It is Easter, 1973 and twelve year old Sebastian Duffy has some serious self-esteem issues. He is beaten by his parents, bullied at school, steals from his friends and still mourning the death of his brother. To cap it all, strange things have begun happening around him and he is finding it hard to distinguish dreams from reality. After a nightmarish assault, he wakes in the Gloaming, a shadow world inhabited by ghosts. There to greet him is Porrig, a creature from Hibercadia, a magical realm crafted from Celtic dreams. Inhabited by Fir Bolg, Tuath and Milesians, it has been overthrown by brother gods from another dreamworld. One brother, Phobitor, is a tyrant and even the Tuath, who took to their underground sidhe millennia ago, are concerned. Sebastian discovers that he alone can save Hibercadia by finding an enchanted spear. Teaming up with the Hibernauts—a mercurial sorceress, an orphaned druidess, a taciturn warrior, a snuff-sniffing leprechaun and a lovelorn poet—he embarks on a fantastical quest, but can he succeed when he is yet to find his magical potential or even his courage, and half the realm is bent on his destruction?
Praise for Beyond the Gloaming
I cannot say just how much I have enjoyed this book; you are a very accomplished writer with a wonderfully rich imagination. Your use of the English language is amazing and your ability to create the many different speaking styles in the book and to maintain them is remarkable. You have an incredibly inventive mind and readers will come to love the many wonderful creations in this novel, it is jam-packed with the most wonderful and inventive characters; new, exciting and beautifully realised.
~The Oxford Editors
An imaginative epic…an intricate and fully realised fantasy world with a big cast of likeable characters that are charming, well drawn and endearing, with wonderfully apt names. The depth and breadth of your high-voltage imagination, and the richness of the world you create is very impressive.
~Sam Mills, author of Blackout, The Boys Who Saved the World, and The Quiddity of Will Self
Sebastian was flying. Oh! It was glorious. The seagulls cawed as they swooped and dipped around him, and he flapped his scarlet wings and dived with them. Far below lay the foam-flecked sea, in the distance the rugged coastline. In between, a fleet of wooden ships headed for the shore, their great sails billowing. Sebastian steadied and stilled his wings, capturing a current upon which to glide, following the ships on their course. Lazily turning, he hung for a moment before heading in the opposite direction, out, out, out into the misty unknown. He was supposed to stay with the fleet, that was the understanding, yet he was drawn back, back to where it had all started. He would never reach it, he knew that, but he could feel it. Diving, he swept across the surface of the sea, the billowing waves rising to greet him. Fantastical creatures lurked beneath, reaching up and breaking the surface—beasts that would terrify him in futurelife, where all memories would be unashamedly erased—flying sea spiders casting great gummy nets, long-necked serpents with multiple heads encrusted in barnacles, and shoals of giant carnivorous snails with poisonous, spiny shells. He swooped in and out of them, heading joyously toward a land even further than Tir Na Nog, a land with cities of crystal and mountains of glass, the land of his birth. His scarlet wings began to fold. It had not been his intention, yet he allowed it to happen, hovering as they came to rest behind him. A giant kelpie rose from the water, her equine head reaching for him, flipping him in the air. He landed on her back and she wafted her great fins before diving beneath the water, taking him with her.
Sebastian and the Hibernauts: Beyond the Gloaming by Brendan Murphy is a delightful fantasy read. It took me on a ride right from the first page. I was swept up in the story and wanted to know more, more, more! The author writes vividly and creates a world that you want to be in. The story is well-written and intriguing.
Brendan Murphy was raised in Sheffield, England, with dreams of becoming a writer, and has written every day since he was nine years old. After reading medicine in London and psychiatry in Manchester, he moved to Australia in 1999. He is an Associate Professor at Monash University and has written widely on youth mental health. His nonfiction work on the development of football in Victorian society, From Sheffield with Love, was published in 2007. He lives with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Sebastian and Violette, in a sprawling property built for the composer, Dorian Le Gallienne. They share their garden with a mob of kangaroos, a wombat, two possums, any number of creepy crawlies, and some very feisty kookaburras. In 2013, he was signed to Assent Publishing for a six-book deal. Beyond the Gloaming, the first Sebastian and the Hibernauts adventure, will be published by Assent imprint, Phantasm Books in 2014.
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