The Sylissin Chronicles
Available for the first time as a single volume (e-book only)
and also in 3 volumes both as an e-book and in paperback
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The Complete Sylissin Chronicles (e-book)
An eccentric and exocentric adventure, this is an epic romp through earth's history, exploring the place of humans in the universe, re-writing the Bible and generally wreaking havoc with many a much-cherished world view.
Adam Sylvan, an aimless wanderer, seeks a meaning for his existence. Introduced to the worlds of the exotic, alien, prelerah and imiri, he finds far more than he had bargained for. With the help of a beautiful, eccentric female prelerah he sets out on an epic adventure through human history to discover whether humans can ever hope to change their self-destructive ways and avoid extinction; but while some prelerah sympathise, others would much rather the species was allowed to die out before it finds a way to wreak havoc on other worlds.
Originally in three volumes, this has now been brought together here for the first time.
The Sylissin Chronicles I High Lands
Adam Sylvan should be dead. He was executed in the dusty streets of a small Colombian town but somehow lived to walk away unscathed. Aimless and troubled, he hitchhikes to the Scottish Highlands in search of work. There, as his sanity threatens to unravel, he is befriended by the caretaker of an old church and its eccentric, atheist priest. Though merely seeking a meaning for his own existence he finds far more than he bargained for as a sequence of bizarre dreams begin to reveal a reality that could have devastating consequences for the future of humanity.
A mystery adventure set amid sweeping landscapes where anything seems possible.
Laced with colourful characters and subtle metaphors, at one level this is the tale of a troubled man’s search for enlightenment while at another it challenges our narrow, human-centred world-view.
The Sylissin Chronicles II Trinity
Adam Sylvan knows a secret, which nobody might ever believe but that could save his species. With the help of Nomaya Cal Gueris, a beautiful, eccentric female prelerah, he sets out on an epic adventure through history to discover whether humans can ever hope to change their self-destructive ways and avoid extinction. But while some sympathise, others would much rather the species was allowed to die out before it finds a way to wreak havoc on other worlds.
An epic, irreverent romp through earth's history, exploring the place of humans in the universe, re-writing the Bible, and generally wreaking havoc with many a much-cherished world view.
The Sylissin Chronicles III The Prelerah
While Adam Sylvan and Nomaya Cal Gueris recuperate from the horrors of their project to uncover the realities of human history, unbeknown to them others have been exploring the past to see what has caused human societies to perish time and again. But nine have disappeared and it is up to Adam and Nomaya Cal to rescue them from a ruthless arms manufacturer hoping to gain new technology. As each in turn reveals the secrets of the extinctions of societies of the past they soon find themselves immersed in a dark world of conspiracies involving fanatical religions, heartless governments, and ruthless corporations.
A disturbing conclusion to the Sylissin trilogy as some uncomfortable truths are revealed within the fiction.
Samples from Part 1:
A mournful wind and the soft hiss of sand were all that could be heard over the desert and amid the labyrinth of canyons beyond. To the east, improbable peaks formed a wall of jagged teeth along the horizon. The sun may have been hot. Who can say? But it burned with a strange brilliance, casting every rock and crevice in sharp relief. Vegetation was sparse, clinging to the narrow channels where water wended its way from the mountains to the sea. Yet sometimes those streams could be substantial, forming waterfalls that fell over canyon sides, occasionally into the sheer-sided hollows that were scattered here and there.
In one such hollow, to the sound of water falling into a crystal-clear pool, a couple were making love. The movement of their bodies and the beating of their hearts added a poignant rhythm to accompany the sounds of sighing wind, hissing sand and falling water. Then suddenly the peace was disturbed as the ground heaved and a deep rumble issued from somewhere far beneath the surface. Had no one been there to witness it the event might have gone forever unnoticed, almost as though it had never occurred; but there were witnesses and so it found a solid place in reality.
Falling rocks obscured the lovers from view. For a while all was still. Then slowly some of the rocks began to part. Yet though two bodies had been buried, only one emerged.
By instinct rather than intellect the figure clambered out of the hollow through a tunnel-like fissure in the rocks. Then it simply walked, slowly but relentlessly away.
Time passed and still the lone figure ambled onward, long apparently beyond the point where anyone could have expected to survive such harsh conditions. Moving like an automaton, it was heading for home.
