The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?
Why I Enjoy Riding
The popular thing to do these days is to call it a “mid-life crisis.”
For me, it was more a matter of self-reflection. Everyone eventually
gets to the point where they take a critical look at their life; to
see what they’ve done, what they’re currently doing, and what they can
possibly do in the future.
I won’t delve into my own results ad-nauseum, but I’ll just say
that this is how most bucket-lists are likely conceived. I personally
believe that having accomplishments to look forward to are much better
for the soul than having a long list of things already accomplished.
You see it all the time—a person in impeccable health retires early,
and like clockwork, his health deteriorates. Some might attribute
this to their being less active physically, but I suspect otherwise.
My current love of motorcycles is the result of my own mid-life
bucket list, along with getting a pilot’s license and taking a month
long trip to Africa, and it was by far the easiest of the three to
accomplish (the other two are still in progress). After a four-day
class, including about twelve hours of actual instruction on a bike, I
was ready to see if riding was all of the fun and fulfillment that it
seemed to be.
First however, I had to buy my first bike. This was almost a
nerve-wracking as my first ride; I was absolutely clueless but forced
myself to try to look as if I knew what I was doing. It’s a
self-preservation tactic. No one wants to be taken advantage of by
unscrupulous dealers, similar to when people shop for cars. Finally,
I found a nice “beginner-friendly” Honda CTX700 (I’m sure I was
robbed) and was ready to take it for a spin.
This was when I learned that riding on a closed course with
instructors and traffic-cones is a totally different experience than
riding on a major US interstate highway. It’s not even in the same
league. For one, there were no impatient motorists (cagers, we call
them) on the practice range, either sitting on your rear tire with
their bumper or swerving into your lane without so much as a glance.
There was no crosswind blowing twenty MPH as you traverse a long
bridge. And none of the famous potholes which force you to keep one
eye on the pavement and while the other stays on the traffic in front
of you. All of these things kept my knuckles white for most of the
first month as I struggled to get comfortable with this new sensation
of being on the open road.
With all of these concerns, was the decision to ride worth it?
For me, the answer is and will always be a resounding YES. I’ve heard
from people time after time who don’t understand the fascination or
enjoyment some of us get from riding and to be honest, it’s tough to
explain with mere words. The best I can do is to ask them to imagine
something they’ve done in their life that makes them alert and
exhilarated all at the same time. Some may answer an insane roller
coaster at their favorite theme park; others may get that same feeling
from taking a trip to a new and unfamiliar city. This is the ‘kick’
some of us get from riding—it’s like ziplining into a haunted house.
It’s freedom in its purest form. I bought my second (grown up) bike
last year, and as the summer approaches, I can’t wait to see what
adventures the open road has in store for me.
Thank you, Alan Hurst and R&R Book Tours.
About the author
Alan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard. Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker. When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!