Today I'm very excited to share an excerpt of Orkney Twilight by Clare Carson as part of the blog tour organised by publisher Head of Zeus!
The day Sam realized that her father wasn’t quite what he appeared to be was one of those June days when the unexpected heat was making everything shimmer like a mirage. Nothing was quite what it seemed. From where she was standing Sam could see the gleaming cranes and gantries of Tilbury towering like an industrial Oz above the muddy flat- lands of Essex, hoists and winches moving magically as if nudged by some unseen hand, giant rusting containers floating weightlessly in the air and, running through it all, the amber pathway of the Thames heading enticingly towards the far horizon. It was like a belated seventh birthday treat. She hadn’t expected all this when she had conjured up the list of vague symptoms carefully calibrated to be too bad for school but not quite bad enough for a doctor’s appointment. Liz, for once, had lost her rag.
‘She is your daughter too, you know,’ Liz had shouted up the stairs. ‘I can’t take her with me again. I’m lecturing today. She’ll have to go with you.’
Jim had shouted back down that there was no way he was going to take her to work with him, it wasn’t allowed, it was against the rules. But Liz didn’t want to know, she didn’t care about him and his stupid work and what was allowed and what wasn’t, she had a job to do too and she wanted to get on with it. Liz yelled that as far as she could tell they made their fucking rules up as they went along anyway, and then slammed the door on her way out.
So there she was at Tilbury docks, happily ensconced in Jim’s crow’s nest office suspended in the scaffolding high up in the stratospheric blue of the sky.
‘Don’t touch anything,’ Jim had said, pacing the restricted rectangle of grey-marbled linoleum, not bothering to disguise his irritation at her presence. She was sitting on his fancy swivel chair, kicking her legs back and forth, making the seat twist around and around. He had watched her impatiently with his steely blue eyes, flicked his wrist, checked his watch, and pointed out the window.
‘Look. A kestrel. There’s a pair of them nesting up on one of the gantries. It must be hunting for voles to feed the chicks. Keep your eyes peeled and you might see it dive. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it going in for the kill.’
She had followed the point of his finger and located a distant tawny cruciform speck; an angel of death hovering motionless apart from the just perceptible flutter of its gold-flecked wings.
Has your appetite well and truly been whetted?! The paperback of Orkney Twilight is published this week, so get your copy now from Waterstones, Amazon, or your own preferred retailer.