fell ope
And foam, a bit like shaving soap,
Began to bubble out of it:
Todd had an apoplectic fit!
The awful thought made Sweeney shake
And gave him such a stomach ache
That, sitting down to ease his stitch,
He accidentally – threw that switch!
A dreadful slashing now began,
The Todds were turned to Raspberry Jam
And by their Patent Pie Machine
Were posted, in a soup tureen.
But strange to tell, this new position,
As last fulfilled some rare ambition.
For shipped with chocolates, port and champers,
All neatly packed in Christmas Hampers,
Beside a leg of honeyed ham,
TODD’S PIES turned up at Sandringham.
Where, followed by the BBC,
The Queen was tucking into tea.
Among choice guests she’d learned to view,
That mixed the likes of Michelle Roux,
(Who’d if he’d known the state of play
Might certainly have rued the day),
With Rick Stein, Wignall, Delia Smith
And Raymond Blanc, of gallic pith,
Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater,
Who’d brought his own refrigerator,
And, fresh from Fish Fights that enthral,
That top drawer Fearnely-Whittingstall
Who knows the most destructive plan
Was dreamt up by that animal Man.
Of course, not fond of scuffs nor hikers
No place-mat Pratts, or Hairy Bikers
Nor blokes like Jamie, to appall
Her palate newly Bloomenthal.
But there they sat, with graceful sighs
To tuck into those regal pies
So after years of being bled
The Rich ate Sweeney Todd instead!

DCD

If you enjoyed this excerpt from Horrid Heroes and Crazy Crooks by David Clement-Davies and want to read more of the bungling Sherlock Holmes too, look at the post below. The picture is of Jonny Depp in the movie of Sweeney Todd. Horrid Heroes and Crazy Crooks is under copyright to Phoenix Ark Press, 2014, All Rights Strictly Reserved.

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NASA PUBLISH WHY THE WORLD DIDN’T END APOCALYPSE VIDEO

Of course, it’s another chance to plug the thriller THE GODHEAD GAME, but Nasa have brought out a reassuring ‘Apocalypse’ video, CLICK HERE a week before the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar, on December 21st (Or 22nd, and only according to one stela, or stone, perhaps…)

We must trust the scientists, and the fact is energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form into another. For thousands of years Millarianists have been fearing and wailing, sitting on pillars, or muttering doomsdays. On the other hand, the point of the thriller is not catastrophe, though biblically Apocalypse means revelation, but language and belief itself. So A GAME OF SECRETS, A HUNT FOR SKULLS, A BATTLE OF SPIES, is anyway set in 2014, since a week to go would be a rarely crap sell-by-date!

In terms of not trusting scientists though, an argument in the book is that much modern madness and indeed a potential long-term end of everything, is because a spiritual language is being driven out, antithetical to science’s purely explicative or deconstructing langauge, that we lose at our absolute peril. So the hero of the story, an FBI man in Washington, is sent an email inviting him to change his life forever, as a series of real crystal skulls are stolen around the world. Beneath that lies a spy game, and very real issues indeed, like Iran’s nuclear capacity, or the attitudes of the ‘civilised’ nations. A ‘prophecy’ of Obama’s relection has already come true, so who knows what other relevance a novel will find?

Remember too, THE GODHEAD GAME by David Clement-Davies, is absolutely FREE this merry end of the world, December 21st-23rd, from Amazon Kindle. Why not download it as part of the End of Everything jollity, it can hardly hurt if we won’t be here anyway? Achoooooo.

And why not watch our Video, below, alongside Nasa’s…

PA PRESS

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THE PHOENIX ARK SANTA – FREE COPY OF THE SIGHT/FELL CO-EDITION!!!

‘HO, HO, HO’ and here’s another for those stocking fillers. This whole weekend, December 15th and 16th, get a FREE copy of a Classic Co-edition, THE SIGHT and FELL, on your Kindle. Keep it in your calendar, then just CLICK HERE

Then remember, THE GODHEAD GAME will also be FREE, for three whole apocalyptic days, around the MAYAN END OF THE WORLD, December 21st-December 23rd! CLICK HERE

A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR FROM PHOENIX ARK PRESS

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PHOENIX INVESTMENT – A READER’S LETTER

Dear David,

I’m just thinking aloud, really, so feel free to do with this whatever you feel it merits. I realize I have limited understanding of the challenges you face in starting up a publishing company, but I imagine that funding could be something that heads up the list! I just wanted to relay an idea that came to me this week. Across the pond a new buzz word is forming in the business world – “Crowd Funding”. This has really been around for a while, but utilized mainly by charitable agencies for 3rd world entrepreneurs. Now, it seems small western entrepreneurs are catching onto the trend! Here’s how it works.

