Exclusive Excerpt: THE FOREVER KNIGHT by John Marco

John MarcoToday I am excited to welcome back fantasy author John Marco, who will be releasing the fourth novel in his Lukien series, The Forever Knight.

Lukien is the Bronze Knight, beloved by his kingdom and renowned in battle throughout his world. After betraying his king and losing his beloved, he wishes only for death, but rather than die, Lukien is given a chance for redemption: to be the protector of the Inhumans—those fragile mortals who live deep in the desert, far from the prying eyes of their world. These remarkable individuals have been granted magical powers in exchange for the hardships and handicaps life has handed them. And Lukien, now immortal himself, must be their champion. But how can one man, even an immortal warrior, protect hundreds from a world of potential enemies?

Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a shiny new Kindle ereader to one lucky winner!


Exclusive Excerpt from The Forever Knight

The Forever Knight is the tale of a magical Bronze Knight named Lukien and his quest to help his young squire Cricket regain her lost memories. In this scene, Lukien and Cricket are crossing the Desert of Tears and have stopped for the night at a serene oasis…”

JMarco-Forever KnightIt was easy to lose track of time at the oasis. We unburdened the animals, rolled out our sleeping blankets to flatten the tall grass, and soaked our feet in the spring water. Cricket was careful to pay attention to the mounts, making sure they were settled and comfortable. She even went through our supplies to give me an accounting of what we brought with us. But when she came to the case carrying my bronze armor, she paused.

I watched her as I leaned back, opening a fruit with my dagger. The leather case had traveled with me from Liiria to Norvor and then to Jador. It contained the only precious things I owned, save for the Sword of Angels. The case wasn’t locked and I could tell Cricket wanted to look inside.

“Go on,” I told her. “You’re my squire. You should check it from time to time.”

Cricket knelt over the case like it was a treasure chest. As she opened it, the bronze armor reflected yellow on her face. Unlike my sword, there was nothing magical about my armor. Still, people who saw it always got a strange look in their eyes, like they were seeing something priceless. I pried open my fruit and drank its sweet nectar.

“Here,” I said, offering her the bigger half. “Sit with me and talk.”

Cricket softly closed the case. “Will you wear it when we get to Akyre?” she asked. “You should. You should announce to everyone that a hero has come.”

Her adoration made me uncomfortable. “That armor’s for fighting, not for showing off. I’ll wear it if I need to. Otherwise it stays in the box.”

“Oh, there’ll be fighting,” she said. She scraped her top teeth over the fruit meat. Her brown eyes darted up toward the moon.

“What makes you so certain?”

“’Cause we’re heading to the Bitter Kingdoms.”

“Are you remembering something, Cricket?”

She shook her head. “Nothing new. I just know it, is all. Trouble made me lose my memory. That I know for sure.”

I didn’t know much about the Bitter Kingdoms back then, but I knew Cricket was right. They were little kingdoms, ruled—if you could call it that—by blood-soaked barons. Mostly folks just passed on through the Bitter Kingdoms on their way east for spices. That made the Bitter Kingdoms poor, and that made them covetous. Cricket was lucky to have escaped.

“Tell me what you do remember,” I said.

“What? Nothing’s changed.”

“They found you wandering around Akyre, Borlis and the others. You were alone. Starving, they said.”

“I remember,” said Cricket sharply. “Before that’s the problem.”

For a long moment I didn’t say anything. I hoped the peace of the night would loosen her tongue, and maybe her memory too. “Look at that moon. You ever see one so big? They say the heat here makes it look like that, all pink and shimmery. I like to watch it.”

I stared at the moon, and Cricket stared too. Then she let out a big, relaxing sigh.

“What will we do when we get to Akyre, Lukien?” she asked. “How are we going to find out about me?”

“I’m not really sure,” I told her honestly. “Look around. See if you recognize anyone, or anyone recognizes you. Ask some questions. First we have to find out what’s going on in Akyre. The things I hear don’t make me happy.”

Cricket nodded, because she knew the stories too. War stories, mostly. Atrocities and all the things that come with war. Cricket gazed blankly at the moon.

“Cricket…” I said it softly. “How do you know your name’s Cricket? How can you remember that if you can’t remember anything else?”

She shrugged. “How do you know your name’s Lukien? I just do is all. I haven’t forgotten how to talk or walk either. It’s just some things I can’t remember. Sometimes it’s on the tip of my tongue and I can’t get it out…” She closed her eyes and grumbled, “It makes me crazy! I try to remember. I have dreams sometimes and can’t remember them.”

“Don’t force it. You have to come at this thing from the side, not head on. It’ll all fall in place eventually. Maybe when we get to Akyre.”

Cricket put down the fruit and drew her rass skin cape around her shoulders. She looked tired, but restless too, like she wanted to keep talking.

“There’s one thing I remember,” she said. Her eyes narrowed as she focused on the memory. “A waterfall. Maybe a river, but I think it’s a waterfall. I can see myself there.”

“In Akyre?” I asked.

She closed her eyes completely. “Yes. Definitely Akyre. I can see it, kind of.”

“What else do you see? Are you alone?”


She struggled, holding her breath. And then she opened her eyes and looked at me.

