Tuesday 9 August 2022

Excerpt of The Seven Hungers by Morgan Quaid

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE SEVEN HUNGERS by Morgan Quaid Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:

Title: THE SEVEN HUNGERS : Rise of the Crimson King

Author: Morgan Quaid

Pub. Date: April 20, 2022

Publisher: Morgan Quaid

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 357

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle

Read for FREE with a Kindle Unlimited membership!

"Jaw-Dropping action, a great blend of investigation and horror, I've never quite read anything like it!"

Censured Crown sorcerer Ambrose Drake is hired to investigate a bizarre emergence in a city halfway across the world from his native London. Drake soon learns that a being from one of the Seven Hungers beneath our world is attempting to cross over. Flanked by his ex-lover and betrayer, Agent Karen Winter and a young acolyte with a severe lack of magical ability, Drake must plunge once more into the depths to save humanity.

The Seven Hungers is a fast-paced fantasy thriller which blends sorcery, horror elements and the exploration of dark new worlds with intense emotional struggle.

Perfect for fans of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, Charles Stross's Laundry Files, and the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka.



Chapter One

Suburban Unpleasantries

The sound of my forearm snapping cuts through the din of chaotic violence, accompanied by splintered wood and clouds of debris. I can’t help but grit my teeth as the shattered bone rubs against itself within the mangled flesh of my right arm. The pain brings with it a flood of power, followed closely by nausea. I swallow it down and try to keep my focus as the tentacle wrapped around my torso slams me into the kitchen wall. 

It’s times like these I tend to reevaluate my life choices. Standing with my right arm elbow deep inside the wall of a haunted London apartment while the under-dweller who lives here tries to debone me; it’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder if a mundane life in the burbs wouldn’t be such a bad thing. 

The building shakes violently, as though in the throes of a localized earthquake. I almost lose my footing but manage to stay more or less upright, my back bent over kitchen cabinetry, legs

splayed, and one arm barely holding together beneath the under dweller’s vise-like grip. 

From somewhere below, another tentacle bursts from the kitchen wall, wrapping muscular cords around my left leg and wrenching with such force that I can’t help the high-pitched squeal that slips from my mouth. 

“Rook!” I cry out, in a voice somewhat shriller than I would prefer. “Rook, you big bastard! Hurry the hell up!” 

There’s no way Rook can hear me. At a guess, I’d say there’s half a dozen feet of concrete, wood, and insulation between us, and I’m guessing she’s got her own problems at the minute. Still, I let fly a string of obscenities in her general direction, hoping that their vigorous application might somehow aid Rook in putting an end to this business. 

The creature, in whose copious limbs I am currently caught, shakes violently. I lose my footing and flail about helplessly as the room shudders. Glass and crockery fall to the ground in a spectacular bombardment, sending up flecks of sharp teeth that cut at my face and pepper my clothes. The pain brings clarity and a seductive promise of power. Once more I fight back against the dark impulse screaming from within. 

“ROOK!” I screech above the din of impending destruction. The building shakes, and I feel the brute pull against me, wrenching my splintered arm out of its socket and battering my shin so violently that I feel it give way entirely. The power grows, sickeningly sweet. It whispers to me, begging to be used, threatening to drown my objections. I could end this in a moment, just by

reaching out and taking hold of the black ether, by permitting a little of what lies within to be freed. So quick, so easy. But giving up control in a confined space like this is likely to leave a dozen mundanes dead, and I can’t have that on my conscience. 

In the reflection of a nearby piece of broken glass, my eyes catch sight of the tattooed shackle on my neck. It wouldn’t be much of a struggle to break these bonds and unleash the black ether—no struggle at all, actually. But that would mean breaking Crown law, and I’m not ready for the kind of attention. It would also mean burning every bridge I have left and spending the rest of my days running, so I swallow it down and keep fighting against the shadow within. 

The room shudders, and I hear a roar come from somewhere beneath. 

“Rook! Where the f—” 

My words are cut short as the apartment shudders and the tentacles gripping my body suddenly loosen. They slip into various cracks and crevasses in the walls and leave me to fall in an undignified heap upon the floor. I sit, my chest heaving as I suck in breath, collecting my wits and considering the myriad ways this morning could have gone differently. 

“God’s blood, I hate my life,” I mutter as Rook comes thudding up basement stairs, walking with such heavy steps that I can feel them reverberate through the floor. She enters the kitchen wiping her soiled hands on a grimy towel, her outfit splattered with purple ichor. 

