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Archive for September 22nd, 2018

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Children of the Fifth Sun

By Gareth Worthington

Genre: Sci Fi, Adventure, Action

WINNER OF THE SCI FI CATEGORY 2017 LONDON BOOK FESTIVAL

{In development for TV / film}

IN ALMOST EVERY BELIEF SYSTEM ON EARTH, there exists a single unifying mythos: thousands of years ago a great flood devastated the Earth’s inhabitants. From the ruins of this cataclysm, a race of beings emerged from the sea bestowing knowledge and culture upon humanity, saving us from our selfish drive toward extinction. Some say this race were “ancient aliens” who came to assist our evolution.

But what if they weren’t alien at all? What if they evolved right here on Earth, alongside humans . . . and they are still here? And, what if the World’s governments already know?

***

Kelly Graham is a narcissistic self-assured freelance photographer specializing in underwater assignments. While on a project in the Amazon with his best friend, Chris D’Souza, a mysterious and beautiful government official, Freya Nilsson, enters Kelly’s life and turns it upside down. Her simple request to retrieve a strange object from deep underwater puts him in the middle of an international conspiracy. A conspiracy that threatens to change the course of human history.

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Author’s Bio

Gareth Worthington BSc PhD is a trained marine biologist and also holds a doctorate in comparative endocrinology. Currently, Gareth works full time for the pharmaceutical industry helping to educate the world’s doctors on new cancer therapies. His debut novel, Children of the Fifth Sun, won in the Science Fiction category at the London Book Festival 2017. He has a number of passions, including: martial arts (he trained in Muay Thai at the prestigious EVOLVE MMA gym in Singapore), studying ancient history, and most of all writing fiction. Born in England, Gareth resides in Switzerland.

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Excerpt

Location: Somewhere on the Amazon, South America

Kelly Graham hung suspended in the cloudy, pink water, gently kicking his feet. His left hand and arm were wrapped in a thin yellowish rope that ascended from the dark water below and through the ceiling of scattered light and rippling currents above his head. In his right hand, he held an underwater camera. It was large and cumbersome, but he’d had it for years and wouldn’t use anything else—didn’t trust anything else. He pointed it at the white, ghost-like forms gliding around in the distance. They gracefully sliced through the liquid, dancing with each other. He waited patiently and kept very still.

A ghost came closer, intrigued by this hairless ape hanging from his underwater branch. It hovered there, its head cocked to one side as it looked at him. Its eyes were wise and knowing yet playful. It opened its long beak as if it wanted to communicate, to bestow some mystical knowledge.

Click. Kelly gently squeezed the button and captured the almost human curiosity on the animal’s face. Click. Another precious second in time preserved on film. The river dolphin lost interest and turned away, flicking its tail once before disappearing into the fuchsia haze.

Kelly exhaled, spilling thousands of bubbles out through his mouth. Had he been holding his breath for that long? He couldn’t have been. He looked up and admired the bright, shimmering sun through the rose-colored liquid. Kelly released his tangled hold on the rope, kicked once, and floated upward. As his face broke the surface, he was greeted by the contrasting warm air. With closed eyes, he let the sun begin to dry the skin on his face.

“Where the fuck have you been?” A short, tubby Hispanic man in his mid-twenties glared at Kelly from a little wooden boat, his hand outstretched for his friend to grab. Chris was dressed in blue cargo pants and a grubby, gray t-shirt that may once have been white; his tanned Latin skin juxtaposed by peroxide blonde, crew-cut hair.

“Taking pictures, esé, where’d ya think?” Kelly grinned and grasped his friend’s wrist, making an enjoyable slapping sound as his wet hand made contact.

“Could have fooled me. I didn’t see any bubbles for like fifteen minutes. I swear, thought you’d been swept away by an undercurrent.” Chris’s voice strained at the end of his sentence as he heaved Kelly’s muscular frame from the water.

“That was the point of our makeshift anchor though, right?” Kelly nodded at the buoy bobbing on the water’s surface. “Was a great idea to use that lump of metal and a bit of old rope. I think I’m a genius.” Kelly lay panting in the bow of the boat, propped up on his elbows.

