First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a meme hosted by bibliophilebythesea, sharing the first paragraph of our current or soon to be reads.
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood–and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.
~ * ~ First paragraph ~ * ~
Winter seemed to come early in 1313, the year Aurora was born. For days that July, a mass of damp white flakes clung to treetops and roofs like snow.
Some thought it was the North Faerie’s doing. They were wrong.
on February 21st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, General, Romance, Royalty, Young Adult Fiction
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power. Freya was never meant to be queen. Twenty-third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of the court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne. She may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, she knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom—and her life. Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisers. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her but also wanted more power for himself. As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.
Freya, a science-loving girl, had never enjoyed the lavishness of court life and its scheming politics, but most importantly she had also never imagined herself as Queen. The Queen of a land where many were killed by the hands of an unknown suspect. With limited time and uncertain loyalties, Freya must find the killer and secure her position on the throne she still hasn’t accepted as truly her own.
The beautiful cover promised so much more than what the story really offered, and as did the synopsis. Thrilling fantasy? No. Exciting mystery? I wouldn’t use the word exciting to describe this book. It was so obvious who the person behind the deaths was, so eye-rollingly obvious. And it certainly did not help that the story followed the same pattern in the middle of the book.
Look at my very lame example:
It was an endless cycle in the middle and I’m not even going to discuss that kiss thing which nearly took a chapter of Freya wondering what it meant. Sure, there wasn’t that much romance but what was there didn’t interest me. I wasn’t even that interested in who did it, but I pushed through the book anyway. I don’t know what to think of the ending, I kind of liked it–but I had issues.
The Wardrobe Mistress: A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Meghan Masterson
It’s Giselle Aubry’s first time at court in Versailles. At sixteen, she is one of Marie Antoinette’s newest undertirewomen, and in awe of the glamorous queen and her opulent palace life. A budding designer, it’s a dream come true to work with the beautiful fabrics and jewels in the queen’s wardrobe. But every few weeks she returns home to visit her family in the Parisian countryside where rumors of revolution are growing stronger.
From her position working in the royal household, Giselle is poised to see both sides of the revolutionary tensions erupting throughout Paris. When her uncle, a retired member of the secret du roi, a spy ring that worked for the old King, Louis XV, suggests that she casually report the Queen s actions back to him as a game, she leaps at the chance. Spying seems like an adventure and an exciting way to privately support the revolution taking the countryside by storm. She also enjoys using her insight from Versailles in lively debates with Leon Gauvain, the handsome and idealistic revolutionary who courts her.
But as the revolution continues to gain momentum, and Giselle grows closer to the Queen, becoming one of the few trusted servants, she finds herself dangerously torn. Violence is escalating; she must choose where her loyalty truly lies, or risk losing everything…maybe even her head.
THE WARDROBE MISTRESS is Meghan Masterson’s fascinating and visceral debut, not to be missed.
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a meme hosted by bibliophilebythesea, sharing the first paragraph of our current or soon to be reads.
Mask of Duplicity (The Jabobite Chronicles #1) by Julia Brannan
Following the death of their father, Beth’s brother Richard returns from the army to claim his share of the family estate. However, Beth’s hopes of a quiet life are dashed when Richard, dissatisfied with his meagre inheritance and desperate for promotion, decides to force her into a marriage for his military gain. And he will stop at nothing to get his way. Beth is coerced into a reconciliation with her noble cousins in order to marry well and escape her brutal brother. She is then thrown into the glittering social whirl of Georgian high society and struggles to conform. The effeminate but witty socialite Sir Anthony Peters offers to ease her passage into society and she is soon besieged by suitors eager to get their hands on her considerable dowry. Beth, however, wants love and passion for herself, and to break free from the artificial life she is growing to hate. She finds herself plunged into a world where nothing is as it seems and everyone hides behind a mask. Can she trust the people professing to care for her? The first in the series about the fascinating lives of beautiful Beth Cunningham, her family and friends during the tempestuous days leading up to the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which attempted to overthrow the Hanoverian King George II and restore the Stuarts to the British throne. Join the rebellion of one woman and her fight for survival in… The Jacobite Chronicles.
