An ancient burial treasure nobody is supposed to touch. A desperate man. What can possibly go wrong?
The Delving (Overthrown: Chronicles of Denoril, Book 1) by Aaron Bunce, narrated by Matthew E. Berry released in December in the Fantasy genre.
It rests deep in the ground, they say, an ancient burial treasure of unimaginable wealth. Riches to humble even the most prosperous men, locked away from time itself. But the Council’s edict was clear – keep the tombs of the ancient dalan closed. Keep the past sealed. But where there is wealth, there is greed, and nothing stays buried forever.
Thorben Paulson is an ordinary man, trying to raise his family the honest way. Unfortunately, the Council’s tax collectors demand more and more each thaw, taking in both coin and food. For a branded man like Thorben, his checkered past means the burden is always greater. With hungry mouths to feed and winter on the horizon, Thorben’s desperation grows. A visitor appears unexpectedly in town, a man from his past, carrying a map and a promise – enough coin to feed his family for the foreseeable future, in exchange for a single job. Not just any job, however. Thorben must delve once again, leave the sun behind and enter the underground crypts, the realm of the dead, and find priceless dalan relics. And yet, more lies in wait than things that sparkle and glimmer, and in Denoril, some things never truly die.
Born and raised in Yarborough, Thorben showcased a quick mind and knack for mechanical components from an early age. As a child, Thorben’s father took him north to Klydesborough, the Provincial seat, where his delicate fingers and uncanny knowledge of small, moving parts made him an invaluable asset to the Earl’s armorers. Times would change, however, as political conflict would force King Algast to increase the demand for taxes. As a young man, Thorben was introduced to an exotic goods broker, the promise of wealth for his tax-burdened family a siren song he ultimately could not ignore. Not graced with exceptional size or strength, Thorben’s quick wit and problem solving abilities quickly earned him renown as a delver, and by his second winter thaw, he had earned the title of Owl (a delver whose mind sets them above a laborer (Mule) or an artifact collector (Mouse). Successful winter thaws of delving brought good fortune to Thorben and his family. They expanded their house and land, paid debts, and acquired some status within the community. But one fated day changed his fortunes forever. Caught leaving a tomb, Thorben was shackled and declared guilty of Delving. He was branded and thrown into a prison mine, where he toiled and labored night and day. Thorben was a changed man after his release, both physically and mentally. The mines broke his body, while the brand (forever marking him as a criminal and man without honor) broke him emotionally. His family fell into disgrace, both of his parents sliding from health and eventually dying from sickness. As a single, branded man with little to no prospects, Thorben met Dennica, the unwed daughter of fisher folk from the middle-boroughs. Fiery and independent, Dennica took a liking to Thorben, even when her family forbid her from courting him. Thorben’s brand didn’t scare Dennica away, like it did with others. She insisted that it was a mark of character, as “most men do unscrupulous things no one knows about. At least I can pull up your sleeve and see yours.” Against her family’s wishes, Dennica wed Thorben. They went on to welcome seven healthy children–six boys and an unsurprisingly fiery and free-spirited girl. They struggled through each winter thaw, living, supporting one another, and earning their way honestly. But all changed one fated day, when the tax caravan rolled into town, and a mysterious character from Thorben’s path appears. A man with an offer that will both test and threaten everything Thorben and Dennica have built together.
A man of illicit prestige, Iona recruited Thorben, and many other young men and boys, into the world of crypt delving. He is a man of small stature, with dark hair and eyes, carrying the physical traits, accent, and sun-kissed skin of the Ishmandi settlers from across the Kartherous Sea. He is blessed with a silver tongue and disarming nature…one responsible for both talking high-born into buying reclaimed and banned relics for piles of gold, and convincing young men and women into procuring them from deep, underground tunnels and chambers…at any risk. Iona’s appearance in Yarborough, and his motivations, are both shrouded in mystery.
Jez is a mouse, a delver granted distinction by her small stature and slim build. Mice are prized for their ability to fit into the small, usually cramped underground spaces that mules and owls cannot enter. Jez has dark, unruly hair, large, intelligent eyes, and a quiet, almost unfriendly nature. She is quick with a quip, incredibly observant, and at times hints that she might care more than she initially admits. Although her presence is not surprising, Thorben struggles with the idea of her introduction into the life, due in part to her similarity in age to his own children, and his desire to prevent her from making the same mistakes he did.
The largest and most physically imposing of the mules, Gor is a mountain of a man. He has short, sand-colored hair, a wide flat nose, and close-set eyes. His teeth are rotten and his breath smells of sour, rotten cabbage. He commands the other mules and gives Thorben the suspicion that he is more than just a hired laborer. Gor harbors terrible secrets, and attributes his action and direction to a religion of fate, where a man’s life or death hinges on the simple flip of a coin.
Shorter than Gor, but taller than Renlo, Hun is a man of foul tempers, fueled by a barely concealed urge for violence. His thinning, shortly cropped hair and poor evident hygiene speaks of a low-born man, while his visible scars and crooked nose further supports a penitence for brawls and violence. Hun is an unpredictable wildcard; whose motivations and urges make him someone Thorben fears–a man he will not willingly turn his back to.
The shortest of the three mules, Renlo has dark, medium length hair, light brown eyes, and a rather wide face and brow. He is sturdily built and carries himself with confidence. Renlo follows Gor’s lead and appears to be a man both familiar with taking orders and used to a life of hard, honest labor. Unlike Gor and Hun, Renlo doesn’t appear as comfortable with the idea of violence, but more so resolved to its occasional necessity. He is firm but fair, repeatedly hints at a more cultured upbringing than his counterparts and leads Thorben to believe that he is a decent man trapped in a less than ideal circumstance.
