Bryan Pentelow writes the Sprocket Sagas, a series of (now) seven books for children.
The stories are based in and around the North of England in a town called Batherby Bridge and more exactly at 7 and 7A Pudding Founders Lane, these are stories about Dragons, Children, Dogs and Crows with a few grownups thrown in to do the heavy lifting. As the series goes on, each book is a little longer than its predecessor. And from number six the print is smaller – because you have now grown up a bit and with more words per page it keeps the price down.
The latest title is Sprocket and the Dragon Empress. This has the wickedest villain yet and just to be even-handed this one is female. Let’s start at the beginning…
The small glowing dot on the radar screen was approaching rapidly from just above the range of mountains that surrounded the remote desert plateau.
“I think its time we went outside to watch the demonstration,” the white-coated executive opened the door of the control centre and Quin Lee Mi stepped out into the stifling heat and trained the large binoculars on the horizon panning them across to catch any sign of movement. The dragon burst from the cloud base and dropped like a stone towards the target area that was covered with wrecked vehicles and groups of shop window dummies.
“It’s very quiet.” She said turning to the executive.
“That’s because it is travelling faster than the speed of sound. The sonic boom will follow it in a few seconds,” he explained. It flashed towards them barely twenty feet above the ground then bat-like wings shot out and it swooped up shedding most of its forward momentum. As it reached the zenith the drive flame cut just as the sonic boom arrived and the ground shook with the thunderclap. The wings folded back and it swooped across the target, a jet of scintillating gas and liquid shooting from its nose. As it levelled out a blue-white flash ignited the vapour cloud which engulfed the area in ravening fire. When the smoke and flying ash cleared very little remained of the wrecked trucks and cars and there was no sign of the dummy people. There was also no sign of the dragon either.
“Satisfactory, Most satisfying.” Qin Lee Mi clapped her small gloved hands and beamed at the executive. “My wish is that the machine would be more dragon-like to be recognised as the fabled beast. When it is deployed I want the world to know that dragons have returned.” The executive bowed and muttered that her wishes would be met as she stalked away to the waiting helicopter.
Qin Lee Mi sat in her vast office turning her huge, black leather, swivel chair from side to side as she scanned the panoramic view through the floor to ceiling windows which formed half of the wall of the circular room. The view would have caused anyone with a fear of heights to cling to the ornate, carved wood frame which surrounded the sliding doors of the entrance to the lift which was the only access to this nerve centre of the huge Quin-T-Sential communications, cosmetics and health food empire. Lee frowned as her gaze passed over the crowds thronging the streets far below. This should all be under her control. Her family had been rulers of China and many of the surrounding lands had paid tribute to their might and the strength of their armies. Tribal chiefs had grovelled at the base of the steps leading to the Imperial Throne and lives had hung by a thread at the whim of her ancestor’s’ word. Legend had it that her forefathers had ridden the skies on the backs of dragons and rained fire and death on their enemies.
To keep reading you can find the rest of the book here.
A Bite of… Bryan Pentelow
1. Would you rather live in this world or the one you create in your books?
Definitely the world of my books. The time difference between Human World and Dragon World means I could have lots of adventurers and still be back in time for tea. I like to travel but hate the time it takes to get there. I loathe airports with all the queuing and hoards of people. I have no patience with idiots who bring on hand luggage so large they can’t lift it into the overhead lockers. If only I could afford a private jet. I can’t, so Portals would be my ideal way to get from one place to another. Most of all, because I’m getting old I could really do with a cup of the water from the spring of the Heart of the North to rejuvenate both mind and body. Getting old is not just a pain in the posterior but an increasing number of other places.
2. Why do you write? Money is an acceptable answer.
I would love Money to be the answer but I have the feeling that I would need to live several lifetimes to get enough royalties for my bank manager to take notice. I wrote Sprocket one while on holiday in Mallorca, in the shade while my wife roasted in the sun and turned the same colour as well-tanned leather. I wrote it for my first granddaughter, Sophie, (Victoria) in the books and she was not impressed by an E-book. Only when it came out in paperback did she consider it to be a real book. Since then she has nagged me constantly about my inability to produce at least a new book every week. Our offspring have provided us with three more grandchildren so the pressure for more books has quadrupled. No peace for the wicked they say. I must have lead a hell of a life in a previous existence.
3. You can have four guests at a dinner party. Name the four people living, dead or fictional you would most like to entertain.
I picked this question first because it had to be easy to answer. How wrong I was. Who to choose? Surely some of my author friends, but I can only have four so I’m bound to offend someone. So no friends.
Well, it had better be from the ranks of the dead at least they shouldn’t object to being resurrected for a good meal and plenty of booze of their choice. First at the table would be Terry Pratchett. His ridiculous sense of humour and sideways perspective on the human condition would be endlessly amusing. Bring to the table Isac Asimov, the man who first took me outside of the everyday and kicked my brain into coping with ‘What if?’ The complexities of his laws of robotics and the problems of human/robot relationships which we are now having to face up to.
Then Jody Taylor. Ok she, like me is not dead. Her St Marys series have whiled away many an amusing hour when I should probably have been writing. Like Terry, she has a wonderful ability to write entertaining characters and dump them into one crisis after another from which they eventually manage to arise with humour and ingenuity.
My final choice has to be Jasper Fford. The Aire Affair and its sequels have provided me with hours of enjoyment. As you can see these are, if not comedy writers, people who have fashioned an alternative view of humankind and caused their readers to think again about what surrounds us. In other words WHAT IF. So if you’re joining our gathering pour the wine, bring on the starters and prepare to be well fed up and agreeably drunk, to quote the immortal Gerard Hoffnung.
Having worked your way through my meanderings, don’t stop now. There are mountains of books out there so read on and if you have enjoyed the experience please leave us a review or two. All authors are basically attention seekers.
Bryan Pentelow was born (in Northamptonshire) grew up (now lives in Leeds) and is not dead yet. He wrote the Sprocket books with adults in mind. They are books for adults and children to read together. Bryan hopes they are not embarrassing or too boring for grownups to plough through at bedtime. Let’s face it, it’s a pain if Mum or Dad dozes off while reading to you. You can find him on Goodreads and Facebook.
The Sprocket Sagas so far:
1. Sprocket and the Great Northern Forest
2. Sprocket and the Great Museum Scam
3. Sprocket and the Poison Portal
4. Sprocket and the Heart of the North
5. Sprocket and the Pax Dracus
6. Sprocket and the Time Vortex
7. Sprocket and the Dragon Empress
All are available from Amazon in E-Book (quite inexpensive) and paperback (cost more but you don’t get moaned at for constantly staring at a screen).