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Thorfinn and the Witch’s Curse

The Forerunner Series Book 1

by Jay Veloso Batista

Thorfinn and the Witch's Curse - Jay Veloso Batista - Forerunner Series
Part of the Forerunner Series series:
Editions:ePub - First Edition: $ 0.99
Pages: 374
Paperback - First Edition: $ 14.99
ISBN: 1078109567
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
Pages: 348
Hardcover - First Edition: $ 19.99
ISBN: 979-8719511559
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Pages: 324

WINNER of the 2020 Wishing Shelf Book and Readers’ Favorites 2021 Awards! Viking legends, unforgettable characters and authentic history combine in an exciting series starter! Vikings and Saxons, ghostly curses, witches and soothsayers, dangerous were-creatures and a young boy who must find his courage…
Danelaw life is good! Practicing martial skills, grumbling over chores, listening to scary stories and shadowing his brothers everywhere, Finn is a normal boy of ten in the Viking Kingdoms of ninth century England. A bit timid, his father plots his apprenticeship while the family prepares a grand wedding. Off to the North, his uncle sails home after years of exile. And unbeknownst to all, the ghost of an ancient mage sits sentinel over his clan freehold. But when a witch’s curse comes alive, a mishap turns young Finn into a vardoger, haunted by his own forerunner ghost.
Suddenly thrust into a new realm beyond Midgard, Finn struggles to be a boy by day and a ghost at night. His own clan fears him, he overhears murder plots, he learns the truth of giants and the hidden folk, and the witch still hunts revenge…
Will Finn find the courage to defeat his enemies, save his uncle, and accept his new ghostly existence?
Like history and legends? Enjoy the gritty realism of TV's Vikings or the multi-character fantasy of The Song of Ice and Fire? Want Viking Age drama and adventures like The Last Kingdom, then this is a series you’ll love!

Publisher: Independently Published
Cover Artists:
Tropes: Band of Brothers/Sisters, Beyond the Grave Communication, Vengeful Spirit, Wise Mentor
Word Count: 110000
Setting: Viking Age Britian
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Tropes: Band of Brothers/Sisters, Beyond the Grave Communication, Vengeful Spirit, Wise Mentor
Word Count: 110000
Setting: Viking Age Britian
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Reviews:Grant Leishman on wrote:

Thorfinn and the Witch’s Curse: The Forerunner Series Book 1 takes the reader deep into the heart of Viking-occupied Britain at the beginning of the ninth century. Author Jay Veloso Batista shows us a fragmented land that is dominated and ruled by a mixture of Angles, Saxons, Danes, Celts, and Scots, where the languages and dialects are as varied as the many different ethnicities that inhabit these isles. Thorfinn (Finn) is a timid, ten-year-old boy growing up in a typical Viking family in Britain at the time. Some of the family, his Uncle Karl for instance, are away on raiding expeditions (known as going Viking) but the bulk of the family is intent on creating a life and earning a living from the hard work of farming, trapping, hunting, or artisanship. Finn is only the third boy in the family and his father has set him on the path of life with a forestry apprenticeship. Finn’s life takes an unexpected turn when he, his brothers, and a friend seek out adventure and discovering an old place of legend. Their encounter with an evil witch will change Finn’s simple existence forever when he discovers he has been turned into a vardoger – a living ghost. Finn now has the ability, whilst his body sleeps, to transfer between Midgard (everyday life) and another similar realm where he is a ghost, while his physical body rests. His ability to move unknown amongst his family, friends, and enemies allows him to become privy to many things including dangerous plots against his family and specifically his uncle. Will Finn find the courage and the ability to stop these evil men intent on destroying his family and the upcoming nuptials of his older sister?

As a lover of fiction based on historical periods, surprisingly, I have read little of this dark period in Britain’s history and after reading Thorfinn and the Witch’s Curse, I find myself asking why have I not read this genre before? Author Jay Veloso Batista beautifully draws you into this tale of familial love, loyalty, and sacrifice that gives a different view of the Norsemen that we have always been told were intent on rape, pillage, and destruction. To be sure, there is plenty of action and fighting in this tale but the central themes are those of family, love, devotion, and cultural pride. Although this was a time of constant conflict the author shows how through careful matrimonial alliances peace was often maintained and families were built across cultures. One of the joys of historical novels is that they expose the reader to new and exciting legends and beliefs. This book does a fantastic job of introducing and elucidating on Norse lore, magical, beliefs, and cultural norms. The characters ring true and, as a reader, it was easy to be drawn to the young Finn, who, as a third boy in the family, was destined to live an ordinary and unexciting life. The unexpected adventures he stumbled over gave a depth of character to the young man that bodes well for future iterations of this series. As an author I have not come across before, Batista strikes me as one well worth following and I am certainly invested enough in this story to want to read Book 2. I await it with bated breath and can highly recommend this book.

KJ Simmill on wrote:

In Jay Veloso Batista's Thorfinn and the Witch's Curse, it started long ago when a witch was slain, but for Finn, his troubles began when he visited the tower where she met her demise. He hadn't even wanted to go - if only he'd listened to his instincts and stayed away. He knew of the witch's curse, knew the tale well from nights sharing stories, but something drove him there that day, be it peer pressure or destiny. But after visiting, Finn's brother, Sorven, becomes sick, and Finn swears he saw a figure, the witch, standing over him. With his brother cursed, growing weaker, he has no choice to return to her home, to try to reverse what was done. Only there are consequences he didn't expect, complications he never imagined. A boy by day, a ghost by night; he now has the problems of two realms on his shoulders. His uncle is in danger, his life on the line. Somehow Finn must come to accept all he is and the danger that forever stalks him because if he can't and if he fails, more than just his own life is on the line.

