An Arrow Against the Wind Commentary: Athson’s Choices


The Bow of Destiny begins a long journey for Athson and his companions which leads him to a gut-wrenching ending in that book. An Arrow Against the Wind begins immediately after those twists but with a twist of its own. In that light, Athson’s perspective shifts with realization that what he thought was real wasn’t and he begins to question his decade-long predicament.


Within The Bow of Destiny, Athson struggles with grief both old and new as well as his uncertainty from his PTSD-like fits which seem to have resolved in some ways. However, he’s never quite sure of himself and doesn’t always trust his own awareness. He’s equally suspicious and doubtful of the quest. Within all of these difficulties, Athson is stuck in a spiraling struggle with his outlook on the adventure.

But, with the sudden shift of reality, his mood shifts from one of grief to that of a determination to seek answers to his life as well as help those around him. Without sharing any spoilers, Athson needs to find more than the Bow of Hart and isn’t willing to just follow Hastra’s lead in the matter. However, he is seeking to help others and himself though he doesn’t know how to go about it. He just unwilling to follow a course that he doesn’t believe will achieve his goals.

Athson sets out on his own to accomplish his new goals, determined not to remain a grieving victim. Hastra and Gweld slowly turn his attention back to the Bow of Hart as a way of accomplishing his goals. Their reasoning is that the Bow of Hart is the key to the problems that confront Athson who slowly comes around to the idea. However, he still wants to do things his way regardless.

Between the events of The Bow of Destiny and An Arrow Against the Wind, there’s a definite progression for Athson. In the first book, he’s struggling with his own pathos and malady about which he believes himself to be merely a bystander as events happen to him. By the end, he’s willing to take a stand for himself and others, rising out of his inward struggles.

An Arrow Against the Wind shows how Athson begins to grow as he takes action against the forces set against him. His actions are imperfect but he has skills as a ranger that he can use to further his goals. He believes he’s still making good decision, a belief revealed in the opening scene of The Bow of Destiny when he makes a choice while hunting. But as Athson progresses he will be presented with tougher choices and the question remains if he’s truly able to make a difficult decision by parsing out more than what he wants at a moment, but what is best for others as well. His choices lie between his own goals and the needs of others. He wants to help but what is the best way? He’s growing out of the malaise of years and into an active participant in this life because the Bow of Hart and the prophesy surrounding it require him to grow and make tough choices.


Here’s an excerpt where he discusses his options with Limbreth regarding some choices and the Bow of Hart:

Later, they shared time during their watches as they walked a circuit of their camp. Spark trailed them.

“Let’s just leave and go ourselves. They’re slowing us down. They’ll keep me from doing what I have to do.” Athson stared into the silent night, his tone hushed. Time was wasting. Each night the moon phase progressed. His gut clenched. “It’s not their decision.”

“Athson, they mean well and understand your feelings.” She paused, hefting a sword. “But there are the bigger issues of the prophecy. Hastra knew her risks and has for years.”

They paused by the mules, and Athson patted one on its side. “But I can’t abandon my father and mother again.” He turned to Limbreth and grasped her shoulders. “I’ve lived well with the elves while they’ve suffered. I can’t just run off and forget them.”

She leaned forward, her forehead touching his. “I know. It’s not easy. Maybe an answer will present itself.”

His voice rose in challenge, and he stepped back. “Like what? I’m trapped. They are trapped in Corgren’s clutches.”

Limbreth gazed toward their sleeping companions and back to Athson. “Quiet, you’ll wake the others. I don’t know what will happen, and neither do you. But I’ll go through it with you.” She took his hand and came closer. “I’m here now. For you. So are the others.”

Athson shrugged. Was her support just words? She had a suitor waiting for her. Somewhere. “What if the others scout out Corgren? I find the bow while they sneak my father away. Then, then…” Then what? His mother died?

Limbreth lowered her face. “What about your mother?” She sighed. “Tough questions and no answers. Yet.”

Athson paced away and back. “Well, just get some sleep. We push on before the moon.”

A falling star streaked across the sky. Athson remembered a similar sight in his vision at Eagle’s Aerie. The arrow Eloch prepared. He frowned at the sparkling sky. The inheritance lay in his pack. The same words written on the will. He needed an arrow?

“That was beautiful.”

“Yes.” Athson managed. “There’s supposed to be an arrow.”

Still watching the sky, Limbreth frowned. “What arrow?”

