Forging of the Sword
The Forging of the Sword is the first book in the Darkweaver Series:
The art of the Magician has been banned in Thrandor for two hundred years. Magic has degenerated to myth and legend, fit only for the songs of minstrels. So thought Calvyn, a young teenager from a farming village near the borders of the Great Western Forest.
Unbeknown to him, a magical talisman has been recovered and the whole of Thrandor stands blissfully unaware that disaster is poised to strike.
So begins the Darkweaver Legacy ….
The Forging of the Sword: Prologue
Demarr stumbled, bone weary. The end of another day of hard walking over the forbidding terrain of the Terachim wastes was drawing near. The attack came without warning, a huge shape lunging out of the rapidly lengthening shadows. It was the loose rock that saved him in that initial instant. Even as Demarr stumbled he sensed the movement in his peripheral vision and rolled into the mis-step, drawing his sword as he fell. The creature’s jaws snapped closed on empty air a split second behind him.
Adrenalin slammed into his system as Demarr rolled into a fighting crouch, all tiredness forgotten and survival instincts taking over. ‘Whatever the beast is, it’s big and it’s damned fast,’ he thought.
The low cliffs loomed unnaturally large in the half-light of dusk as the sun, sinking blood red into the desert, played its daily game with the shadows. Out of a large crack in the cliff face the massive head arrowed down on its long, heavily scaled neck. Demarr dived to the right, again narrowly escaping death as the vicious teeth clashed terrifyingly close by.
‘What the hell is that thing?’ he thought, as he scrambled for cover into a line of rocks.
Shrugging off his pack, Demarr ventured a glance around the large rock behind which he had taken refuge. At first he could see nothing, the inky black fissure cloaking the creature in darkness. Then, with a slight clatter of disturbed stone, the attacker stepped jerkily out into the open.
‘Great Tarmin! It’s a firedrake,’ he breathed, stunned by the reality of his situation. Firedrakes had been thought extinct for generations, and in some quarters had begun to be regarded as legendary creatures created by the over-active minds of minstrels intent on making their sagas more entertaining. Yet here was a firedrake, larger than he had ever imagined possible and infinitely more dangerous.
The firedrake stuttered forwards a few more steps, its head and long neck swaying slowly from side to side and its elongated scaly body partially emerging from its lair. Demarr squinted as he peered into the half-light, his thoughts racing as he weighed up his options. There was nowhere to run, and to attack would be suicidal. He ducked back down behind the rock and his hand came to rest on an egg-sized stone. Stalling for time, he grasped the pebble and flicked it out low and hard to his right. The diversionary projectile clattered noisily to rest at the base of the cliff some thirty yards away, yielding an instantaneous result. The firedrake’s head snapped round like lightning to face the rattling sound of the settling stone, and the huge creature’s body lurched slightly in the same direction.
There was a slight pause as the firedrake seemed to assess the situation, a silhouetted statue of terror against the cliff. Suddenly, bursting into motion, the beast charged along the base of the cliff to the impact point of the thrown pebble, its head arching forward in a blur of speed to find… nothing. It stopped, momentarily confused, its head scanning constantly from left to right and its eyes probing the dusky shadows for signs of movement.
A crack of stone sounded in the darkness and a huge boulder smashed into the firedrake’s shoulder. Screaming in pain, the beast reared its head as a gigantic section of the cliff began to collapse towards it. The rumble of falling rock drew Demarr to sneak a quick glance from his hiding place. It seemed like the whole rock face was in motion and time seemed to stand still as the semi-darkness was filled with crashing rocks, tumbling as if in slow motion. He crouched, frozen in place by the incredible scene unfolding before him, until a boulder the size of a beer barrel bounded past nearby, bringing him back to his senses.
The air filled with choking dust as Demarr flattened himself behind the ever-dwindling security of his defensive barrier of rock. The avalanche seemed to continue crashing around him for an age as he lay with his arms curled protectively over his head. An apparent eternity later, silence settled like a blanket. He could not believe his luck. First the firedrake, then an avalanche, and he was not only still alive but also unharmed.
Quickly and silently he opened his pack and pulled out an old shirt. Tearing a wide band from the back of the garment, he folded the resulting strip of material in half and bound it around his lower face to form a filter against the dust. Placing the remainder of the shirt back into his pack, he cautiously peered into the dust-filled darkness. Demarr’s eyes streamed with grit-induced tears. He could make out nothing. Shouldering his pack and holding his sword warily in front of him, Demarr turned to retrace his steps towards the firedrake’s lair. He reasoned that no other living creature would share such a retreat, so with the beast buried under the rockfall it made sense to make use of the shelter for the night, providing that the avalanche had not blocked the entrance.
