Digging in the Stars
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
A lost ancient civilization and the tomb of a legendary king lie buried beneath centuries of ash on the volcanic planet Thror, but that’s not the only reason sixteen-year-old Carter has tricked her Archaeology of Outer Space class into coming here. Her best friend Conrad has just disappeared on a trip to Thror, leaving behind little more than a broken vintage camera. The strange and disturbing photographs she manages to extract make her suspect Conrad’s disappearance is somehow connected to the hidden tomb of the last king of Thror.
Unfortunately, the ludicrously over-friendly ‘Furry Giants’ who have taken over the planet’s barren surface would rather offer her cheap souvenirs than answers, and the local officials insist they have no record of Conrad’s existence. Inspired by fear for Conrad’s life and the chance to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century, Carter and her friends follow Conrad’s footsteps deep into the mountains of Thror’s forbidden Black Zone and launch an illicit excavation.
Coded messages, stunning ancient ruins, and clues left by Conrad himself begin to surface as the young archaeologists fall victim to an alarming series of accidents staged by the increasingly hostile Furry Giants. Piecing together a history of dictatorship, terrorism and disguise, Carter glimpses the horrors beyond Thror’s flamboyant façade and startling revelations about the friend she thought she knew. The masks of Thror hide devastating secrets, and the golden tomb buried deep in the frozen core may claim the lives of everyone she loves.
“So let me get this straight,” Lizzie broke in, her tone dripping with cynicism. “Our little prodigy’s ailing, long-lost, apparently gorgeous sweetheart over there has been leading us all by the nose and feeding her hints, all so he could bring her here and use her as a walking key? How romantic!” She gave a harsh laugh that sounded more like a bark. “And here I was, thinking I had unfortunate taste in men.”
* * *
The long black coat draping off his hunched shoulders seemed like a pair of folded wings, and his skeletal fingers darted back and forth like pale talons as he spoke. Suddenly, the dark hair floating about his face looked like ruffled feathers, and his impossibly pale eyes glowed eerily in the light of the projector. At that moment, he was no longer a sick teenage boy; he was a huge, ferocious bird of prey, a creature of the night. He was as powerful and mesmerizing as the magnificent, winged figure of Mephisto on the screen, enveloping a miniature town with his black wings as he exhaled contagion and death.
I am an author and independent filmmaker/stop motion animator with a BFA in Stop Motion Animation from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a PhD in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). My thesis focuses on silent film adaptations of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Gothic novels, with a special emphasis on psychological and aesthetic representations of the Monster figure. My debut novel, a YA Sci-Fi adventure called Digging in the Stars, is forthcoming with Blaze Publishing on March 28, 2017.
Raised by an Egyptologist mother, I grew up among museums and excavation sites, where I developed an unhealthy fascination with ancient art and mythology. I divide my time between bringing 12”-tall people to life in my studio in Edinburgh, excavating ancient tombs in the Egyptian desert, and researching Gothic literary monsters in silent film. I have worked for more than 10 years as photographer and videographer for the South Asasif Conservation Project, an archaeological expedition in Egypt and I have published numerous articles on film and archaeology.
I write, direct, design, and animate short films and commissioned projects in my studio in Edinburgh, Scotland and have been employed as an animator, screenwriter, modelmaker and art director for studios in Edinburgh, South Korea and Qatar. I have produced commissioned projects for IdeasTap in London, the Arts Trust Scotland and the British Library. My shorts have won competitions and screened at various international festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2015, my short film The Burglar With the Yellow Hand was nominated for an Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Research in Film Award.
You can find out more about all aspects of my work on my website, http://yorwickcastle.com
My new blog http://KatherineBlakeneyStardigger.blogspot.com is all about Digging in the Stars and my references and inspirations as a writer.