About the Author: Aaron Bunce
Author Aaron Bunce started his academic career in criminal justice, but eventually connected his life-long love of literature with his passion for writing. He attended and graduated from Southern New Hampshire University’s English and creative writing program. His first novel, The Winter of Swords, is an introduction to his lush and dark fantasy world, Denoril, and the first entry in the six-part series, Overthrown. The second and third installments, Before the Crow and A March of Woe are now available, with the fourth, The Prince of Orphans due next. 2019 marked the release of The Delving, the first book in an all-new supplementary series, helping to build the lore and world showcased in Overthrown.
Beyond fantasy, Aaron also introduced readers to his new science fiction horror series, NecroVerse. Detailing the struggle of miners extracting ore from the asteroid belt, Unleashed (August 2019), and then Exodus (December 2019), tells a delightfully dark story, weaving together strands of rich science fiction, gruesome horror, and adventure along with some beautiful, kick butt ladies. The third novel in this science fiction series, Titan, is due out first quarter 2020.
Besides writing, Aaron is constantly searching for a portal to other worlds, working to keep his two daughters from taking over the world, and supports his wife’s desire to vacation in Skyrim. Check out his website http://www.aaronbunce.com for information on current books, series, as well as news on upcoming releases.
About the Narrator: Matthew E. Berry
Matthew E Berry began his audiobook career in 2017. “The Delving” is his 12th audiobook performance. His recent credits include “Lovesick” by Jon Athan, “Dreamscape Adventures Inc.” by C.A Gray, and “Trail of Blood” by Keith Latch and Steve Wands. Check out www.mattheweberry.com for all current information.
Hi Matthew, and thank you for being here with us!
How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
I had no idea I wanted to do this until I did. I wrote a novel 15 plus years ago that should really never see the light of day. About 5 years ago I began another novel that I wrote half of and never finished. I have a very hard time working on things as ADD apparently has my mind constantly changing courses. However, the half written book was a touch better than my first and I wondered if I had it published in book format, what the process was for turning it into an audiobook. Investigating that information, I found ACX. When I found out I could audition to narrate a title and be involved in the world I desperately wanted to be a part of, without my fingers sitting on a keyboard and not typing, I knew I had to give it a try.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
Most definitely! I love audiobooks and if I am not performing them, I am likely listening to them. I love the power of words and a good story. As my life began to get busy and my time to read grew less, something had to give. Unfortunately, reading for fun is what was given up. With audiobooks, I get that back as I can listen to the story told by amazing performers while I perform other tasks that typically are boring and/or monotonous.
What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
I would say I am strongest whenever performing a character. I really delve deep into the lives of my characters and try to bring them through with my performance. I don’t have the “golden” voice many narrators have and honestly think that’s where I can use the most improvement. However, I love my characters…. Often a little too much as I start speaking in their voice or mannerisms at times… I’m not crazy, just a narrator.
Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
At this point in my career, I am not sure how suited I really would be at non-fiction titles. I have been offered several non-fiction projects that I have not taken yet as I prefer titles that allow me to jump into character and create a life through my performance. While that is still possible in non-fiction, I just don’t know if I could bring the same “love and passion” to my performance. Perhaps as my narration career grows, so will my desire to perform non-fiction titles.
How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
This business is a bit funny when it comes to working with authors. I prefer to work directly with my authors to ensure a final product that “They” are proud of. However, once you begin to work with major publishers, the narrator may never discuss one thing with the author and authors often have very little say in the direction of the production themselves. I feel as though the consumer is going to get a much better product if I deliver the performance when I have had a chance to discuss with the authors about their ideals and directions to character.
How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
The first thing I usually do is discuss character accents or mannerisms with the author. I typically ask for a casting sheet if they were to cast these characters for a movie, who would they pick. That doesn’t always transfer over well, but after I go through the first read of a book, I usually get a good feeling as to who these characters are and how they should be represented. It’s not always perfect, which is when closely working with the author pays off. Aaron was terrific with offering guidance on the characters and when the right voice is found it truly is exciting.
What types of things are harmful to your voice?
There is likely a large list of things including caffeinated beverages…However, the main things that seems to stop production for me is allergies and asthma. Both medical issues really change the way your voice is perceived and maintaining the same caliber of production in either case is usually a fruitless endeavor.
Do you read reviews for your audiobooks? If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
I make it a point to read all reviews of my performances. The negative reviews can be helpful in some cases, but in others I don’t understand what happened in people’s lives that they think they have to troll other people to feel good about themselves. I couldn’t ever imagine leaving a 1 star review, as I refuse to be that person. I will always find something I like about other people’s artistic endeavors, even if I don’t like everything as a whole. Regardless though, all the positive feedback and reviews stand out so much more! It makes being involved in the business very rewarding. I love my fans and really appreciate when they reach out to let me know how much they enjoyed my performance.
Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?
There is this really great author by the name of Aaron Bunce…. Oh wait… just a sec….. Other than Aaron and some of the other fabulous authors I have already gotten a chance to work with, I would really like to work with Brandon Sanderson and/or Stephen King as I am a big fan of both.
What’s next for you?
I am currently finishing up the 4th book in the Stephen Moorehouse Mystery Series, “The Monarch Graveyard” by James R Nelson. Once that is complete I will begin production of Jon Athan’s novel “Maneater”.
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