“Jesus, Rook. Did you beat it to death with your bare hands?”

She mimes one hand chopping another, as though in reference to some large pipe or other implement. Rook is nothing if not resourceful, and I’m guessing she found something to use as a bludgeon down there in the depths of the building. 

“And it’s dead?” I ask between rasping breaths. 

She nods. 

“Good. Then we can tie it all up with a bow and leave the cleanup to the Administratum.” 

Rook moves toward me, leaning down to pick me up off the floor and cradle me in her arms. She carries my broken body like a child gingerly transporting a damaged doll. I’m too exhausted and in too much pain to protest at the indignity of the situation. Ten years as a censured Crown sorcerer has knocked most of the pride out of me. This isn’t the first time Rook has had to scrape my broken body off the floor, and it won’t be the last. 

Just shy of seven feet tall and layered with thick cords of muscle, Rook is a tank on legs. She wears combat boots, camo pants, and a plain black T-shirt, now slightly soiled by the under-dweller ichor splattered across its surface. Close-cropped blonde hair and a face which seems perpetually caught in a wry smile complete the look— my own personal John Rambo. 

We head into an adjoining room where a family of three sit patiently, their glassy eyes oblivious to the violence which has unfolded in their kitchen. Rook sits me down at a free chair, then throws me a questioning look. I motion to my broken, dislocated arm. 

“Gonna need something strong for this one, Rook. Something alive, I think. Something fairly big.”

She nods and walks from the room with purpose. In her absence, I conduct a rough inspection of my battered body. It starts with three cracked incisors I can feel with my tongue, as well as a dislodged piece of something floating around in the back of my throat. I don’t want to think too much on that, so I gingerly twist my body, confirming at least two broken ribs, a few muscular tears and various cuts and bruises. Then there are the broken bones. Forearm, wrist, shoulder—my right arm is a mess. One of my kneecaps has been dislodged, and a shin has been cracked and splintered. All in all, a fine morning’s work. 

The pain itself has dropped to a dull ache somewhere in the back of my mind. It still hurts like hell, but it’s manageable. A mundane would likely have passed out by now, but we Crown sorcerers have a long list of tools at our disposal to lessen or outright ignore pain. The trick comes in handy in this line of work, and it’s usually one of the first things you learn as an apprentice. Given how frail and squishy our human bodies are, it makes sense to prepare for the inevitable battering that the use of etheric thaumaturgy will undoubtedly cause. 

A fledgling sorcerer could easily misspeak an incantation, grow a little lazy with fingered signs, or simply misread a single word of some archaic cantrip. That might result in bright-blue hair for a month, a nose which drips milk, or twelve broken bones and a black eye. When starting out in this life, it’s a requirement to acclimatize to a certain amount of physical inconvenience if not downright pain. So, the first thing you learn is how to cope with that pain. The second is how to heal quickly, and this is where things get a little tricky in my case.

I share a few awkward moments with the small family sitting at their dining table. No point talking to them. I’ve set a mind-tether on the group, so they’re not really here, anyway. They’re not strictly anywhere. They’re in a kind of limbo where time passes without meaning or memory. Until it’s undone, I could dance naked on their tabletop, and they wouldn’t bat an eyelid. 

Rook’s footfalls precede her arrival back at the apartment. She drops a stack of small caviar cans and a spoon on the table in front of me, then opens her other hand and passes me the golden chick nestled in her palm. The little creature cheeps as it waddles across the table. The boy seated beside his parents doesn’t even register the existence of the baby chicken as I scoop it up in my good hand. 

I turn to Rook, leveling a withering glare in her direction. “Really? A chick?” 

She shrugs, signing with thick fingers. 

Said you wanted something different. 

I roll my eyes, feeling the pain in the back of my head redouble. “I meant some kind of fish or maybe a baby lizard. Not this. I’m sick of eggs and grubs, Rook, that’s all. It doesn’t mean I want to work my way up the food chain starting with the cutest animals first.” 

The little creature cheeps happily, waddling about on my palm. The hunger inside rises to a fever pitch as the darkness stirs. I feel an unnerving compulsion and take a rasping breath, closing my eyes as the fingers of my left hand tighten ever so slightly around the chirping angel. 

And this, ladies, and gentlemen, is the worst part of my morning. Not the broken bones, the humiliation, the constant reminder of my punishment and the past mistakes that led me to this place, but what is about to follow. 

“Look away, Rook.” 

