!!!Click on the tour poster to find quick links to other tour stops!!!
Some say titans are descended from giants. Others say they are risen from men. But there’s never any debate about where to find them. They will be in the center of a roaring crowd, beating the hell out of each other. From contenders like the Savage and Scott Flawless to pretenders like Richard the Living Portrait and Troll-Blooded Thom, a titan’s lot in life is the same: To wrestle for dominion and glory in the squared circle.
Van, a quiet titan from the brewery town of Headwaters, wants no part in this. He’d prefer to be left alone with a beer. But destiny has him in a headlock, and it is prepared to drag him into battles that will shake the land and change his world forever.
Step into the ring with this one-of-a-kind novel, brewed special for fans of epic fantasy, fans of professional wrestling from the Golden Era and beyond, or simply fans of a good tale.
|Storytellers on Tour||eARC||367||indie||Epic Fantasy||March 5th, 2020|
CW: Alcohol, Bullying, Physical Abuse, Poisoning, Police Brutality, Racism, Violence.
So, let me tell you what happened. I got notification that this book was going to go on tour. I instantly liked the cover. I started reading the blurb- got HALF WAY through the blurb and said- oh hell yes, please, sign me the hell up for this! – I did. Sign myself up for the tour. To read the book. To review. And I was pumped, man. PUMPED!
And then, I finished reading the blurb and I saw professional wrestling mentioned. And I just went, oh no. NO. No. No. Oh shit, oh crap, oh god, please NOOOOOOO!
You see- as much as I dislike darts which I find a ridiculous ‘sport’, I think even worse is WWE. Now, hang on! Before you shun me to the multiple circles of hell, untwist your knickers. Sure, I know sweet nothing about WWE, but let me just put it this way – every time I have accidentally stumbled across it on TV, the channel gets changed pretty darn quick… I just can’t with those oiled up, over the top shenanigans. It’s like one of those bar brawls where 2 dudes are so serious about killing each other but to the bystander they look freaking ridiculous with their flailing arms, misplaced foot kicks, shirts out of pants, crazed eyes full of hate and beer-induced spit bursting out from in between lips. Ugh. I am not discrediting the work and passion that goes in by the people who do these theatrics, not at all. Every thing has their own fans and followers… and I am not stupid – people do things because they love what they do and all the power to them; who gives a fiddler’s fuck if I don’t like some dude in a leotard and wearing a waxed mustache rubbing himself off another meat mountain… Rocks your boat? Brilliant… Doesn’t mean, everyone and their grandmother has to be a fan, and it just so happens that it’s super far from my cup of tea.
So… you can see, keeping my confession in mind, that I was no longer pumped but stumped! I was scared! I was literally heart broken and anxious that I was so not going to like this book… I was being proper dramatic about it too… inwardly, at least… I keep my melt downs inside me… sigh… anyway…
Dear reader, want to know how it all ended up?
Well, despite me muttering ‘wtf is a clothesline’ in a few places (and I was bloody well damned if I was going to check it up on Youtube because WWE, eww), I. FREAKING. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. In fact, dear reader, please meet my new favourite book- The Headlock of Destiny.
A big sigh of relief, let me tell you, when I did start reading and it was just good, and so good, and it got better and better and better… and it was proper FUN! Most of you fantasy freaks have read Kings of the Wyld and you all know how much fun that was… well, The Headlock of Destiny delivers, naturally a bit differently, but totally equal amount of fun! I was back to PUMPED!
But fun isn’t where it stops. There’s a ton of heart, and oh what tremendous storyline. The plot and character development can only be described in one way… Picture this… somewhere, in silence and gloomy, sombre tavern, someone strokes one single piano key… this sound is the start of the book… slowly, another key stroke is added, and another and another and as you read, flip the pages for more, suddenly you see, with a huge smile on your face that this beer-sprayed atmosphere has been composed into a soul-consuming symphony of sweetest melodies! Bravo! *standing ovation*
He hated wrestling. He hated fighting.
