pinterest-7bf66.html Reviews by Peter: Author/Novel Spotlight: Michael Bergman

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Author/Novel Spotlight: Michael Bergman

I first met Michael Bergman when he chose to "Follow" me on Twitter. I checked out his profile and discovered his novel, The Kingdom of Arke: Fading Light. Being a debut Christian author, I wanted to help him so I offered to review his novel, but seeing I am not able to at this time, I offered Michael an Author/Novel Spotlight post.

So sit back and let Michael talk about this intriguing novel, its background and Christian themes, and himself as an author.

However, to whet your appetite and pique your interest, here is the book cover and its description:

In the midst of a vast sea, there lies an island. There, the inhabitants of a kingdom have forgotten and forsaken their King. Light begins to fade over the island; darkness threatens to completely consume it. The fate of the kingdom resides in the actions of a boy who will go through a dark and perilous road that could easily consume him. Yet, only he can shed the light so desperately needed on the Kingdom of Arke.

Now a few words about Michael Bergman:

Hi, I'm Michael Bergman, an aspiring young author from western Kentucky. I work full time as a marine technician and electrician. My family operates an orphanage located in Hinche, Haiti, which currently provides for thirty-five children. While growing up, I was an avid reader who hoped to someday become an author. I was especially inspired by the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. I reside in Eddyville, Kentucky, with my beautiful wife, Marissa.

When I asked Michael about the background behind his novel, this is what he had to say:

The kingdom we live in now has forgotten and forsaken our great and mighty God and His Son, Jesus. Our world began in much the same way that Arke did, but acts of human selfishness took us further away from the light of the King. I believe that God helped me to create the Kingdom of Arke to tell the story of His infinite love toward His creation. 

We cannot fathom how desperately God loves us. He loves all of us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to dwell among us and teach us how to serve Him and shed light on the world. Jesus took on the darkness of sin itself for all of us, and He destroyed it at the cross with His crucifixion. With the darkness destroyed, Jesus rose from the grave and poured out His spirit of light for each and every one of us.

I hope that this story will reveal to others the light that I have found. I want everyone to see the terrible contrast between light and dark within this world. I believe there is a darkness that is consuming all of us, one that we don’t even see, that we are not even aware of. 

I believe we are allowing sin’s shadow to suffocate us and blind us from the beautiful light of God’s love. 

There is hope. The light shall come forth and consume all shadow of sorrow and fear. It will rise like the dawn, evaporating the cold and bitterness of night, bringing a glorious new day.

With all my heart, I hope the words you have read have helped you to see the light to see it for the first time or to see it anew. I hope these words speak into your heart, speaking life over death and joy over sorrow. I pray that you will draw closer to the light.

Let us become citizens of the light, keepers of its infinite glow. Let us rid this world of all shadow. Let us shine forth until all might see His light through us.

Michael states the following about the Christian themes in Fading Light: 

I have written Arke is to include every bit of the Bible I can without bluntly shoving the gospel down people's throats. I love a good story and from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John I believe Jesus did too. The way He taught and spoke was always with a good story, with the Gospel just under the surface. In my story, I speak about the King (God) and His son, Jesus, and His light and power, the Holy Spirit. The main antagonist was once a warrior for the King but has succumbed to the king of darkness, Lucifer. The book truly is full of the Biblical story. One of the main reasons I'm writing the book is to bring those who do not know Christ or have wandered away from him to return to His glorious light. There are many books out there filled with this kind of fantasy material and my prayer is that a large audience of readers will pick up this book just to read an interesting story but will finish the book realizing the glorious light and love of Christ.

In case this has further piqued your interest, I asked Michael if could provide an excerpt. But first, he explains why he chose this excerpt: 