Demarr stepped carefully through the treacherous boulders and had taken no more than a dozen paces when there, no more than six feet in front of him, was the head of the firedrake. The creature’s eyes were unfocused and its double eyelids were fluttering seemingly at random. Without hesitation Demarr leapt forward, driving the point of his sword with all of his might into the nearest eye. The already stunned firedrake lashed out automatically at this new source of pain, catching Demarr squarely in the chest with the side of its head. The force of the blow lifted him off his feet, hurling him several yards through the air to land flat on his backpack. Demarr’s head snapped back and connected hard with the ground, bringing instant unconsciousness. Consequently he saw and heard nothing of the screeching, thrashing death throes of the firedrake as he lay unmoving long into the night.
When he came to, Demarr was aware of nothing but a blinding headache and the bitter cold of the desert night. It was black as pitch, the stars obscured by a curtain of high cloud. All he could think of was getting warm and finding something, anything, to stop his violent shivering. Struggling out of the shoulder straps of his backpack, he fumbled the ties open and pulled out his blanket. Cocooning himself in it, he immediately plunged back into the oblivion of sleep.
The sun crept its way up over the bleak horizon, bringing warmth back to the rock-strewn scene of carnage. The raucous cries of feeding vultures dragged Demarr slowly to an awareness of his surroundings and of the pain in his head. Slowly he pushed himself up to a sitting position, only to retch violently and immediately lie back down.
‘Concussion,’ he thought. ‘I must rest, but not here. It’s not safe.’ The events of the previous night flooded back. Carefully, he sat up again. This time his stomach did not betray him and he surveyed the scene around him, wide eyed with wonder.
‘How the hell did I get away with that?’ he muttered to himself, awed by the devastation of the avalanche and the size of the dead beast only yards away.
Lifting himself slowly to his feet, Demarr draped his blanket around his shoulders and, dragging his pack, threaded his way to the huge black cave entrance. Once there he paused briefly and sifted through his pack for his tinder, flint and small remaining piece of candle. Finding them, he ventured on into the darkness, determined not to waste his precious resources unless absolutely necessary.
The floor of the cave was even, making progress easy. The solid rock surface underfoot soon gave way to a sandy dust layer that was dry and soft to walk on. Surprisingly, the cave was not very deep and Demarr reached the furthest wall long before losing sight of the entrance.
‘Time for a quick look around,’ he thought, fumbling briefly with his flint as he lit the candle. Shadows leapt around the cave, dancing about in the flickering light. A small casket sitting against the back wall immediately caught his attention.
‘Well, well! What have we here?’ he whispered to himself, kneeling down to examine his find. The lid was not locked so, with hands that were trembling with a mixture of fatigue and excitement, he unclipped the ornate hasp and carefully lifted the lid. It opened easily, as if the hinges had been kept perfectly oiled. Inside, cradled on a bed of dark silk, gleamed a beautiful silver talisman.
‘At last my fortunes are changing,’ he breathed.
Reviews of The Forging of the Sword
Mrs Mad’s Book-a-Rama
“If you like fantasy, you’ll love this, I found it easy to read and very entertaining. Fun 4 stars. Easy to read 4 stars.”
See the full review at: Mrs Mad’s Book-a-Rama
“If you take your fantasy seriously I think you will thoroughly enjoy this book. Highly recommended.”
See the full review at: Reading Matters
“The portents for future books are magical. Mark Robson has created such a thrilling narrative that you will be very much eager to read more produced from his thoughtful and inventive imagination.”
See the full review at: Author Trek
“I found it very hard to put this book down! Five stars. A cool read, get hold of this book.”
See the full review at: Cool Reads
After Mark came to our school to do some workshops, and having discovered this website pre his visit, I had a high expectation for him to live up to. Having started reading fantasy with the author Raymond E. Feist, it was a breath of fresh air to read the “Forging of the sword” and it proved that there were still authors out there which could bring new depth and diversity to the world of “fantasy”. I thoroughly enjpyed reading the book, and am sure to buy the entire set soon. Good luck in the future Mark, and I look forward to more books.
Alex G (13-15)
“I wonder if Mark is going to do any more books with Calvyn and Jenna as the main characters? I have already read Imperial Spy and its really good….also I loved all of the Darkweaver books. As soon as I started to read the first book I could not put it down…oh yeah, and thank you Mark for being in the mall in Bristol when my mum and dad went and got me the first book in the series so they could get it signed.”
Adam Blockley (13-15)
Recently read The Forging of the Sword. What can I say? It’s brilliant! Just the kind of stuff I like, swords and sorcery, heroes and villains. The names are great as well – my girlfriend is called Jenna. Calvyn and Perdimonn sound good as well.
