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Call of the King: Rise of the King Book 1 (Paperback)

Call of the King: Rise of the King Book 1 (Paperback)

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King Arthur is destined to return, and Tom is destined to wake him.

When sixteen year old Tom’s grandfather mysteriously disappears, Tom stops at nothing to find him, even when that means crossing to a mysterious and unknown world.

When he gets there, Tom discovers that everything he thought he knew about himself and his life was wrong. Vivian, the Lady of the Lake, has been watching over him and manipulating his life since his birth. And now she needs his help.

Danger threatens the old forest of Vivian’s world. To save it, Tom must wake King Arthur, who’s been sleeping for centuries. But first, he’s determined to find his grandfather.

Tom starts a journey that will change his life forever. He discovers that fey and magic still exist, and myths are very real.

If he wants to survive, he must learn to fight, and find courage he never knew he had.

If you love magic, mystery, and Arthurian legend, you’ll love Call of the King, book 1 of Rise of the King.

Buy now for your next fantasy adventure.

*Important Note. This book was previous published as Tom’s Inheritance, Tom’s Arthurian Legacy Book 1. It has been re-written, and has extended scenes and a new ending.

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Prologue

One evening towards the end of summer, Jack strolled down the path to the bottom of his garden, pushing through the heavy vegetation that crowded in on either side. The air was thick with pollen and heat, and bees buzzed drunkenly around him. He rested his elbows on the gate and leaned his weight against it, feeling his pruning clippers push into his hip. He lit his pipe, narrowing his eyes against the smoke, which he blew around him in an effort to drive off the midges that now appeared in the twilight.
Beyond the gate a stream trickled by, and here the air was cooler. It smelt earthy and damp; he could feel its sharpness on the back of his throat.
Jack’s knees and lower back ached. He’d spent too long in the garden, and he was too old to cope with it as he used to. He rubbed his cheek and felt the stubble. He could almost feel the grey in it, as if it were coarser than in his youth.
The silence was disturbed only by the stream, and the wind easing through the trees. He breathed deeply, savouring the cool and the smoke. Shadows slanting through the trees cast the banks into darkness, so that he could no longer easily distinguish between the trees, the banks, the rocks, or the stream.
He started singing an old folk tune, and as he did, saw something stir at the foot of the gnarled yew tree across the stream. Were his eyes playing tricks on him? It looked as if a figure was moving, as if someone was stirring from a long, deep sleep. Maybe what looked like long limbs were in fact tree roots thrown into relief by the shadows, and what looked like a face was a knot in the trunk? But then the figure moved again, and legs and arms became distinct. With a jolt, he realised he was looking into two unblinking eyes, fixed upon him with an unexpected intensity.
Jack’s singing faltered and he blinked rapidly, several times. The figure moved its head as if it were a snake, its eyes glittering before blinking languorously. It rose in one swift movement and became a man. No, not a man, but something that looked like a man—tall and slim with the grace of wind through tall grass, or water over stones. He was dressed in shades of green and a long cloak fell from his shoulders, almost to his feet, shimmering like a low mist.
And Jack knew what it must be, and that all of the stories from his childhood were true.