~ * ~ First paragraph ~ * ~
Scotland, September 1741
The young Highlander strolled aimlessly across the plateau, his feet negotiating the uneven terrain automatically, his mind totally occupied with the new life he was about to embark on. He was a tall, well-proportioned young man with the muscular build of the accomplished warrior and the light, graceful walk of one accustomed to moving silently and stealthily through nature, by day or night.
Note: As of this posting, this book is free on Amazon.
(Shadow Fall, #1)
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: November 22nd 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.
The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.
When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive.
The question is who?
You can get your copy now for the special release price of 99 cents, and be sure to meet us at the Facebook Party happening right now!
My legs wobble as I step into the now lukewarm water. I sink to the bottom. Tiny bubbles escape my nose as I watch all the ugly remnants from the last seven years leave my body.
Lungs burning, I rise and come face-to-face with Pit Boy.
I glare at him. “You really have to work on the knocking thing.”
Despite the fact that I’m indecent, his attention never falls from my face. I almost wish it would, just to give me a break from the intensity of his focus.
“I only get a few more hours to be the ‘one-eyed freak’ from the pit. Might as well take advantage.” He doesn’t dare crack a smile, so it’s hard to tell if he’s joking or serious.
“Don’t worry. In my heart, that’s exactly who you’ll always be.”
His words remind me that soon we’ll be reconstructed using forbidden nanotech. But it won’t just be our flesh they’ll reengineer. It will be our brains, too.
I don’t foresee my rewiring being too complicated, but Riser needs to upload almost twenty years of false memories. That will be tricky and time-consuming.
And time is the one thing we don’t have.
Riser flicks his gaze to the mirror. He lifts a hand, touches the patch of mottled flesh where his eye should be.
“How did it happen?” I ask.
“Careful, my lady.” His gaze settles on my face. “You’re beginning to sound like you care.”
I roll my eyes. “And I thought I was lacking in conversational skills.”
He focuses his attention on the graffiti sprayed across the mirror.
“It’s written language,” I blurt, even though all I want to do is end the conversation so Pit Boy can leave. His presence unnerves me more than the other Pit Leeches ever could. “It’s how we communicate.”
“I know what it is.” He examines his jagged thumbnail. “I just . . . can’t read it.”
“It’s just stuff about the Chosen. You know, insults.” The populace is finicky. As much as they love watching the Chosen with their petty intrigues and court life, they would be just as happy to see their heads on a pike.
Time to explain what you are, Everly, Nicolai’s voice grates inside my head. Riser’s eyes flutter just enough that I know he’s heard Nicolai’s voice too.
You do it, I think, watching Riser’s reaction. But his face remains emotionless; either he’s a good actor or only Nicolai can hear my response.
“The Royalist astronomers discovered the asteroid twenty-one years ago,” I begin. “It’s actually a slow moving planet called an earth-crosser, meaning its orbit and ours intersect every twenty-thousand years. Usually it’s too far away to affect us, but this time it will pass close enough to wreak havoc and make the earth uninhabitable for years.” I stir the water with my big toe. “Before I was born, the Emperor decided that creating a population of genetically superior humans would be a great idea, you know, just in case the Caskets don’t work or the asteroid does more damage than predicted.”
Riser’s hyper-focused gaze bores through me. “You’re one of them?”
“Yes.” I run my hand through the filthy water. “But my father’s a Bronze, so even though my mother comes from a Gold House, the Emperor only allowed them one Chosen instead of the customary twins. So it’s just me . . . not Max.”
“What makes being Chosen so special?”
“I don’t know . . .” I bite my lip, trying to remember everything my parents told me. “My genes are perfect, I guess.”
For some reason, talking about my body makes me remember that I am naked in a room with a boy. As if reading my mind, Riser slowly lets his gaze fall, his expression both curious and unapologetic as he takes me all in, his thoughts cryptic.
“What are you staring at?” I blurt, smashing my breasts beneath my hands. Not like there’s much there to cover. “Haven’t you seen a naked girl before?”
A smile twitches his lips. “Not one that’s genetically flawless.”