Richard (Age 13-15)
“Mark has become one of my favourite authors, simply because how amazingly detailed he describes the landscapes around each and every character, using description I had never witnessed before. His sense of vocabulary is nothing but extraordinary! I got my books signed by Mark at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway, and would give him a overall ranking of 8/10. Well done Mark!”
Guy Hoedemakers (Age 16-21)
“I’ve read the first three after buying them and I am more than impressed with his writing skill. Personally I find his books better to read than Harry Potter.”
Marifa Heapy (Age 10-12)
“I loved these books! I was soooo eager to finish them, yet when I did, I wanted them to carry on!”
Catherine (Age 13-15)
“Having read such books as Tamora Pierce’s and Christopher Paolini’s I was looking for a new series. My friend recommended the Black Magician trilogy books and I went to pay for the first one(v. good by the way!) when the author of the Forging of the Sword, Robson, saw me. Seeing a fantasy book in my hand he persuaded me to buy his book, as he was there promoting his Imperial Spy book. I conceded and at the beginning of the book was a bit dubious. Could these books match up to Pierce’s captivating books? Yes. Calvyn is someone you can really relate to and unlike some fantasy books it has a sense of realism. You almost feel like the magic COULD be real. I read fantasy books so I can escape from the real world, but some books are too exaggerated. Robson creates a perfect balance. Though I wish I knew more about Perdimonn!”
Matthew Lee (Age 10-12)
“Very well written. i couldn’t put it down. Mark Robson is now one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy and magic.”
Matthew Degnan (Age 10-12)
“The four books are brilliant I would like to read more of his books.”
Pip (Age 11-15)
“I think all three books are excellent with a fast pace and exciting plots and good endings to keep the reader eager to finish the Legacy. They definitely need more publicising as none of my friends have read them!”
Hannah Tindall (11-15)
“I found this book impossible to put down. I bought it from England, but as I live in Germany, I couldn’t buy the next two. I read this on the first evening that I got it, I stayed up way past normal so I could finish it. When I finished I wanted to get the next book immediately, but I couldn’t, as we didn’t go to the bookshop for the rest of our stay and I couldn’t find it in the others we visited. I read and re-read The Forging of the Sword until I could recite it word from word. The ending left me drooling for more, and I couldn’t wait to get the next one.”
George Barker (11-15)
“I think that the first book was amazing!! It was brilliant how Mark Robson described the great battle between Calvyn and Derrmar. All in all it was 5/5!!”
Nita Hodges (21+)
“I have read the first book and it was fantastic. I Will be ordering the next one soon. I bought it from Mark at an airshow last year (My book is signed!) Well done, Mark.”
James Green (10-12)
“I have just finished ‘The Forging of the Sword’. I received a signed copy of it for Christmas and started reading it straight away. After I had read the first page I found it impossible to put down. I went and bought the rest immediately and have just started reading ‘The Trail of the Huntress’. I think Mark Robson is a brilliant author and can’t wait to read the rest of his books”
Edward Martin (13-15)
“I bought the first two books of the Darkweaver Legacy from Mark at an Airshow in 2001. I have lent them to a couple of friends since then and they loved the books. Therefore, I have only just finished the first one and found I had to start the “Trail of the Huntress” immediately. I loved the description and all the action and can’t wait to finish “Trail of the Huntress” so I can start on “First Sword”. Thanks for recommending your own books Mark.”
Bill White (10-12)
“The Forging of the Sword is a great book! It has super description and its the best book I have ever read. I think it deserves 100% and 10/10. Anyone who rates a book better than this one is mad!”
Dominic Gray (13-15)
“I bought The Forging Of The Sword before Christmas at at Ottakars in Milton Keynes. Mark approached us at the door, we had a chat and he offered to sign a book for me. I agreed, wondering what I had got myself into. I need not have worried as The Forging Of The Sword is the best book
I’ve read since Lord Of The Rings. I found it full of action and plot twists. I read until about 1:30 in the morning. I would strongly recommend it to anyone, even if you have no interest in fantasy”
Andrea Barratt (13-15)
“I have only read the 1st book but I thought it was excellent. I couldn’t put it down and I can’t wait to read the next one. I also think it could use some more publicity, as I had never heard of Mark Robson until my mum brought me the book for Christmas.”
“I bought my copy from Mark at the summer fete of my last school in 2001, so it’s signed. My parents were reluctant to buy me the second one along with it, even though I knew it would have been good to get both. I really enjoyed reading it, and as soon as I’d finished, I got the second one. When I had finished I was really sad, because the third one had not been out yet. After three years I had remembered not being able to get the third one, and after having re-read both found that the bookshop only had books one, two and four, but not three! I’m frustrated because I really want to find out what happens next. AAARRRRGGGGHHH!!!.”
“A great book – incredible plot and storyline. It mixes magic with military training in an incredible way!”