“Yeah, but remember there’s no genius without us, oh great and wise one.” Chris swept Kelly’s arms from underneath him and sent him sprawling backward.

Kelly quickly leapt to his feet and grabbed his rotund friend by the shorts, lifting him into the air, his biceps straining under the weight.

“Ah, wedgie! Stop it.” Chris wailed, clawing at his shorts as they disappeared between his buttocks.

“For God’s sake, can you boys not act like children for more than five minutes?”

The tall, blonde woman stood in a meaningful pose on her little boat, closed fists resting on her hips, her long hair blowing gently to one side in the breeze. With her gray-green tank top, half-thigh camouflage shorts, and military-issue jungle boots, Kelly thought she looked like she had bought her outfit from an Adventurers-R-Us catalogue. The boat stuttered through the water, powered by a loud chugging outboard motor.

“Well, as I live and breathe.” Kelly smirked. “Been a while, but I see time hasn’t changed anything. You BBC wildlife types are still way too uptight. I could sort that out for you if you like?” Kelly grinned and winked at his long-time rival. His one open, dirty-blue eye flashed in the sunlight.

“I see National Geographic is still in the business of hiring Neanderthals. Have you gone round to a relative of yours and snapped some cave paintings with your ancient camera?” Her hands were cupped together to form a megaphone, ensuring that Kelly would hear the entirety of her clever remark as she drifted downriver.

“Was that Vicky?” Chris asked.

“Yeah, been a while since we saw her, huh?”

“Like five years.”

“Exactly. She still wants me, but we’re just passing ships on the Amazon.” He laughed and shrugged his shoulders. “Come on, Paco, let’s go.”

Guest Post

Writing from the heart.

For those of you who are new to my Children of the Fifth Sun series, welcome! It’s an action-packed, globe-hopping sci-fi adventure (think Indiana Jones meets The Abyss). It’s also won a number of awards already and I’m ecstatic to have it out there. There even more two follow on books. I’m very lucky.

But, it wasn’t planned that way.

This story is one that I have been working on since I was fifteen years old; the first iterations being for school projects. Then after many years hiatus, I returned to the premise and in 2012 started writing it again. In 2017, after five years of writing, finding an agent, and a publisher and securing a release date, it was ready to be unleashed unto the world. It was a 140k word labour of love, with 20 years of research and a good chunk of my soul. Anyone who knows me will be able to recognise me in Kelly Graham – the protagonist. At least me, pre 2014. On finishing it, I was content that the story was complete.

Then, just before publication, Hollywood took note and the book was picked up for development by Vesuvian Entertainment and Boilermaker Entertainment. The CEO of my publisher came to me and said: “Could you write two more books? Hollywood guys love it, and will want more to work with.” The terms ‘tentpole franchise’ and ‘blockbuster movie’ were thrown around. When my publisher says could you, that means she’s not really asking.

Gulp. I was stumped.

The characters had run their arc, and I didn’t know where to go. Mainly because I was a very different person to before 2014; and so couldn’t necessarily tap into that vein again. In Children of the Fifth Sun, Kelly Graham is a reflection of how a lifetime of pain, sadness and fear had ruled how I saw the world and how I was hell-bent on protecting my own heart.

So, what happened in 2014 to change that? My son, Nikolaj, was born. Then in 2015, my daughter Mila came into the world (loudly I might add). And with them my life changed, as did my views and priorities. The internal pain I drew on for Kelly was shifted. I was happy.

How the hell was I going to write not one, but two more books?

One thing was certain: since Children of the Fifth Sun was such a personal book, the sequels had to be too. The birth of my kids shifted my entire focus to their well being and safety, rather than mine. I don’t matter. Nothing else matters. And this, is what I used in when writing the rest of the series. Because despite the guns, and explosions and exotic locations, at its core it’s a story about what it is to be human, and how priorities change with your life. All in all, the story arc spans more than 20 years. Because it needs to.

In this way, I was able to continue with the characters and stay true to the story. Essentially my story. So, as the title of this post suggests: write from the heart, and you can’t go wrong. At least, that’s my humble advice.

If you like book one, book two (Echelon) was just released and book three comes out next year.  Happy reading. Gareth.

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