Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My guest today - Lee Ness, author of the Olympian series - #FREE Historical Fiction!

Cadet, Book 2 in the Olympian series released on June 30, 2016. Scroll down for more info on the book and how you can download Books 1 and 2 for free.

About writing the series:
It all started with a conversation over a cup of tea. A few of us at work read a lot of books and we all have a preference for historical fiction. The conversation was around which periods had not really been covered by the big hitters, like Scarrow, Cornwell and Iggulden. We couldn’t really think of any. It was an interesting conversation, but didn’t amount to anything. At the time I was writing a non-fiction book called The Sports Motivation Master Plan.

A year or so later, the Master Plan was off with the editor and I was at a loose end. I was still maintaining the same routine, up at 5am sat in front of the computer, but doing nothing productive. On the way to a competition with a mini-bus full of athletes, a 5 hour round trip on the motorway of mind-numbing frustration in a bus that was restricted to 56mph, I started to think about writing a novel, but what about?

There I was, with a bus full of athletes…….

And then, there it was. Ancient Olympics. (The idea of writing a contemporary novel about the Olympics came to mind, but it didn’t even interest me, never mind a reader!) I thought back to that conversation and tried to think of a major series of books set in Ancient Greece, and I couldn’t. Brilliant. I was sure there was, but the fact that none sprung to mind was good enough. By the time the bus journey finished I had the plot, not just for one book, but for a whole series.

I love Greece, and I’ve been there many times. I even plan to retire there when the time comes. Perfect. Except I knew scant amount about the history, only tourist levels of knowledge. Time to research. I read an excellent book called The Naked Olympics, by Tony Perrottet which gave me some great ideas and helped me decide the exact period I wanted to set it in. The aim wasn’t to write about specific historical events, only to use them as a backdrop. The aim was for the characters and the plot to carry the day.

I finished the first novel at the end of 2013, but didn’t release it for another year. I wrote a contemporary fiction novel in the meantime and then the sequel to that after the first Olympian was released.

The second book is darker than the first. Alexander needed to suffer, to reach the very bottom so that in later books when he needs to draw on his reserves, he’s been there and done it in the worst/best way. Most novels follow a three act type structure and mine are no different, where there is an event that closes act 1 and launches the main meat of the story. The series is also following the same pattern and Cadet is the end of Act 1 and Alexander is launched on the trajectory that eventually gets him to the Ancient Olympics. As in life, he just has to suffer a bit first. 

In a moment of sudden and terrible clarity, he realised the magnitude of what he had done by coming here. His mother was alone back in Agryl and, because she was a Thracian, her status as a citizen came from his father and him, and they were both here. If his father perished and he wasn’t there either, she would lose everything, her husband, her home and her means of support. He didn’t know where she would go, if he would ever find her again. He had to do something, his panicked thoughts tumbled through his mind. He couldn’t get home now until the next transport returned. He had to try and protect his father somehow instead. The twelve year old boy protecting the seasoned veteran. It sounded ridiculous to his own mind, but he reasoned that there must be something he could do to help, with the rain of death descending on the phalanx below. He would work it out as he went along. With the decision made, he set off down the ridge at a run towards the imminent battle below.

Cadet, Olympian Book 2
The cadets still eyed each other warily as Alexander dragged himself to his feet. His back was on fire, but the rage he felt at Hermes blotted out the pain he felt. It was a distant part of him; there but not there. Hermes had his back to Alexander and didn’t see him. Aethon was the most alert and frowned at what he saw. Alexander was covered in sand and blood from his earlier beatings. His hair was matted to his head, his face streaked with dried blood and one eye swollen. Where skin was visible through the sand that clung to him, he was covered in bruises in deep red, blue, purple and yellow. Aethon’s eyes widened at the sight.

The other cadets spotted Alexander in turn and stopped eyeing each other to look at him. Hermes tilted his head and tried to decide if this was some kind of trick, then carefully looked over his shoulder. He jerked backwards at the sight of Alexander behind him, a look of fear on his face, before he recovered and laughed. He turned back to the others.

“Looks like we have another opponent to deal with, boys,” he laughed. 

Athens 438 BC 
"So the gods have seen fit to give you to me," said Zosimos. "I thought they must be smiling on you after Samos, but it seems they were just playing a cruel trick on you. That fool Pericles might have taken a shine to you, but he can't protect you here. You're mine now." 

Alexander has survived the Siege of Samos and been sent to a military academy as a cadet. The battles with the Athenian army are nothing to what he faces in the Academy. With his life in danger from all sides, Alexander must draw on everything he has learned just to survive, but is survival enough? It isn't long before the fight back starts, against every cadet, the trainers and the head of the Academy. Can he be the last man standing?

About the author
I’m a General Manager for an upholstery company by day, an athletics coach by night and get up with the lark to be a writer. Sometimes, I spend time with my wife, two kids and my dog as well. I used to write articles for, and Athletics Weekly before the fiction bug took over my life. Now that’s all I write.


Download Book 1, Hoplite and Book 2, Cadet for FREE by visiting this page. If you download the books, please consider writing an honest review and sharing on your blog, Amazon and/or Goodreads. Thank you! 

Note: These are Kindle (mobi) format. If you need a different format, please contact me via the contact tab in the menu. The author will provide a link to the format you require.


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