A project is tendered through an agency website, inviting the average man to invest small increments – for altruistic purposes – in any one or more of a variety of entrepreneurial projects. When the project is fully subscribed, operations proceed. Investors typically expect to recoup their original investment (although there are no guarantees), but have no further interest in the projects beyond this. Okay, so yours would be a large project! But I was wondering if this type of loan funding could be helpful to Phoenix Ark. Imagine, if 1 million people gave you ₤10.00, to see a work published – say, Scream of the White Bears – for free!! I also imagine that if you put out the word, your many fans would eagerly step up to the plate! Here is my pledge for the first increment. You need only contact me to collect. I can make payment via Paypal (preferred), or whatever other method you favour. It would, or course, be prudent to research the legalities of such a venture in Phoenix’s jurisdiction. I suppose if we received a book back, instead of our original investment, this could also be deemed a type of “advance sales”!

Best regards, and Happy Christmas, Christine, Montreal

Dear Christine,

how kind of you to write with thoughtful ideas. I have thought of this, put donation buttons on some articles, and indeed owe a good friend for a donation to support me and Scream. A Company has started in the UK called ‘Books Unbound’ I have talked to, which tries to do just that, though on a larger scale.

It has always been an irony here though that I don’t particularly like the internet and for all its positives it has many downsides for human culture, thought and interaction. So it is no way to go for an author to spend his time seeking money like that, when really he should be protected in trying to work and create. It sounds a bit grand but though nowadays all authors are expected to sell and sell and sell themselves it’s the books alone, if they are any good, that should really matter.

But you are right about the problems of investment. In terms of giving things for free I have wanted to do that because it’s the spirit you should set out with in writing, and you have already earnt a free copy when Scream emerges. The truth is I am the most terrible businessman and do not want to be a publisher but only a writer or creator of stories but have been forced into this position. Things are too difficult right now to juggle the balls well but I will certainly keep your crowd funding idea in mind.

Have a lovely Christmas too,

David

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PHOENIX ARK PRESS RELEASE – THE TERROR TIME SPIES

To celebrate the August heat wave Phoenix Ark Press are delighted to announce the free promotion of The Terror Time Spies by David Clement-Davies. Kindle copies will be available for free download this Wednesday, August 22nd. Happy reading adventures! For your courtesy Wednesday copy Click here

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SHAKESPEARE’S BROTHER – THE SCRIPT!

THE EDMUND SHAKEPSEARE BLOG

As part of the project here on Edmund Shakespeare, as promised, we are blogging the treatment that preceded a partially completed novel, but then the detailed research on Edmund Shakespeare and Southwark that should really build a history of an ‘unrecorded life’.

Apparently a script was read in Stratford last year that reached the Cohen Brother’s desk on Richard Shakespeare and another in the pipeline about Susanna.

SHAKESPEARE’S BROTHER

ACT I – O, PARDON! THE LOVELY BASTARD
1596-1599

It is spring, 1596, and a handsome 16 year old lad we mistake for Will Shakespeare, is trying to escape a life at home in provincial Stratford, rattling along the road to dreams and greatness in London. His thoughts are mixed with a montage of the opening of two theatres in Bankside and Blackfriars, where a children’s troupe becomes the Queen’s Choir, and of groundlings, nobles and critics, and the thunder of applause, or the pelt of vegetables. In London, Edmund Shakespeare arrives, and makes for the Curtain Theatre, in Shoreditch, walking in with the reverence of going into a church, to see the aging Edward Alleyn rehearsing the Prologue of Henry V – ‘Or may we cram, Within this wooden O, the very casques, That did affright the air at Agincourt? O, Pardon! Since a crooked figure may, attest in little place a million; And let us, ciphers to this great accompt, On your imaginary forces work…’

Edmund’s brother William, now 30, is in the middle of writing a new history, as a member of thrilling young troupe of actors, Lord Strange’s Men. The process of acting, rehearsing and rewriting, all together, is clear, but two years after they were closed because of plague, the theatres are open again, although the City of London has just banned them within its mile wide limits, and business is moving south, indeed London is on the move. The players are now in the hands of one of the ‘Liberties’, and, dangerously, South of the River, the influence of the just ascended Bishop of Winchester, Thomas Bilson, on payment of an annuity to Elizabeth of £400, in a world where offices were bought. A hawk against Catholic recusants, like Shakespeare’s own Grandfather Edward Arden, and hugely ambitious, Bilson ‘carried prelature in his very aspect’, a defender of the notion Christ descended into hell, the ‘Decensus Controversy’, not to suffer in sympathy with the ‘damned’, but to wrestle the keys of heaven from the devil.

We see the Bishop dining in his great hall in Southwark, a dead ringer for Antonio, in Measure for Measure, but it hides his Court’s apparent acceptance that a human hell can be maintained in London, with the Bishop of Winchester’s brothels, and the Clink prison next door, where the prisoners have to fund their own incarceration. The Church is much in play, at a time when the Elizabethan Religious Settlement is crucial, the Book of Common Prayer insisting children must be baptised, the first Sunday after their birth. While the likes of Arden had been executed for plotting against Queen Elizabeth, as his Catholic Son-in-law, John Sommerville, had been racked, and executed in The Tower. The Tower too looms over the whole drama, both literally and metaphorically for the high-born, a warning to over ambition. Elizabeth’s is an attempt at a more tolerant time, and stability too, but religion is a dangerous political tool, and eyes are everywhere still.

