26th October 2015, Three Hares Publishing, 332 pages,
The storm clouds of destiny are tightening their fist and chasing after Dom and Angelique. They in turn are chasing after Jules, in a desperate attempt to rescue her from the clutches of Lord Ambra, as he whisks her away to Hells Cauldron. Their journey takes them from the whispered secrets of Floating City, to the fiery terrors of Hells Cauldron. Dom learns how he must discover the legacy of an ancient race hidden within the heart of every single airship and help break their chains of slavery. But, above all, he must stop an ultimate weapon being developed, a weapon which threatens every free Earth across the dimensions. The key to everything is within Dom, but will he find the strength to overcome the terrible cost of this fight and cope with the ultimate betrayal, that may destroy him. Dom, will need every skill he has learned about being a Cloud Rider to face the coming storm…
There's a reason why this book doesn't have a review grade. It's not that bad! While I liked the sound of Breaking storm, it sounded not quite my kind of read just now, but I was intrigued enough that I wanted to feature it here so you can go check it out! I likd hearing that Nick visits schools and demonstrates part of his boos with children - apparently he has a portable tornado machine - how cool is that? He uses a holographic cube which makes a face appear...
..and one of the compasses used within the book!
I'm certain you're intrigued by now, so here's Nick talking about the book:
What Would You Do If...?
- A giant comet was about to hit the world?
- A virus had escaped from a research laboratory and a real life zombie plague was rapidly spreading around the globe?
- We have made first contact with an alien race, but they are anything but friendly?
- An advancement in computing has led to a breakthrough in artificial intelligence, and the machines have decided to take over the world?
The above are the sort of hypothetical situations I love to think about as an author, particular as an author who grew up during the space race, watched Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon, then fell in love with science, science fiction and fantasy books and films.
But what is key for me with the above list of scenarios is that these events are happening in our world. As much as I love alternative world fiction like Lord of the Rings, it’s this type of scenario set here that, as an author, I find endlessly fascinating.
How would you cope if you were thrust into an extreme situation like the above, where all the normal rules of our world, the routines of our lives, are disrupted?
It’s exactly this question that lies at the heart of Cloud Riders. Take ordinary people, albeit rounded characters with interesting back stories, and then drop them into a situation where tornadoes aren’t really weather phenomena, but gateways to parallel universes! Yes, really!
You see, that’s exactly the sort of crazy I love to write about. And I’m not alone in this. Disaster movies particularly love to explore this very concept. From 2012 to Cloverfield, they systematically destroy everything we hold dear and see how the main characters cope with the fallout. The writer is like some sort of mad scientist where his characters are the lab rats. And have you noticed that it’s always the poor Statue of Liberty that gets it in the neck? Nothing like taking out an iconic landmark for sheer shock value, especially one that symbolises freedom.
This is also a common theme that is at the heart of many dystopian YA stories. Think Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games. Within the rules of the incredible imagined world that Suzanne Collins created, Kat is a great strong character and is surrounded by people she cares about and who care about her. But before long that world is threatened by the call to the Hunger Games. In other words take an ordinary person and drop them into an extreme situation. It’s the classic hero’s journey that has been told and retold throughout human history, from Homer’s Odyssey to Lord of the Rings. This type of story, the quest - that has always called out to us as a species.
It’s this classics hero’s journey that lies at the heart of Cloud Riders, and also its sequel Breaking Storm. In these books, I take Dom - a lad from Oklahoma and a family of storm chasers, who lost his own father to a tornado – then I threaten everything that he loves and cares about.
There are years of world building behind Cloud Riders, which you only get the slightest peak of within the first book, and much more of in the second, but that is as it should be, because it’s all about the characters, stories filled with heart and soul, and visions of a world that will haunt the reader’s mind. But above all it is a story about humanity.
So ask yourself if a tornado struck and out of it emerged an airship, and steampunk came crashing into our world, what would you do? Yes, that’s exactly that the sort of story that I love to write about.
Find out more about Nick on his blog
Find out more about Nick on his blog