14 December 2011

New Book: A Madness of Kentaurs

A Madness of Kentaurs

Octavian wants two things: to see the kentaur herd pass by on the plains, and to have a horse of his own. Ixion is a kentaur shaman-in-training, considered special by his people, but also set apart from them. During the season of madness a runaway horse brings the two together, where they learn that humans and kentaurs have more in common than they thought, and that their nightmares are connected.

It is the time of year when once wild things become wild again, still wild things become wilder, and civilized things shut their doors and pretend they had never been wild.

During the season of madness, the kentaurs of the Pelion foothills—those half-horse, half-human creatures that humans call “centaurs”—journey from their home villages to the sacred lands across the Acheron River. Horses find the kentaur herd irresistible and often run away from their human masters to join the herd. One day, Octavian, stable-boy and floor cleaner at the local inn, gets carried off by the innkeeper’s horse, and ends up trapped in the kentaur herd. He is placed under the charge of Ixion, a young kentaur shaman-in-training, who begins to teach him that kentaurs are not the barbaric, half-sentient beasts he had thought they were.

And then the dreams begin. Dreams in which ancient, cold things with too many teeth steal the boys’ tongues and threaten to steal their sanity. Now Octavian and Ixion both have to learn enough about the otherworld to make it though a grueling initiation ceremony across the Acheron, River of Woe. But first, Octavian has to gain acceptance from the kentaur herd.

Coming soon in paperback


Catherine said...

So, what are the chances of a sequel appearing any time soon? I really want to know what happens next!

Also, I was wondering about the range of motion available to a kentaur. How is it that they can pick up things from the ground with ease and rest back on their horse-backs? Those seem like awkward movements in my mind...

Niko said...

Hi Catherine,
Thanks so much for the comment!

I'm working on the sequel, tentatively titled Melanippe's Odyssey. I'm not sure how soon it will be finished, since I'm working on the sequel to Milk Sister at the same time, as well as on my serial Reindeer Girl. I'm aiming for summer, though.

As for kentaur range of motion, since they're not really horse/human hybrids (but just look like they are), I felt free to make them a little more flexible. Their spines are less stiff than those of horses, with some of the attachments being muscular rather than ligaments -- a bit like cat spines (though not quite that flexible).

I also imagine the hip/shoulder joint to be a specialized structure that allows a considerable range of motion, so they can bend quite a lot in any direction -- similar to the way a horse can bend its neck so its head reaches the ground, or a human can touch its toes.

The next book will have a bit about kentaur martial arts in it, so I hope it will help readers envision how they can move they way they do.

Thanks again and stay tuned -- when I have news about the next book I'll post it here or on Twitter (I'm @anagramforink).

Catherine said...

Oooh, kentaur martial arts. Sounds exciting! I can't wait!