Diary 163
BAMBOO HORSES murder mystery novel with fantasy elements - access to sample chapters.

by Hugh Cook

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BAMBOO HORSES murder mystery novel with fantasy elements - access to sample chapters.

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Section 163 Entry 0001. Date: 2005 September 20 Tuesday.
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Ready to read? The first part of the BAMBOO HORSES novel, a big part, about half of a long novel, is available to read free on this web site. Click on:-

BAMBOO HORSES read first part free online

And, to continue ...

Good news today: my new novel BAMBOO HORSES, which I have published as a print on demand book via the POD outfit, is now on sale on Also, although I was expecting to have to upload a cover image to, when I looked today I found a cover image already had been uploaded by someone.

The link to the BAMBOO HORSES listing on (on the American site, I guess) is:-


Incidentally, note that, at this writing, September 2005, seven of the CHRONICLES OF AN AGE OF DARKNESS books can also be purchased from - the link is

Hugh Cook's books on

The Hugh Cook titles that are by me are THE WIZARDS AND THE WARRIORS (also published as WIZARD WAR), THE WOMEN AND THE WARLORDS, THE WICKED AND THE WITLESS, THE WEREWOLF AND THE WORMLORD, THE WALRUS AND THE WARWOLF, THE WISHSTONE AND THE WONDERWORKERS, THE HERO'S RETURN, THE LORDS OF THE SWORD (which is the first third of THE WALRUS AND THE WARWOLF) and THE SHIFT (today, three second-hand copies of THE SHIFT, a short SF book, available second hand at pretty staggering prices.) Also THE QUESTING HERO. Note that THE QUESTING HERO and THE HERO'S RETURN together make one book, originally entitled THE WORDSMITHS AND THE WARGUILD.

Not in a mood to spend money on books? Okay, three of the CHRONICLES books are online on a read-free-online basis, plus, additionally, I've just uploaded some sample chapters of BAMBOO HORSES ... BAMBOO HORSES is a long novel and I've uploaded about half of it so you can take a look for free. The start is a bit slow, partly because this is a complicated book, a kind of murder mystery, and I take my time at the start to set the scene.

For links to all of Hugh Cook's read-free-online novel texts on the site use this link:-

free novels

For a direct link to the BAMBOO HORSES sample text (roughly, the first half of the novel) click on:-


For a faster-paced SF/fantasy book with quite a bit of violence (terrorism, people exploding, ethnic violence, police shooting a suspected suicide bomber in the head and so forth) check back to the site in a few months for (all going well) a free sample (maybe half the book, or maybe a little less ... want to be careful about what I put online where minors can access it) of a novel currently underway, TO FIND AND WAKE THE DREAMER.

Quick sample from the work in progress:

         The going having gotten much tougher than he had anticipated, he was more glad than ever that he had succeeded in keeping Topaz Atatangle off the airwaves. By this time, Topaz would probably have been inciting the astrals of the city to unite in the quest to seek and find the Dreamer: to waken to consciousness the messiah who, with his or her godlike powers, would reform reality and crush the norms into a state of permanent subordination.
        The fact that no norms believed in the literal existence of the Dreamer (most astrals did not believe in the existence of the Dreamer either, come to that) did not alter the potency of the Dreamer as a bogeyman for the norms. The Dreamer myth, the impossibly crazy idea that some poor mutt was wandering through life unaware of being possessed of world transforming powers, neatly encapsulated the sense which most norms had of the astrals, the Gedahedda, as constituting a threat to them.
        "Do you believe in the Dreamer?" said a caller.
        "No," said Ibrahim. "The Dreamer story is a silly tale for children."
        Heresy, he knew, and there were fanatic astrals who would happily kill him for that heresy. Some of them probably watching him on TV right now. But that could not be helped. To communicate with the norms, Ibrahim had to communicate the message that he bought into normative reality, that he was content to be a member of a feared and despised minority, that he was content to live with that fate for the rest of his life.
        He had to suppress the knowledge that, at a certain level, Topaz spoke for him, too. Topaz, the rabid extremist, the fanatic, had a certain appeal to Ibrahim, the mature citizen of the world of duty.
        "To take the path of terrorism," said Ibrahim, speaking over the latest caller, who had said or had asked something which Ibrahim had totally failed to take in, "to take the path of terrorism is to set the scene for an endless cycle of hate, of killing spawning killing, of death breeding death. Therefore I reject terrorism. Absolutely. Unconditionally. Always. No ifs, buts or maybes."
        Easy to say, and often said in those conventional arguments which Ibrahim had heard many, many times in his life. But, privately, scretly, Ibrahim indulged himself for a moment with the notion that perhaps the Dreamer was real, after all. That there might come a moment when things would be changed. Not by an agonizing series of body bangs, of exploding flesh, of ruptured terror in the streets. But by an act of clestial power which would overthrow the oppressors and give Ibrahim, for the first time in his life, the chance to be truly equal in a world of equals.

