Author Archives: AMWERNER

About AMWERNER

Author Allen M Werner is from Southeastern Wisconsin. As of January 2017, there are two books in The Crystal Crux series - Betrayal and Blue Grotto.

Learn More About Book Two

The fifty-year-old former Provost of Parthenope had been nothing short of knightly.  Francis commended the statesman for that.  It was not to be expected.  But Guidus did it.  He had battled bravely alongside the Griffin, cutting down mercenaries with impassioned strokes.

‘Poor Guidus,’ Francis thought empathetically.  ‘I’m sure he has never endured a night such as this.’  Francis felt his compassion for Guidus wane.  ‘Who has endured a night like this?  This has been the worst night of my life.’

“Damn it,” Francis softly grumbled.  He pounded his fist against his thigh again.  The palms and fingers were roped burned and stung but he didn’t care.  He wanted to feel something, anything. – EXCERPT FROM : THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BLUE GROTTO

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The Crystal Crux series is a ten day adventure through Medieval Italy.  The first book in the series, BETRAYAL, began with just that – a betrayal.  The people of Capua were stunned when military forces from their allies in Parthenope suddenly laid siege to the keep, killing nearly everyone.

Francis Whitehall, the Griffin, escaped down a privy pipe with Guidus Salvatore, the former Provost of Parthenope and the courier who brought the orders sending Pero de Alava on a suicidal quest to The Eagles Forest.

Pero, by the grace of God, survived the Pass but is injured and holed up in a sanctuary prison.  He has no idea the calamity that befell his home and friends, including his fiance, Anthea Manikos.

Meanwhile, in Parthenope, the giant Sinibaldus, the wielder of a Bellerophon Crystal, agonizing over his failure to kill Pero with his enchanted creatures.  He lies to his comrades while conspiring to complete his mission.

Dressed from head to toe in a black wool cape, Sinibaldus glided silently through the already open door into Gherardus Fabbro’s study.  The giant’s movements were so fluid, so stealthy and cloaked, the two guards posted at the door to protect the Lord Commander hardly noticed the magician come down the long hall before he was right on top of them, crossing over the threshold.  They couldn’t have warned their lord if they wanted to. – EXCERPT FROM : THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BLUE GROTTO

Book Two – Blue Grotto, takes us into Days Two and Three while exploring more background of the main characters.  It is a deep and enthralling epic fantasy tale, often dark but hopeful.  Join us on the journey.

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Happy Reading!

Concordat of Worms

“If I may continue,” Bishop Anselm coughed with feigned humility.  “Philip of Swabia has made clear his intentions to revisit the investiture controversy.  Such a claim serves only to undermine apostolic succession.”

Gherardus released a wearisome sigh.  “The Concordat of Worms decided that issue once and for all.”

“My Lord Gherardus, the concordats we draft and the laws we implement are no better than the wind itself, apt to shift this way and that, burst asunder in a storm of passion.  Commandments need roots…”  – Excerpt from THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL by AM WERNER

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For those willing to read Historical Fantasy, a passing knowledge of history often helps the readers understanding.  If you read general Epic Fantasy, you’ll find the authors creating complex histories that never really did exist, and often times they have the characters speak of these things without elaborating on them.  We simply take them as knowledge the character possesses that we don’t need to really understand.

In THE CRYSTAL CRUX series, I will do the same thing with my characters, have them speak and talk of matters that the reader may or may not fully comprehend or understand.  These issues give the characters greater depth and help reveal a big world around them that even they can’t control or manipulate.

Some fantasy, in my mind, tends to go to the extreme, and the powers of the character are too extreme, and there seem to be little to no limitations.  They may face a foe but there aren’t necessary bigger worlds and forces that dictate to them.  I believe that establishing that broader world, makes them more real, more human, and easier to identify with.

In the scene I excerpted above, Lord Gherardus Fabbro is meeting with Bishop Anselm who represents the Roman Catholic Church.  It is a secret meeting and there are two plots being addressed.

