The Bridge to Magic
The Sundered Web Book 1
by Alex Thornbury
Genre: YA Dark Dystopian Fantasy
2022 Royal Dragonfly Award Winner for Science Fiction/Fantasy
“This is dark fantasy at its best … “—The Book Commentary
A gripping, award-winning debut for lovers of traditional high fantasy, set in the dying world where humanity is likened to weakness, and the only path to salvation is the same path which might lead to death.
The Blight. The end of Mankind. The Bridge that may be salvation or the final betrayal.
In this grimdark fantasy, Elika, an orphan on Terren’s streets, hates and fears the bridge that spans the great chasm to the Deadlands. Like everyone else, she clings to the hope that purging every lingering echo of magic from the world can stop the Blight.
Then she discovers that magic is hiding within her, and through her it seeks to enact the will of its own. Everything Elika knew about her past shatters, as long-buried secrets about her true birth emerge. Accused of being a mage, many doubt her loyalties. Her gang turns against her. The one man she thought she could trust and love, abandons her. Elika must soon decide: Either destroy the magic inside her or cross the bridge to her own uncertain end. But what awaits them in the Deadlands where the enemy of mankind roams wild? Her future or her end?
The Bridge to Magic is a story of a life between two deaths and an impossible choice to make. It is a story of finding hope, love and survival in a world where none seems possible.
Praise for The Bridge to Magic
“A magnificent high fantasy debut…stunning page-turner…original, captivating, and readers may be surprised to find this is the author’s debut novel. The storyline is absolutely mesmerizing, and Thornbury has a knack for telling a dark story. And I do mean dark.” Reader Views⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“This was a really great introduction into the Sundered Web series. Alex is wonderfully skilled in world building and this book is a prime example of that. Her wonderful descriptions creates beautiful and vivid imagery. It’s almost like the reader becomes Elika.” NetGalley Reviewer ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“This is dark fantasy at its best… The more creative descriptions of the darkness that threatens humanity pull the narrative somewhere between horror and fantasy… A delightful read with a voice that works and prose that is bold and enticing. But it is the immersive world of this creation that will have most readers turning the pages.” The Book Commentary ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“A sensational work of fantasy fiction that will captivate YA readers and adult fantasy fans alike… An accomplished tale with a fascinating core concept, great character development, and gorgeous, spine-tingling dark fantasy styling. A series not to be missed.” Readers’ Favorite ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“A wonderful fantasy story for teens and adults… The author has a great imagination and whilst this book is a complete story in itself I look forward to the sequel.” Booksprout Reviewer ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“Shut your windows. Draw your curtains. Lit a candle and let the pages suck you in. This is a gritty chilling, and dark story set in a fascinating world. The plot has many pleasant twists and the characters can surprise with unexpected actions that reveal more about their hearts… Despite all of the desperation the end of the world brings, there is a sense of beauty and coziness. Occasionally even humor. And it all creates an engaging balance.” BookSirens Reviewer ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“Expertly crafted and highly readable… Mesmerising.” The Prairies Book Review
“… thought provoking … enchanting novel.” Sally Altass – Author of the Witch Laws
“The Bridge to Magic is well written and draws you in from the start. Well-paced and filled with good characters… a quality entry into the fantasy genre.” Christian Warren Freed – Author of The Lazarus Men
There was a time before the bridge was forged, but those stories had been mostly forgotten. The dark history of that bygone age was now buried in the archives of the priests. Only the echoes of it remained on the tongues of minstrels and drunks. Elika had heard them all and each tale seemed more terrible and unimaginable than the other.
Those were dismal times of endless wars—men against magic, magic against men. The time when even the storms and rains were at the mercy of magic and its fickle moods. It might snow in the summer, or the hot winds might carry sand upon them, burying entire cities. Honest travelers feared to ride through the forest, lest the trees attacked them. A farmer might wake up to find his river flowing the wrong way or dried up altogether. Those days were gone and might have been forgotten, but for this stark reminder before Elika’s eyes.
And who had not stood before the dark bridge in their last moments, facing that choice they all must one day make?
Like that hoary, old codger in the ale-stained uniform of the city’s Blue Guard who had stood before the bridge for nigh on an hour; unsteady on his legs, his sour breath steaming in the crisp, winter night, drinking deeply of the cheap gin, which was as likely to kill him by morning as what he now faced. He took a long swig out of his bottle as he braced himself for the unknown fate ahead.
Elika sat huddled in the doorway of an abandoned house, watching him, needing to know whether he would reach the other side or die crossing. Her ears filled with the howling winds rising from the great chasm, and she did not need to imagine what he was thinking, staring as he did at the monstrous bridge and the lifeless bank beyond, for she was thinking the same—surely it is better than what remains at our back. Better than what approaches.
She clutched the cloak tighter around herself against the biting gust of wind trying to rip it from her. She had scavenged the woolen cloak some days ago from a dead beggar, and it still smelled of his mustiness. She pulled up her knees to her chest and clamped her icy hands under her arms. The stone wall was cold at her back. Her breath steamed. She waited and watched the old guard take another wobbly step toward the bridge, seeking courage in his gin-dulled mind. He took another gulp, stared at the empty bottle in surprise, then threw it aside with a foul curse. The bottle hit the frozen ground and rolled off the edge of their world into the chasm, to fall for eternity in that endless darkness.
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Alex Thornbury grew up in Cheshire UK, and developed a deep love of history and fantasy thanks to the many castles she visited as a child. Though she grew up to be an Alchemist by trade, she never stopped fantasizing about other worlds, dragons and epic battles. She has abandoned her Alchemy and potion making career, and is now a full time author of high fantasy. After all, who does not love to build new worlds and meet its wondrous inhabitants?