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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 11/2018
  • 978-1732566217 B07K2G4HSB
  • 475 pages
  • $14.99
Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 11/2018
  • 978-1-7325662-0-0 B07K2G4HSB
  • 475 pages
  • $4.99
The Screaming Skull (The Chronicles of Elberon Book 1)

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

"In this debut novel, a so-called royal hero reflects on his life as upheaval awaits on the horizon... The winning difference here is the author’s tone, which would make the foulmouthed, fourth wall–smashing Marvel character Deadpool proud... a cavalcade of gonzo exploits. Readers will likely return for the sequel." 

-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

What do you get when you throw The Lord of the Rings, Catch-22, Monty Python, and Hunter S. Thompson into a blender? An epic fantasy novel that goes to 11.

Low-level adventurer Elberon of the Isles has a problem. Through a chance encounter with a mysterious woman, he’s come into possession of a horned skull that keeps screaming at him—and whenever it screams, it summons hordes of monsters to kill him.Even worse, this screaming skull may in fact be the very skull of the Deathless One, the dark wizard who last appeared five hundred years ago to conquer the Free Kingdoms. Can Elberon and his friends learn the secret of the Screaming Skull before the evil forces arrayed against them can kill him dead? And more importantly, where can a simple fighter get a stiff drink around here?

The Screaming Skull is the first volume of the epic and hilarious heavy-metal fantasy trilogy The Chronicles of Elberon. If you like fantasy heroes who curse like sailors, party like rock stars, and battle vicious Hellspawn, time-traveling dragons, and a terrifying Rat King, then you’ll love Rick Ferguson’s epic tale of high adventure that turns the fantasy fiction genre on its head.

Reviews
Ferguson’s wildly original debut, the first in the Chronicles of Elberon series, plays fast and loose with literary convention in a self-aware whirlwind of epic fantasy tropes and absurdist humor. Elberon, a foulmouthed 64-year-old former adventurer, is now King of the Tradewind Isles and finds himself caught between two prophecies of the future: one in which he lives another 65 years in deteriorating health and another in which the world ends at the hands of one of his former compatriots on the day of his 65th birthday. Both strike him as horrific. The nonlinear narrative jumps between the present and Elberon’s checkered past, recounting his rise to power and loopy adventures through the Multiverse, armed with a screaming skull that may be one of the magical Phylaxes of Koschei the Deathless, a figure compared to “Sauron, Voldemort, Lord Foul, Thulsa Doom, or Vladimir Putin.” Ferguson pays irreverent homage to classic fantasies, mythology, and video games throughout as Elberon’s adventuring party grows and he rises to power. Ferguson’s biting wit, over-the-top plot, and relentless meta commentary will have readers laughing and groaning in equal measure. (Self-published.)
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

In this debut novel, a so-called royal hero reflects on his life as upheaval awaits on the horizon.

King Elberon, lord of the Tradewind Isles, is about to turn 65 years old. He’s led an illustrious life of adventure and just learned from his friend Wilberd, who glanced through the Astral Telescope at the monarch’s future, that he’ll live to be 130. Yet Elberon thinks mainly of the companions who’ll attend his birthday party in nine days, including the warrior Amabored and his former love Melinda the Blade. “When I finally get them all together,” he thinks, “I’m going to kill every last one of them.” He then begins detailing his youth among the Free Kingdoms of the Woerth and even the Multiverse after he told his father, King Olderon, that he wanted to visit Redhauke, a cosmopolitan city ripe with crime and opportunity. There, he met Amabored, the elf Lithaine, and the mage Redulfo. Given additional strength by the Girdle of Gargantua, Elberon joined the trio, and they became guards for Saggon, Over-Boss of the Thieves Guild. But Saggon’s shipments of pipeweed contained a secret over which Melinda battled the group. During this time, Elberon first encountered the Screaming Skull (when Melinda attacked him with it) and became embroiled in closing the Hellmouth beneath the Blue Falcon Inn. Later, he drank a concoction called the Flaming Telepath, which brought him to the First Universe and a meeting with Jo Ki-Rin, a chimerical creature who warned that Elberon must accept a quest to save all of creation.

The “monomyth” at the core of Ferguson’s series opener is the same one that fuels innumerable fantasies, from Tolkien’s work to the Star Wars series. The winning difference here is the author’s tone, which would make the foulmouthed, fourth wall–smashing Marvel character Deadpool proud. Elberon calls Woerth a “chamber pot of competing cultures and religions from dozens of different universes.” This gives the author the widest possible canvas on which to scribble his own multicolored brand of mayhem—and the narrative leeway to quote Pulp Fiction. He discusses not only the Multiverse, wherein, most likely, “some pimply teenaged loser sits in his parents’ basement drawing” dungeons “on graph paper and randomly inserting monsters, traps, and treasure,” but also author Michael Moorcock, who deals vibrantly with alternate realities in his Elric series. Even Ferguson’s key villain, Koscheis, has echoes in “Sauron, Voldemort, Lord Foul...or Vladimir Putin.” This isn’t to say that the story is complete silliness. The prose frequently lets rip some epic imagery, as when “a house-sized mushroom cloud of napalm condensed out of the atmosphere, balled itself up into a miniature sun, and surged forth with a massive sonic boom.” And while the main characters riff humorously on archetypes—and the minor ones mock everything else (Father Frito of Lay, for example)—they experience events deeply. Elberon’s regret over cheating on average Melinda with gorgeous Cassiopeia brings humanity to a cavalcade of gonzo exploits. Readers will likely return for the sequel, perhaps more for the king’s unpredictable narration than the plot itself.

A joyously coarse and self-aware epic fantasy.

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 11/2018
  • 978-1732566217 B07K2G4HSB
  • 475 pages
  • $14.99
Kindle Edition eBooks Details
  • 11/2018
  • 978-1-7325662-0-0 B07K2G4HSB
  • 475 pages
  • $4.99

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