The sea came into view, and far away there was an occasional glimpse of a distant city. Yet movement was slowing, and eventually the figure stumbled. But still it advanced, crawling, crawling, with nothing but the sound of breaking waves and the sigh of wind for company; and then it stopped. There was no more movement and that relentless, hissing sand slowly covered the prostrate form, first like a shroud and then like a grave, until there was no longer any sign that life had once moved in this place.
Time went by and the lovers in the desert might have disappeared from memory had not their tragic tale been told from time to time. But millennia passed and a tale that should have ended found a new beginning. There was more to be said and someone very specific, very special, had to be found to say it; and so the search began.
I remember the heat, and the sweat running down my face and into my eyes so that seeing was difficult. I remember the thick, rough rope that bound my wrists tightly behind my back and the sharp stones that dug into my knees as I knelt in the dirt. I remember the hard piece of metal that was pressed into the back of my head, and the sharp click as a trigger was cocked.
My heart was beating wildly and my breathing was rapid, but even then I was seeking some survival strategy. This was difficult because I could speak little Spanish and had no understanding of the situation. One moment I had been exploring the streets of a small South American town, the next I was confronted by a group of men with guns. I had simply turned a corner to find three men walking towards a large vehicle. One was being led roughly by the others. Blood from a wound on his head was running down his face. His thumbs were tied together behind is back. The thick twine was too tight and they had turned purple.
All this I saw in an instant, but too late I sensed others emerging from a doorway to my left, and suddenly I was shoved violently from behind. I staggered, and a second push forced me to face the wall. My rucksack was dragged from my shoulders and thrown to one side, and in a matter of seconds my hands were bound by thick, rough rope and I was forced to kneel. There was some brief discussion that I couldn’t understand. Presumably this was a debate about what to do with me; but then, as the gun was pressed to my head, my fate was sealed.
A moment later and I was still alive. Was my would-be executioner hesitating? Did I still have a chance? The street was deserted, so there was no one to come to my aid or even witness what was taking place. There seemed to be nowhere to run to even if I could get to my feet without being instantly shot. For a moment my mind was distracted by a large, pale spider in the road ahead. Somehow it seemed sharper and more real than anything else in the world. It reflected the sun so brightly. How could it be that I would never see such a sight again? Then I felt the tiniest tremor as a finger began to squeeze the trigger. Suddenly everything went dark.
Sample from Part 3:
CHAPTER ONE - I Am
I am Nomaya Cal Gueris nem Tené Va Lecq nem Adam Sylvan. Before your civilization began, I was. After your children’s, children’s children have passed away, I will still be. My gaze has spanned millennia and it now turns upon you. Hobbies include travel and exploration, extreme sports, sex, going naked whenever possible, saving endangered species and, ho yes, time travel.
The bathroom mirror that held my most attentive reflection had begun to steam up. It hadn’t been much of an audience anyway and my speech sucked. How did one address an entire species and convince it that it was about to go extinct? Sure, it was only a dream I had, and might forever remain so; but often I would daydream about scenarios wherein the entire human race raised its intelligence level and was prepared to listen. Then, often as not I would just get sad; because the chances of that were looking slimmer by the day. The problem was, the average individual just had too much stacked against them. Anyhow, I had far more pressing concerns for the moment, like the fact that a disturbing number of people were intent on either capturing or killing me, and that my bath was so full that a mountain of bubbles had begun to cascade onto the floor.
Turning off the taps I went into the bedroom to get a few clothes ready for when my bathing was finished. The radio was playing quietly in the corner. Someone was singing about Miss American pie. I didn’t catch much of it, but it made me think of cannibalism. I mean, a pie made from Miss America; what was that all about?
I gazed briefly into the full-length mirror. It isn’t that I’m in any way vain or narcissistic - well maybe just a little bit - but that I simply love mirrors - don’t you just?. I mean whenever you look there is a face there that smiles back oh so readily whenever you give it a smile. Wink wistfully and it winks back, knowing exactly what you mean without even having to be told. Then, when they steam up you can just wipe your mind - or hand - over them and there you are again!
By all accounts I have great tits. Having seen some of the strange and varied examples currently available I guess that humans are in something of a unique situation from which to judge. I have also been told that I have an ass to die for (and several have while trying to take it against my will); and legs that just don’t quit. But for most it’s my eyes that get ‘em first. People have almost drowned in them according to Adam; but I wouldn’t know about that. Personally the bits I like best - apart from the obviously most pleasurable ones - are my face - which always smiles back at me so warmly from the mirror - and my hair with its pale and dark striping which just makes you want to stroke it like a cat - both on my head and somewhat lower down. But my hair, and my feet which only have two toes each - a fairly human-looking big toe, and a broad flat second toe where the others would be - mean that I can’t exactly present most people with my true self. That isn’t such a problem though. Most are quick to see whatever I want them to, and so are easily fooled by a simple glamour - a trick of the mind.
