Monday, 30 August 2021

Read an #excerpt from Clement: The Green Ship (Clement, Book 2) by Craig R. Hipkins @CraigHipkins

Clement: The Green Ship
By Craig R. Hipkins

Publication Date: June 02, 2021
Publisher: Hipkins Twins
Page Length: 313
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Young Adult 12+

Normandy. The year 1161. King Henry ll sends the 14-year-old Clement, Count of la Haye on a secret mission. The young count and his friends travel in the wake of the mysterious mariner known as Sir Humphrey Rochford. Their destination? The legendary land of Vinland, known only from the Norse sagas. The journey is full of adventure and intrigue. Clement battles with a tyrannical Irish king and then finds his vessel attacked by a massive monster from the deep. The Green Ship sails to the sparse and barren land of Greenland where more trouble awaits.

The herald signaled for the games to begin by blowing through his horn from the turret of the west tower of the castle. A total of fifteen archers gathered in the butts examining their targets to ensure fair play. Each archer was to have an assistant to help handing the shooter arrows and retrieving them from the targets. Clement, of course, chose Olaf. The archers would shoot ten arrows at a target thirty yards away. The top four shooters would then square off in a second round at forty yards and then the top two would compete for champion at the distance of fifty yards. The archers were to shoot by rank. The favorite was to shoot first and the least favorite was to shoot last. Claude of York was by far the favorite archer in the group, followed by O’Sullivan, the Rector of Cork. Tieg, known for his skills was third in the betting odds. Clement, count de la Haye, as an unknown, was dead last. Hundreds of spectators lined the perimeter of the field drinking mead and nibbling on quail and slices of pork. Around the elevated platform where Mac Lochlainn sat, banners and colorful flags flapped in the breeze. 

Claude of York leisurely strolled up to the firing line and was handed an arrow by his assistant. He yawned as he let the first one fly. A bullseye dead center in the target. Clement watched him anxiously as he let each one of them fly. After each shot the crowd let out an audible gasp. Ten shots, ten bullseyes. O’Sullivan was next and he performed a similar feat, ten bullseyes. Tieg was next. Unlike the previous two competitors he took his time finding his mark, but each arrow was true. Ten bullseyes. The rest of the shooters had mixed results but each one of them missed the bullseye at least one time. Finally, it was Clement’s turn to shoot. When he strode up to the line, he could hear people murmuring and laughing. Although he was the same age as Tieg, he appeared much younger and as an unknown, he was given little respect or chance. Claude of York and O’Sullivan did not even care to watch him shoot and headed for the platform where they engaged in conversation with Mac Lochlainn. 

“Give the lad a mug full of goats milk!” came a disrespectful taunt from the crowd. 

The audience burst out in laughter. Olaf handed Clement an arrow.

“Do not listen to them sire. Concentrate,” Olaf said, encouragingly.

Clement nodded and glanced over at the platform. He could see O’Sullivan attempting to talk to Dagena and Alice, but their attention was wrapped up in what he was about to do. The crowd was inattentive and boisterous. Some people took this time to begin their intermission to prepare for the second round. It was blatant disrespect. They had already brushed off Clement as if he were a non-factor in the game. Only Tieg was attentive. He stood off to the side watching his adversary carefully. Clement loaded the arrow and took aim. Bullseye, dead center. Suddenly the crowd became deathly still. People’s heads began to turn back towards the butts, or towards the shooter who calmly loaded his second arrow. The second one lodged right up against the first one. The crowd let out an audible gasp. This got the attention of Claude of York and O’Sullivan who turned to see what all the commotion was about. Clement could see Mac Lochlainn whispering something into Padraig O’Kane’s ear. The third arrow landed in the bullseye but to the upper left of the first two arrows. The fourth one in the bullseye to the upper right. The final six arrows formed a semi-circle in the bullseye below the first two. It was Claude of York who first noticed what Clement had done. He turned to Mac Lochlainn who had stood up and casually stepped off the platform onto the shooting field to get a better look at the target. Clement had created a smiley face with the arrows. His unbelievable accomplishment began to spread through the crowd who began cheering with cries of astonishment.


This novel is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.

Craig R. Hipkins grew up in Hubbardston Massachusetts. He is the author of medieval and gothic fiction. His novel, Adalbert is the sequel to Astrolabe written by his late twin brother Jay S. Hipkins (1968-2018)

He is an avid long-distance runner and enjoys astronomy in his spare time.

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Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx