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The Shayton Chronicles Book 1: Destiny Sets by Karen Fainges (Fantasy: Vampire)

The Shayton Chronicles Book 1: Destiny Sets by Karen Fainges (Fantasy: Vampire)
 
(2 reviews)  

Lightning sears a scene against the eye. Trapped between reality and death, every scrap of life is fighting for existence. To stop fighting is to die.

Some precious moments of peace can be stolen from small pockets of calm. Life can take a breath and wonder at the harsh beauty. But only for a moment, then struggle resumes. And others watch.

The Shayton Chronicles begins in Destiny Sets, the story of one man. He is that drop of chaos that can spell success or failure.

Born from a vampiric race of slaves, genetically moulded to provide comfort for their masters, he alone decides to be truly free. Irreverent humour and a fierce need to know 'why', war within him and entire worlds are changed.

"The Stainless Steel Rat with fangs."

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ISBN/EAN13: 1921636343 / 9781921636349
Page Count: 286
Trim Size: 5" x 8"

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The Shayton Chronicles Book 1: Destiny Sets by Karen Fainges (Fantasy: Vampire)
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2 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Michelle Randall for Readers' Favorite (https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/26614)
Jun 23, 2014
Here on Earth the stories of vampires are a bit twisted and not so true, but in another parallel dimension there is a world called Shayton that is inhabited by real vampires and they are nothing like the stories. On Shayton the world is in danger of collapsing and the ruling Council is always on the lookout for ways to correct the issues and stave off the collapse. Lisa is the daughter of the king, but she has been banished from Shayton and lives on Earth. Now the council wants her back, and selects a human to bring with her for a special purpose: providing a god-Child. The Shayton Chronicles Book 1: Destiny Sets follows Lisa as she is brought back and conceives not one but two children and the lives of Lisa and Tony, the children, and Shayton that follow their conception and birth. Karen Fainges takes a paranormal or fantasy novel and adds the elements of a family saga to give a new and different angle on the idea of vampires and their coexistence with our world.

The Shayton Chronicles Book 1: Destiny Sets begins what promises to be a unique and fun series. Even though it could be called paranormal or fantasy, I think the best genre label for it should be family saga. It follows Lisa and Tony, then their children, through life to the point where they are once again reintroduced to their parents. Talkar is followed as he fights for his place in the world of Shayton, then as he leaves and finds a fulfilling life on Earth with Molly, and later a child with another species. Karen Fainges does a wonderful job of creating a story that you want to follow from the beginning, characters that you relate to and feel for. Although this book spans a great deal of time, it almost feels as it is all happening within moments of each other. This is definitely a good book for adults, highly mature young adults, and those loving the idea of a new approach to vampires.
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Allbooks Review International (http://www.allbooksreviewint.com)
Feb 15, 2013
Can you imagine a vampire shape-shifting alien race from an ever changing planet where survival is key for all? How about if said vampire alien race brought human men from earth to their planet to reproduce? And what if one human man was asked to be the father of the children who were to rebuild the species and what if he said yes? Destiny Sets will bring you into the world of Shayton and you will follow the life of Talker and how he is destined to save the Shayton race alongside his sister Leila. It's about his journey to be truly free and discover what the Council’s true plans for him are.

Talker grows up always hearing that soon everything will become clear and he will be able to show his true self. His whole life he has had to hide and pretend that he was weak and, on Shayton if you are weak, you die. As Talker grows older he goes through many important events that shape who he is and that show him that you don’t always just have to survive but that you can actually live as well.

Karen Fainges creates the very intricate world of Shayton and its people. She has written good well-rounded characters that go with her new world and that really capture a reader’s attention, making them want to know more. The world of Shayton is very interesting and Karen Fainges did a great job of making it believable so when a reader is reading the book they actually believe in this new world and its people.

I would definitely recommend this book but to a mature audience. It is a very good book with a great storyline behind it. This book is great for anyone looking for a new world and story different from the average vampire legends heard a lot recently.
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Sample Chapter

The Head of the Shaytonian Council sat idly on the pitted rock fence that visually separated the City from the Wilderness. Listening to the hoarse cries of the eagles swooping down to an uncovered prey, she wished she was free to be out there with them. But who was she trying to fool? She had her Duty, as did every Shaytonian, and that was to ensure the City survived. And that meant endless hours in Council, dealing with all and sundry, the thousand little details that meant she must submerge her own desires to the point she did not even remember the time she had a name of her own. Of course, she could feel the barely controlled power of the force field that was the real reason they were no longer dying in droves. It held back the constant tremors and tidal waves caused by the writhing of their world. Channeling the energy of every citizen of the City into the shield had been a move of desperation at the time, but now, it was a part of their life, as normal as breathing. It meant they were all linked, that the Council could literally read every thought, note every change and use it to balance out the shield. So as one of those in charge of the power, why was she so worried about using it?