“It doesn’t work that way! You can’t just look at us and tell. We look like everyone else—”
“No.” Riser shakes his head, a dark swath of hair covering his damaged eye. “You don’t. Whatever you are.”
“You must be happy . . . about our reconstruction, I mean,” I mumble, trying desperately to change the subject. “They’ll fix your eye . . . and . . . and all those horrible scars.”
I freeze as he slides off the counter, unable to look away as he hooks one finger beneath his shirt and lifts.
Scars ravage his anemic body in varying shades of red and silver and white. Some deep and pitted like the craters of a far-away planet, others smooth and neat. One particular nasty scar carves down his shoulder, tunneling across his chest and stomach. A fresh red wound nestles just below his throat.
He carefully touches the long ugly one. “I’m not ashamed for surviving.”
Audrey Grey lives in the charming state of Oklahoma, with her husband, two little people, and four mischievous dogs. You can usually find her hiding out in her office from said little people and dogs, surrounded by books and sipping kombucha while dreaming up wondrous worlds for her characters to live in.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hosted by Freda’s Voice
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Add your post url in Linky.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.
If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.
Impatient, Rho nods to a priestess beside the brazier, and she lights a torch.
“If you do not do it, my queen, then we will. And our way will be slower than yours.”
by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell Whitfield
Foreward by Glyn Iliffe
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Knight Media, LLC
eBook & Paperback; 483 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Ancient History, Anthology
Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.
A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.
A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.
A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.
A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.
A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.
A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.
A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.
Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?
About the Authors
CHRISTIAN CAMERON was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.
After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age four. And a half.
LIBBIE HAWKER was born in Rexburg, Idaho and divided her childhood between Eastern Idaho’s rural environs and the greater Seattle area. She presently lives in Seattle, but has also been a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bellingham, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. She loves to write about character and place, and is inspired by the bleak natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain region and by the fascinating history of the Puget Sound.
After three years of trying to break into the publishing industry with her various books under two different pen names, Libbie finally turned her back on the mainstream publishing industry and embraced independent publishing. She now writes her self-published fiction full-time, and enjoys the fact that the writing career she always dreamed of having is fully under her own control.
KATE QUINN is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.
Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.
VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. The LA Times calls Cleopatra’s Moon, “magical” and “impressive.” Publisher’s Weekly said it was “fascinating” and “highly memorable.” The Wall Street Journal called it “absorbing.”
STEPHANIE THORNTON is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.
Her novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan, and The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great, tell the stories of history’s forgotten women.
SJA TURNEY lives with his wife, son and daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire.
Marius’ Mules was his first full length novel. Being a fan of Roman history, SJA decided to combine his love of writing and love of the classical world. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum – an attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome.
These have been followed by numerous sequels, with three books in the fantasy ‘Tales of the Empire’ series and five in the bestselling ‘Marius’ Mules’ one. 2013 has seen the first book in a 15th century trilogy – ‘The Thief’s Tale’ – and will also witness several side projects seeing the light of day.
RUSSELL WHITFIELD was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.
Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.
by Kate Quinn
Ah, might the gods make you the prize in a mighty contest,
and let the victor have you for his couch!
Ovid, the Heroides
Shall I sing to you of Troy?
Shining Troy, windy Troy, many-towered Troy. The city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky. Aphrodite’s sweet breath kissed every breeze that wafted over our gates; Apollo and Poseidon raised our mighty walls; we were ruled by a white-haired king wise as Athena, and defended by the mightiest heroes ever to stride the earth.
That is the story you want—but I am not the singer for that song. I am no hero, and I did not call Troy home, though it was the place of my birth. I hated its every brick and banner. Watching those fabled towers fade beyond the horizon of the sea, as sails bellied and oars splashed, I made a vow.
I will return only to leave again. That I swore as the seabirds cried overhead. One last task in the service of my father, the king, and then I was done. I would return only for my sister, my dark and shadow-haunted twin, and then the two of us would be gone from Troy forever.
That I swore. But instead there would be war, because the gods had other plans.
The gods and a woman named Helen.
