"She had imagined many things about Li Ban but she shuddered at his death. He had tried to outrun the Black Dragon and failed.
Each year young men ran before the great wave that sweeps up the Quintang River on the full moon. It was foolish and daring. Li Ban had tripped then fallen. For a second, her courtiers had told her, he lay there in his fine clothes face down in the mud then the brown waters churned over him. His body was not recovered.
The court counsellors were quick to read this sign. "It was not meant to be, this marriage - he was full of bad luck. "
But one of her handmaidens, Precious Jade, had said he was handsome and elegant.”
The Blue Dragon
"Her hero from her book was a rich and magical youth who wandered the world collecting tales wherever he could and retelling them. She shut herself up in her room for long periods to read about him and his adventures.
In his stories he told, not just of beautiful princesses, but of jealous princesses, naïve princesses, frisky princesses, demanding princesses, cursed princesses, brainy princesses, warrior princesses, healing princesses, coquettish princesses, enlightened princesses, even sleeping princesses, but he never, ever, mentioned her type of princess, a hidden princess, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be loved, lost in the tentacles of time.
Then one day she read a mysterious story he had written himself.
"If a person wants some thing, or another, they have only to ask” said the character in that tale. "The way,” he continued, "that the universe works, a person can send out a signal into the ether and it will most often be answered.”
What had she done? How had she offended the Pharoah? His was absolute power. This was his, the land of Egypt, the crops, the labourers, the priests and scribes, the royal wives and the royal concubines"
Plus the story of The Golden Fish, a story from India of magic and the soul out of the body. Retold from the Golden Bough.
But surely he wouldn’t.... he might. Men were unpredictable. If she, Valentina, was interested in Nikolay she would have to act. But then her boss’s words came back to her "be tentative.” Perhaps that was what her mother was being, by inviting him here for this meal, this was her opening gambit, her tentative approach. Valentina gripped the basin."Now Valentina," she said to herself, "get back in there and be tentative." She took a deep breath and returned to the kitchen. Andreyushka was talking to Nikolay about his work as Yelena cleared away some of the dishes. Valentina helped her; her mother whispered to her,
"He’s nice isn’t he?
"Yes Mama.” said Valentina being tentative. They returned to the table."
Andreyushka had by now pulled out his cartoons and was showing Nikolay the story board for the "Beast of Moscow. "
"What do you think? Said Yelena, "Is it really out there?
"If it is,” said Nikolay, "it is probably afraid and doesn’t know where to turn. It will be lonely and feel lost in this big city.”
He said this with such feeling that Valentina could feel her heart melting, for surely, this was how he Nikolay was feeling.
The evening drew to a close. As they stood in the door Valentina took her chance, reached up and gave Nikolay the double hug. She lingered in that embrace just a fraction longer than was normal. She wanted him to feel her warmth, smell her perfume, to feel enveloped, protected.
Her mother had turned away just before this point to re-enter the flat so did not sense this moment but Nikolay did. He seemed a little flustered. He hadn’t been held for a long time not like this. He mumbled goodbye and went off down the stairwell. Valentina watched him go. A bird under her breast was singing. She went to bed early, to savour this new feeling of wanting to care for someone, to want to wrap yourself around them. When her mother came to bed, Valentina was lying with her arms around a pillow in what looked like a passionate embrace"
Their leader Gaythelos was a handsome man, a round face with a fine nose in proportion to his face, dark eyebrows over blue eyes, a rarity in Egypt, and his hair long, braided then swept back and held by a silver clasp.
Nefer’neferure, like the other daughters of the Pharaoh had admired him greatly"
Yet here, with links to international events, unfolded a plot that brought personal tragedy to the narrow streets and harbour of the small Ligurian town.
It also revealed the courage of ordinary Italians.
She felt a little flustered. She was breathing heavily from the running.
She saw his face again, the wild hair, the sincere look, his dark eyes studying her closely. There was a little fluttering in her stomach.
