World's End (Chadbourn novel)
World's End is a novel written by British author Mark Chadbourn and is the first in the Age of Misrule trilogy. It was first published in Great Britain by Millennium on 14 September 2000. An edition collecting all three books in The Age of Misrule series (World's End, Darkest Hour and Always Forever) was published in Great Britain on 14 September 2006.
Jack 'Church' Churchill, a man tormented by the suicide of his girlfriend Marianne two years previously and Ruth Gallagher, a lawyer disillusioned with her life has are brought together by a shared experience: walking by the Thames, they witness a horrific attack. A giant man attacks a smaller man underneath Albert Bridge, and the experience is so horrific that it causes them to pass out. When they awake, the small man is dead, and the police are view the crime as a mugging. While Ruth is suspended from work, Church discovers that similar events are happening across Britain, and finds a mysterious message from Laura who claims to know how the events are linked.
She names Church as one of the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, and implores him to gather the five Brothers and Sisters of Dragons and find four mystical items – a stone, a sword, a spear and a cauldron – which will return her people to power and help them fight the Night Walkers, giving him a lantern called the Wayfinder that will help point him to the objects. Laura arrives, and Church realises she led him here on purpose, under the orders of a mysterious woman. Church and Laura return through the hole in the air and find the industrial estate in ruins in the aftermath of their escape attempt. They reunite with Ruth, and leave without Tom, who vanished. Church deduces that Ruth and Laura are both Sisters of Dragons, and they follow the Wayfinder to their next destination.
Church, Veitch and Tom make their way across the moors and find a desolate farmhouse inhabited by a desperate man who is being mentally tortured by a gremlin. They investigate, and the creature begins its torment, but Tom reacts confidently, having knowledge of the demon. He fights it with iron, and it appears to recognise him, speaking of his "royal gift." Church tries to ask Tom what the creature's comment to him meant, Tom doesn't reply – although he works his mouth as though he's trying.
He warns them that where they are going, dangers await, in legend it is spoken of as the home of the leader of the Wild Hunt, butt they must take the water to the tor at first light if they want what they seek.
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