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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve Downes (stevedownes) | 53 comments released today (july 28th)

Temporal Tome
Part 2 of the Botolf Chronicles

The Blurb

For those of you who haven’t read the first instalment of the ‘Botolf Chronicles’, or did and have forgotten it, or have had it surgically removed from your brain, here is a brief and, largely, inaccurate summary of what has happened so far.

James Philips, a former student of the infamous Botolf-almost-Oxford College has found himself in the heart of a hidden supernatural world, centred on two groups, one human and one inter-dimensional. In a bizarre (and quite frankly hard to believe) set of circumstances England has been invaded by an ancient magical group of Wizards and a warlord King from magical version of our Earth.

With me so far?


You poor sods.

James Philips is a worried man at the start of our story. By the middle of it he is an extremely worried man; his worry is so great it could worry a blue whale and still have enough worry left over for an elephant or two (if you stood them close to each other). Firstly, his wife, Elizabeth, is missing (she is in fact on the alternative Earth about to marry the warlord King Vortigern), secondly, his brother Philip is also missing (he is also on the alternative Earth and marriage is very far from his mind, but we will come to him later) and thirdly, he finds himself an unwilling member of a secret organisation that protects the world from inter-dimensional threats. James is also worried about his former mentor’s soul, currently occupying a video cassette but that, for the moment, is the least of his worries.

The aforementioned Philip Philips is not having a good time. Having spent forty years in a state of perpetual scrounging and career failure, he now finds himself stuck in a magical medieval world, with some rather dubious company. He is desperately trying to find a way back to his own world for reasons that he’s not entirely sure of.

Back on our Earth the governments of the World are trying to explain away the strange events of the last few weeks. Some people have vague recollections of an alien invasion and mass destruction across southern England. Others woke up in their beds convinced that they had spent several days being dead. But on a certain dull Monday morning the world appeared normal, no one was dead (who wasn’t dead already) and no damage could be found (only James Philips and his new colleagues were aware that the world was missing two people). The population of the planet felt that something was wrong, something from their collective memory was missing but they couldn’t quite put their fingers on it. It was a bit like when you go to the supermarket and fill up a trolley with biscuits; you stand at the till knowing you came in for something else but darned if you can think of it, only to get home to find your house has burned down and you had left to phone the fire brigade.

So is that all clear ? …No? …Good! …Then we can get on.

NEW NOVEL part 2 of the Botolf Chronicles
Temporal Tome is available from today

get part 1 #FREE
Cosmogonic Marbles

message 2: by Steve (new)

Steve Downes (stevedownes) | 53 comments Snippet #3 from Temporal Tome

The Tiger was perched at the back of the boat. For a large cat it didn’t seem to mind the sea spray washing over it. In fact it looked as if it was enjoying it. The crew of the Saxon longboat had never seen a Tiger before and most of them would be happy if they never saw one again, but while it was here on their vessel they had no choice but to put up with it.
Mad Manon had given them their sailing orders after it became clear to the crew that the Tiger was with the two strangers and seemed very keen either to set sail or eat them. The instructions had been simple, sail past the land of Saints and Scholars and keep going west until we get to where we’re going.
“But we’ll fall off the edge of the Earth!” protested one of the crew.
“It’s alright,” answered Mad Manon, “I’ve got cabbages in my trousers.”
To this remark the crew could give no reply. Were the cabbages magic? Or the trousers enchanted? Either way, while the Tiger was on board they had to do what they were told or jump overboard, as they were now in uncharted and dangerous waters, drifting west, far from land.

“We don’t have enough food for a long journey,” one of the crew said, possibly the captain, but he wasn’t about to advertise that fact to two men with a large cat at their command.
Mad Manon made no reply to this. He often went weeks without food, his madness keeping his body sustained, or at least in his mad mind that’s what he thought it did, perhaps it didn’t. The Postman, feeling that there was a need for someone to take charge and more content now that his package (the Tiger) was back in his possession and could be delivered to Philip Philips, began to answer, “We can …” he began and realised he didn’t have a solution for the problem. In desperation he continued, “…he’s got cabbages in his trousers.”