In this novel the main viewpoint character, Ibramhim Chess, is a man in an impossible situation, an essentially sane and conservative individual, more or less reconciled to the bumpiness of reality, who finds himself in a world gone crazy, with the middle ground, such as it is, fast disappearing.

The book is shaping up to be pretty savagely bloody in places, and the influence to blame for that is the daily newspaper, which I must confess to reading, though, really, given the unbridled bloodlust, murder, slaughter and mayhem which it documents, it's a wonder, really, that the sale of this document is still permitted.

So that's what's in the words: TO FIND AND WAKE THE DREAMER. A book which aims to pull out all the plugs and play the big organ. Some stuff verging on (or passing right into) the hard core area will make this book definitely unsuitable for minors. Unsuitable, too, for people with sensitive tastes.

The idea is to compete with reality by producing something which is one step more preposterous than the reality which we are living with, but, as the world in which we live comes to look more and more like a skydiver free falling through the burning heavens of insanity, going one better than reality becomes a real problem.
Also in the works, and, in fact, in the final editing stage, a cancer memoir, CANCER PATIENT. One of the chapters of thyis book is already online as the blog entry one entry back from this one - click on:

CANCER PATIENT sample chapter

I hope to have this available for purchase as a PDF computer download from (priced at US $5) and as a paperback book available from both and by, all going well, December this year, 2005, or maybe a little earlier.

I'm also planning to publish, in the next two or three years, a collection of poems to be called ARC OF LIGHT, a collection of short stories to be called THE SUCCUBUS AND OTHER STORIES, and a fantasy trilogy which I wrote back in the 1990s, a trilogy with the title OCEANS OF LIGHT, set in the archipelago of Chalakanesia, and consting of the three books WEST OF HEAVEN, EAST OF HELL and NORTH OF PARADISE.

I'm also thinking (but life is short) of some day putting the text of my first-ever novel, PLAGUE SUMMER, online ... a simple book about drug smuggling in New Zealand with an outbreak of foot and mouth disease as part of the background. And, if I can secure a reversion of rights for THE SHIFT -- I'm part way there already, and I'm guessing that getting the rights back should be doable if I ever get that far down my "to do" list -- then I would like to publish THE SHIFT as a print on demand book.

THE SHIFT is a short science fiction book with, amongst other things, aliens, a machine that can alter reality (the "shift" of the title), and, from memory, at least one terrorist bomb blast.

So manhy books and so little time!

But at least BAMBOO HORSES is finished and ready to buy online now. Once again, for a free sample -- a fairly hefty sample, about half of a fairly long book -- click on


And, just to make sure everything's tied together nicely on the web site (I tend to forget what's linked to what) here's an extra link to a file which gives access to the free novel text which is currently on the site:-

read novels free

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Website contents copyright © 1973-2006 Hugh Cook

What's This?

Writer's blog - writer Hugh Cook, normally resident in Japan, is staying with his parents in New Zealand while he receives medical treatment, and is planning to return to Japan in late 2005 or early 2006. Hugh Cook is a British-born novelist, a poet and a writer of short stories.

Hugh Cook's published novels include PLAGUE SUMMER, THE SHIFT and the ten volumes of the CHRONICLES OF AN AGE OF DARKNESS series. For background information on the CHRONICLES OF AN AGE OF DARKNESS series see:-


This site include a map of the milieu of the CHRONICLES OF AN AGE OF DARKNESS (the world of THE WITCHLORD AND THE WEAPONMASTER, aka WIZARD WAR, and so on.) For the map,see:


Hugh Cook has some comments about the writing of the CHRONICLES OF AN AGE OF DARKNESS series in his diary at:


Hugh Cook has some writing about how to write creatively at:

write fiction

For a complete list of the novels Hugh Cook has written together with Hugh Cook's comments on those novels see:

novel list

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