Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse

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9781402218576: Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse
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The Farfield Curse brims with mystery, magic, and fun. Kaleb Nation's wry sense of humor kept me smiling, even while the mystical sparks flew.
Get ready for lots of surprises and watch out for gnomes!

D.J. MacHale, Author of the Pendragon Series

In a bustling metropolis where magic is outlawed, a six-year-old child is found inside a locked bank vault. A scrap of paper reveals his name: Bran Hambric. The child remembers nothing of his life before the vault. Only magic could have done this. But why would any mage risk breaking the law to place a child in a bank vault?

Eight years later the City of Dunce has forgotten about Bran. Even his foster parents don't seem to know he exists. But there are those who have been watching, biding their time, waiting to strike, people who know where Bran came from and why he was sent away. And they will do anything to get Bran back, dead or alive...

Welcome to a world unlike any other where the adventure of a lifetime is just beginning.

Getting to know Kaleb Nation:

Sourcebooks: How did the idea for the story of Bran Hambric first come to you?
Kaleb Nation: I was fourteen and lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking of an entirely different story I was working on (I was homeschooled and my mom gave me lots of creative writing assignments). Suddenly, out of nowhere, I imagined a boy and a banker waiting on a rooftop for a burglar. For some reason, the image struck me, so that I almost immediately knew the background: this boy had been left behind years before, the burglar was coming for him, and the city outlawed magic. I also knew that it was a fantasy world but in a modern setting.
I immediately got up and wrote down a few pages of notes so I wouldn't forget, and also wrote in my journal in the dark that I'd finally had "the idea." The date was 3/3/03. The time was 9:55 p.m.

SB: You're currently a college student, living in Dallas, Texas. Where are you from?
KN: I was born and lived in Round Rock, Texas, until 2003. I started writing the book here, and can remember the house and location perfectly. The surroundings were influential to certain locations in the book. Also, the Round Rock Public Library was a huge influence. In 2003, we moved to Bastrop, Texas, where I finished the novel and signed with my agent and publisher.

SB: Besides being a college student and first-time author, what are your other hobbies?
KN: I blog regularly at KalebNation.com, and I run TwilightGuy.com, a site revolving around the Twilight book series, which receives about 10,000 hits per day.

I also have my own YouTube channel (youtube.com/kalebnation) where I create video blogs and content for about 22,000 subscribers. I also enjoy making music with my computer, mainly instrumental and soundtrack scores. I have composed a soundtrack for the novel (you can hear many of the tracks at http://www.kalebnation.com/music). This has received a lot of attention, with over 20,000 plays on YouTube. I have plans to offer the soundtrack for free download to promote the novel.

SB: When people ask you what Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse is about, what do you tell them?
KN: Bran Hambric was found locked in a bank vault at six years old, with no memory of his past. For years, he has lived with one of the bankers, wondering why he was left behind—until one night, when he is fourteen, he is suddenly confronted by a maddened creature, speaking of Bran's true past and trying to kidnap him. Bran finds that he is at the center of a plot that started years before he was even born: the plot of a deadly curse his mother created...and one that her former masters are hunting for him to complete. Haunted by the spirit of his mother's master and living in a city where magic is illegal, Bran must undo the crimes of his past, before it is too late.

SB: How long did it take you to write Bran Hambric?
KN: The first novel took most of my teenage years to complete—about six years.

SB: Did the book entail any unusual writing habits or places?
KN: I originally wrote almost five hundred pages of the book in six to nine months, which is the fastest I've ever done, just to get it all out. Then, I spent the next four years completely rewriting the book multiple times until I was able to bring the story out correctly. This turned into two boxes and two drawers full of papers, forming The Farfield Curse and notes for five sequels. Many of the street names in the book came from a graveyard we passed when I was fifteen (I quickly wrote down as many names as I could from the car).

In the beginning, I would write chapters of the book on my tiny monochrome Palm Pilot while taking care of my baby brother during naps. Palm Pilot typing, I will note, is very, very slow. I once had an idea in the grocery store (I can remember specifically which store) where I had no paper, and had to outline the scene on a spare grocery bag. I still have the bag, and the scene is still in the book.

SB: In discussing your book with friends, what have they found most intriguing?
KN: The biggest grab I've found is the "magic crime" aspect, which I don't feel has been explored much in other books. The idea that Bran's parents were criminals, and even more so of magic, seems to grip interest. People also seem to enjoy that it is in another world yet very similar in ways to our own.

SB: Are there any lessons to be learned from your book?
KN: I think my book tells the power of choice: Bran's mother chose to sacrifice any good within her for great power. Bran, however, chooses a different path, despite being predisposed to it by his own mother. A theme of "choice" and how our choices affect others runs throughout many parts of the book.

SB: How do you think your story might influence other kids who like to write and/or want to write a book?
KN: My dream as a young teenager was to become published. Through these years, I idolized other authors, watching every documentary or video of a book signing I could find on YouTube. Somehow, after years of writing and rewriting, everything worked out in the end. I have received countless letters from teens and even adults saying my journey has influenced them to start writing, which is really the biggest payoff of everything. Even though the journey started off rough in the beginning, with a lot of effort, it all worked out in the end, and I'm finally getting to live my dream. I think my story can help other kids realize that their dream of becoming a writer can come true, if they're willing to work hard for it.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

On the third night of the third month of 2003, fourteen-year-old Kaleb Nation suddenly imagined a boy and a banker on a roof, waiting for a burglar to come. From that original idea was born the story of Bran Hambric, a novel that would take most of Kaleb's teenage years to write. Aside from writing, Kaleb is a blogger and a former radio host. He turned 20 in 2008 and currently lives in Texas.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Excerpt from the Prologue

THE NIGHT WAS COLD AND DEAD, AND SO FELT CLARENCE'S HEART.

