Authors note to the reader: At the beginning of the book and the Oceanlight series, the reader is introduced to the Sea Sprite, Yalara Narika. She is searching across immense seas--in the world of Oceanlight—with her petrel seabird, and they have just been struck by lightning.
As the streamer of lightning harmlessly discharged through her body into the palm of her hand, Yalara Narika noticed many things at once. There was fright and surprise as adrenaline raced through her body. The words “I’m alive” came to mind, accompanied by an overwhelming relief when the forked sharpness passed out of her. Then came the reflex response—her call to Calymene, Mother Earth—that she had despite her doubt. A hurried glance brought the reassuring thought “I’m still in the sky.” Simultaneously, she returned to her search—for the “lost”—which was set against the immensity of the seas. And interwoven amongst these reactions were thoughts of that moment in the distant future, at the end of her life, when she’d fly up into the tumult, clad in a cuprous woven fabric, and upon the flash of electrica, her constituent parts would disassemble in an instantaneous coruscation of energy.
The strike had jolted her from her reverie. Before the discharge, Yalara had been in a state of attentive contemplation as she grasped the braided sinews of the harness, and the wind blew strongly in her face, across her ears, and through her unbound hair. She had been oblivious to everything but the act of flying and each frame of time. A few seconds after the electrica came through her, she reached out to stroke the soft feathers on the head of Varaku, the petrel she rode upon, checking to make sure he was unharmed. He was fine, and he cawed at her in relief: that was not pleasant.
It was not the first time they had been struck by lightning, and she laughed softly, in empathy with his relief. Even though she had directed them around the periphery of the thunderstorm, a horizontal filament of lightning—a fulmen—had strayed into the clear air they flew in. It surprised her that the electrica had reached so far towards her from the upheaval of cloud, but then, Yalara was a lightning attractor. Many years before, her earliest experience of this phenomenon had occurred when she was flying alone, as a young Sprite, and the flash of lightning had discharged itself without pain or harm into the palm of her hand, leaving only the trace of bruising deep within. Yalara recollected that first occurrence and how she had fallen out of the air, stunned, and found herself lying on top of the verdant, fully leafed--and soft—canopy of a fortuitous tree beneath her. It happened again, and afterwards, with youthful impetuousness, she had sought out the seductive experience for a couple of years, and the electrica had sought her out on occasion. The clash of the clouds excited her being, and for a time, she had longed for its release--where was that longing now?
Title: At The Sharp End of Lightning
Author: Nicholas Bates
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Magical Realism
AT THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING. The interwoven fantastical tale of family, of loss and sacrifice, of unexpected gifts and coping with disability and new abilities set against the backdrop of climate change occurring across parallel worlds. In Oceanlight, Yalara Narika, a winged Sea Sprite, searches for her lover over immense seas only to find catastrophe and realization that her world is in turmoil. Meanwhile in the safe suburban normality of North Wales, Einion Morgan Alban, a restless youth afflicted by a disease of the blood, is nearly murdered by a man in a white suit. Yalara and Einion must discover the causes of their near-deaths and their as yet unrevealed connections as they both face upheaval to their lives and their worlds. Book One of the OCEANLIGHT series.
NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors. He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK. His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.