SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA,
February 11, 2024
Praise for Dragons of Aeronoth
“Scene after scene, adventure after adventure, Dragons of Aeronoth captivates and enchants. A work of imaginative fiction of the first order—a coming-of-age story in an alternate reality that unfolds like a dream that won’t let loose–you won’t want to wake up. A mesmerizing epic fantasy of friendship and the wound that offers transformation, but only if you let it: a blistering read. A fully realized three-dimensional reality once discovered, you won’t put it down. And best of all, the characters linger." —Lawrence Spann, A Parable of Lies, Blood on the Page
“Welcome to a fabulous, faraway world populated with demons and sorcerers, necromancers and assassins. A place where dragons sail on the 'howling grey winds of the netherworld.' Artfully crafted language and rich, sensory detail bring the story to life: Warriors wear: 'enchanted soft leather boots.' Wizards cast spells, warriors fight epic battles in the sky on the backs of fearsome dragons. A line of dialog sums it up: 'Once you’ve seen the world from the back of a dragon, nothing is the same.'" —John R. Reed, Thirteen Mountain, Dark Thirty, Shadow White as Stone
Draco Vox to Publish Dragons of Aeronoth
Anticipation builds as Draco Vox Books, a new imprint, announces a release date of March 16, 2024, for Dragons of Aeronoth by debut author Victor Borda. The first novel in the Aeronoth Trilogy, this fantasy series draws the reader into the magical world of a dragon-riding academy and the journeys new friends must make as they become dragon warriors.
The necromancer VladKerLich is on his own journey, bludgeoning his way back through levels of astral hell, reclaiming power as he plots his return to the land of the living. He brings with him a dragon king and an army of shadow dragons intent on claiming revenge upon the dragon riders of Aeronoth and all living things.
Will of Asharad recovers in the healing chambers of Aeronoth after being physically shattered by an attack on his desert caravan. In his quest to rebuild himself, he joins the latest class of student dragon riders, works his arms in the forge, and finds his own strength as he transforms from former slave to dragon warrior of the sky.
The healer Misty brought Will back from the edge of death, yet she is on her own journey to becoming a warrior, breaking out of her family's expectations as she devotes herself to the fearsome art of thunderhead magic. Misty and Will's fate weaves together with that of Aeronoth, making a gripping tale of love, friendship, and bravery, as the threat of the necromancer's return sweeps over the desert horizon.
Victor Borda’s novel has been called “a compelling story” and “beautifully written with rich, vibrant characters.” Victor deftly explores bravery in both battle and love, the bonds of friendship in the triangle of dragon riders, dragons, and gnomes, and discards the tropes of what makes a healer and what makes a warrior.
Feedback for “Dragons of Aeronoth” has been enthusiastic, with the villainous characters scoring almost as highly as his heroes. One reader described necromancer VladKerLich as “Venom on steroids.” And another said of El-Shad the assassin, “The scene in the abandoned church, where El-Shad must kill his young challenger, gave me chills. I’ve never read a scene that is so terrifying and beautiful at the same time.”
Victor Borda has come a long way from the sandy sidewalks of the beach town of Santa Cruz, California. All the way to the beach town of Santa Barbara, California, in fact, where he received his Master’s degree in computer science from UCSB, took up yoga, and promptly met the love of his life in yoga class.
A longtime fan of Tolkien, R.A. Salvatore, and Jim Butcher, he began his debut novel, Dragons of Aeronoth, while traveling on trains between Italy, France, and England. A musician since he first picked up a guitar at fifteen, Victor has spent a fair amount of time wearing rock-star jeans and playing clubs. He still likes to shred, but found a nuanced and rich world creating deep space ambient music as Avahara. Slow Wave Journey, Angels in the Atmosphere, and In Between Worlds have received critical praise for their therapeutic effect, with Altar in the Well forthcoming. He plays live for Therapeutic Yoga classes and workshops when he’s not writing or programming.
Victor knows the difference between Two Buck Chuck and a Silver Oak Cab, and delights in making fantastic dinners for friends and family. He concerns himself with the well-being of the trees on his property, is known to regularly dunk himself in ice-cold water, and can whip up a roof or a wall with nothing but gumption and Youtube tutorials. You can visit him at avahara.com and victorborda.com.
Will Meets Keoria
Keoria swung her head over close to Will.
Her voice, both profound and harmonious, boomed through his head. Pleasure to meet you, Will.
Will was awestruck. Transported into another world as the vibrations of her telepathic communication echoed through his mind, he felt himself spinning into a void composed only of himself, Keoria, and spirals of flame. The flames wrapped up and around them in impossibly high walls of red and gold. Suddenly, there was rock everywhere around them, and they were deep in the depths of the mountains. Then nothing but blue sky, effortlessly stretching and sweeping out before them. Then a chorus as the flame, rock, and sky harmonized into one voice, wrapping around Will’s mind, telling him secrets of birth and destruction, growth and decay, becoming and dissolving, all wrapping together as one before his eyes - a seamless tapestry of the movement of all things, sewn together with a blinding white thread.
I believe you will make a fine dragon rider, came Keoria’s smoky laugh.
The eyes of the assassin were white as death and as cold as stone. In his right hand was the ivory handled dagger that had tasted so much blood. His left hand moved like the head of a serpent seeking the scent of its opponent in the dry desert air.