My moods could be as dark as my skin at times—those moods were a curse all Priam’s sons shared, except perhaps Paris, who was made of bright copper and sunshine—but I loved the sea, and a voyage in the height of summer lifted even a somber soul like mine. With every oar-stroke that pulled our ships away from Troy, my heart lightened. The winds came soft and sweet from the west, blowing us toward Sparta, and I rode the deck easily, savoring the salt wind and the sunshine. I could see my brothers doing the same on their respective ships, Paris, ever more burnished by the sun, and Hector, prowling the deck like a great dark-maned lion. Three princes riding three ships with painted eyes and hulls full of treasure: the song at least had a proper beginning.
“Sparta,” Paris mused when we disembarked at the port in Gythio. “Is that the city where the women cut off a breast and grow beards like men?” He grinned. “Sounds like an adventure.”
“I doubt you’ll see any bearded women here,” Hector rumbled.
“At least one single-breasted woman, then?” Paris pleaded. “Just one? You promised me excitement, and royal weddings are so damnably dull!”
“I did not promise you excitement,” Hector reproved, but he was grinning, and so was I. Paris’ charm was like ambrosia, heady and irresistible, and his never-ending ripple of jokes was a natural antidote to any dark mood. Even mine and Hector’s.
“Sparta is the city where kingship comes from queens,” a lighter voice laughed behind me. “Menelaus is king, but it comes through his wife. Someone will have to explain how that works, if only so I can tell Priam and see him harrumph.” Andromache stepped to her husband’s side, small and bird-boned and barely up to Hector’s vast shoulder. She was dusted all over in freckles like powdered gold, and her sand-colored hair flew everywhere in cheerful disarray. Cheerful disarray was my sister-in-law’s usual state, paired with the infectious grin of a happy urchin. Hector, I knew, found it charming. His mother did not. Perhaps that was the reason for Andromache’s greater than usual smile as she shook out her salt-streaked skirts without hearing a pained reproof of You do not look very queenly, dear. “I don’t care if the Spartan queen has a beard as long as she offers me a bath.”
“They’ve heard of baths, haven’t they?” Paris grimaced comically. “Dear gods, what have we let ourselves in for?”
Hector gave a laughing warning of “Behave!” and we were off: a rolling array of chariots assembled from the bellies of our ships, followed by a string of donkeys laden with Trojan treasure: gifts for King Menelaus, our host in Sparta, and for the lavish wedding he was hosting for a royal cousin.
“What king is this girl marrying again?” Paris wondered when we halted to water the horses. “King of Ithaca? Who ever heard of Ithaca anyway? Any man with an island of three sand dunes and a few stingrays can call himself a king in these parts.”
It was true—none of these little kings in the west could compare with Priam, our father, who considered them no better than pirates. He believed in reminding them of his greatness with lavish gifts at royal weddings, proving just how much gold he could afford to toss away to the pirate rulers of sand dunes and stingrays.
“Aphrodite’s tits,” Paris exclaimed when at last we reined up before the palace of Menelaus. “Hector, you wouldn’t lodge your horses in that shed. Of course, you’d take one look at the palace at Olympus and decide it wasn’t good enough for your horses . . .”
“He has you there,” I told Hector.
He smiled, then turned serious. “Give Paris a helping hand during our stay if he needs it,” my older brother murmured. “His first diplomatic visit—under all that joking, he’s very anxious to do our father proud.”
“Aren’t we all?” I said lightly. To win and keep Priam’s approval—that was a burden I’d seen stoop the shoulders of all my brothers. All but me, for I’d knew I’d never earn it.
Perhaps Hector guessed my thoughts, for he gave a silent squeeze of my shoulder. It was his way—to give comfort without words, to speak affection in a glance, to show fury in stillness. We think of heroes as loud crashing creatures, their reputations and the clatter of their weapons announcing their presence in every movement, but Hector approached everything from spear practice to common conversation with the same calm, reflective ease. His soul was warm, strong bronze to Paris’ flashy copper and my own humble tin. And over us all, our father with his core of granite.
Only Paris acted unruffled before that stone gaze. He could make an irreverent face, the one he wore now, and even our father would laugh.