First – there is the larger plot, the one that is more universal and will effect all of Europe.  The year 1197 saw the death of both the Pope and the Emperor.  The new pope, Innocent III, tried to influence Europe with Catholicism and used the discord over the choosing of the next Holy Roman Emperor to his advantage.  He convinced many, especially in Italy, that the election of Otto IV or Otto of Brunswick, was necessary.  Most of the Germans supported Philip of Swabia, the late Emperor’s brother and a direct descendant of the much despised Frederick Barbarossa and House Hohenstaufen.  They were sure that Philip meant to re-address the investiture controversy which decided who appointed church officials and lands – the Church or the Emperor.  Both had enormous investments in these.  This was the real power of medieval Europe – land and those who controlled it.  The first plot is minor to the actual story I wrote but it gives my characters motivation for what they do.

Second – the smaller plot, the one the story centers around, is petty greed, jealousy and hate.  It is 1198 and early in the year, Pero de Alava had a physical altercation with Parthenope’s native son, the Castellan of the city, Rugerius Fabbro.  Pero was victorious but his victory came with a price.  He had sworn allegiance to Philip in a room full of people supporting the Church and Otto.  There was an incredible surplus of hate for Pero created in that moment.  This secret meeting, for the characters in my story, is acknowledgement of their plans to destroy Pero, using his support of Philip as a reason.  In truth, they don’t give a damn about Philip or Otto or anything happening on an international level.  They are aware but that is all.

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So the discussion between Gherardus Fabbro and Bishop Anselm tends to disintegrate quite easily.   As I stated, the things happening internationally are secondary to Gherardus, so he mocks the Church officials zeal to bear light and carry forth righteousness.  In fact, Gherardus isn’t all that enthused about their plans to destroy Pero because he actually likes Pero.

When Bishop Anselm brings up the investiture controversy, Gherardus doesn’t want to hear about it.  He remembers the Concordat of Worms which was signed in 1122 – in the city of Worms, that supposedly straightened out the controversy.  Bishop Anselm expresses Pope Innocent’s concerns that Philip won’t uphold the treaty.

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Recalcitrant

“The Griffin was alone.  He had no labors to perform for his lord.  He had no men-at-arms to command.  There was not a single ritter in his retinue.  His overlord, Sir Geoffrey Clayton Wolfe, would be completely ruined had he not been afforded the protection of the throne of England, a remuneration of sorts for his charitable efforts in better times, as well as his unstinting support for the Crown during the last baron’s rebellion.  Several of the Wolfes ambitious neighbors still guarded their intent to plunder him, but none were so bold as to challenge the legal shield placed around his estates by King Henry II, not yet anyway.”
– Excerpt from THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL by AM WERNER

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A person who is recalcitrant resists authority.  They are disobedient and refuse to conform or submit.

A recalcitrant knight during the Middle Ages was a knight who had sworn an oath to a Lord, Duke, Baron, Prince or King, and breaks that oath.

In The Crystal Crux series, Francis Whitehall is a honorable knight who refuses to break his oath to his lord, although his lord is nearly destitute and his other knights have abandoned him.

“Francis Whitehall was not one of the fallen for he refused to evolve.  His was a steadfast faith that rebuffed the privileged ranks of the unrighteous overlords.  The allure of their despotism failed to entice him.  Those who had prospered by compromising with their courtliness found his presence at knightly functions a baneful inclusion.  Francis was ostracized for he had become an unwelcomed reminder of antiquated gallantry.  And it was a gallantry and integrity that left him nearly friendless and rather penniless.”
– Excerpt from THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL by AM WERNER

You can learn more about Francis Whitehall by clicking on this link
FRANCIS WHITEHALL – THE GRIFFIN

You can purchase the book of the series, THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL, on Amazon as a Paperback, Kindle or Ebook.  There is also a YA version for those who prefer less graphic violence and sex.
PURCHASE THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL

