(c) Leo K Daniel, Dani Kaye 2016
This is where, a long time ago, I began posting the first drafts of a novel I enjoyed writing so much that even today, when it’s done and dusted and published (see below), I can’t judge its value very rationally.
I started off by seeking clear-eyed reviews that would give me some indication of its merit in eyes and minds other than my own. i.e. I invited readers to let me know their thoughts about its value, quality and marketability. But then that kinda went by the board because, in all honesty, the whole thing just began to had ride me!… Yeah. I had to go along, otherwise it wouldn’t let me sleep or lead a normal life.
Well, now it’s done, and published, warts and all. Here’s the URL to the KDP E-book, which Unlimited customers can read without spending one penny or dime or rupee or…
And this is what the paperback looks like (you can reach this option from the above link), which costs rather more at £15.20:
NATAKA AND THE BACKWARD GOD
Paperback – 20 Sep 2018
Get a £5 promo code with the Amazon App. Learn more.
I’ll be loading illustrations extracts from the novel on this site.
Comments are actively invited, too! Please do let me know what you think, I’ll be so interested 🙂
To start with, here is the cast of characters. Not exactly a cast of thousands, granted; but quite a bit to juggle, anyway…
Cast of Characters (in alphabetical order)
The Magical Creatures
Fagus: The Beech Pathway Tree
Nataka Protean imp/sprite/elemental/deity
[Some of her other names:]
Hexe (German) / Witch / Nihtgenga, Galdricge, Aglaecwif (fiend) (Saxon)/ Stregina (little witch) (Italian) / Dryas (tree spirit) / Erynie (‘fury’/conscience), Gaia (land, earth) (Greek) / Oma Gembe (witch doctor) / Orisha (m/f/ godling/god of many things – Yoruba) / Aelfeynn (elf kind – Britonic)/ Earda (Saxon) / Siva (Hindu) / Erce (Celtic) / Rhea (Greek) / Demeter (Greek) / Prithvi (Hindu) / Dhara (Hindu) / Emesh-Enten (Sumeria)/ Enki (Sumeria) / Fjörgyn (Earth – Norse) / Geb; Peri (Egyptian) / Yōllōtl ( ‘heart’, ‘interior’ -Aztec) / Tudi, Houtu (earth, soil – Chinese) / Veles (earth, waters, forests, the underworld – Cyrillic) / Voltumna, Veltha (Etruscan – N Italy) / Alignak (lunar god; god of weather, water, tides, earthquakes, eclipses – Inuit) / Amurru, Martu (Shepherd, storm-god – Akkadian & Sumerian) / Atum, Atem, Tem (Creator and Finisher – Egypt) / Daikokuten (God of darkness, god of five cereals- Japan) / Tane (god of forests and birds), Papa (world), / Sumugan (god of river plains and cattle) (Sumerian) / Ten Ten-Vilu (god/goddess of earth and fertility – Chilota mythology, S Chile) … (That’ll do. Ed.) ]
Toki Tane Papatuanuku Nataka’s home
The Wanyama (Animals)
Ala: Vixen, Pex’s mate
Aryadnodondra (Dora): Orb web spider
Brid: Red Squirrel
Chant: Calico Tortoiseshell/Tabby Cat, Tony and Fran’s owner – Zoo
Kelele: Grumpy Chimp – Zoo
Kidole, Yain, Tain, Tether, Mether, Mumph, Dix, Jiggit: Mongoose kittens – Zoo
Lerema & Tesho: Banded Mongoose brothers – Zoo
Leto: Ginger-white Tom Cat, Littermate of Chant and owner of Tony and Fran – Zoo
Mondrian des Forêts (Mond): Canadian Timber Wolf – Zoo
Nifl: Skald’s mate
Nibblenose: Fyrd’s mate
Paa, Rangi, Roho la Dunia: Poodle (formerly Tarquiana Trichitina Tantamount III, ‘Trixie Snuffles’ for short)
Rav’n (Rav’nous): Alley Cat – Sunny Shores Nursing Home
Rhesus Sardonicus (Sardo): Roloway Monkey – Zoo
Scrumpy: Badger (AKA Scrépfftmch»ffftnyommenm – ScrabbleMunching)
The Toffee Emperor (RIP): Gertrude’s defunct Persian cat – Sunny Shores Nursing Home
Tich, Tick & Seed: Miba’s babies (hedgehoglets)
Tülku Dux (RIP): Tibetan Siamese Cat: Guru & Leto’s mentor – late of Lhasa Monastery, Tibet