Anyhow, the bath was calling, and who was I to refuse such seduction? So, very carefully so as not to slop even more water onto the floor, I slipped in. The bubbles were great, and I always love being submerged in water. It was a good, big bath too. Not one of those skinny short ones that mean you have to scrunch your legs right up when you slip your head down. For ten or fifteen minutes I lay completely submerged, just letting the hot water clear the grime from my skin and the slightly weightless feel sooth the knots out of my mind. It was almost like being in a womb. Not as good as full weightlessness, but still a useful place to wash away all the physical and mental crap that had been accumulating.
Adam was off somewhere trying to steal a car. I enjoyed the irony of this because he’s one of the most honest and caring people that you would ever meet. But we’d been having a few problems of late and needed to travel quickly and incognito. So I was hoping he would find something old, compact and discreet rather than shiny, flashy and likely to be spotted easily. I was just beginning to think that a fresh lung-full of air might be in order when suddenly there was a terrific bang.
First the bath cracked and all that lovely, bubbly water drained away. Then the roof collapsed, shortly followed by the walls. Luckily I wasn’t pinned by anything too heavy to shift, but I was caked in dust and pissed as hell. Can’t a girl get even a few moments peace without someone trying to kill her?
When the dust cleared things didn’t look too good. What had once been a motel was now a bombsite; and what had once been the car park was now apparently a shooting range for every cop in the county. Worse still, it looked as if I was the target. (Human expletives and spitting dust.) In the background there were a few dark suits too; probably not cops at all and never a good thing. It was probably because of them that the first warning shot had been highly explosive rather than just the crack of a bullet.
‘Lay down your weapons and put your hands in the air (bla, bla, blady bla).’
This took the tension out of the situation a bit and I had to laugh. I was naked dammit, and apparently a young, defenceless female to boot. But the uniformed, armed, and unaccountably nervous men didn’t seem to be seeing the funny side. Slowly and carefully, so as not to alarm them further, I raised my hands and advanced slowly.
‘Halt!’ someone shouted; and I obeyed. ‘Turn around!’
I did so. Presumably they thought I might have a machine gun hidden up my ass or something; but then someone got overly excited and a shot rang out. A bullet hit me on my left butt cheek, and through long-practice that had turned to instinct I obligingly fell to the ground. I wasn’t hurt physically, but emotionally I was becoming more human by the second. I had done everything they had told me to dammit; but still some trigger-happy numbwit had shot me in the ass. For all he knew that could have worked out really badly for me.
A bit late for that don’t you think!
They were cautiously sidling towards me. This wasn’t good. Not good at all. Really not great…. Oh well, I guess you get the idea. I didn’t know what to do for the best, because all the obvious things like running away, or hurting someone and then running away would have left too many witnesses to the fact that I could, well do what I just said. Then something unexpected but exceedingly cool happened. Adam turned up with our ride.
I heard the roar of an engine and the rumbling of something heavy even before I had the chance to peek over my shoulder to see what was happening. A fuel truck! Oh Adam, I love you dearly but sometimes you don’t really seem to be following the plot!
One patrol car, two patrol car, three patrol car, four; all conveniently in a line and now being flung towards the slowly advancing police officers as Adam enthusiastically barrelled through them one by one. Everyone turned and I had the chance to slip away to the far side of the parking lot. Someone fired. Someone else screamed, ‘cease fire you asshole, it’s a gas truck for godsakes!’ So maybe Adam wasn’t so stupid after all.
‘Hi honey, I’m home,’ he shouted as he threw open the passenger door, barely slowing as I leaped into the cab.
‘Nice one. Your timing was perfect,’ I replied.
‘Well I was taking my time until I sensed that you had been shot in the ass. Then I knew I just had to get there fast before you really hurt someone.’
I pretended to sulk at his lack of trust in my ability to show restraint; but I couldn’t keep it up for long because I knew that he knew me as well as I knew myself. There’s just something about being around humans that makes you, well, kinda human. And I really hate it.
‘So where too, my knight in several tonnes of shining stainless steel? I mean you do have a plan, don’t you? Those cops aren’t just going to head off for a barbecue you know.’