YA EDITION of THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL

“My gage to Lord Geoff is irrevocable.  No one, not even you and your serpents tongue can poison it.  It is final.  I am a knight of Christ and I will not share with you this sinful fruit.  I will not reward an eye for an eye.  I will not strike you down though you be the devil himself.”
– Excerpt from THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL by AM WERNER

YA Edition BETRAYAL

Sorry I’ve been off the grid for awhile.  I was busy revising The Crystal Crux – Betrayal.  It is not available in YA format.  The language has been toned down to a high school reading level.  The sexuality and violence has been limited as well.  Overall, the story line remains true.  I hope you take a chance to read it.  The YA edition is only available through Amazon paperback.  It should be available as a Kindle ebook in the next 24 hours.  I’ve included the link below.  Be sure to write a review and tell your friends, families and neighbors about it.  This book is much more accessible to a wider reading audience.  Happy Reading.

The Crystal Crux – Betrayal – YA Edition

Brochures

I’m happy to announced I’ve produced new three-fold brochures to promote THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL.  They look absolutely wonderful and include a map of the Italian countryside where the story is mainly grounded.  Now I have to figure out places to display and distribute these pamphlets.  Sorry to say this to those who love doing it BUT marketing sucks and I’m still not very good at it.  Working on it!

You can purchase the book in paperback, audio and ebook.  Be sure to check it out and leave a review.  I’m always looking for reviews!  CLICK HERE TO BUY THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL

Viridian

One of the greatest challenges of writing an epic fantasy tale is creating unforgettable characters that don’t have to constantly appear in the book in order to be remembered.  Epics must have many characters and no matter what you do, you can’t expand on all of them right away.  Some of them are developed gradually, some much later on.

In BETRAYAL, the first book of THE CRYSTAL CRUX series, Young Viridian only appears in one chapter near the beginning.  I named the chapter after her and I am wholly confident readers won’t forget her even by the time they get to the end.  Even with all the violence and swearing, Viridian is one of the chief reasons THE CRYSTAL CRUX is an Adult fantasy.  Viridian has an unnerving libido, a heightened drive to be pleasured and pleasure.

Make me love you, make me hate you – make me curse your name.” – Viridian

Viridian is actually one of the more central figures in The Crystal Crux series but you might not realize it after reading the first book.  She does, however, have an integral part to play in the outcome.  This is a ten day journey readers have begun and Book One (Betrayal) is only the first day of that journey.

Click here to purchase the Paperback, Audio or ebook at Amazon

Viridian is Rugerius Fabbro’s lover, his lady-in-waiting.  She is also his cousin, the daughter of his deceased aunt on his mother’s side.  Viridian’s parents were lost tragically at sea during a shipwreck when she was twelve.  She was distraught and lonely and brought to the palace in Parthenope to become an adoptive daughter to Gherardus and Druda Fabbro.

Unexpectedly, the young girl took one look at her powerful cousin, the Castellan of the great city, and fell head over heels for him.  Her lust erupted.

Rugerius Fabbro was a lout anyway, warring and carousing with anybody and everybody.  His eager young cousin took advantage of him one night in a drunken state.  Once Rugerius’ senses returned to him, he thought he’d have fun with her and keep the relationship alive, thinking she’d fold and run home.

She didn’t.  She rose to meet every twisted challenge he set before her and soon Rugerius found himself a bit smitten by her.  Viridian pleasured in ways few other women could, so he kept her despite his father’s protests.

Viridian is now nineteen and fantasizes incessantly about being seduced and loved by the gods, or demons, or anything supernatural and otherworldly.

Her relentless passion is bound to lead her to places she has yet to imagine.

There will be much more to read about Viridian in forthcoming books.  I promise you that.  She will guarantee that the Adult content in The Crystal Crux series doesn’t wilt.