The first thing you will notice about Thorfinn and the Witch's Curse is the complete immersion in the world. Vibrant descriptions and masterful scene settings draw you into a time of ages past where you will truly feel as if you are in the hustle and bustle of the world, absorbing every detail as it unfolds around you to provide a strong and realistic setting. The characters are distinctive, each possessing their own story arc, which adds to the full feel of the world and the depth of people within when they are taken on a rollercoaster ride of excitement, fear, and intrigue. Action, danger, change, and adventure combine in a plot filled with myth, superstition, legend, and the supernatural. An entertaining read with great scene-setting and plot development.

KC Finn on wrote:

Thorfinn and the Witch's Curse is a work of fiction in the fantasy, action and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author Jay Veloso Batista. Written as the first novel in The Forerunner Series, the work is suitable for all readers thanks to no graphic content. As such, this highly immersive and engaging fantasy work takes us into a world of Vikings and a fascinating interspersing of real history with supernatural and ghostly goings-on. Our central hero Finn begins the journey as a typical young boy of his clan, but when a curse sees him transformed into a part-ghostly vardoger, everything changes for him. What results is a story of coming of age, learning to own your power, and facing up to an epic adventure.

Author Jay Veloso Batista has crafted a superb work of fantasy fiction which will surely tick all the boxes for fans of the genre. I was at once immersed in the world of Viking warriors and their way of life in their new land of England, and then the plot got even more exciting with Finn’s transformation. The emotional connection and the journey that Finn goes on as he adjusts to his new role was really heartfelt and helped readers relate to him more and more. All of this combined with highly immersive descriptive work and a fast-paced and exciting plot delivers a satisfying and sensational series opener. Overall, I would highly recommend Thorfinn and the Witch's Curse to high fantasy fans of all ages seeking a fantastic adventure.

The Prairies Book Review Staff on wrote:

A riveting page-turner that’s high on anticipation…

Jay gracefully blends history with archeology, fantasy, and non-stop action in his first installment of The Forerunner Saga series as he takes readers on a rousing, adventurous journey with mighty Viking warriors and deadly ghostly curses. Practicing martial skills, grumbling over chores, listening to scary stories, and shadowing his older brothers everywhere, ten-year-old Thorfinn lives a normal life in Midgard, the Viking Kingdoms of 9th-century England until a mishap turns him into a vardoger after a witch’s curse comes alive. Now haunted by his own forerunner ghost, Finn finds himself traveling between realms with the witch still seeking revenge and dangerous enemies pursuing death of his loved ones. Will Finn find the courage to defeat his enemies and accept his new ghostly existence? Jay’s success in balancing the elements of fantasy against a medieval historical background is on full display as he weaves deeply researched details of the Viking Kingdoms of 9th-century England into this epic fantasy tale. The authenticity of Viking era comes to life vividly, submerging the reader completely. Considering it’s the series opener, Jay skillfully and painstakingly does a lot of groundwork in the form of non-battle machinations—detailing the Viking’s ways of living, their customs, and myths of the period. He also captures the high tension and sheer anticipation of a fast-moving, well-crafted fantasy. Initially, Finn is a regular ten-year-old, timid and lacking the courage of a fantasy hero, but his calculated cunning and the act of bravery toward the end leave scope for his character’s growth in the upcoming installments. The ghostly figures in the novel are drawn vividly, bringing a sense of doom with them every time they appear. The Viking Warriors come out as stirring, larger-than-life action figures driven by ambition, fidelity, and thirst for violence. Yeru who seems the noble woman of purpose and dedication, is a complete darling. All the major and ancillary characters are well drawn, and the battle scenes are finely constructed: both the Viking battle scenes and witches’ encounters unfold quickly and vividly. A deft mix of historical details, customs, culture, and myths and superstitions of Viking period authenticate the saga further. Jay drops in a slick twist toward the end, paving the way for Finn and Karl’s stories to continue. Fans of well-crafted fantasy and medieval historical adventures won’t want to miss this intriguing series opener. Highly recommended!

Note: This title is free on Kindle Unlimited.

The first book of the forerunner series is a coming of age novel that introduces the Agneson clan in pre-England Britain of the Viking Age. The fantasy and supernatural suspense is "low" in book 1 as it is designed to be a Young Adult story. The series grows progressively more adult and delves deeper into the fantasy realms in the later novels.

The first three novels in the series can be purchased as an ebook here


About the Author

Jay Veloso Batista is a published author of Historical Fantasy and Supernatural Suspense, technical non-fiction, poetry and role playing games. The 2020 Wishing Shelf Book Awards has selected THORFINN AND THE WITCH's CURSE as a BRONZE Medal Winner and THE VARDOGER BOY as a Red Ribbon Winner in the Teenage Reader Category.

The Forerunner Series includes ‘Thorfinn and the Witch’s Curse,’ 'The Vardoger Boy,' 'On Viking Seas,' and coming in 2022, 'Kara, Shieldmaiden of Eire (2022).'

Jay loves history, cycling and hiking, and good craft beer! A frequent traveler for business and pleasure, Jay has visited all 50 states and all of the continents except Antarctica, and the places he has frequented support his story craft. A father and grandfather, Jay lives on the eastern Delaware shore with his wife where they can kayak, swim in the ocean and eat lots of blue fin crabs!