Naomi Hughes

The Shadowed Flame

Upper MG Fantasy

As a Unicorn Rider, it's Jackson's job to help his mare slay the griffins, chimeras, and giant acid-spitting worms that threaten their kingdom. But when he gains the ability to understand the unicorns' telepathic language, he discovers that they've been keeping secrets much more dangerous than monsters. He and his new Rider partner, Moira, set off on a covert quest to hunt down the truth--only to realize that now the unicorns' most powerful enemy is hunting them. Caught between the treacherous unicorns and a vengeance-driven madman, the two Riders will have to unravel an ancient prophecy, track down a world-destroying weapon, and figure out just what Jackson's new ability really means--before the unicorns' dark past catches up with them.

 

 

Note: Although this book can stand alone, it was written as the first in a trilogy.

Will appeal to fans of: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

First Page Excerpt:

 

The most dangerous part of being a unicorn rider was never knowing what kind of creature you'd have to slay next. Monster Roulette, I called it, and today I'd hit the extremely unfortunate jackpot.

 

“I'm going to call you Todd,” I announced. The morning breeze tugged at my jacket, and I pulled it shut to cover the long cavalry sword at my side. Wouldn’t want Todd getting too spooked before I had a chance to skewer him. “I like you, Todd,” I continued. I leaned casually against the cliff wall at my back. “You seem like a nice… uh, thing. Deep down inside, I think you and I are the same. Compassionate, friendly. Nonviolent.”

 

Below me, the floor of the canyon shook as today’s critter ‘o doom threw his not inconsiderable bulk up against it, trying to shake me from my perch. Todd—a slimy gray wormlike creature as big around as a carriage—appeared to believe I was his enemy. Possibly because of the large-ish rock I’d beaned him with upon our initial meeting.

 

I leaned over the edge of my narrow little ledge, barely a crack in the rock face. I wasn’t altogether certain how I’d managed to land here during our crash-fall from the woods up top. I dimly recalled it involving a lot of catlike reflexes, lightning-quick rock climbing, and the bare minimum of girlish shrieking.

 

A snort echoed above me and I peered upward, shading my eyes. The silhouette of a horsey snout poked into view. It shifted, and I caught the glint of an almost luminescent silver-white mane, dark brown eyes, and a long, elegant ivory horn. My unicorn, Luna.

 

“It’s about time, pony girl,” I called. Thud. Todd threw himself blindly against the wall again, and I clutched the rocks behind me and held my breath. My little ledge shivered but held. “Were you off lollygagging around while I kept the giant devil-worm at bay? Did you find some carrots? Sugar lumps, perhaps?” Thump. Dust rained down on my head, a few pebbles shaking loose and skittering to the canyon floor.

Naomi Hughes | Author

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