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Released: March 2016
ISBN: 9781310401916
Kindle US, Kindle UK
Apple, Kobo, Nook
Series: The Oldenrai Archives, #1
Author: Sam Poling
Length: Novel
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Price: $2.99

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Goodreads

In an overpopulated city-state where technology and magic are forbidden by the corrupt church, young witch, Mirabel Fairfax, plots the creation of a deadly plague to cull the burdensome rabble.

That is, until she falls in love with the very alchemist she has been deceiving.

Now, with soul-hungry geists flooding the city, the church scrambling for their prey, and her own mind at war with itself, Mirabel must decide what she's fighting for before she loses everything to the evils of Autumnfall.

It had always been lonely. The endless halls had enough rooms to accommodate an army, but no army resided there, and seldom did family. No windows offered the dreams of an outside world. For light, her mother kept lanterns lit in the halls the girl had permission to visit. She knew those places well. Four years she had lived here, her lifetime.

Loneliness didn’t grip her heart today. Not anymore. Dragging the tail of her white gown behind her, she navigated warped corridors that rippled like sheets. The distortion used to frighten her and make her sick, but her desire to explore outside her bedroom endured. A year ago she discovered what would become her favorite burgundy chair; one big enough to curl up on, made of soft velvet, and always with a lit candle nearby.

She crawled atop the cushion and sat with her brown-furred friend almost as big as her. He had silly long, floppy ears, pink paws, and a hard nose. Since introduced to her yesterday, he hadn’t stopped smiling. The girl knew better than to smile without good reason, but she often felt like joining him.

An imperfect, sweet tune sang behind her lips as she brushed his fur. She didn’t hear it often enough to remember the specifics, so she stuck to humming the series of notes she knew best: a three-second loop. With all her heart she hoped the redundancy wouldn’t irritate her friend. His smile remained. He hadn’t bunched her hair up in his paws. He hadn’t send to her tumbling to the floor, causing cuts on her knees. The stuffed rabbit merely sat there. He must have found the melody as agreeable as she did.

A door opened and slammed. The manor had plenty of random activity. It couldn’t have been her father; he visited yesterday, so he wouldn’t return for months. No reason to run to the foyer, but perhaps a reason to hide. The girl scooted toward the edge of the chair. Too late. Her mother marched into the room, carelessly throwing her fur coat over the piano. She kept walking past her daughter. Unfortunately, she stopped and turned around.


The girl looked up. “Yes ma’am?”

“Are you not going to say hello to your mother?”

“Greetings, Mother.”

Mother’s face grinned like her friend’s. “I heard your father visited last night.”

She nodded, and moved her body to obscure her stuffed companion.

Too late.

Mother crouched at the chair. “What is this, then?”


“To heal your loneliness, I take it. Does it help you with your studies?”

“Yes,” said Mirabel.

“No, child.” Her hand extended. Today it went for Leonard, snatching him away. “Do not be ridiculous. It helps you with nothing. The study books your loving mother gives you are all the company you require.”

Mirabel sat motionless. She wanted to reach out and take Leonard back, but nothing could be reclaimed from her mother’s grasp. He should have been hidden. It had been reckless to bring him out in the open. Fingers spreading apart, her mother’s hand swayed over Leonard. He still smiled. So naïve, so innocent. He understood nothing. She had failed him. He probably still loved her, until the moment fire from Mother’s fingertips turned him into ash.

“I will be having one final discussion with your father, and then no more of this pain.” She patted Mirabel’s head and disappeared into the darkness of the next room.

Mirabel slinked from the chair and sifted through the ashes. A singular pink paw remained. There was always a part that didn’t burn. Carefully she placed it on her lap and stroked it. She hummed for him again, but Leonard’s smile wouldn’t return.