Tytus The Baron: Barn Owl
Wapi, Hapa & Twende: Banded Mongooses, mates of Lerema and Tesho – Zoo
Anthony: Chant’s Pet; Director and Head Warden – Zoo
Bryony: Chief Warden, Small Mammals – Zoo
The Busybody: Paa’s former owner
Fran: Anthony’s mate, Chant’s Damp Pet – Zoo
Gabriel: Arms dealer, negotiator and assassin
Geoff, Malcolm, Marcie: Wardens – Zoo
Jim Bell: Assistant Keeper – Zoo
Gertrude: Resident – Sunny Shores Nursing Home
Ida Court: Ter’s step-aunt
John Bourne (RIP): Ter’s deceased father
The Humorous Ginger Driver: Employee – Sunny Shores Nursing Home
The Lumpy Do-Gooder: Employee – Sunny Shores Nursing Home
Maddie Court-Bourne: Ter’s mother
Roger Court (The SF): Ter’s stepfather
Terence Bourne (Ter): Schoolboy
Wing Commander Carl Bourne (The Wingco): Ter’s grandfather
The Wishy-Washy Do-Gooder: Employee – Sunny Shores Nursing Home
WHAT’S IT ABOUT ?
The situation: This fantasy/apologue/satire is set in present-day Britain, in a place very like the Wye Valley in Wales. The action unfolds over a few weeks running up to the Easter break, and follows the activities and experiences of Nataka the Protean, a playful, selfish, multipotent, shape-shifting and ambivalently beneficent Immortal, who despises and avoids humans (Howlers) for their cruelty, greed and destructiveness to both themselves and other animals. Many centuries earlier, she destroyed a whole civilization out of sheer irritation and impatience with its behaviour, and since then (with occasional rare exceptions, such as Socrates, Galileo and Newton) has avoided the species ever since.
Despite her amazing powers, Nataka is unable to leave the Earth or its dimensions. Although she is aware of this restriction, she isn’t entirely sure why she has been so confined. She only comes to realise gradually that this is a consequence of her earlier genocidal act, following which her fellow Proteans, who roam every dimension, decreed that only when and if she learnt the lessons of unconditional love and compassion for all life and could demonstrate genuine self-control and moderation in her actions, would she be allowed to roam the Multiverse again; as things stand, she poses an unacceptable hazard to any world she may visit.
Nataka’s mentor, guardian and gatekeeper is her fellow Protean Toki, which spends most of its time as a sentient, responsive cottage, providing a refuge for Nataka and her animal friends. Toki loves Nataka and longs to help her mature and escape this dimension so that it too can return to the Multiverse. But it must wait for her to achieve moral maturity independently. Only when she shows genuine growth and desire to change will it be allowed to advise and help her. In the meantime, it must watch from the sidelines while she tangles with the Howlers again (a consequence of allowing herself to be spotted by a Busybody, who is dragging his seriously ill-treated show-poodle past her home, and instantly gets her taken away by Do Gooders from the Social Services).
….But before she allows herself to be kidnapped, she grants the desperate wish of the Busybody’s desperate, suffering poodle …
And with that single act of kindness she changes everything.
Nothing can ever be the same again for Nataka, her woodland friends, Toki her quiet home and mentor, or Fagus, the magical Pathway Tree she roused and befriended aeons before. From now on, Nataka must cconfront massive personal and emotional challenges, and learn all their lessons thoroughly, if she is not to founder forever and drag down everything and everybody else with her in the process.
*** (Next posting: Illustrations with related extracts) ***