Nine months have passed since Brynne Sullyan helped forge an alliance between the realms of Albia and Andaryon. A fragile peace reigns as both sides recover from the events of the previous year. Then mysterious raiders strike Andaryon villages.
Attempts are made on the life of Albia’s High King. As Sullyan scrambles to find those responsible, unseen enemies threaten to pull apart everything she has worked for, including her marriage.
The alliance begins to crumble, and Sullyan finds herself caught between two monarchs: the king she’s sworn allegiance to, and the man she loves as a father. To betray either one would break her heart, but if conflict is inevitable, she must make a choice…
Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. Cas supports many animal charities and owns two rescue dogs. She has a large collection of cacti and loves gardening. She is also a folk singer/songwriter and is currently writing and recording nine folk-style songs to accompany each of her fantasy books. You can listen to and download all the songs from her website: www.caspeace.com
See the video of her performing live at the King’s Envoy book launch here: http://www.caspeace.com/cas-
Excerpt #2 – From Book 2 The Circle:
Once she was alone, Sullyan sat on the couch, her head in her hands. She was appalled by how quickly the alliance had unraveled and very fearful for the safety of both Prince Eadan and Prince Aeyron. Despite her searches and what she had told Rienne, she was far from convinced that Aeyron was dead. If it was indeed the Baron who was behind all this, she didn’t think he’d throw away such a valuable bargaining piece until the final move was played out. And this war was only the next stage in his game, not the end itself. Of that she was certain.
If only she could figure out what his real goal was. What was the significance of the thirty pounds of reverse-polarity spellsilver, stolen before it could be delivered as ransom? And were the two princes part of the larger plan, or had they simply been taken to foment this war? She didn’t know, and now she had no one to turn to for help and advice. Pharikian was the only one to whom she could have gone, and she herself had seen to it that he was unavailable.
She sat puzzling over the problem until her head began to pound, then turned her attention to exploring her options in the light of the King’s declaration of war.
They were few. To be precise, there were two.
She could follow orders and allow Elias to use her knowledge to attack her foster father. Or she could disobey him and risk her whole life and career. Both were stark choices with no hope of peace whichever way she turned. If she obeyed Elias, she’d be betraying the love and care Pharikian had shown her, not to mention his invaluable help in ridding her soul of Rykan’s poison. She also felt she’d be betraying her own sire, who had been such a true friend and ally to the Andaryan ruler.
Her whole being cried out against the King’s demands, yet she was sworn to serve him. If her oath was not binding upon her, then what had her whole life been about? What was her worth? She had always upheld his interests and served him most faithfully. How could she turn from that now? It would be tantamount to denying her very reason for existence, and she knew she could not do that.
She raised her head, her eyes unfocused. Might there be another way? A third option? An option that would allow her to serve her King without betraying her love for Pharikian? She thought there just might be. The roiling sensation in the pit of her belly calmed as she explored this new idea. It was still fraught with dangers, still carried the taint and appearance of treason, but it was the only course that might salvage something from this dreadful mess. And if she failed, well then their enemy would win and it would hardly matter anymore. For she’d likely be dead, and every Artesan with her, sooner or later.
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