“Can we go there, Lukien?”

“Where? You don’t even know if it’s a river or a waterfall.”

“We can find it. Akyre’s not a big country. We could ask around. We could do that, right?”

She was fixated suddenly and I didn’t understand it. “Sure,” I told her. “We could do that.”

Like a charm, the promise calmed her. She leaned back against the ridge. “Now it’s your turn,” she said. “Tell me something you remember.”

“You’re an imp. It’s late. I don’t feel like talking.”

“Ah, you’re always making excuses. You have as many secrets as I do, Lukien.” Cricket smiled at me. “I just want to know about you, that’s all. Not just the stories everybody says about you. Not just how you lost your eye. Before that.”

“Oh. When I was your age, you mean.”

Her brown eyes blinked at me. I couldn’t escape. So I settled back and told her what life was like for me before becoming “the Bronze Knight.” I told her about growing up in the streets of Liiria, about how I lived by stealing food and keeping warm at night by breaking into stores. My mother had died before I was old enough to have memories of her. But when it came time to tell her about my father, I had to stop. What could I say about a man who left me to fend for myself? Who one day decided that life was too tough for him?

“There’s only one way a man should leave his family,” I said finally. “By dying.”

Cricket looked baffled. “He just left you? Out there on the street?”

I couldn’t look at her. I stared at the moon. “Right.”

“Didn’t you wonder what happened to him? Didn’t you try to find him?”

“You mean beg? You can’t beg someone to love you, Cricket. I decided it was easier to hate him. Now…” I stood up and brushed the sand from my trousers. “It’s late and I’m tired. More next time, all right?”

As I walked toward my bedroll, Cricket said, “Lukien? You think I’ll ever be able to remember stuff like that?”

All of a sudden she sounded like a little girl. And I was the closest thing she had to a father.

“Yes, I do,” I told her. “When you’re in a stronger, safer place, you’ll be able to remember. That’s why I’m here. So we can find that place together.”

Meet John Marco!

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I have early memories of pounding the keys of my sister’s typewriter, writing my first stories and dreaming of the day I’d be published. I managed to reach that goal back in 1999 with the publication of my first book, The Jackal of Nar. Since then I’ve had six additional books published, and more are on the way.

JMarco-Eyes of GodContact Info
Website: website
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter

Want to purchase John’s novels?
Eyes of God

  1. The Eyes of God
  2. The Devil’s Armour
  3. The Sword of Angels
  4. The Forever Knight


  1. Starfinder

Tyrants and Kings

  1. The Jackal of Nar
  2. The Grand Design
  3. The Saints of the Sword


Contest Time!

JMarco-Kindle ContestThank you John for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!

John is giving away a shiny new Kindle ereader to one lucky winner!. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: What do you think happened to Cricket’s memory? How do you think she lost it? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.

Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.

The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until April 8th at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from this snazzy plug-in that I have.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. There was perhaps some drug or poison ignominiously and surreptitiously placed into Cricket’s food and/or drink. It was meant to be a manipulative, harmful action, so that she could be controlled or used. Due to profound sensitivities, this may have caused her delicate psyche to be impacted in a dramatic fashion, thus causing her memory issues.

    Perhaps she was not meant to survive it, though being found saved her. There were possibly supernatural aspects involved in her survival of such abuse, such as the natural magic of elementals and nature spirits, maybe a concerned and protective night owl.

  2. Thank you John for the opportunity to read an excerpt of your book. I’m even more excited to read the rest of this book! So let’s go on to the question at hand:
    What do you think happened to Cricket’s memory? How do you think she lost it?
    I believe Cricket’s memory is suppressed subconsciously by an awful traumatic experience that happened prior to her being found. But there is also the possibility of a magical presence that could have caused her not to remember also. Either way; I’m sure none of it will end well once her memory is restored.

  3. What do you think happened to Cricket’s memory?
    I think that she has seen something that was so horrific that her mind is working really hard to make her forget. The more horrific a scene is the more the brain tries to forget it saw the tramatic event.

    What do you think happened to Cricket’s memory?
    Like is said before I think she lost it because her brain coudn’t handle whatever it saw so it’s trying harder now to forget all about it.

  4. Cricket said something about “trouble” is what caused her to lose her memory. I think what happened is that something mystical occurred in Bitter Kingdoms around the waterfall in Akyre. She was trying to fight someone with magical powers who has caused all the bloodshed in Bitter Kingdoms and Cricket was tired of seeing no one stand up to this person. The person with the magical powers was at the waterfall in Akyre when Cricket caught up. They battled physically and when the person with the magical powers realized that Cricket had the advantage over them, they cast a magical spell over her that left her without her memory of what she was doing. The magical spell would only be lifted if Cricket ever killed them.

  5. I think something happened to Cricket at the river/waterfall to cause her to loose her memory. A tragic accident.
    She could have slipped and hit her head or someone snuck up on her and captured her or hit her over the head.
    I can’t wait to read it to find out. It sounds like a wonderful read!

  6. Cricket knew too much. She was about to expose the traitor of the realm when a wicked sorcerer tricked her and stole her memory. She may only regain it by eating a special plant that grows only by the waterfall:)

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