I chose this because it's the first chapter and the beginning of the story. I love it when books, movies, and TV shows throw you right into the story at an intense scene so that is what I did with chapter one. I wrote the book in a way that you learn things about the world along with the main character and his background as the story progresses.

~~~~~~~~Start Excerpt~~~~~~~~~

Straining, Ryker pulled himself onto the flat rooftop of the house he had just climbed. He now stood high above the streets of Tervan. Ryker cautiously peered over the edge of the roof to search the empty roofs nearby. When he had first seen it staring at him, he had been startled. When it had followed him as he ran, he had begun to grow afraid. Now, after two hours of fleeing over the rooftops, he was terrified.

Wiping the sweat out of his eyes, he smoothed back his hair and took in a deep breath of the night air. Whatever was chasing him was fast and knew how to maneuver up here with speed and skill. Whatever the thing that chased him, it was much faster than any of the Gaur he had run from in the past.

He hadn’t gotten a good look at whatever was following him. The first and only thing he’d seen were red eyes. They had looked down at him from another rooftop high above. They’d almost looked like they were glowing, like lanterns in the night. Then, as if a shadow had passed by, the eyes had been gone. Chills ran across the back of his neck as fear of whatever that thing came over him.

So he ran, not knowing or caring what it was he ran from, and he didn’t look back. Leaving the tall rooftop, he continued to run over roofs and leap across gaps between houses. He wasn’t completely convinced that this shadowy pursuer really was tailing him.

And suddenly he saw them again, the red eyes ahead of him and higher up on another roof. The creature was swift to already be ahead and so high up. He quickly changed direction away from the figure watching him. Increasing his speed, he leaped from one rooftop to another, desperate to flee from his frightening pursuer.

A summer breeze blew through the night sky. A storm was coming up the river from Teerah Bay; he could vaguely smell the salt in the wind, bringing up memories of his past that he quickly pushed aside. It was exceptionally warm for early summer. The storm could get bad. Ryker needed to get back to his hideout before the storm began. He didn’t want to lead whoever was following him to his hideout. Many other boys lived with him, and he didn’t want to put them in danger as well. He had to lose his pursuer somehow.

Using the great tower that loomed over the entire Shuul as a guide, he started for the river. The tower had been built at the center of the Shuul to watch over and protect it. Ryker often used it as a mark to know where he was as he traveled the rooftops. If he could make it to the river, he could dive into the water and maybe hide on the banks under the brush that grew there, until his pursuer gave up.

He had made the jump many times. The first few occasions had been just for fun. The last time he’d jumped, a Shafel Gaur had caught him stealing a bag of coins off a merchant’s belt. Ryker had jumped, and the Shafel Gaur, who wore armor, hadn’t. He would have sunk like a rock if he had. Ryker had gotten away with enough gold to feed him and the boys he lived with for months. That day, he had run for gold; tonight he ran for his life.

As he ran on the roofs, he looked for the edge of the Shuul. He knew he was close, but how close could mean the difference between escape and … whatever would happen if he was caught. He didn’t know what would happen if this thing with red eyes caught up to him. He had heard of people seeing shadowy figures in the night recently. He had thought they were just seeing things or had spent too much time in the tavern. They’d said they had seen dark figures moving swiftly on the rooftops in the small hours of the night. One person swore he saw one of these figures chase a young boy down an alley. When he’d gone to investigate, there had been no sign of them. Both had disappeared. Ryker hoped the man had only been seeing things. It was indeed late in the night, and he was, in fact, an orphan.

“There!” he said aloud, relieved at the sight of the flowing water. In the moonlight, he could see the river. The moon shone on its dark waters as it flowed steadily south to fill up Teerah Bay.

He was near the spot where he knew it was deep enough, so he picked up his speed. In a sprint, he saw his mark on the peak of a roof and headed for it. Two flat roofs lay between him and the point where he would jump. If he leaped from the chimney of the second flat roof, it would give him enough height to reach the peak of the house he would use to dive into the river. He needed to time the jump perfectly to give him enough momentum to continue on into the river far below.

The wind picked up and moved thick clouds above to conceal the moon’s light. A fell voice was heard in the wind’s breath. As he leaped to the next roof, his body moving fast, expecting to dive in a matter of seconds, something suddenly held him in place. Ryker didn’t know if it was fear or an unseen force that held him, but to stop so abruptly was impossible. He couldn’t move a muscle. He was locked in a running posture but couldn’t get away.

A dark ominous cloud appeared out of the night air before him. It was unlike anything he had ever seen. In the cloud rose the figure that had been chasing him. The red eyes were the only things to be seen under a black hood. The dark cloud evaporated, revealing the rest of his features, which were few. He seemed like a darker shadow in the blackness of night.

“You’re quite the little rabbit up here, Ryker.” A hissing voice beneath the hood paused as if to let sink in the fact that he knew Ryker’s name.
His voice sounded almost like a snake the way it hissed. How did this … thing know his name? Why was he after him? And how was he frozen like this? Ryker shuddered. He had no idea and wasn’t sure he wanted to find out.

“My master wishes to extend his hospitality to you,” the dark figure continued. The way he spoke was disturbing. His presence made Ryker’s insides tremble. The figure clothed in black paced slowing around Ryker, circling him.

Ryker struggled to free himself from whatever unseen force held him immobile. The figure must have seen the expression on Ryker’s face change from fear to panic as he struggled to break free. No matter how much he fought it, the unseen force seized him.

“You still have fight in you? Good, good,” the stranger said with a wicked laugh. “You will serve the master of darkness well. You should realize now that you have no hope of escaping. Your future has already been sealed.” His voice grew louder and more threatening as he spoke. His wicked tongue twisted every word into a cruel, hissing version.

The clouds above exposed the moon to shine down on them, and Ryker got a better look at the shadowy figure. He was tall and lean. The hilt of a sword could be seen behind his shoulder. He wore a long black coat down to his shins. His armor beneath the coat was detailed with many markings and symbols. From his hood to his boots, the only color to be seen was black. Even under the moonlight, the shadow still clung to him save only for his red eyes, which indeed shone with an unearthly light. A dark mist seemed to linger around his eyes, concealing his face further. He turned his back to Ryker, looked up at the moon, and spoke to it, almost like he was speaking to Ryker.

“My master will cover Arke with a darkness that will swallow all light. Even the moon will no longer curse the night sky. No one can escape the fate that will come. He turned around to face Ryker and said directly to him, “Lucky for you, you will be among us as we drive the light away that blinds this land.” He stretched out his long arms. “Come, you must meet your new master!” he finished abruptly, his voice hissing long after the last word.

Another dark cloud appeared and surrounded the dark figure. For a moment, Ryker felt himself freed from the unseen force that had held him motionless. He quickly unwrapped his ever-present sling from around his waist and grabbed a stone from his pocket. In one fluid motion, he spun the stone and slung it toward the figure.

Whether it hit its mark or not, Ryker didn’t wait to find out. The moment the stone left the sling, he was already on the sloped roof, running along its peak. He planted both of his feet at its edge and leaped. He sailed through the air toward the river. He managed to turn, midair, to see if the figure was still on the roof. He was nowhere to be seen. His black clothes and red eyes were gone. Not having time to straighten his body, Ryker hit the water on the flat of his back, smacking it hard. It stung, but it was well worth it. He had escaped from his dark pursuer. 
~~~~~~~End Excerpt~~~~~~~

If you want to investigate more about Michael, he can be found here: 

Instagram @mbergman531

Twitter @mbergman90

After all this, if you want to buy The Kingdom of Arke, Book I: Fading Light, it is now available from Amazon:

Will also be available from Barnes and Noble and other online and bricks and mortar bookstores.

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