“Inclined comfortably on one arm, Viridian waited a few heartbeats, staring patiently at the open doorway as if expecting someone else to arrive.”
– Excerpt from The Crystal Crux – Betrayal

Will you arrive?

Purchase the Ebook on Smashwords

Read more about Pero de Alava

Read more about Francis Whitehall

Read more about Anthea Manikos

Chamonix and the Alps

I’m currently busy working on Book Two of The Crystal Crux series.  Much of my time, right now, is spent researching the Alps, Mont Dolent and the village of Chamonix.  This region will be the birthplace of the albino giant, Sinibaldus.  His mother Claire suffers tragically, fueling the vengeful fires inside the magician.  But you’ll just have to wait for the next book to discover more.  Be sure to read the first book if you haven’t already and write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Facebook and ibooks – anywhere and everywhere!

Link to purchase ebook on Smashwords

Link to purchase paperback on Amazon

Francis Whitehall

I give the readers of The Crystal Crux-Betrayal a pretty good look at Pero de Alava’s best friend and estate steward at Capua, Francis Whitehall.

Francis is the quintessential, God-fearing, Christian knight of legend.  He swings his blade like he quotes verse, gracefully, artfully and deadly.  In a fallen world populated by sinners and recalcitrance, he exemplifies true devotion to integrity and faith.  And he has honed these virtues to an unexpected point of alienation and self-destruction.

“There was a time when the Whitehall family name stood for something, something honored and celebrated.  It was respected and had great prestige.”
– Excerpt from The Crystal Crux-Betrayal

The Whitehall family crest is a snarling, orange crouchant griffin.  Francis wears it proudly now, but it was he that restored the prestige.  Francis father, William, had been a knight as well, serving notably for King Baldwin III in Jerusalem.  He returned home from the wars, wed Constance, and settled down to have a domestic life of farming.

When Francis turned seven, William was struck down by a cruel fever that stole his wits.  The poor man went mad, mumbling incessantly about wickedness all around them, the horrors of what he had done in the war coming back to punish him.  William donned his armor one last time and murdered a dozen people in Warwick.  He was subdued and taken.  Constance lost everything.  It was all forfeited to the crown and William was hung.

Impoverished, Constance and Francis would have been left to the streets if it had not been for the kindly considerations of Lord Geoffrey Clayton Wolfe, a devout Templar and long time friend of the family.  He took them in and raised Francis.  The young Griffin was instilled with a devotion for the Wolfe unlike anything he could ever explain to anyone.

When the Wolfe fell on hard times, lost more of his fortune, his castle at Warwick crumbling, around him, his knightly forces recanted and left him for more prosperous lords.  Only Francis, who had recently wed Midonia, stayed loyal.

Midonia was an ogress but Francis had a misguided belief that the cruelest women hid the greatest cache of virtue and love deep in her heart.  After siring Anne, Francis learned that there was no cache beneath it all and life with Midonia would forever be a test of wills.

While the descending Wolfe struggled, Francis led his family on the road, living for months on end in an enormous canvas pavilion, entering every tournament and melee on the continent.

“For Francis Whitehall, these tournaments were not games.  Every waking moment had become a question of life and death.”
– Excerpt from The Crystal Crux – Betrayal

During the Grand Melee in Germany on Whitsuntide, when Emperor Barbarossa brought his sons into knighthood, Francis rode to the rescue of a Spanish caballero he had just met.  Pero de Alava was battling assassins and more than grateful to the Griffin.  He went to England and negotiated with the Wolfe for Francis’ service.

Spending all their time together thereafter, they became fast friends and when Pero received his Imperial commission at Capua, Francis and his family followed.

Francis Whitehall is one of the more stirring characters in the series and I believe many will who read it will feel emotionally attached to him, rooting for him at every turn.

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Also available on other literary sites including iBook.

If you want to read about more characters in The Crystal Crux-Betrayal, check out some of the other postings on this site and my authors page – AM WERNER