She continued on down the track clutching her bundle, trying to avoid the sheep droppings. Her small house stood on the side of a ravine. At this time of year the stream was dry but they had an ancient well in front of the house; it reached way down into the living rock and gave pure water, cool and refreshing. It was called the well of the mountain nymph, el pozo de la ninfa de montana. "
"In 2012, against conservation rules, two large non-Mediterranean fleets were spotted in some of the main Mediterranean fishing grounds. The substantial presence of irregular foreign vessels in the Mediterranean, added to an evident decrease in the control zeal of nations involved in this fishery, is a reminder of the situation created by recent conflict in Libya.
One of the fleets consisted of several Chinese ships (none of which is authorized to fish here), with the other comprised of several ships of unknown registry.
The Chinese fleet entered the Mediterranean via the Suez canal, leaving the region via the Straights of Gibraltar reportedly heading to Mauritania.
The second fleet refused to respond to attempts to communicate. The high prices paid for swordfish and tuna in the Japanese market mean that quota levels are continually not set low enough to allow the fish to recover, as well meaning that there is extensive illegal fishing going on. Single fish can sell for over $100,000. adapted from " treehugger."
Kee.á, a Native American girl, sets out on a spirit journey to seek her father in the wilderness of the Pacific North West.
The Huldu Woman
In the Faroes, before the Norse settlers arrived, there was another people, the Huldu folk living there. They were tall slender with black hair and clad in grey. They could make themselves and their dwellings disappear and reappear.
Lotta of the Wild Horses
Imagine deeptime, when there were no people, only birds, furry creatures, and horses, wild horses.
This abrupt turfing out thrust them back to a reality they had escaped for a moment.
Tanya watched the dark figures in ones and twos disperse along the street.
Behind her the door shut with a bang. Semeon turned the lock.
That sound, the sound of the bolt shooting home, clutched at her heart.
There were two cold places, the physical cold and the cold of her relationship.
The ground was rock at 40 below; lakes and streams still and solid; icicles daggering from eaves. A tree could explode like a pistol shot as it’s freezing sap burst out its body. Birds could literally fall out of the sky, their heart muscle finally stiff and cold.
In the forest green things had retreated inwards, underground, sleeping, waiting.
Like the forest she had retreated deep into herself, trying to keep some of her spirit alive."
How would I describe the Orkney Islands? "A woman, lying part submerged, bathing in a shallow sea of turquoise; her smooth rounded hills rising from the ocean, bringing forth an archipelago of islands in the blue water.” This would be true.
Yet this is the North of Britain, the real North where gales and rain lash the treeless landscape and the sea pounds the cliffs. This also would be true.
Against this backdrop people make their lives here much as anywhere, they live, they die, they love, they give birth. They reach for things beyond themselves."
The novellas are in sequence, Bennibister, The Wedding at Bennibister. The Third Norn (at Bennibister).
She got his espresso with slow deliberate movements, from cup rack to coffee machine. She knew he was watching, knew his eyes followed her body as she stretched down for the cup then up to the lever.
It was a show, she was the performer. There was no eye contact until she turned and pushed the coffee towards him touching his hand with hers. It was hot and moist.
Then she looked straight at him, her face framed in vibrant red hair, her lips parting to say the price."
On the Isle of Mull, early in the chieftainship of the Macleans, a jealous spat finds one woman fighting for her life.
It is 1014 and some of the Vikings, in the fleet bound from Orkney to Ireland for the great battle of Clontarf, take a detour to deprive a woman of her rightful inheritance.
At the farm they collected on trailers and were tractored out to the fields. The ground was wet, slimy, so when the field workers got down their boots were soon clogged and heavy with thick clay. A drizzle had set in.
As she bent and stretched Irene recalled yesterday morning.
It had been bright and sunny.