William Shakespeare is on the cusp of huge success though, with his plays starting to appear four years before, in 1592. It has already been a roller-coaster ride, and Edmund gives blessings, and a gift from their mother, Mary Arden, as we hear the line from the theatre, ‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers….’ Will tries to persuade his baby brother against the dangerous, murderous and filthy city though, despite his affection for Ed, and the scheming, paranoid court.

He tells him simply to go straight home, to the healing countryside. To pretty Silvia, a local girl he grew up with, and they all thought Ed would marry. To go back to their mother, Mary Arden, and the pastoral ‘Forest of Arden’, of Stratford and Warwickshire, to get married, and make gloves! Ed’s loves are hunting deer, sitting by the mill chase, stealing apples, and running wild, and the seasons, blossom-fall, high summer, barren trees, blasted heaths, and deep snow will be much in evidence. We see they were the young Shakespeare’s loves too, and it is a constant theme of town versus country, hard city versus healing nature, as countrymen and women flood in along the Canterbury road, Chaucer’s road, at Borough, to make their ‘fortunes’ in town.

‘The theatre, Ed,’ Will asks Edmund, warily, ‘is the plague in your blood too?’, warning him too how hard it is to really make it as a player, because they are vain and fractious, jealous and backbiting, and in love with the ‘bubble reputation’. Perhaps he should go and see Gilbert, their brother also doing business in town. Edmund comments that Will is losing his hair.

To be continued…

Shakespeare’s Brother is in Copyright to David Clement-Davies and Phoenix Ark Press 2102 All RIghts Reserved

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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, PRINCE CHARLES AND EDWARD DEVERE

There is one small element of the William Ray’s trumpeting of the theory about Edward Devere that Phoenix Ark will support, and that is you must not make too many ‘establishment’ assumptions about Shakespeare for granted. It is why we found something of the ‘Shakespeare Land’ RSC tradition, at times, or the entire industry that has built up, something of a block to rediscovering the playwright and the plays. Not to mention why the Barbican Centre, one former RSC home, may have great concert halls but is the ugliest building in Europe. As, in contrast, the BBC and The Hollow Crown are so superbly recapturing Will and the plays. It is why too much worthiness towards the ‘bard’, in school, or anywhere else, can vitally separate students from the living word, which you must inhabit, perhaps like a player, to get to the wonder and genius of.

In fact, even the ‘establishment’ theory, with so much more evidence than others, often has thin links and tiny facts too, built into entire worlds. That is certainly not to go against the William of Stratford ‘theory’, but it is to leave imaginative space to understand the real man and the time again. Someone we believe even more astonishing, if you really put it all in context. But if there is the world of airy fancy, or the new American approach of near virtual ‘recreation’, there is that third place, part fact, part fiction. It is perhaps expressed in Peter Ackroyd’s instinctive understanding of writers and the mystery of identity, and above all about the metaphorical nature of an explosive language, and a vital, organic historical moment. Shakespeare reforges the language, as if it was his non-royal but divine right. But of course Shakespeare was not THE Shakespeare he has become, however lauded in his time. He was rediscovered, even ‘reinvented’, mythologized and institutionalised too, with almost every private or public political agenda attached to his name and works, over the years. But then his work encompasses so much. His greatest rediscovery was under the early Victorians, even if they ‘Bawdlerised’ the agonies of King Lear.

One notable critic of course was Dr Johnson though, who has very interesting links, talked about in Shakespeare’s Brother (if it ever gets published) to the Thrale family. Ralph Thrale, direct from the Bishops of Winchester, bought up the land on which those theatres stood, and where Edmund Shakespeare lived for a time, turning it into the largest brewery in Europe, the Anchor Brewery. So while the players and playwrights, and their and Will’s words, were going through the guts or ears of Londoners, the future in Southwark was headed towards that all driving force, money, thanks to Londoner’s drinking guts, and the land ownership of taverns by the City, especially with the entry of the Barclay’s and Courage families. Hey ho.

It was very interesting when Anonymous came out though that Prince Charles put his name to the Stratford Camp, with his face on the website. Then he is a patron of the Birthplace Trust. We have often been admirers here, to adopt just a token of Royal crawling, or graceful respect, especially for work such as the Princes’ Trust, and even thought of sending him the ‘royal’ spirited Fire Bringer, when it first came out. It is about Scottish deer, after all. We have no idea if he’s any kind of scholar or not on the subject of Shakespeare, but it is also interesting that The Prince of Wales, divinely righted or not, does not support the Edward Devere theory either. Incidentally, along with Dr Johnson, one of the many visitors to the Anchor Brewery where The Globe and The Vine had stood, was another Prince of Wales.

PA Press

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PA PRESS RELEASE – FIRE BRINGER FREE DOWNLOAD!

Phoenix Ark are delighted to announce, as a little pre Olympian celebration, and with the coming publication of The Terror Time Spies, that the US Edition of Fire Bringer, will be available for free Kindle download this Thursday, July 19th.

The US Editions of both Fire Bringer and The Sight have slight variations to the UK editions, partly out of the editorial requests of Abram’s Susan Van Metre, then at Penguin US, a creative working relationship that shattered in a battle in New York. Please spread the word to anyone who might enjoy a copy, but for your free download this Thursday Click here

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