Chapter One - The Visitors

Tom raced down the garden path, jumped over the stream, and entered the wood, finally skidding to a halt in a pile of wet leaves.
He looked around, desperate to see the two people he’d seen watching the house, but the wood was silent, and there was no one in sight.
He shouted, “I know you’re there, I saw you! Show yourselves!”
Nothing moved, and his words hung on the air like his frosty breath. He turned slowly, but the wood was still and silent, and Tom kicked the nearest bush in frustration. He knew they were out there, but they were unwilling to reveal themselves.
Tom took deep breaths in an effort to calm himself down, and unclenched his tight fists. It was only minutes before that he had been looking out of his granddad’s kitchen window and saw the lurking figures, and he’d had the strangest feeling that they were there because his granddad was missing.
Reluctant to leave, Tom shouted again. “Come on! Talk to me! What do you want? Please!”
But again, there was only silence.
He looked around tree trunks and poked at thick, scrubby bushes, covering the small area closest to the stream quickly, but after a few minutes, he had to admit defeat. Surely they couldn’t have hidden themselves that quickly? Maybe he was seeing things.
Almost a year earlier, his grandfather, Jack, had disappeared with no trace of where he could have gone, and leaving his family confused and increasingly worried. They had investigated as much as they could before running out of options. The police had barely done anything because his granddad had left them a note to explain his absence. As far as they were concerned, that meant he was fine, and in theory, he was; the note was calm and rational. But he hadn’t contacted them since, and that was just odd. But Tom hadn’t given up. His granddad had to be somewhere, and someone had to know something.
Frustrated, Tom took a final look around and decided to return to the house, but as he turned his back, he felt a prickle of awareness. Someone was still watching him. He called over his shoulder, “You know where I am if you want me!”
He marched towards Granddad’s cottage, where he was living with his father. They had moved in over six months before when it was clear his granddad wasn’t going to return, and that his parents’ marriage wasn’t going to survive. The cottage was home now, and everything there reminded him of his grandfather and his mysterious disappearance. Tom opened the back door and entered the large kitchen-come-sitting room. He kicked his boots off, and put them on the hearth next to the roaring fire.
He shivered, holding his hands close to the flames. It was cold out, and this morning had seen a heavy frost. They were days away from Christmas, and the school term was over. A small pine tree signalled the season, but that was the only decoration they had put up. Without his mother there, neither he nor his dad had bothered with anything else. They hadn’t even managed to change the house. It was exactly as his grandfather had left it.
Tom looked around the room, noting the old fashioned furniture, the worn armchairs in front of the fire, and the painted wooden cupboards that comprised the kitchen-half of the room. This was the heart of the house. There was also a small living room, but his grandfather had spent most of his time in here.
Tom’s gaze drifted to his granddad’s note that still sat on the end of the mantelpiece under a blue striped bowl containing spare keys, screws, pins, and other odds and ends. He picked it up, his eyes running down the page. He had told them very little, only that he was going away with a new friend and not to worry. Not to worry! His granddad was exasperating. He’d never known his granddad go anywhere before, but his dad told him he’d travelled a lot when he was younger. Maybe he had been bored and wanted a change. But who was his new friend? And why hadn’t he told them his name?
A knock on the front door disturbed his thoughts, and then a voice shouted, “Tom, it’s just me!”
It was his cousin, Beansprout, who at 15 was about a year younger than him. She was called Beansprout because of her skinny frame, but her real name was Rebecca. She barrelled through the door, her long, strawberry blonde hair swinging, and grinned. “Hey, Tom. My mom sent me over with mince pies.” She set the old biscuit tin down on the table and narrowed her eyes at him. “Why are you looking at granddad’s note? Have you found out something?”
He shook his head. “Not really. I thought I saw some people watching the house from the wood.” He jerked his head towards the back of the house. “I think I’m just imagining things. Stupid, really.”
He dropped into the chair by the fire and watched the crackling flames, feeling a wave of sadness wash over him. In all likelihood, he’d never see his granddad again. He just had to accept it. All he could hope was that he was safe and well somewhere.
Beansprout slumped in the opposite chair and stared into the fire, too. “It sucks, doesn’t it? I miss him, too. Mum refuses to talk about it anymore. It upsets her too much.”
“What a weird thing to do, to just go, leaving everyone behind. What kind of ‘new friend’ could make you do that?” Tom asked. He could recite the note by heart now. He’d examined every word, trying to find meaning in nothing.