I hear her turn around and feel the familiar pull of the thing inside me demanding to be fed, requiring that my body be made whole. I shove the little chick into my mouth and the shadow within engages the universe’s most nauseating mechanism for self-healing. I scream inwardly, trying desperately to block out the sound of crunching bones and the feel of what must be a tiny beak working its way down my gullet. The shadow feeds, using my mouth and digestive system by proxy as feathers and claws, bone and sinew are devoured. 

I puff out air from my nostrils like a Clydesdale at full gallop, completing the wretched task and snapping my fingers impatiently in Rook’s direction as I open my eye. She hands me a bottle of ginger beer, and I chug most of it, savoring the taste of the sugary liquid as it burns its way down my throat. 

I emerge from the horror a few minutes later with broken bones largely made whole. My arm is back in place, ribs are uncracked, shin and knee and muscular tears have all begun to heal rapidly. However distasteful the enterprise is, you can’t argue with the results. The little chick worked a treat, but there’s no way in hell I’ll be telling Rook that. 

I still wear the various cuts and bruises of the morning’s work. For some reason the shadow’s healing capacity doesn’t extend to minor inconveniences such as that. I’m alive and able to function, which is all that is required according to our rather peculiar arrangement.

After a final swig of ginger beer, I take a long, deep breath, fighting nausea which threatens to undo all that I have accomplished. The application of mental techniques helps me quell the nausea and still my mind. Words of ancient power are repeated over and over in a meditative cycle that moves from the foreground to the workroom of the mind. Like a pianist allowing right and left hands to perform their separate work whilst playing in unison, I let the meditation settle into my unconscious while bringing my foremind into focus. 

A few gestures and muttered phrases bring the family out of their stupor. They blink their eyes, turning to one another and then back to me in mild confusion. A lingering effect of the mind-tether is a mild soporific which dulls the senses and curtails the emergence of strong emotional impulses, so they listen calmly as I speak. 

“My name is Ambrose Drake, and I am a Crown-certified sorcerer.” I motion to the room behind us, drawing six pairs of eyes toward the remnants of their family kitchen. 

“It seems that your apartment was infested with a rare breed of under-dweller. The creature has likely lived in this establishment for some time, insinuating itself within various nooks and crannies in the walls and crawl spaces. Most of its bulk was housed in the basement, and it likely used a form of aerosolized hypnosis on the building’s superintendent to keep hidden during its stay here.” 

I pause for impact and then realize the pointlessness of the maneuver. The family are hearing my words and understanding them to some extent, but any oratory emphasis will be lost on them. I remind myself that this is a formality and that I’m ticking the box, not genuinely trying to communicate something to these people.

“Under Administratum code, I’m required to advise you that the under-dweller has been dispatched and will shortly be removed from this premises and disposed of. This apartment, and others within the building, will be marked and a record of the incident lodged with the Crown Administratum. You are welcome to request details of this report at any time, however you won’t remember the slightest detail of this exchange, so really this is a waste of my time and yours, but I don’t have a choice in the matter, so there we have it.” 

I turn to Rook, and she gives me a nod. I’ve observed the right procedures. I’ve done everything that needs to be done. So, there’s no excuse for the Administratum to go crawling up my ass and making life even more miserable than it already is. 

I throw the family a quick sign of the cross and promptly follow up by flipping them the bird. I stand, testing the strength of my legs, and follow Rook from the apartment and out into a dreary London morning, taking in a sharp breath of cold air. 

Just another day in paradise.

About Morgan Quaid:

Morgan Quaid is an Australian-based writer of speculative fiction, fantasy and horror, specializing in fast-paced page turners set against expansive fantasy backdrops. Quaid writes comics, graphic novels, short stories volumes and novels.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub


Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of THE SEVEN HUNGERS, US Only.

2 winners will receive an eBook of THE SEVEN HUNGERS, International.

Ends September 6th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Two Chicks on Books




IG Spotlight


Beers Books Boos

Excerpt/IG Post



IG Spotlight



Guest Post/IG Post

Week Two:


#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog



Writer of Wrongs



A Dream Within A Dream



Lisa-Queen of Random

Excerpt/IG Post



Review/IG Post

Week Three:


Epic Book Society

Review/IG Post


Rajiv's Reviews

Review/IG Post



Review/IG Post



IG Review


Lifestyle of Me


Week Four:



IG Review



IG Review



TikTok Review/IG Post


The Momma Spot

Review/IG Post


Two Points of Interest


Week Five:



IG Review


History from a Woman’s Perspective



Locks, Hooks and Books


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