Grimacing, she admitted the truth that many had forgotten but that she never could. The link that kept the City safe also smacked of slavery, the very thing they had thought they had escaped in this world. It was time to change the system, and this time...she hoped it worked. Sighing and settling against the rough bark of a tree that sheltered on the safe side of the wall, she felt the faint trace of someone approaching. A sniff told her it was Melinski, probably sent to call her back to the Council for some new crisis. Melinski surprised her by instead settling on to the wall next to her.

"So, it is time to summon the wayward waif back to the fold."

The Head shook her head, at first thinking Melinski was referring to herself. The seriousness of her friend's face told a different story. With a soft snort she replied, "It is amazing that someone I know cannot get through my mental shields can read me so well."

Melinski shrugged, "It is hardly a difficult thing to do in this case. I know you have been holding session times down and that always means you have something exciting to tell us. That was the most likely possibility."

The sour look on Melinski's face showed how thrilled she was with the possibility and Head could not blame her. After all, the last few attempts were all so successful, ending with the King driven mad and his daughter exiled to Earth. And for Melinski, there was a personal side. The exiled daughter that would need to return for the plan to begin, had been raised by Melinski. Closer to the child than her mother would have ever been, Melinski was now the exile's friend. And this would hurt them both, all over again.

"Well, it needs to happen soon," Head said lightly. She did not need to explain that thought to Melinski. They had been joined in fighting the Council member that represented those that been chosen to follow Battle as their life task. Battle was pushing hard for a new Head of Council and if that happened...Head shuddered. Not liking her own control over the shield and not liking the idea of Battle having that full control, was on a whole different level. They had to start the plan to save Shayton before Battle could wrench control away.

Melinski's question broke into her thoughts, "So who is to tell Lisa?"

Head shrugged, that part of the decision at least was an easy one. The exiled princess held no love for the Council, but she would obey...eventually. "I will probably send Marcus. He is her brother and not part of the Council, which should reduce the friction of the command, and strong enough to fend her off if she objects."

"And the male we will need to impregnate her? Will Marcus provide that function as well?"

Head shook her head, "No, we need a human."

"A human! Why?"

It was rare Melinski showed her reactions that obviously. Head realised she had misjudged just how concerned Melinski was. Head thought for a moment how to phrase this next part. Melinski would need to be behind her plans one hundred percent if they were to succeed. "There is a poem on Earth, one I think you know. In it is a line, 'I think I shall never see A poem as lovely as a tree.'"

Melinski nodded, "Joyce Kilmer, I met him once at Columbia. A very simple man. I liked him."

Head nodded, glad her friend had accepted her short side track. "It is that humanity we need. I have searched for others like Kilmer, well read but still simplistic, not naïve, but still filled with wonder. And I believe I have found him, but I wish to be sure. Lisa is about to travel to America, yes?" Melinski gestured agreement with a flick of her fingers. "Her current favourite lover is starting to age, she will be looking for another. We must vet this possible male and ensure he is suitable before she does that. That way, they will seem to be together naturally. I have ensured members of his family have visited Lisa's dance troupe and they enjoyed her performance. I am sure it will not be too difficult to arrange for them to meet. A suggestion in his mind to visit her hunting grounds perhaps."

Melinski, "It is possible. I can implant a dream in his mind easily enough."

"Good, now all that remains is to meet the young man myself." Melinski obviously thought there was a great deal more to do than that, but she held her tongue. Head continued, "I believe it is time for me to revisit my beloved Orient Express. You my dear friend may deliver him the invitation to join me."

Melinski snorted, "Oh may I?" Nodding she agreed, "Very well, I will make the arrangements today." With that she left. Head watched her go for a short moment and then turned back to the Wilderness. It was starting, and Fates knew where it would end. She only hoped, this time, that it would not hurt Lisa too badly. Still, Earth had been reasonably kind to her. Head wondered idly what Lisa was doing now.

Painting the mythic vampire

The deep royal blue sky of the Italian Riviera provided the perfect backdrop to the posed woman. She was an otherworldly figure set amongst the ancient columns. Her softly accented voice broke the stillness. "Are you sure about this?"

She watched as he added a daub more paint, "I am sure. You said it yourself, the best way to deny something it is to say it is true."

"And what if the Council finds out?"

Alfredo dabbed on a different colour. Going by the look on his face, he still did not have the skin colour the exactly right colour of purple. It had been frustrating him all evening. There was a timeline that neither one of them had mentioned, but it loomed in their thoughts. He was getting older, and no one lived forever. His words dragged her out of the wave of sadness that swept through her. "This mythical Council of yours, what if they do notice the paintings? They are just paintings."

"The Council is no myth. They rule our world."

"I thought the King ruled your homeworld?"

Lisa started to shrug but remembered in time not to move from the pose. "His rule is absolute, so long as he leaves all the day to day decisions, like whether to exile his daughter to Earth, to the Council."

"And you, as this poor exiled waif are concerned that one of those 'day to day' decisions may be objecting to this painting?"

Lisa snorted at the sarcasm in his voice, knowing it was meant more to chide her out of the doldrums than anything else. "They defend of the safety of Shayton. They hold dear her anonymity. It keeps her from being destroyed by those that fear the different, which, my dear, you must agree describes most humans remarkably well."