NEW NOVEL part 2 of the Botolf Chronicles
Temporal Tome is available now
get part 1 #FREE
Cosmogonic Marbles
shares and retweets most welcomed @writer_s_downes

message 3: by Steve (new)

Steve Downes (stevedownes) | 53 comments Sample Chapter

Chapter 1

The Prime Minister of Great Britain was not a man given to rash decisions or indeed any decisions. After all, that was how he was chosen to be Prime Minister. The Civil Service felt safe in the knowledge that he would never make any real decisions for himself and certainly never consider a rash one.

“Are you sure this is the right thing to say?” asked the PM. Deep down he wanted to believe the lie, everyone wanted to believe the lie, even those who called into daytime TV shows wanted to believe the lie. I really must stop watching daytime TV shows, he thought to himself, it’s no way to conduct national policy.
“I’m sure, Prime Minister,” said the impossibly stunning Special Advisor to the President of the United States.
“What do you think?” the PM asked his own Principal Private Secretary who was, as always, hovering over his shoulder.

The PM mistrusted all Civil Servants. All politicians mistrusted Civil Servants; they were the enemy of democracy, and what’s more, they were the old aristocracy’s vanguard in government. In the PM’s opinion his Principal Private Secretary was no different than any other senior Whitehall official. They were all either Cambridge or Oxford men, all descended from good families who had been in control of the greater part of the countryside since William the Conqueror in 1066 and all Bastards like the ambitious William’s other pseudonym. This particular PM’s Principal Private Secretary was an Oxford man … well ... almost Oxford.

“Prime Minister,” began the PM’s Principal Private Secretary in his accustomed condescending tone that grated on every politician’s nerves, “I think the American explanation as to the nature of the …shall we say … incident last month is more than satisfactory.”
“More than satisfactory!” exclaimed the PM loudly. “You want me to go on national television and tell the British public that a solar flare triggered a chemical reaction in the ozone layer that gave the entire world mass hallucinations!”
There was a silent pause from the collected Ministers, Officials and Military Officers in the room.
“Yes,” said the impossibly stunning Special Advisor to the President of the United States. “Yes,” agreed the PM’s Principal Private Secretary.
“But it’s … mad!” further exclaimed the PM as he shook the pages of the CIA report in his hand which offered this ‘solar flare’ solution.

“It might be mad Prime Minister, but this is the only explanation we can offer that will be in any way believable,” said the sexy voice of the Special Advisor to the President of the United States.
“Believable?! Who’s going to believe this? I don’t believe it!” protested the PM.
She must be levered into that skirt in the mornings, he thought to himself, and I think her blouse is sprayed on. Shivers ran up the PM’s spine as he tried to make himself concentrate on the problem at hand and not the gorgeousness of this angelic creature.
“Of course you don’t believe it, Prime Minister,” interrupted the Head of the Secret Service. “you know it’s not true and that makes you biased, but the people aren’t in command of that fact.”
“Can someone then find out what actually happened?” asked the PM to the collected group of advisors.
There was an uncomfortable silence that lasted for a second or two but seemed, to all present, to last a few uncomfortable hours.

“It could have been a solar flare,” offered the PM’s Principal Private Secretary.
“Yes,” agreed most of the room in a murmur.
“But we don’t know?” asked the PM.
“No, Prime Minister.”
“Why don’t we just say that?”
“Oh, Prime Minister!!” exclaimed his Principal Private Secretary. “We never admit that we don’t know something, even when it is blatantly obvious to everyone that we don’t know it.”
“Why not?” pressed the PM.
“Because there would be panic. The whole system of society would break down or worse still the whole system of government would break down.”
“That’s worse?”
“Of course it’s worse, Prime Minister. The general public are held in check by the single fact that everything they don’t know, we the Government know. If they lose faith in that then civilisation as we know it could collapse.”
The Prime Minister sucked in air through his teeth and said, “And what if they don’t believe me? What if the general public know that I don’t know that I know that I don’t know what happens then?”
A second moment of agonised silence sounded loudly in the room for an eon.
“I don’t know, Prime Minister,” said his Principal Private Secretary finally.