A young man heading for the train station had smiled at her as she tried to look invisible. She regretted that. At home she would have smiled, flashed her eyelashes. She smiled now at the thought of it. Ilona caught her look saying "And what are you thinking of.” Irena laughed, "Guess.”
"Men of course,” replied Ilona, stooping to cut a stalk. "Of course,” said Irena.
The gang boss couldn’t stop them from dreaming"
Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!
Pottermore has now launched the Wizarding World Book Club. Visit Pottermore to sign up and join weekly Twitter discussions at WW Book Club.
Tolkien considered THE SILMARILLION his most important work, and, though it was published last and posthumously, this great collection of tales and legends clearly sets the stage for all his other writing. The story of the creation of the world and of the the First Age, this is the ancient drama to which the characters in THE LORD OF THE RINGS look back and in whose events some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part. The three Silmarils were jewels created by Feanor, most gifted of the Elves. Within them was imprisoned the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor before the Trees themselves were destroyed by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. Thereafter, the unsullied Light of Valinor lived on only in the Silmarils, but they were seized by Morgoth and set in his crown, which was guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth.
THE SILMARILLION is the history of the rebellion of Feanor and his kindred against the gods, their exile from Valinor and return to Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all their heroism, against the great Enemy. This second edition features a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien describing his intentions for the book, which serves as a brilliant exposition of his conception of the earlier Ages of Middle-earth.
It is now being developed as one of the most ambitious television miniseries of all time. Executive Producer Sam Raimi (director of the three Spider-Man movies), in collaboration with Disney/ABC, is creating a 22-episode adaptation of the book to be filmed in New Zealand.
Richard and Kahlan’s story unfolds over ten more novels, collectively known as the Sword of Truth series, concluding with Confessor in 2007. Placing Goodkind in the elite club of #1 New York Times bestselling authors, the series has sold more than twenty million copies to date worldwide.
In Wizard’s First Rule, Goodkind introduced the world to an ordinary forest guide, Richard Cypher, and the mysterious, powerful woman he comes to love, Kahlan Amnell. Learning his true identity, Richard accepts his destiny as the one man who can stop the bloodthirsty tyrant Darken Rahl. Hunted relentlessly, betrayed and alone, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword and invoke something more noble within himself as the final confrontation with Darken Rahl looms.
The importance of Wizard’s First Rule is sourced in Goodkind taking on the toughest of all literary challenges: to tell an electrifying story of action, violence, and adventure that also makes people think, and that would influence the choices and actions of its readers.
Harry Potter's summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors - and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone... Dobby's sinister predictions seem to be coming true.
The Triwizard Tournament is to be held at Hogwarts. Only wizards who are over seventeen are allowed to enter - but that doesn't stop Harry dreaming that he will win the competition. Then at Hallowe'en, when the Goblet of Fire makes its selection, Harry is amazed to find his name is one of those that the magical cup picks out. He will face death-defying tasks, dragons and Dark wizards, but with the help of his best friends, Ron and Hermione, he might just make it through - alive!
When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it's the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run - and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry's tea leaves... But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss...
When Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry Potter, his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled, but he does not reveal why. Secrets and suspicion are spreading through the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself is not safe. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark: there is a Death Eater amongst them. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort's darkest secrets, and Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny...
Dark times have come to Hogwarts. After the Dementors' attack on his cousin Dudley, Harry Potter knows that Voldemort will stop at nothing to find him. There are many who deny the Dark Lord's return, but Harry is not alone: a secret order gathers at Grimmauld Place to fight against the Dark forces. Harry must allow Professor Snape to teach him how to protect himself from Voldemort's savage assaults on his mind. But they are growing stronger by the day and Harry is running out of time...
As he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid's motorbike and takes to the skies, leaving Privet Drive for the last time, Harry Potter knows that Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are not far behind. The protective charm that has kept Harry safe until now is broken, but he cannot keep hiding. The Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything Harry loves and to stop him Harry will have to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. The final battle must begin - Harry must stand and face his enemy...