Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Apophis – Into the Folds of Darkness by Raj Anand

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish PromotionsOne randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


GENRE: Sci-fi, Science Fiction

Book Description


January, 2022: A dark monstrous twin-headed apparition – Apophis – feverishly races past the expanse of the Milky Way galaxy and bolts to the edge of the solar system. Recklessly accelerating, the sinister rock-dyad enters the gravitational keyhole of the blue planet and continues its resolute inebriated journey – to soon arrive with an apocalyptic impact on Earth.


December, 2012: Five sentient beings born in different cities – New York, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Azores Islands and Istanbul, discover amongst haunting memories of their phantasmal past lives, that it is their destiny to save humanity from the evil forces unleashed by the alien fiends – the Skyllats.


And now, the reincarnated 9-year-olds must rely on their shared, ancient wisdom to prepare humanity for the war across the galaxy that is imminent.


Interview with Author Raj Anand

Any particular writing or text that you consider was a life changing moment for you?

A few years ago (5 to be exact), I was in a very dark place in my life. Everything that I had built a house, a home and relationships were destroyed. Amidst those gloomy, somber days, I found a writing of Peter Kingsley from his book – ‘In the Dark Places of Wisdom’:

“If you’re lucky, at some point in your life you’ll come to a complete dead end. Or to put it another way: if you’re lucky you’ll come to a crossroads and see that the path to the left leads to hell, that the path to the right leads to hell, that the road straight ahead leads to hell and that if you try to turn around you’ll end up in complete and utter hell.

Every way leads to hell and there’s no way out, nothing left for you to do. Nothing can possibly satisfy you any more. Then, if you’re ready, you’ll start to discover inside yourself what you always longed for but were never able to find.

And if you’re not lucky?

If you’re not lucky you’ll only come to this point when you die. And that won’t be a pretty sight because you’ll still be wanting what you’re no longer able to have. We are human beings, endowed with an incredible dignity; but there’s nothing more undignified than forgetting our greatness and clutching at straws.”

It was in these dismal moments of life, that I began to write APOPHIS, five years ago.


If you could have lived most of your life in any part of the world, where would that be?

I grew up in two places New Delhi and New York, two very large, loud, raucous and vivid cities. Now, in Goa a relatively quiet, tropical beach-laden state on the west coast of India, I am where I belong and want to be. But at heart I am a citizen of the world, I belong to where I am – in that moment.


How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?

As a writer, you must read – Yes! Absolutely!

But I read for the simple joy of reading, not to copy a style or mannerism. Some admittedly may seep in and then be added to the layers of one’s very being and that – is completely okay.

And, I am reminded of a quote by a neuro-scientist, Nancy Andreasen, “Creative people are better at recognizing relationships, making associations and connections and seeing things in an original way – seeing things that others cannot see…”

At heart one is a story teller – nothing else and nothing more. Those stories, arrive from a confluence of one’s own personal experiences and memories. But at most times the stories are a collation of a vivid and other-worldly imagination. What could be, can be and may be – layered altogether, to become a new moment, a new world!


What are the best and the worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?

The best & the worst – all together – take your pick! Ha!

  • Grammar is over-rated where art and vivid story telling are involved.
  • Choose your audience and then write a story – so it sells!? (&(&*^$% – I am cursing)
  • Keep your characters and the places where the story takes place – local! Why go beyond your country’s boundaries? Why challenge yourself?
  • Just write about anything, just sit in front of a computer and type – research, a plot line, a story board – don’t really matter.
  • Don’t write – it doesn’t pay!
  • You? A writer? Fuck off!
  • Travel writing? But for that you would have to travel… why bother?


Are the experiences in this book based on your own, or anyone you know or perhaps important historical figures?

Any fiction book is layered with personal life experiences, philosophy and ethics (whether you want to make it so or not – IT IS!).

APOPHIS, certainly follows that rhythm of sharing a certain life vision. Several characters, their mannerisms, habits and even names are a happy mix of people that I have met in my life, including but not restricted to friends, mentors and even a couple of ex-girlfriends. Since the book is in the realm of Historical Science Fiction, it certainly has important historical figures and (in this case) ancient philosophers embedded in the story.

As disparate and complex as it may appear, I hope that the array of characters from varied cultural subsets, do come together in a cohesive form to become a great story. That at least is the attempt and hope.

book cover

Book Excerpt

28.032848N, 85.530342E

Helambu. Langtang National Park, Nepal

January 23, 2022 (1100 hours)


“Agasthi, you must learn to draw the sacred symbol accurately,” implored the Ban-Jhakrani or the forest shaman, wrapped in a resplendent white dress with a crown of tall peacock feathers. Her extraordinary life etched on a relucent wrinkled face, she continued to pry stirring sounds from her shaman’s drum that reverberated across the mountains.