“It’s in the prophecy.” He thumbed over his shoulder toward camp. “It’s in that will I got. I don’t know where that is. I remember something. A falling star like a smoking arrow from back at Eagle’s Aerie. But if it’s not with the Bow of Hart I don’t know what to do to find it. But if I did, I’d have something to fight back with. Maybe.”

“Perhaps, but at least we’ll know if it’s there, and maybe we can ask Howart, if he’s there…” She lifted her arms to his shoulders and stepped closer, her eyes still to the sky. “Then we’ll decide. You know we’ll do something based on all that information. There’s an answer, Athson. It’s not hopeless.”

He scowled a moment then realized her tone held encouragement. “Thanks.” He held her a while under the stars as the time slipped past him.

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Excerpt From An Arrow Against the Wind: Ath’s Choice


Ath makes a choice that sets events twisting around his life.

With book 2 of The Bow of Hart Saga, more characters get point-of-view scenes. One such character is Athson’s father whose in quite a dire predicament. In this early scene, he’s  finds something and is forced to make one choice around which the lives of many characters in the book will revolve.


The rumble of collapsing stone faded to groans and squeals from the mass of surrounding rock. Ath half-gagged, half-coughed dust and grit from his throat. “Hello?” His hoarse whisper echoed ahead. An open passage. He checked his limbs by feel. Cuts and bruises, but nothing broken.

Ath crawled, but his chain pulled taut. His hands fumbled along the metal links. Who had held his chain last? Was it a buried troll? He felt around for a stone with a rough edge and enough weight to break the metal.

His hand passed over an object. Ath touched it. Rough edges, cold metal with teeth. His heart thudded. A piece of a file. He grinned. With this, he could escape.

Ath started scratching a link, his movement fast. He should make it quick, lest trolls come searching. Where could he go in this place? Where was a door? The questions slowed his fervor against the hard, thick chain.

Someone groaned.

Ath paused. He hid his short file in a pocket, a vast treasure. His hands trailed back along the chain. A large chunk of rock lay on it, and he slid it away with effort. He continued on along the chain. Rock fell near him. Ath cringed and covered his head with his arms. Silence settled around him. Just settling rock. Still, best not to linger longer than necessary.

He searched along the length of his chain. He touched a hand and drew back with a gasp. He touched it again. It was warm and felt human. Ath sat back with a groan. “Corgren!” He coughed, and it sounded like a shout in the silence of the tunnel. Ath trembled a moment, frozen in place.

Key! Did Corgren have it? He scrambled to the wizard and went through his pockets. Nothing. Ath pounded his leg with a fist. After a few moments, his frustration ended. So, it would be the file or nothing. He reached for his pocket.

Corgren groaned.

Ath froze again. If the wizard woke, he would take Ath’s prize. Then what? Ath felt around for a heavy rock. He’d have to kill Corgren and then use the file. He felt for the wizard’s bald head and lifted the rock with both hands.

Rock tumbled in the blocked passage as the corridor quaked.

The file might take too long. Ath’s face contorted with the effort of holding the rock. If it took too long, he might be buried. He grunted. Who cared if Corgren died?

Athson’s voice, now a man’s voice, flickered in his memory. Defiance. Had he survived? If so, he’d need Ath’s help.

Ath needed to escape Chokkra, and someone needed to lead him out. He needed the file—and Corgren—to escape. How, he didn’t know, other than that they had used him against Athson. He’d use the file little by little and break loose at the best opportunity. Preferably when Corgren took him to bully Athson again to get the Bow of Hart. He tossed the rock aside, his arms trembling. He’d help Athson at the right opportunity, and that would come in time.

He searched Corgren for broken limbs and found nothing but a bloody knot on his head. Ath dragged Corgren away from the rock, out of the choking dust. The chain clinked with his movements. He progressed with the arduous proficiency of a blind man. He felt for obstacles, lest he fall, until the occasional sound of settling rock faded.

Corgren coughed and groaned. He rolled over in Ath’s grasp.

“What are you doing? Where am I?” Corgren shoved Ath weakly away.

Ath stepped back. “There was a collapse. I pulled you away.”

Corgren hissed in pain. “That’s a nasty blow.” He went still and then pulled Ath close. “Why did you save me?” A trembling grasp reached for Ath’s throat. “You tried to kill me. This head wound.”

Ath struggled with Corgren. “Please, no! It’s the chain. We’re attached. I don’t think the trolls survived.” He waved his hand in a vague approximation of the collapse.

Corgren’s grasp loosened. A weak laugh echoed in the tunnel. “I suppose you want some thanks, some reward?”

Ath scrambled away. “No. It was just that rock kept falling around us.”