He dashed through the darkness, never stopping, always watchful for the men—every passing car making him leap back into the shadows of the trees lining the abandoned rural highway. His form was hardly more than a shadow, sweating even in the cold, his face bruised and scarred. With every second that passed, he knew they were coming; and with every step, he knew they were gaining on him.

He darted through the mist and onto a side street with no houses or people, lined with thick walls of rock on both sides. His eyes swept the road, watchful for the lights of police cars or of the vans he knew were following him. He was worn from a night of running, but he couldn't stop. He had to get to the city before they found him. Or worse, before they found Bran...

Suddenly, there was a burst of light behind him, coming over the hill. He spun, and his eyes flashed, the noise startling him for a second—but only a second, as he heard the engine roar and saw the shape of a black van rushing after him.

"No!" he gasped, and he took off in the other direction, hearing the van blast in pursuit. The road was cut through the rocks, and the rising walls blocked him from going into the woods. His shadow was thrown ahead of him, the headlights burning the sweat on his neck. He ran faster, panting for breath, his heart pounding and his feet slapping against the pavement.

Ahead of him there was a flash of motion, a squeal of tires, and a second black van shot out of the shadows, skidding and coming from the other direction. He shouted and turned to run the other way, stopping and spinning back as the first van slid after him, blocking his escape as the other cornered him in. Clarence ran to the wall of rock, digging his fingers into the cracks to climb, to find any way to escape, but falling to the pavement when he found he could not.

The vans stood still and foreboding, the intense headlights trained on his form against the wall, blinding his eyes as he crouched over. He held up his hands to shield his face and heard the doors burst open, two men coming from behind the cover of the windows, their pistols trained on him. He stiffened and held his hands up in terror, and out of the second van came two others, bald and strong, their faces emotionless and their forms hidden by black coats that swept as far as the ground. Each held in his hand a black wand of metal, and Clarence trembled under their gazes, almost feeling the torturous magic coursing through his body again.

The side door of the van opened slowly, and Clarence whimpered, pressing himself against the rocks. All was still as the last man came from the darkness, standing in front of the others. Clarence looked up at him weakly—the man's face was rough, his hair light and to his shoulders, power behind his eyes. His clothes were torn and bloody, as were those of the others. Clarence counted them in the light. There were only five...the police must have caught the rest.

"Running away so soon, are we?" the man said in a soft tone that held poison behind it. Clarence only covered his eyes.

"Wouldn't stick around to help clean up, would you?" the man said louder. "Already tired of the project just because the police break in?"

"Farfield is over..." Clarence managed to hiss, hardly able to breathe. He looked up. "You've already failed, Joris," he choked. "The police are onto all of you. Baslyn is dead, his spirit is gone...and Emry will hide her son well enough so you'll never bring him back."

"But you know where she's taking him," Joris said, and Clarence jerked his head away, refusing to speak. Very slowly, Joris stepped for­ward, his form covering the headlights and casting a shadow down upon Clarence.

"You know where he is, don't you?" Joris said, his voice unrelenting. Clarence whimpered, shaking his head. No...he wouldn't tell. He would not betray Emry.

"I-I don't know where she's taking him," Clarence stammered, fighting against the fear that threatened to consume him.

Joris narrowed his eyes disbelievingly. "Well then," he said, "we'll just have to...convince you to tell us then, won't we?"

"I won't," Clarence whimpered. "I can't break my promise—the boy is gone. Farfield is over."

Joris gave a dry smile, and he leaned down so close his whisper was loud in Clarence's ear.

"Farfield isn't over yet," he hissed. "We're going to find Bran Hambric, and we're going to bring him back."

A freezing wind blew across the alley where Emry Hambric had parked her car. Her windows were down and the cold chilled her face—but nothing chilled her more than the sudden feeling of dread that crawled across her skin.

"Clarence..." she whispered. Something was desperately wrong. He should have been there by now. She glanced into the back seat: in it was the limp body of a small, six-year-old boy, the boy who was her son. Just looking at his face tore a hole through her heart.

"I'm sorry," was all she could say. If only it could take back years of mistakes, so that maybe she wouldn't be there, running from all she had done—knowing that if she could have lived a few more weeks, she might see herself turn twenty-seven, but knowing in her heart she would not even see the next sunrise. Emry never cried, always the strongest—always pretending to be the strongest. But now, as she looked back on her life, and looked down at the child she loved so much, tears grew in the corners of her eyes. She would never see him again.

"I won't let them get you," she whispered. "I promise."
But just as that whisper left her lips, she felt a start within her and jerked her gaze up, out the back window. She had sensed something move—a shadow, or rather the feeling of a shadow, moving her way, watching her. Someone was coming. And Emry knew who it was.

"She's found me..." Emry whispered. She thought she would be safe in Dunce. No mage would follow her in there, none of the police from outside either. But she could feel the woman approaching, and she jerked her eyes back to her son. It was too late to run—she'd have to send him elsewhere. Her senses came like a force wrenching her around, telling her she couldn't waste another second. She jerked around quickly, searching the floor for something to write on: it was empty, not even a spare receipt or a strip of cloth.

She tried her pockets and finally found something: an old scrap from earlier that day, with part of something else still at the bottom. She didn't have time to find anything else, and quickly scribbled her note on it.

"This is all I have to give you," she whispered, stuffing it into his fist and closing his fingers around it. She knew he wouldn't remember anything—her magic was strong enough for that. But the least she could give him was the note.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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