Alfredo nodded, "And trust me, the picture of a masked dancer with obviously fake wings..." Lisa snorted again at this description of her body, "will ensure that any little slip ups like the one in Venice, will be seen as a publicity stunt and nothing else. Your Council will thank us."

Remembering the 'little slipup', when one member of the troupe had fed on a drunk and tried to literally fly through his part of the dance, Lisa gave a delicate shudder. Ignoring the chance to express her thoughts more vocally, Lisa returned to her pose. Wings arched like a dark cloak behind her, claws extended, Lisa leant draped against a Corinthian column. The black velvet domino mask covering half her face, leapt from the paleness of her skin. 'Masked dancer of the night.' They had thought of the title while dancing along the river at the party held by their current host. Allowing the risqué dance troupe, the NightMyths, to stay at his villa, had assured Count Garaboldi of social success. They had performed their mixture of art, dance and erotica on the villa's lawn and the rich had flocked to be seen. Lisa had felt the season an unqualified success except for the fact that she often wondered if anyone from the audience watched the stage at all. Society seemed to be more about being seen there rather than really enjoying the expensive experiences their money could buy. Still it had allowed her and the other exiles to Earth to band together and dance, sing and celebrate some of their culture without anyone commenting on the pale skin and slightly different stance that all Shaytonians had. Normally forced to stay apart in case others noticed the differences made more obvious by numbers, now they could gather and drift amongst human society almost unremarked.

This was their last month in Italy. Soon they would be heading to America, the next country on their grand tour. Copies of this painting would help advertise it. They could have taken photos like everywhere else, but this time, they were going with paintings. This time they were going to show the real masked dancer. She would be unashamedly Shaytonian. The paintings would allow them show a two thousand year old vampire and no one would even comment. Sometimes the old ways were best.

She watched the handsome face of the man painting her. Silver hair and a lined face did nothing to detract from that handsomeness. It is what first drew her to him, that and his rather accessible neck. He was strong, for a human, full of a dry intelligent wit that she could taste each time she fed, and willing to be one of her lovers. As an exiled Shaytonian, she was not allowed to marry, but her need for regular lovers to feed from encouraged her to choose those that would stay close. Alfredo had definitely done that, a constant safe warmth by her side, someone that laughed at the same shared jokes from his lifetime with her. It was some time ago that they had first met and back then the hair was dark and the skin unlined.

Lisa forced herself not to notice the way her nose was itching. She had been posed this way for two hours now and it was starting to wear thin. Still, she had promised Alfredo she would pose properly for him, allow him to paint the masterpiece he was sure would result. For all the years they had been together, Alfredo had been the photographer for their dance group but his real love was painting. And he had wanted to paint her in what he insisted calling the all naturale. Naked, her pale skin echoing the white marble column but with its own pale purple hue. Long raven hair flowed over one shoulder to show her back to full perfection because it was her wings he really wished to paint. In fact, in an unguarded moment, she had promised Alfredo he could paint each of her forms. The roman motif would continue, her mer tail showed off in a roman baths, her wolf form against a tiled frieze of the story of Romulus and Remus, and as a bat in the fig trees. They had argued on that one. After all, bats did hang around fig trees, and they are a big part of the Italian countryside, but those were fruit bats. Lisa had nothing against fruit, but it was the mythical they were going for. Pooping fruit bats did not really cut it. She forced the thought away. What they were really going for was deniability. No matter how well the dance troupe was doing, they could not risk being found out. Humans killed the different all the time and she had no wish to die. While no individual human was physically a match for a Shaytonian, they were a lot more of them and their old weapons like a sword and bow were now a lot deadlier.

She brought her attention back to Alfredo. In fact, it had been his idea for the travelling show that provided them all a place to call home. Exiles had banded together, dancers, sculptors, painters, singers and more, all travelling the world and performing. They were family in a way, looking out for each other. Their own brand of safety. No longer free to return to their own world, they could start building the sense of community here on Earth.

Alfredo's distracted tones interrupted her thoughts, "You know, it does make for quite a romantic tale, a lost princess bands together a scraggily band of fellow exiles and lives the life of a gypsy."

"Except I am not a princess. My people are escaped slaves with delusions of grandeur and our 'King' is insane."

"Nothing wrong with mad kings. Even the Bard himself wrote about them."

"You have to be finished. I must scratch my nose, it is driving me crazy."

Alfredo laughed, "You know, they say an itching nose is a sign you are about to kiss a fool."

"Really, then pucker up." She left the column and stalked towards him, "Time for you to do me a favour."

"Wait, I just need to..." His words were cut off as Lisa's lips found his. After a long moment, his body yielded to the inevitable and Lisa felt him drop the pallet and brush on to the small table set up next to his easel and snug his arms around her. The kiss deepened and they sank to the ground together. She stopped worrying about an itchy nose, in fact about anything, at least for a while.

***

Alfredo completed all the paintings, even the bat in the fig tree before he died. And he was right, no one even dreamt that the figures in the paintings were anything but clever advertising. The troupe buried him on European soil and left for America. Lisa wondered what new experiences awaited her, and who it would be that she would find to help her experience them.

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