‘The Vulture King’ – Nikki Turner – Fantasy novel gives voice to physically challenged children

Nikki-Turner

First time author Nikki Turner says: My reasons for writing the book were extremely personal.

“My eldest daughter has ADHD and my youngest is hearing impaired. I want my girls to read books in which differently-abled characters deal with and overcome the same challenges they face daily. I believe we sorely need more diversity in fantasy.”

This stunning new fantasy novel was written in the ‘old world’ but has emerged into the horror of our new world beset by Coronavirus, a carrion-land of our own. As such, it bears a potent message for our time and the future. Man, disabled by his own greed and blindness, needs to partner once more with nature and wild animals to find salvation.

It is already winning five star literary reviews from respected writers and playwrights, Dawn Hosmer, American Author of Bits & Pieces, The End Of Echoes, Something In Between and Mosaic – psychological thrillers and a book of short stories; and from Karen Jeynes, head writer for Both Worlds Productions, overseeing ZANewsPuppet Nation(winner of 22 SAFTAs, two WGSA awards for Best TV Comedy, and two time International Emmy Nominee for Best TV Comedy).

Vulture King

Author Nikki Turner adds: “I think in our world of climate change denialism and frightening politics, it is easy for children to believe that they can’t make a difference. Children like Greta Thunberg are changing this thinking. The characters in my books, with the physical challenges they face, are unlikely heroes but they don’t let fear hold them back. By standing up, the smallest of us can make all the difference in the world.”

The young adult novel ‘The Vulture King’ takes readers into a terrifying world, the Carrionlands, where magic users are born blind or deaf  and bond with bird familiars to provide sight and hearing. Orphan Aram has survived alone for five years; his only friend, the thieving magpie Ryu, acts as his eyes. When he rescues a voiceless girl, Bina, from being sacrificed to the Vulture King, he is taken in by an underground resistance group. They reveal that Aram’s mother is alive, but the King is using her and other slave magicians to fuel his unnaturally long life. 

Blindsided by hope, Aram promises to do anything to save her. The Vulture King rules a world where magic disables then kills its users. But the children overcome and succeed thanks to their partnership with animals from the natural world.

The child characters are courageous and resourceful in a terrifying world that is beautifully realised by this writer from South Africa. Turner has created an absorbing magical universe that is utterly compelling. Early readers say that the book is unputdownable.

Nikki Turner: Biog

Nikki graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with an Honours Degree in Drama and English. She later received a distinction in the Community Journalism course she studied through Unisa.

Her career as a professional actress began with two cabarets which she wrote and performed. Her first show 3D on Broadway went on to feature on MNet’s TV series, It’s a Funny Country! Her second show, It’s a Koch Up!, wasfeatured on Nataniel’s talk show on Kyknet.

Nikki worked for twelve years with children’s theatre company, The Lilliput Players, as an actress, singer and choreographer. She had a two year stint as a script editor and presenter trainer on the eTV children’s show Craz-e. She currently runs CCH Productions, which tours musical theatre shows around the country. Here she wears the cap of director, writer, stylist, producer and choreographer. She currently lives in Cape Town with her husband Jon, under the benevolent dictatorship of their daughters Sophia and Abigail. She spends what little free time she has writing books filled with magic and adventure. Her hobbies are reading, dancing and adopting as many dogs as she can sneak into the house. She also shoots TV commercials in which she is often cast as an American, despite, she says, being terribly bad at an American accent. 

First five star reviews

“Poignant and powerfiul young adult fantasy, good for readers of all ages,” says Dawn Hosmer, American Author of Bits & Pieces, The End Of Echoes, Something In Between and Mosaic – psychological thrillers and a book of short stories. The Vulture King is an enjoyable and powerful young adult fantasy novel. It was especially poignant to read during these times of unrest in the United States – it made the characters and the plot even more relatable. The characters were well fleshed-out and believeable. I was invested in Aram and his journey. And Bina was an absolutely delightful addition to the story. It was fast-paced and the plot kept me engrossed until the very end. Even though it is a fantasy novel, there were so many themes that are relevant today like how power can corrupt, people who are different facing judgment and discrimination, how sometimes winning the fight for justice is more important than individual lives.This book made me laugh out loud several times and made me shed a few tears. I look forward to reading more by Nikki Turner.”

“A gem for literary kids,” says Karen Jeynes is the head writer for Both Worlds Productions, overseeing ZANewsPuppet Nation(winner of 22 SAFTAs, two WGSA awards for Best TV Comedy, and two time International Emmy Nominee for Best TV Comedy). She was the President of the International Centre for Women Playwrights for 6 years.

“The Vulture King is a book which feels both classic and fresh. It’s a story with timeless storylines and themes – magic, brave rescues, epic quests – but one that young readers will doubtless find gripping and engaging as it also handles themes of abandonment, loneliness, and rebellion. The language is beautiful………….”


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