The Marked Son, Book 1

By: Shelly Campbell


“Dragons once led our people across the wastelands, away from storms, and toward hunting grounds.”

That’s what the elders say, but Akrist has squinted at empty skies his whole life. The dragons have abandoned them, and it’s Akrist’s fault. He’s cursed. Like every other firstborn son, he has inherited the sins of his ancestors. In his camp, he’s the only eldest boy left. Something happened to the others.

Something terrible.

When Akrist befriends Tanar, an eldest boy from another tribe, he discovers the awful truth: they’re being raised as sacrifices to appease the Goddess and win back her dragons. The ritual happens when the dual moons eclipse. Escape is the only option, but Akrist was never taught to hunt or survive the wastelands alone. Time is running out, and he has to do something before the moons touch.

“Lush emotions, vivid characters, and a world rich with history—I didn’t want this journey to end.”
Essa Hansen

Mythos & Ink has created a dramatized version of the creation myth from Under the Lesser Moon, featuring cave drawings by the author herself! Narration by Kyle Rudge. Illustrations by Shelly Campbell. Direction by Allison Alexander. 

“Under the Lesser Moon is a stunning book. The world building is some of the best I've ever read, and the main character, Akrist, has left me with a permanent ache in my heart. Set in a brutal, often merciless world, the story kept me breathlessly turning pages to the very end. Clear your calendar, because you won't be able to put this one down.”
Julie Eshbaugh

Replay the Online Book Launch

Q&A with Shelly Campbell

What's Under the Lesser Moon about?

Way to start with the hardest question! Authors struggle with this one, don’t we? Give me a few hundred thousand words and I can tell you all about this story. Fortunately, I’ve also been practicing my elevator pitch. The book is about Akrist, a firstborn boy who’s about to be sacrificed by his tribe to appease their goddess and her dragons.

What inspired you to write it?

The inspiration for Under the Lesser Moon stemmed from a fascination with ancient civilizations and what drove some of their more enduring practices. What motivated the Aztecs to believe that the sun would snuff out if they didn’t feed their gods a human sacrifice when certain stars aligned? How did the Kapu system decide that bananas were forbidden for ancient Hawaiian women to eat? Why do many cultures still prefer sons over daughters? Where are the similarities and differences in our creation stories, and how do these core narratives shape who we are as a societies? I wanted to explore how harsh climates and declining populations could push people to the edge of their beliefs and beyond. Since there’s evidence of dragons in so many of Earth’s old tales, I made them real and central to the religion of this complex, Stone Age world. By the time our main character, Akrist, is born, this religion has been broken for some time. The goddess Nasheira rarely chooses leaders among her people anymore. The dragon population is declining. They don’t guide faithful followers to hunting grounds as they once did.

What is your favourite (spoiler-free) scene from the book?

Well darn, my favourite scenes are all spoilers. One fairly innocent one comes to mind though. It’s when Akrist’s love interest first shows him kindness and he has absolutely no idea how to react to it. The poor man is so used to being scorned and betrayed. It was a treat to finally give him a few moments of kindness after putting him through the proverbial wringer for most of the book. It felt like I’d owed him that scene.

What's your biggest fandom?

Do dinosaurs count as a fandom? I mean, technically, every four-year-old kid out there is with me on this, right? And it’s got to be one of the oldest fandoms out there. I also enjoy Star Wars, the Marvel Universe, Harry Potter, and the Hunger Games, not all in the same room though. That’d be crowded and messy.

What do you do for fun?

I’m not into flying airplanes or sailing on tall ships anymore—let’s be honest; my stomach never was into those things. Now, I garden, and ferry boys and hockey bags where they need to go. I write, and when the words don’t flow, I draw or paint. You can check out what I’m working on at www.shellycampbellauthorandart.com.

Dragons or robots?

Dragons. No contest there. Hang on. I could possibly be swayed by robotic dragons, jet-powered ones.

Get your copy today

Under the Lesser Moon is available online from most major booksellers. You can also order it from your favourite local bookstore or request it from your library!

ISBN: 978-1-989423-18-9 (softcover)
978-1-989423-19-6 (ebook)
978-1-989423-21-9 (large print softcover)
Publisher: Mythos & Ink
Publication Date: November 7, 2020
Pages: 382
Dimensions: 5″ x 8″ (softcover), 5.5″ x 8.5″ (large print softcover) 

Shelly Campbell

At a young age, Shelly Campbell wanted to be an air show pilot or a pirate, possibly a dragon and definitely a writer and artist. She’s piloted a Cessna 172 through spins and stalls, and sailed up the east coast on a tall ship barque—mostly without projectile vomiting. In the end, Shelly found writing fantasy and drawing dragons to be so much easier on the stomach.

Shelly‘s tales are speculative fiction, tending toward literary with dollops of oddity. She enjoys the challenge of exploring new techniques and subject matter, and strives to embed inspiring stories in her writing and art.

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