Beansprout sighed. “It must be someone very special to make you leave your family. Unless he was taken by force?”
Tom barked out a laugh. “Why would anyone kidnap Granddad? We’ve not had a ransom note, either!”
“Sorry. Just pointless thinking—again.” She stood and brought the biscuit tin over, and sitting again reached in for a mince pie, then handed the box to Tom. “Here you go.”
He helped himself and munched silently, thinking of how he’d felt in the wood. “What if I’m not imagining things?”
“What do you mean?”
“I honestly felt as if I was being watched out there. If they were just dog-walkers, I’d have seen them! Why would they hide? That seems mad.”
“Maybe they’d already walked on.”
Tom shook his head. “I raced over there! They were hiding when I saw them from the window, ducking behind tree trunks, especially that massive yew.”
“Maybe you are right, then. Maybe they are here about Granddad!” Beansprout started to get excited. “Perhaps they have some news!”
“But why wouldn’t they talk to me? Why hide?”
“Maybe they want to break in?”
Tom looked sceptical. “In the daylight?”
“Maybe it’s a secret organisation?” Beansprout’s eyes were wide with intrigue.
“That’s one of your nuttier ideas,” he said, finishing the mince pie and reaching for another.
“And you have a better one?”
Tom contemplated telling her what he’d been thinking for ages, but his idea was worse than hers. However, there was a reason he got on with Beansprout more than his other cousins, more even that his younger sister, and that was because she was open to all sorts of interesting ideas. He summoned his courage and asked, “What if he’s somewhere else?”
She paused. “What do you mean?”
“No one’s seen him or heard from him! You’d have thought he would phone, or email, or write a postcard! But there’s been nothing for well over a year! He disappeared at the end of the summer! No one’s found a body either!”
Beansprout grimaced. “Tom! That’s gross.”
“We have to be realistic! He’s been gone for ages. Why wouldn’t he get in touch? That means he’s either dead, or somewhere else!”
“And by that you mean—”
He faltered. “Not in this world.”
Beansprout feel silent, watching him, a myriad of emotions running across her pale, freckled face. “That’s quite a wild suggestion.”
“I know.”
“Is this because of your dreams?”
He shrugged, uncomfortable that she’d brought them up. “Sort of.”
“Are you still having them?”
“Yes. Almost every night now.”
Ever since their granddad had disappeared, Tom had been having strange dreams, and over the past few months they had been getting more and more frequent.
“Remind me what happens in them,” she said, attentive.
“I see a woman with long, silvery hair who tells me to hurry up, that I’m needed. Sometimes I see a sword, lots of water, and then I get this feeling that I need to do something.”
Beansprout leaned forward. “And they don’t change?”
“No! That’s what’s really weird! Dreams are never the same all the time. This one is.”
“You’re sure you don’t know who it is? Are you sure she’s not been on the TV?”
“No! I think she’s trying to communicate with me.”
“You’d think she’d pick an easier way, like the phone.”
Tom absently chewed his pie. “Exactly! I think she doesn’t phone because she can’t!”
“But does she ever mention Granddad?”
“No.”
“So how are they connected?”
“Because this only started when he disappeared!” Tom said, his voice rising.
“All right! Calm down.” Beansprout brushed crumbs off her sweatshirt. “Okay, if you’re so convinced, let’s go for a walk and try to find your visitors.”
“Now?” He looked towards the windows. “It’s already getting dark.”
It was past three in the afternoon, and at this time of year, the daylight ended early.
Beansprout looked at the window too, frowning. “Okay. Tomorrow? Your dad’s still at work, isn’t he?”
Tom nodded. “He’s working long hours. He’s never back until late now.”
Beansprout looked around the kitchen, concerned. “What are you eating?”
“Microwaveable dinners, why?”
Her shoulders dropped. “Why didn’t you say so? Come to our house. There’s always loads of food.”
Tom shrugged. “Nah. I’m fine. The football’s on.”
Her face creased with worry. “Are you sure? Aren’t you lonely?”
“Not really. Besides, whoever I saw earlier might come back.”
“Don’t open the door tonight. You might be attacked!”
“Beansprout, stop worrying! You’re as bad as my mother. Let’s go searching tomorrow. We could go for a walk, maybe as far the old folly in the middle of the wood. It’s unlikely whoever it was will still be around, but you never know. I’ve always wondered if it’s somewhere Granddad may have gone, too. We might find a clue. What time?”
The old folly was a derelict tower that had seen better days, and was a good walk from the cottage.
“Tenish? I’ll bring some cake in my backpack.”
“Okay. I’ll make sandwiches.” He smiled. “Cheers for this. It will make me feel better. At least we’ll have tried to find them. I’m sure someone was there!”
She smiled, too. “It’s okay. I feel as useless as you do, and I’d like to feel like we’ve done something. But it’s freezing outside. I’ll be very surprised if anyone’s there now.” She stood and headed to the door. “I better go—I’ve got some shopping to pick up. Are you sure you don’t want to come for tea?”
“Sure. See you tomorrow.”

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