Happy Wednesday all!
It is definitely starting to heat up around here! How is summer going in your neck of the woods? Got a little treat of an excerpt for you today, enjoy.
Empire’s Reckoning: Book I of Empire’s Reprise
How many secrets does your family have?
For 13 years, Sorley has taught music alongside the man he loves, war and betrayal nearly forgotten. But behind their calm and ordered life, there are hidden truths. When a young girl’s question demands an answer, does he break the most important oath he has ever sworn by lying – or tell the truth, risking the destruction of both his family and a fragile political alliance?
Empire’s Reckoning asks if love – of country, of an individual, of family – can be enough to leave behind the expectations of history and culture, and to chart a way to peace.
Purchase Link – https://relinks.me/B086SFY7WB
Author Bio –
Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer. Author of the medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy and the companion novella Oraiáphon, described as ‘historical fiction of another world’, Marian also has published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings. Empire’s Reckoning is the first of a planned trilogy, Empire’s Reprise.
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Sorley, the narrator of Empire’s Reckoning, is a musician (scáeli) and teacher, among other roles. He is preparing to travel north to consult with his equivalent at new school, but in this scene, he has seized an opportunity to speak to Tamm, who at eighteen is the oldest student, about a delicate, dangerous matter.
We spent the morning teaching, and after the meal at midday, Druise went to talk to the guard, while I returned to the plans I had been working on earlier. I’d mostly completed them, and until Cillian approved what I had given him, I didn’t have much more to do. I had done the accounts just a few days before. I had best go speak to Anndra, I thought, not that he needs me to. It gave me an excuse to go out into the sun and air.
I stopped to watch the game, the students happily chasing the ball around on what was usually our training ground for swordplay and archery. Gwenna wasn’t among them, I noticed; probably with Lena, preparing for travel. “Tamm,” I said, seeing the opportunity, “a word?”
“I suppose they won’t kill each other if I stop watching for a moment,” he said with a grin.
“I’m not so sure. You can watch while we talk.”
“Catriona will stop them if it gets too wild,” he said. Catriona was the next-oldest student, a redhead who spoke every language we taught fluently. She was a torpari girl, from central Linrathe, and more than once I had caught Lena watching her.
“Had Turlo not said he had been true to Arey all his life,” she’d said, “I would swear she was his.”
“She could be, I suppose,” I had replied. “He did travel through Linrathe on his way north to find the route to Casil, and Arey was dead by then.”
“We’ll never know,” she had said. Turlo, and his scout Galen with him, had simply disappeared a year after the Taiva. He’d been commanding the Ésparian troops on the Sterre, and had gone to look for weaknesses in the defences where the earthen dike met the Durrains. No one ever saw either of them again. Lena believed they had attempted to go east across the mountains, following the route she and Cillian had taken in exile: a decision almost certainly fatal, in autumn.
“Tamm,” I began, “last night at dinner, your views on the constraints on us as adults were thoughtful. May I ask if you have learned that equally from all of us, or perhaps in one certain way from me?”
Surprise — or fear? — flashed in his eyes. He looked around, but there was no one in hearing distance. He did not speak for some moments. I too had learned from texts and discussions in my years at the Ti’ach that my desire for men as my bedmates was neither unnatural nor universally scorned, but it had made me no less frightened to reveal my nature in Linrathe and Sorham. The Ti’acha had made little headway in changing opinions in this area, except among the scáeli’en, and Ruar.
“Perhaps,” he said finally. “An example set by you and the Captain, I believe.”
“Beyond what we have taught you about music?” He nodded. “I’m pleased we have given you guidance,” I said. “Tamm, I’ll speak a little more freely now, and from experience. You will need to be very careful in Linrathe and Sorham. Both beatings and blackmail are possible, and not infrequent.” His head came up.
“The beating, yes,” I said calmly. “The extortion was attempted, but I had been warned, and saw what was planned.”
“How can I know what — who — is safe?” he whispered.
“A difficult question. Easier for a musician; the scáeli’en are more accepting, and you’re more likely to find others of similar tastes among them. You’re a good enough musician to mix with them, and perhaps that is all you should do, until you are older, and more experienced.”
His eyes were turned towards the game, but I didn’t think he was seeing it. “Lord Sorley? Thank you.”
“I would have benefitted, had someone said this to me, and others I know, when we were young men,” I said. “I would save you what we went through, if I can.”