– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Steel Rose’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance. She combines the emotion and high stakes, and sometimes the magic, she loves in the books she writes.
She has written freelance articles and taught at the college level. Her most popular course was on science fiction, fantasy, and society. She has also given presentations on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III to university classes studying Shakespeare’s play about Richard III. Reviewers have described her books as melding fantasy, romance, and suspense. Library Journal gave her debut novel, Renegade, a starred review, calling it “genre fiction at its best.”
In addition to the historical fantasy Boar King’s Honor trilogy, Nancy writes the Light Mage Wars paranormal romances, the Arachnid Files romantic suspense novellas, and the Lethal Webs romantic spy adventures. With Jeanne Adams, she cowrites the Outcast Station science fiction mysteries.
Married since 1987, Nancy and her husband have one son, a bossy dog, and a house full of books.
Book Title: The Steel Rose
Series: The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy (Book 2)
Author: Nancy Northcott
Publication Date: April 29, 2021
Publisher: Falstaff Books
Page Length: 370 Pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy / Romantic Fantasy
THE BOAR KING’S HONOR TRILOGY
A wizard’s misplaced trust
A king wrongly blamed for murder
A bloodline cursed until they clear the king’s name
BOOK 2: THE STEEL ROSE
Amelia Mainwaring, a magically Gifted seer, is desperate to rescue the souls of her dead father and brother, who are trapped in a shadowy, wraith-filled land between life and death as the latest victims of their family curse. Lifting the curse requires clearing the name of King Richard III, who was wrongly accused of his nephews’ murder because of a mistake made by Amelia’s ancestor.
In London to seek help from a wizard scholar, Julian Winfield, Amelia has disturbing visions that warn of Napoleon Bonaparte’s escape from Elba and renewed war in Europe. A magical artifact fuels growing French support for Bonaparte. Can Amelia and Julian recover the artifact and deprive him of its power in time to avert the coming battles?
Their quest takes them from the crowded ballrooms of the London Season to the bloody field of Waterloo, demanding all of their courage, guile, and magical skill. Can they recover the artifact and stop Bonaparte? Or will all their hopes, along with Amanda’s father and brother, be doomed as a battle-weary Europe is once again engulfed in the flames of war?
The Steel Rose is the second book in the time-traveling, history-spanning fantasy series The Boar King’s Honor, from Nancy Northcott (Outcast Station, The Herald of Day).
The scene below is the introduction of the book’s hero, Julian Winfield, Earl of Aysgarth. It’s set at his mansion in Yorkshire a few days after the book opens.
Julian Winfield, Earl of Aysgarth and holder of assorted other titles, frowned at the bits of parchment spread across his library worktable. The ancient codex, supposedly the work of Viking wizards in the eighth century, had fallen apart, and a household fire—again, supposedly, though the damage didn’t fit that explanation—had destroyed parts of the pages.
The Latin script was an odd choice for Viking wizards of that pagan era.
Standing just above six feet, he had to bend over the long table. Perhaps he should have a higher one made, but this one served well enough most of the time.
“Making progress?” his Aunt Augusta asked. She lounged back against the cushions of her chair, a decidedly unladylike pose. At fifty-one, a widow for a decade, his mother’s sister wore her graying blond hair in a simple bun-and-ringlets style and chose her frocks for comfort with the barest nod to fashion.
Her lack of concern with propriety, at least in private, was one reason they got on so well. He rarely wore a cravat or coat or waistcoat at Aysgarth, in or out of the house, and bedamned to society.
“Some,” he replied. “The more I look at this codex, the more I think the story old Fortescue told me was made up out of whole cloth. Though perhaps that’s the story given to him. It doesn’t matter now. I’ll uncover the truth soon enough.”
The writing had faded on the fragment in front of him, and singe marks obliterated some of the words. At the edge, though, the letters o-p-p were clear enough. Was that oppidum, for town? Or some form of opprimere, to oppress?
“Can’t you sort all that magically?” his aunt asked.
“Where’s the fun in that?” Scowling, he shifted the fragments, looking for one that continued the word. Bloody hell, the singed pages made matching things up difficult. Magic had failed to restore the damage, perhaps because it was so longstanding. At least he could magically bind fragments together once he determined how they fit.
Aunt Augusta added, “If you want puzzles, I’m certain the Home Office would welcome your return.”
“I’ve had my fill of their sort of puzzles, thank you.” Not to mention the way everyone wanted to put in his oar. If not for the secret help of the Merlin Club’s Gifted members, well-meant Home Office interference would’ve made accomplishing anything difficult.
He turned his attention back to the fragments. His aunt devoted herself to her book.
Mounds of snow still blanketed the shady parts of the back lawn that were visible through the windows and the French doors to the terrace. Frost sparkled on the windowpanes. In here, though, the fire kept the room cozy. Only its crackling and the occasional whispery sound of his aunt turning a page broke the silence. He liked it that way. This room was his haven, the books like old friends. The crossed cavalry sabers and broadswords above the two mantels and the family portraits hanging above those were so familiar that he scarcely noticed them.
With the war over and that Corsican menace, Bonaparte, safely confined, he could go back to his horses and his books in peace. Perhaps even find something that would help lift the curse confining his friend Adam’s soul.
His aunt’s voice sounded odd, but it sometimes did when she was distracted. “Yes, Aunt?”
Was that word poena, for punishment, or—
“My dear, there’s a dragon landing on the lawn.”
—no, perhaps it was postulo, for ask or demand. “I’m sure Hawes will tend to it,” he told her. No, it wasn’t postulo. It was…wait. What?
He lifted his head to look at his aunt. Sitting ramrod straight now, she stared out the windows. Her lips were slightly parted. As though suddenly aware her jaw had dropped, she snapped her mouth shut.
“What did you say?” he asked.
“You heard me perfectly well. Come and look.”
He walked around the table to join her. Staring out the window, he blinked, rubbed his eyes, and looked again. “Yes,” he said slowly, “I do believe that’s a dragon.”
The Magic of Wor(l)ds