He heard Corgren rise with prolonged grunts. He pulled on the chain. “Well, since you want to live, come along.”

Ath followed. He squeezed the file in his pocket. He’d be ready if the time came. He shook his head. When it came. He coughed to cover a laugh. The file blazed like a candle of hope in his mind. When

About the Book

An Arrow Against the Wind is book two of The Bow of Hart Saga and is available at all retailers. Just click the cover below to use the universal link to find out more about the book at your preferred e-book vendor:

About the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. His first novel, The Bow of Destiny was named 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews and is the first book of The Bow of Hart Saga. The sequel novel, An Arrow Against the Wind, was released in April of 2017. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, is due to be released during the Fall of 2017 now out! P. H. Solomon also authored the award winning short story, The Black Bag, which won best published short story at SCWC 2012. P. H. is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Tuesday Tales: Endless Doors Part 7

The Tuesday Tales feature continues with a new story this week. The previous story was Shadow of the Beast  To read the story, click on each link: Shadow of the Beast Part 1Shadow of the Beast Part 2Shadow of the Beast Part 3

This story is a a departure from fantasy for me and into a bit of science fiction where the science is more setting and the fiction is nuanced with it. Click this link to read Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Endless Doors

by P. H. Solomon

Part 7

Weeks of preparation followed. Jake moved aboard his ship, The Pilgrim’s Rest, and met his officers. He organized his command and explained his expectations. Anyone he deemed deficient in proper motivation–regardless of age–he requested be replaced. Unknown danger in the form of lost ships awaited his own expedition so he reserved no tolerance for hopelessness. Archangel-Commander Patterson approved every request.

Jake attended more meetings, especially smaller ones and dinners where George Patterson detailed the assignment and its dangers.

George drank his brandy as they sat after dinner the night before the launch. “Jake, with those lost ships exploring between The Afterlife and The Jesús, that quadrant remains unexplored. Many here don’t care, but we’re serving for life and that means we keep moving forward.” Patterson brushed his close-cropped tufts of white hair.

“I understand. That’s why I’ve asked for those most motivated. It’s an earth-year of travel to the other station.” Jake sipped from his own glass.

“And why I’ve given you what you need. Who knows what happened to the others but I’ve got to give you every chance to succeed.” Patterson stared at the darkness beyond the nearby porthole. “Who knows what happened. I think sickness of the mind is just as bad as that of the body. With all us geezers on-board it can be like a plague once it’s loose. Mistakes are made then.”

Jake nodded.

George held up his glass. “To discipline and success.”

Archangel Lassitter joined the small group with them in the toast.

Jake slept in his ship quarters and rose fresh and ready for the launch. He ate with a smile and checked through last minute well-wishes from officers he’d gotten to know in his short time aboard The Afterlife. He sat back as time drew near to embark. The ship floated in the bay like a babe in a womb waiting for birth. It was good to do something. All the waiting at home had sapped his morale. Purpose renewed him. He leaned back in his chair. His wife followed him in space by now. If only he knew her destination.

Bridge com lights flashed and he opened the channel. “Captain-Archangel, here.”

His older second, Baxter, appeared in the projections. “We’re near launch time, sir.”

“Just coming, old man, just coming.”

Jake didn’t need his ID to show him around his ship anymore. Projected console lights winked in the dimness of the bridge. The crew acknowledged him and he sat.

“Status report, please.” Lassitter plugged his ID into it slot in his chair. His controls projected in front of him.

Baxter stood near Jake. “Plasma screws are functional and providing optimal energy for all ship systems and engines, sir.”

Jake suppressed his grin. “Good, and guidance rockets?”

“Fueled and on-line.”

“Well done. Show screen of the bay door. I believe we’re ready. Baxter, request permission to open bay doors and embark.

Across the bridge, the screen displayed white bay doors with lights trained upon them.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Baxter relayed the request to The Afterlife. “Request acknowledged and permission granted.”

Jake leaned forward as the bay doors parted to empty space. “Engage rockets.”

The navigator tapped his console. “Engaged.”

The Pilgrim’s Rest accelerated toward the bay. As the ship left the station, the bay lights filled the screen for a moment and then the ship cleared its host.

Jake stared at the ceiling. He drummed his fingers and sat back. If only they could reach their destination. If only his wife arrived there. Jake and his crew left all that was familiar in search of The Jesús in the boundless, cosmic void.


Thanks for reading today. For more information about my writing, please see the page about my epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, which includes two award-winning books.

About the Author