Tuesday, June 22, 2010

[Sneak Peek] The Sworn by Gail Z. Martin

The Hawthorn Moon project took place on the 21st, which made me late to the party, but call it delightfully Eastern European and leave my complicated relationship with the calendar at that. I am, however, thrilled to have been invited to participate again and help promote Gail Z. Martin. So here are my treats. First, here is the official cover unveiling for the novel with a blurb: 

As plague and famine scourge the winter kingdoms, a vast invasion force is mustering from beyond the northern seas. And at its heart, a dark spirit mage wields the blood magic of ancient, vanquished gods.

Summoner-King Martris Drayke must attempt to meet this great threat, gathering an army from a country ravaged by civil war. Neighboring lands reel toward anarchy while plague decimates their leaders. Drayke must seek new allies from among the living – and the dead –- as an untested generation of rulers face their first battle.

Then someone disturbs the legendary Dread as they rest in a millennia-long slumber beneath sacred barrows. Their warrior guardians, the Sworn, know the Dread could be pivotal as a force for great good or evil. But if it’s the latter, could even the Summoner-King’s sorcery prevail?

The Sworn is Book One of The Fallen Kings Cycle, and it picks up the adventures of Tris, Jonmarc and the Winter Kingdoms gang six months after the end of Dark Lady’s Chosen. There are all new challenges, lots of dark magic and the biggest threat Margolan has faced in 400 years.

Following this, I also have, for readers of the series, included an interview with one of the characters: Jonmarc Vahanian

Q: Since you’ve been lord of Dark Haven, you’ve put down a vayash moru war and restored the Truce between the vayash moru, vyrkin and mortals. Do you think things will quiet down for a while?

A: I’ve always found that it’s a bad idea to count on peace and quiet.

Q: Dark Haven has become something of a sanctuary in recent months because of the plague. There are rumors that you’re also taking in vayash moru and vyrkin who escape Nargi. Are you worried about repercussions, either from Nargi or from mortal neighbors?

A: Nargi would have to cross Dhasson to do anything about the refuge we provide, and King Harrol would never stand for that. The mortals are happy to have some breathing space in a place where the plague hasn’t really hit hard yet. I’m not worried about that. Somehow, it’s always the things you never even think of that sneak up and knife you in the back.

Q: Is it true that King Staden sent Princess Berwyn to foster at Dark Haven because plague has taken hold in Principality City?

A: Berry is wintering with Carina and me at Dark Haven. She’s been a great help to Carina with all the refugees and wounded we’ve taken in. Staden thought she’d be safer with us until the plague ran its course.

Q: You’ve had some visitors from Margolan, too, haven’t you? Carina’s brother, Cam, and Master Bard Carroway?

A: Never really thought I’d end up running an inn, but that’s what it’s started to feel like, between the refugees, the people outrunning the plague, and the folks who get themselves banged up enough to come see Carina. Cam managed to blow himself up, but Carina’s put him mostly right, although he’ll probably always have a limp. Damn lucky he kept his leg. Only Carroway could get himself skewered through the hand saving the kingdom. It’s trickier fixing a hand than a leg, Carina tells me. Then again, no one tries to play a lute with their leg. I hope she can patch him up. In the meantime, he and Macaria are free entertainment and I’ve got an overflowing houseful of guests.

Q: There are rumors that strange things have been happening around Dark Haven: black robed strangers, animal sacrifices, grave robbing. Is it true that the followers of Shanthadura are trying to revive the old cult?

A: We’ve raided some of the Black Robes hiding places. Unfortunately, the rumors are true. Some of the vayash moru remember the days hundreds of years ago before the worship of Shanthadura was stopped. The Black Robes don’t stop at sacrificing animals; they like human blood even better. My goal is to stop them from getting a foothold. We don’t need that kind of trouble. So far, solving that problem has been tougher than I expected.

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