The Church of Phoesus was a tapestry of light and shadow, its inside woven by soaring stone columns and multi-hued stained-glass windows. The church curved and angled to the left as it entered the side of the mountain that Teravax, fortress of the Mosh-a'Dai, was built into. A leftover from the previous inhabitants, the church was always empty, yet its doors were always open to those seeking power.
For one could not join the ranks of the High Circle without taking the life of one already in it. No formal challenge had been issued. No grandiose statements had been made before a royal court. Instead, there were simply two predators engaged in a dance of feints and trickery until exactly one emerged victorious. Such was the way of the Mosh-a'Dai.
El-Shad knew the church well. He had taken the life of a previous High Circle master on these very same stone tiles. His opponent had finished his life impaled upon one of the old rotting pews as his blood pooled on the floor below.
As he entered through the large wooden doorway, El-Shad’s honed and primed animal instincts guided his every step and hand movement. His black garb flowed around him, both accentuating the snakelike wave of his limbs and hiding the exact nature of his movements at the same time. He moved in complete silence, half crouched, utterly alert yet relaxed and ready to strike.
He proceeded down the main entryway to the crossing section of the church. The pews were arranged to the left, facing the main altar. To the right was the grotto of Phoesus, home to an ancient stone statue of a long-forgotten god standing atop a desert scorpion, his spear driven down through the flesh of some headless enemy below. The remaining blue and red stained-glass windows behind it cast sorrowful tunnels of light down the length of the pews, illuminating a lazy army of dust clouds. The pale beams utterly failed to abate the nagging darkness of the church, as if they were the gossamer strands of some doomed hope that perhaps someday this abominable place could become holy.
The maze of pillars that flanked both sides of the pews were dark and lifeless accomplices in a fatal game of cat and mouse, as were the balcony boxes lined up high above. They were the former viewing platforms for the ruling class of Teravax, who had made no pretense of equality with the commoners. They had all died the same though. Every single one of them. Silently, in the late-night hours, when the Mosh-a'Dai had decided to take the fortress as their own.
El-Shad turned to face the pews and continued on towards the altar. His left hand had taken to scattering a fine powder behind him while his right hand had switched grips on the dagger for a quick and immediate throw.
He sensed the slightest of movements to his left, a shadow within a shadow down the row of stone columns. His muscles rolled in a wave from the feet upwards, snapping his torso back as the opponent’s dagger flew past. As it sliced before El-Shad’s eyes, his finely honed senses examined its airborne shape in slow motion. He noted the blade had tremors in it, clearly the throw of an apprentice assassin. His challenger had brought help. A violation of protocol, yet in this courtroom there would be no jury present to judge.
El-Shad instinctively decided to not move either towards or away from the apprentice assassin. For that would play into the traps that undoubtedly lay in either direction. Instead, he went up. His enchanted soft leather boots helped him effortlessly bound up the nearest column and land silently in a balcony box. He knew the apprentice would be cautiously approaching the pews while his true challenger would be hiding in the wings waiting for the skirmish that would surely happen, ready to throw the true killing dagger from a distance.
El-Shad was an experienced assassin and knew that in this encounter, time played in his favor. The apprentice would be cocky yet nervous, hoping to spring the trap and end things quickly. In doing so, he would expose his flaws and turn himself into the hunted.
El-Shad reached into his pocket and pulled out a small snake figurine, flat and thin. He held the smooth grey carving in his hand and whispered to it in an ancient language. The figurine rippled ever so softly in response. El-Shad blew on it and light as a feather it flicked into the air and softly floated to the floor below, landing without affair and resting silently. He whispered another incantation and passed his hands over his face. Switching from crouching to standing, he effortlessly blended in against the wall behind him, perfectly camouflaged in his viewing position from the balcony box.
The apprentice assassin was both nervous and clumsy, noted El-Shad. His boot had clearly scraped against the floor, giving his position away as obviously as if he had shouted it. A moment of silence followed, as if the entire church was holding its breath. The silence was summarily broken by a bright flash and bang as the apprentice stepped onto the powder El-Shad had scattered on the floor. The brief explosion was followed by a scream as the snake figurine came to life, expanding to become a ten-foot-long desert viper. The snake only needed to strike once and it was done. The foolish young assassin writhed on the floor as the snake returned to its figurine form.
In the commotion, El-Shad had seen what he needed to see - the briefest of flickers of movement from behind the columns on the other side of the pews. He jumped lightly from the balcony box, his camouflage dissipating as he moved. El-Shad slipped the snake figurine into his pocket and made for the exit of the church. As he reached the end of the pews, he feigned his turn towards the exit. Instead, he swept his pivot back towards the pews and released the dagger in one flowing movement. Unlike the apprentice, however, there was no waiver in his throw. A gurgling sound sputtered forth as the life left the throat of his true challenger, followed by a thump to the ground. El-Shad’s palm was hot. One of the dagger’s gifts, a confirmation of every kill.
El-Shad stopped to consider the body of the apprentice assassin sprawled face-down on the floor. Such a simple trick, he mused, snap powder and a snake protector figurine, made for a lady of the court in a city of the south. The young assassin had an inferior throwing technique and was stupid enough to step on the powder. His death was not much of a loss. As for the true challenger, he had made his move against El-Shad too soon, and this was the price to be paid. El-Shad smiled grimly in the light of the church windows and went to retrieve his dagger. Such was the way of the Mosh-a’Dai.
Release Date and Particulars
"Dragons of Aeronoth" is scheduled for release on March 16, 2024, and will be available on Amazon and Ingram, as well as Barnes and Noble.
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