“Prime Minister,” began the picture of loveliness that was the Special Advisor to the President of the United States, “no matter what you say there will be the usual reaction. 40% of the people will believe you because they want to and just get on with their lives, 20% will contradict you because they are your enemies anyway, 30% won’t care because they’re too drunk or drugged or watching daytime TV to have noticed what was happening in the first place and 9.9% will put it down to aliens because they have nothing better to do with their time.”
These words comforted the PM. At last, he thought, someone with a sensible approach to the problem.
But something niggled him, “What about the other 0.1%?” he asked.
“Oh they’ll know it is all complete bullshit,” answered the Special Advisor to the President of the United States.
“Because they’re experts, but no one ever listens to them.”

“Gentlemen and lady,” spoke a voice from the doorway, “I think you all better look at the television. The President is about to speak to the American people.”
The collected group of politicians, officials and agents rushed from the PM’s Private office into the Secretary’s office, some of them getting jammed together in the doorway as they went and having to be shoved through by the bulk behind them. On a small portable television the background of The Oval Office could be seen with an empty chair sitting behind a wide shiny mahogany desk.

On the tiny screen the President of the United States appeared and sat down. He had no papers in his hand as it was his style to deliver speeches from memory. The bastard, thought the PM, as he considered how much safer his majority would be if only he could remember what other people wrote for him.
As the President began his address to the nation the PM had to push the head of one of the Secret Service men out of the way so he could get a clear view of what was happening.

“My fellow Americans …”
It was the traditional confident start, but the President’s voice seemed to waver slightly before he began properly.
“A month ago the world was shook by a series of unexplained events that left many of us confused and worried. I am here to tell you that those events, the seeming shift in our sense of reality, was due to a naturally occurring phenomenon which takes place every few million years.”
“Clever,” said the PM, “even the Democrats won’t have to fight an election in a few million years.”
“Shush,” said someone from the back of the room.
“Don’t ‘shush’ me, I’m the Prime Minister!”
“SHUSH,” said everyone else.
“ … and so you see,” continued the President, “a rare type of solar flare caused mass hallucinations which led us to believe that England was being invaded by aliens and that four days in June somehow rewound themselves. Both of those things did not happen. Man has once again been reminded about the power of Nature and the Cosmos.”
“Switch it off,” said the PM.

“You see, Prime Minister? The American People will believe their President,” whispered the beautiful Special Advisor.
“But will the British people believe me?” asked the PM.
“Are you suggesting, Prime Minister, that the Americans trust their President more than the British people trust the word of Her Majesty’s elected leader of Parliament!” spoke the Principal Private Secretary.
“No, of course not,” protested the PM, his over inflated sense of ego overriding his common sense.
The Principal Private Secretary and the American Special Advisor exchanged knowing glances.
“I think I should address the nation in a similar way to the President,” said the PM, “I owe it to my people.”
There was a general rumble of agreement from the collected politicians and civil servants.


As she left Number 10 Downing Street the Special Advisor to the President of the United Stated grinned the grin of a Cheshire cat who had just fallen out of a tree into a swimming pool full of cream. She took a mobile phone from her bag and held it to her ear. There was no need to dial, the phone didn’t actually work, but she felt it more fitting to be talking into something while walking down the road rather than just babbling to herself.
Her telepathy homed in on her target as she spoke into the non-functioning phone. “The Prime Minister is complying with our will and I see you have convinced The White House.”
No one else on the street heard the answer, but whatever it was it seemed to please her.

She sexily passed the guards at the gate and with great charm walked straight by the photographers camped outside to slip ladylike into the back of a blacked-out limousine.
“Done?” inquired the driver as he engaged the car’s engine.
“Done,” she replied.
The driver heard the gearbox grind as he forced the car into first. He wasn’t used to driving, let alone driving something as vulgar as a limousine.
“I think we’re going to get away with this, just like we got away with Cuba,” she said as the car gingerly rounded a corner in Whitehall.
“Good,” said the Driver, “so we can relax?”
The sexy American Special Advisor (who was nothing of the kind) reverted herself into a blob-like state of green oozing ooze that filled almost all of the back of the car and replied, “Yes, we can relax.”
“Where to now?” said the Dean of Botolf-almost-Oxford as he struggled still further with the size of the car and narrowness of the streets.
“I have business to attend to. There’s a lot still to be swept up and you have to see how James is getting along,” said Doris the Cherub from the back.
“Ah, home,” said the Dean and put his foot down.

message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Downes (stevedownes) | 53 comments apologies, not full chapter, there's a word limit

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