"I read this story as being like the medieval ballads of old. It skips around in time, weaving memories from Archer's past in with the narrative of his present. The descriptions of archery feel fluid and believable (and this coming from a former archer herself) and I particularly enjoyed the scenes in the bowyer's workshop! I could almost feel the wood dust." -- Icy Sedgwick, Author of The Necromancer's Apprentice
"So far your book has been one of the best I've read in years. I'm looking forward to your next book." -- Anil, age 11
"This is a wonderful coming-of-age adventure with the fascinating backdrop of an Arthurian-style knight tournament. You can tell the author put in countless hours tirelessly researching customs of the time period, as well as the various fighting techniques, and weapon crafting."-- Gypsy Madden, Author and Historical Re-enactor
Some of the fabulous things the professionals have said about Archer:
"Swashbuckling medieval adventure with a twist, Archer really is one to enrich the imagination. There are dashing sword fights, arrows that find their mark, a destiny to be fulfilled and a host of unforgettable characters, with Gray proving her ability to create a compelling and immersive reading experience.
Quickly gathering momentum, it's well conceived and vividly rendered and there's an economy to Gray's prose that encourages the imagination to find full form whilst she weaves a delightful web of intrigue. Enchanting to the last page, Archer has the feel of an epic saga in the making and is sure to find an enthusiastic following. Definitely deserving of a place on your bookshelf, it is highly recommended." -- Book Viral, Review Site
"The jousting event at the start of the book takes the reader into the thick of the action. As the story moves ahead, more magical and fantasy elements make their presence felt in the narrative. The alternate society and family system with their own deep seated set of traditions and culture comes alive in the author's writing. And the attention to detail in creating a unique civilization is quite brilliant.
There's something very likeable about Archer. His earnestness, his fighting skills, his loyalty and his code of honor all make for a very interesting character. And the explanations into jousting, sword fighting and archery should entice a whole new set of readers towards this book." -- MWB Reviews
"Jacky has nailed the character of a medieval archer and the books are a thrilling blend of action and rich historical detail." -- Kevin Hicks, Historical Re-enactor and Professional Archer
"5 stars for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting given by three 'evaluators.' This book was awarded The IndiePENdents Seal no. 10012254." -- Mr. Richard Lw Bunning, The IndiePENdents
"Jacky has produced a credible parallel universe, a combination of the English middle ages blended with modern-day England in realistic and well realised settings. I especially enjoyed travelling across Alternative Oxfordshire."-- Ronald Hutton, Professor of History at Bristol University
"I thought the sword and buckler bout between Finn and Archer was incredibly well done, a very engaging piece of writing. Archer's time with Bowman in general was a highlight, especially the making of the two bows." -- JJ, Archer and Historian
From the Author
I wrote an adult book called The Colour of Light and finished it with a sense of loss - I really wanted to spend some more time in that world with those characters. At the suggestion of a good friend, I decided that instead of writing a sequel, I would explore the kind of life experiences that made Archer who he was. Just in case the message wasn't fully drummed in, the publicity machine had started for the X-men spin-off movie Wolverine, the back story of another perfect soldier. I couldn't ignore all these messages from the universe, and 18 days and 56,000 words later, Archer's tale was told.
I am thrilled to have been awarded the indiePENdents Seal for reaching this esteemed body's exacting standards for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting. Please let me know if you spot any typos which slipped through the net.
Here's one of my favourite scenes:
Eventually Hereward would tire of his baiting and get to the point. Archer wanted full command of all of his energies at that moment. It seemed to have arrived.
'Right, the challenge is this. I place an apple on the squire's head. What's his name? Fletch. If you can put an arrow through it you can keep your clothes. If he can keep still enough so there's not a mark on him, you can keep your horses.'
Archer thought for a moment and sized up the situation, knowing the man was likely to change the rules after he'd agreed. 'I can stand wherever I want?'
The reluctant grin told Archer he'd planned just such a trick. He was, however, gracious in his admiration of the boy's cunning. 'Yes. You can choose your position.'
'Then let's make it interesting. Why don't we say that if I can make the apple hit the tree behind him, we keep all our belongings? Apart from the food you've already eaten. And you guide us to the edge of your territory so we have no more trouble.'
The other Renegates were starting to nudge each other at the boy's audacity and Hereward obviously felt he had to re-establish his authority somehow. 'What's in it for me? Why would I agree to your terms?'
'Because you've already detained us far longer than you needed to. You've eaten all our food and had a lot of sport at our expense. That much entertainment at a theatre would have cost you dearly.'
Hereward's admiration was quite open as he clapped his hands slowly. 'Bravo Robin, or should I call you William Tell? Fire the apple into the tree indeed.