‘Plan? Hmm, I thought that was your job. I’m just the dumb ape.’
‘Pull over to the side of the road or we will be forced to open fire!’ (That wasn’t my enigmatic reply but some patrolman on a loud hailer a few yards behind us. It wouldn’t have been so bad except he seemed to have brought a few of his buddies with him.)
‘How many of them?’ asked Adam as though he really thought that he might stop and take them all on single-handedly.
‘Well, all of them I guess,’ I replied, sticking my head out of the window.
‘Not good! Not good!’ said Adam, weaving from side to side so that nobody could pass.
‘D’ya think?!’ I replied, wondering why someone passing us would make very much difference now that we were clearly well and truly screwed. ‘So, what now lover boy?’
‘Be not afraid my precious damsel, I have a cunning plan.’
Oh shit, I hate it when he says that because something really inconvenient usually follows.
‘Yahshua’s testicles!’ I yelled, experimenting with an expletive of my own as we suddenly left the road and plunged down a steep embankment. ‘In what way does departing from a firm, unbroken linear surface onto desert sands and gravels constitute a cunning plan?’
‘Well, have you ever watched a movie called Thelma and Louise?’ Adam asked, as if all of this should be pretty self-evident.
I hadn’t but a quick mental aside from Adam suddenly filled me in. I didn’t like it much (though the movie was quite good in some ways).
‘Well you see, at the end the two heroines have a choice. Either they can stop their vehicle and face arrest and all manner of unpleasantness, or they can just keep on driving until they reach the edge of Grand Canyon and then simply carry on over. So my dear, would you fly - I mean fall - or would you put your trust in Arizona’s finest?’
Well, what a choice my true love had faced me with. Trust in a bunch of deeply misinformed, paranoid, trigger-happy humans (one of which had recently shot me in the ass and whom I would be inclined to damage if I met him face to face), or plummet into the immeasurable depths of a desert canyon. No contest.
‘Oh shit! Cool. I mean, are you shittin’ me? (Good expletives eh?) We’ve just gotta do it! I mean a fuel tanker and all. This is going to be awesome!’ In other words, I approved of Adam’s not so cunning but ever-so ‘Adam’ plan.
Meanwhile the courageous, and to my mind overly-zealous-for-what-they-were-being-paid, cops had found a way off the highway and onto the desert and were fanning out in hot pursuit. Just like in Thelma and Louise actually, except this wasn’t Grand Canyon and neither Adam nor myself had any idea of just how far we were about to fall.
Gravity is a wonderful thing. It has its obvious fascinations as in when things fall ever so predictably time and again so that someone can become inordinately famous by pointing this out; but also it can be the key to vast quantities of free energy and plays a pivotal role in a favourite fascination of mine, namely time travel. Yet several tonnes of steel and highly combustible fuel, when suddenly introduced to the effects of gravity can be somewhat unpredictable.
Prediction one - the patrol cars will not follow and so one significant inconvenience will have been overcome – true.
Prediction two - The truck will plummet, probably not achieving terminal velocity but maybe approaching it, until it impacts with the base of the canyon at which point it bursts into a spectacular and gratifying ball of flames – false.
Prediction three - The two occupants of the plummeting vehicle will open the cab doors and vacate said vehicle well before it impacts with the canyon floor – true.
Prediction four - The two occupants of the plummeting vehicle will then exit the scene of the crash unscathed and remove themselves to a safe location – well, partly true I guess.
‘Whoooo shiiit, jump!’ yelled Adam customarily stating the obvious.
The doors were opened against the pressure of rushing air as the vehicle fell just as the nose connected with some unexpected protrusion. Suddenly my extended claws were biting rock. I sort of fell and scrambled a bit but soon had things under control. I couldn’t see Adam at first but sensed that he wasn’t having as much fun as me. Then I had a brief glimpse of a human torch just before he plunged into the river below. The tanker had ignited almost immediately. If this had been a movie that would have been just the lousiest special effect because nobody would believe that it could happen so fast. The result was a waterfall-like cascade of burning fuel that engulfed Adam almost at once and turned the base of the canyon into a river of fire because it could float on water.
Poor Adam I was thinking. It had been his idea yet he hadn’t seen a thing. Such a waste to miss the spectacle. Then his thoughts entered mine.
‘Wow! How cool was that! Adam Sylvan, the amazing human torch!’
So maybe he had had fun after all. I let go of the rock and fell to join him.