Top Reviews
The Part that Doesn’t Burn is a fun romp filled with adventures . . . There are some definite twists and turns in this story, keeping the reader on her toes to keep up . . . I really enjoyed the world that Mr. Poling built for this story and would like to revisit it—there was a reveal at the end that came as a surprise to me and I really hope he has some other stories in mind. ~ Long and Short Reviews

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This is a different type of storey than that which I normally read BUT, I LOVED it! You have to step out of your box sometimes SO, give it a try. This is well written and easy to follow. All sorts of things in this one. ~ Raewynn, Amazon

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Alchemists, Witches and Geists
This book pulled me in from the first page. When this happens you know you are reading an awesome book. I enjoyed reading about soul hungry geists. Leaves you wanting to find out what happened next! Keep it up Sam Poling and I will keep reading!!! ~ CEB, Amazon

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Witches, demons and love...
This was an interesting book. I enjoyed it . . . ~ Crystal Hool, Amazon

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An Indie Publishing Gem
This debut fantasy novel was much better than I anticipated. It goes at a good pace, has plenty of action and drama, dark fantasy and horror elements, with some witty humor sprinkled in. It was also a good length - I appreciate that Mr. Poling gives his readers their moneys worth. A fun and engaging read with interesting characters. ~ WakaWaka, Amazon

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This is a well written book. You could fell like you were in the book I had a hard time putting it down with all the twist and turns the book has a lot going on in it, never a dull moment.i like it I could not figure out what was going to happen next. I had a hard time putting it down. So if you want a good book to read that is not the normal, grab a copy and a cup of your favorite drink, turn off the world because you don't want to miss may thing. ~ djackx, Amazon

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What a start for Sam...
Thank you Sam, this book has been a different read for me, but has kept me intrigued the whole way. I enjoyed it to the last page. I will definitely keep an eye out for more books from Sam Poling. ~ Adriana Miller, Amazon

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An Intriguing Fantasy World
There is a little romance along with the fantasy. The author creates an interesting world where there are plenty of surprises and difficult choices to make. It is a very good read that hooks you in quickly and keeps your attention to the very end. I enjoyed it. ~ LLevine, Amazon

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Loved Every Page!!
I was pleased to have come across Sam Poling, as I saw both the cover and blurb, and instantly thought this was going to be a book for me. I liked the dark and mysterious sound to it, blended with a brilliant fantasy feel. I jumped in and read the whole book, in only a couple sittings. I absolutely loved it! It is a darker fantasy read, with evil, witches, destruction and the possible end of it all, oh a a side of oh crap I fell for the guy I was meant to hate. However, the author doesn’t overwhelm the book with romance, which is great as it adds to the story, rather than taking away from the beautifully written background. The characters were created very well. Each was described so that it was more than easy to visualise them and here their voices, even imagine what they wear and their mannerisms. I think that is very important for more of an epic read, such as this. We get close to the characters, learning about their personalities and beliefs, which makes getting to see how the story unfolds even more exciting. I loved that there were twists and turns throughout this book. It really made it exciting to see what was going to happen next. I liked that I was able to read, get close to the story and make my own opinions, then the author may just throw a spanner in the works, and tip us on our heads. The pace was good. It had a certain flow throughout, very similar to a lot of the epic fantasies I have read, especially the pace of David Eddings, which meant we had a lot of detail put into everything, to really bring the story to life. Overall, I was very impressed with this book. I truly enjoyed reading and hope you love it as well. ~Natural Bri, Amazon

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Quite a romp!
I picked this up somewhat by accident. I don't really know how I got it, but it was probably a wrong download somewhere. Because I'm not entirely sure I would have picked it up based on the description, which would have been quite a loss. At any rate, The Part That Doesn't Burn is quite a romp . . . Poling is a witty writer - the scenes play out comically enough that you can't help laughing, and yet it's dark enough because of what's at stake. Yes, it's a long book, but a thoroughly enjoyable one. ~Anna, Amazon

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DarkFantasy with a touch of nightmare qualities
Do you like Dark Fantasy? Do you like that world on the cusp of distruction? Do you like knowing there is one that could make a difference and save it all? Then you may have just found a read that will keep you captivated and checked in to the world that has been created for your dark pleasures. I call this dark urban fantasy with a blooming romance mixed in there . . . There was action, a chase or two, spell casting, potion (proverbial) making, an ah-ha moment or two. This no tech and magic world give me fond memories of books from the past but this with more of a darker fantasy rich edge. To judge what is or is not dark is up to the reader but this has that edge of darkness that takes this fantasy to that line. Sam Poling what else do you have for me? ~ The Book Junkie Reads, Amazon



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