Hector handed Andromache down, and we advanced on the palace gates. Sparta was lovely country—rich hills furred with pines, brush rustling thick with boar and deer to be hunted, streams clear and bubbling—but the king’s abode was a poor thing compared to Troy’s massive palace atop the citadel. A double porch opened into a small courtyard, pillars of painted plaster rather than stone rising around us as we awaited our host.
Curious slaves and Spartan guards were already gathering, whispering behind their hands as they stared at the donkeys laden with gifts, at our heavy Hittite-styled chariots, at Andromache, who had tamed her hair if not her freckles and stood in full fringed skirts and gold bracelets. Hector bore the weight of eyes calmly, accustomed to being stared at: twenty-six and standing tall as any god, his shoulders massive under armor that alternated gold and bronze with silver and iron and studded with lapis lazuli. Paris, at nineteen, lounged in his blinding white tunic and up-curled shoes, running a hand through his oiled-back curls and returning the stares just as frankly, dropping his eyelid in a wink if any of the starers was pretty. And I braced myself for gaping of a different kind, for though I was the second of Priam’s sons and born just after Hector, I was the least of them. And the darkest.
My mother was a Nubian, a princess given to Priam as a concubine to seal a truce with her father—she was dark as a night sky, so they said. I had no memory of her. She died birthing my twin sister and me, and we stood out darkly among Priam’s other offspring, much ogled and pointed at. My sister would have garnered stares even had her skin been pale; she had beauty and fire, and to look at her was to see a torch burning to its base. I had nothing special about me; I was merely Hellenus, stockily built, modest in height, and modest in talents, too. I had no beguiling charm like Paris or hero’s strength like Hector, no wily brain like Priam or unearthly beauty like my twin. A lesser prince, an ordinary man—that was me. But my face was dark, and so I was accustomed to pointing fingers and barely concealed whispers everywhere I went in Troy. Does he bleed black? people would mutter, staring curiously. Do you think a sun-born spirit sired that one instead of Priam?
I ignored the whispers, but my sister would whip around and say, “Nothing so gentle as a sun spirit. More like a daemon. Priam is the daemon!” just to see the reactions. I tried to hush her in such moods, for our father’s displeasure was savage, but sometimes she wouldn’t be calmed. She had clung to me weeping when I left her on this voyage, muttering, “Death begets death until only the flies and carrion remain.” I’d held her till she calmed, telling myself that when I returned, I would take her with me away from Troy. From Troy, where the commoners stared at us as though we were curiosities, and our family—apart from Hector and Andromache and a few others—hardly considered us part of the palace at all. We were not housed with them; we did not dine with them; our brothers and sisters mostly ignored us. Priam only addressed my sister to harangue her, and he never summoned me unless there was some duty or service he thought I should be grateful to perform—like making up a third envoy to this Spartan wedding. No, few in Troy would miss my sister and me if we were to leave.
Only where would we go? To build any kind of home, I would need a king willing to shelter a pair of Trojan castoffs, and I knew of none who would risk offering a welcoming hand to mine for fear it would displease my father. Though I did notice, standing in the Spartan courtyard, that though my face attracted glances, I was not receiving the kind of open stares that were my lot in Troy.
There was a ripple then, and the doors of the anteroom parted. Our hosts appeared, the king and queen of Sparta, and I thrust aside my musings to examine them. Menelaus proved to be a short and stolidly built man with a crown of red hair that clashed against his purple robe, and a wide, perspiring face. His spear-slim queen towered over him by a head, towered over every man in that courtyard save Paris and Hector. I tilted my head to meet her eyes, Argive Helen, swan-born Helen.
And the gods began to scheme.
Blog Tour Schedule
Sunday, October 16
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, October 17
Review at Leeanna.me
Tuesday, October 18
Review at A Book Drunkard
Wednesday, October 19
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, October 20
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, October 21
Review & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
Saturday, October 22
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Monday, October 24
Review at Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, October 25
Interview at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, October 26
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, October 28
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, October 31
Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise
Tuesday, November 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, November 2
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, November 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, November 7
Review at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, November 8
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, November 9
Review at Historical Readings & Reviews
To win a paperback copy of A Song of War: A Novel of Troy by the H Team, please enter via the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.