Van, our main character is a titan that doesn’t fit in. At all. He loves beer so of course he works at the brewery doing the heavy lifting; and occasionally the heavy drinking. But amongst humans he is not quite accepted, and among titans he is not quite your regular either – because Van is a titan that doesn’t wrestle and a titan that doesn’t wrestle is a rare occurrence indeed. Van is the embodiment of a gentle giant! I instantly liked him, I instantly felt for him – yes, he is prone to (figuratively) pulling on a skirt and having a self-pity-party but if life keeps dealing you crap cards, self pity is allowed. Titans simply don’t have it easy in this world- and you’ll find out why in the book!
Well, Van is enjoying a relatively quiet life – all misfortunes aside – he has a job, he gets to drink beer, the life boat is sailing smoothly. Until it isn’t…
Wrestling? How was it that the thing he hated more than anything else was the thing everyone else seemed to think he had to do? Tiny shorts and flexed muscles. Outsized personas. Elaborate moves and styles when a simple fist to the face settled most fights. Flexible rules and bought refs.
Through a series of unfortunate events, Van ends up being dragged into the squared circle. Smack in the middle of it, without knowing sweet nothings about wrestling, rules (are there any even?) and even though he appears to be the one tasked with having to save the day, kind of, he is still carrying a barrel of beer under his arm where ever he goes and he is STILL not accepted! That’s the crux of it all – how much can a man.. er, titan, be and do to get some bloody acceptance? He has only ever been nothing but nice so why does fate still insist he paddle up shit creek at all times? Sigh. I felt for Van, I did. But the best part? He has the main role in this symphony and he does bloody well. He doesn’t lose himself, he doesn’t lose his integrity and he doesn’t lose that which makes him so lovable.
You may still be wondering why I am referring to this brawly book as a symphony. See, it’s not just 2 titans facing off at any one moment, and bam, we had a bit of fun, Van’s a REAL TITAN now. Oh no… this story truly does go from tiny, humble beginnings to huge, titan sized plot with balls! You’ll meet some amazing characters, some asshole characters, some mysterious characters… it’s all simply beautiful, and at times a bit sweaty.
Along the way, as you discover those bought refs, corruption in the fighting nations and an even darker threat to come, you will have a hell of a time. Hell, I’d have been drinking beer for the duration of the book if I could. It’s hilarious because some of those titans, whilst scary, are hilarious too.. Like Richard the Living Portrait (oh, don’t even ask how he got his name, read about it), or Scott Flawless… or Landshaker… ahem
Cause titans like to fuck a lot, and some of them like to fuck strange things. I’ve seen them. They’ll fuck anything that moves, and some things that don’t. So we get freaks like Golem Jones, the Minotaur, Lizardman, the Ram. Rumor is the Landshaker was born when Laslo the Giant fucked a cave.
If you know me, you know I like profanity. Yes, I’m one of those ‘unintelligents’, whatever. Whilst the few fucks add accurate amount of spice in the story, the profanity isn’t overdone and is definitely not a constant. It’s just enough rough and rebel to please the epic fantasy reader. The author also really knows how to write dialogue to keep it fresh and make the attitude jump off the page.
Last but not least, in fact, probably MOST IMPORTANTLY – as there are quite a few wrestling/fight scenes in this book, I need to mention that all of the scenes in the squared circle or any other rumble-tumble taking place is written with such engaging manner it made me feel I was right there witnessing how one or other titan was fed through the figurative mincing machine. There is precision and creativity – (and you’ll probably want to tell me to watch WWE now because it’s fun like that too, fair enough, but I won’t unless there are titans involved and Samuel Gately directing) – and it’s just good old ‘holy shit’ punching!
Sometimes Van hated being a fucking titan.
So, in the end it turns out this book feels like it was written for me. It has it all, some big overall problems to solve, a lovable yet flawed character who goes through and amazing development with his internal problem or obstacle to overcome, the setting which goes from small to big to exploding like a supernova, the imagination of it all, the mix and match of some fantasy elements and I am so super happy that I didn’t let my ignorance of WWE turn me away from reading this book. The minute I finished reading The Headlock of Destiny, I went and got the sequel because I want some more of what Samuel Gately has to offer! Bring it on!!!
Samuel Gately is a writer of novels and short stories in the fantasy genre. Most have spies in them. Samuel lives in Oak Park just outside Chicago with his wife, daughters, and terrifyingly fluffy dogs.