“Nata, what does ‘sacred’ mean?” asked the playful six-year-old moon-faced Agasthi with light gray eyes. Her loose, white, flared top and pants, twirled in the wind along with her.


“The ‘sacred’, is a space and thought held within the folds of the benevolent earth mother,” explained the Ban-Jhakrani.


“Nata, what does ‘benevolent’ mean?” the left-handed Agasthi, wondered.


The forest shaman laughed, “You are certainly an inquisitive young shaman; blessed by the primordial essence that unites us all. Now help me to place these peacock feathers, rice, and leaves within this sacred space. For I have much to teach you, but my time in this form…is limited.”


The large geometry drawn vividly on the forest floor, with red and yellow colors, was part of an ancient shamanic invocation to contact the mysterious forest spirits that remained nestled within these thick jungles. The forest adorned with the reverberant sounds of birds, animals, cicadas, scrambling waterfalls, and a bone-chilling wind that swooped across the Himalayan mountain range.


Agasthi, her name embodied in an indecipherable wisdom, followed her grandmother’s instructions while the Ban-Jhakrani added her chanting to the pulsating sounds of her shaman’s drum, to open the doorway of a limitless realm beyond time. And a beguiled crested goshawk swooped down and perched itself on her left shoulder.


The Ban-Jhakrani’s ancient incantations to initiate the young shaman began to increase in pitch and intensity as Agasthi sprinkled water over the rice, leaves, and peacock feathers. Soon the young girl became assiduously immersed in the spirits of the forest, before her eyes began to dilate and magnified all that surrounded her.


Agasthi, held within a trance, became drawn to a prodigious green leaf lying within the sacred space. She dropped to her knees and meticulously examined the giant blade; her dilated eyes following the mid-rib and the veins that branched off it as well as an occult dewdrop, which hovered just above the surface of the leaf.


Mystified, Agasthi peered deeper into this amplified, spherical, translucent world – seeded with infinite moons and stars – when an eerie, dark colossus with a serpent-like head and carmine eyes emerged. Swimming within this dark sea, it swallowed entire moons and numerous stars, before it turned and glared at a petrified Agasthi.


The charred monster abruptly shot across this uncommon convex world with its fangs bared, and a roar that pierced the young girl’s skin. A trembling, horrified Agasthi let out an unrelenting, terror-stricken scream that echoed across the forest before she collapsed, unconscious.


The Ban-Jhakrani stood over her granddaughter and smiled. What she had hoped for had become – the forest spirits had acquiesced. Agasthi had travelled across an immeasurable realm, and experienced an epiphany – a vision – for the very first time. The forest shaman patiently waited for several hours for the young girl to step out of her dreamworld.


“What happened, Nata? Did I fall asleep?” Agasthi asked when she finally stirred.


“No, my dearest Natini,” the Ban-Jhakrani whispered. “You drifted into a shamanic dream. An unerring state of being when multiple truths are revealed if your heart is pure. Search yourself and then speak of what you saw, for it is very important.”


The young shaman stared at her grandmother, while the recondite, eerie charcoal-black serpent reappeared and a petrified Agasthi began to quiver.


“Do not be afraid, my child,” assured the grandmother and held her left hand.


“A darkness that shamans have meditated upon…for thousands of years…has arrived,” mumbled Agasthi, lost within her trance.


“Why?” the bewildered forest shaman inquired.


“For a balance disturbed for so long…must be remedied…a justice delivered,” answered the swaying Agasthi and turned to stare in the direction of the sun.


“Who delivered this message?” questioned the Ban-Jhakrani, overwhelmed by the young shaman’s inconceivable first pronouncement.


“It was the Whisperer!”


Author Bio and Links


author RajSavinder Raj Anand is an architect and has been teaching Architecture & Design at various Universities in India for more than 12 years. A long-distance runner with a wanderlust to explore the world, and write stories that traverse across diverse cultures. He lives in Goa with his daughter, a dog, and two cats.

Inspired by his then 18-month-old daughter – when she quoted Socrates – while they together sat in a children’s bookstore in Bangalore (LIGHTROOM) in early January of 2015, he has completed this – his first book – as she turns 7 years old.


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  • Goddess Fish Promotions
    October 1, 2020 at 4:35 am

    Thanks for hosting!

  • James Robert
    October 1, 2020 at 9:46 am

    I appreciate getting to hear about a new book. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us. 

  • Victoria Alexander
    October 1, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Great post and awesome giveaway!

  • Rita Wray
    October 1, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    I liked the excerpt, thank you.

  • Rita Pacchiana
    October 1, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    Sounds awesome. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity.

  • Eva Millien
    October 1, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    I like the cover and I enjoyed the interview, sounds like a great book to read, thanks for sharing!

  • Linda Fast
    October 1, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    Great interview, Anand’s daughter sounds quite exceptional.