Monday, January 18, 2016

Valley of the Shadow (The Desolate Empire, Book 2) by Christina Ochs

Release date: January 15, 2016
Subgenre: Historical fantasy

About Valley of the Shadow:


A captive prince. A desperate princess. An alliance that will shake the foundations of an empire.

In the wake of battle, Kendryk finds himself the prisoner of Empress Teodora. As war ravages Terragand, Kendryk’s guilt is matched only by his fear that he will never see his family again. Gwynneth, in possession of a valuable captive but sworn to keep him close, faces Teodora’s wrath as she waits in anguish for relief.

But when Gwynneth’s rescue comes, the empire will never be the same again.

A tide of religious upheaval sweeps across the land, bearing men and women toward their fates. The delicate joy shared by Janna and Braeden will be shattered; the king of a neighboring kingdom will walk the edge of madness; and an oath of vengeance will bind three unlikely allies together in a desperate attempt to curb Teodora’s ambitions once and for all.

The Desolate Empire, Christina Ochs’ epic fantasy series, continues in Book 2: Valley of the Shadow.




“Sir, we’re making camp just beyond the crossroads,” Trisa said.

“Isn’t it early?” Braeden asked. With the days so short they rarely stopped before dark.
Trisa shrugged. “I suppose so. Don’t know much except the order came down from the empress herself and Papa wanted me to tell you.” Trisa was eager to become a page, though Reno and Braeden both agreed she could start by delivering messages. Braeden thought a twelve-year-old girl was still too young to take into combat.
“All right, we’ll come in as soon as I round everyone up.”
Braeden had headed up a scouting party since there had been rumors of other cavalry in the area. So far, they had seen nothing, but the land was hilly and wooded, and it was easy for a smaller force to stay hidden. But now, with night falling and snow swirling on the wind, he was happy to stop. By the time he returned, servants would have put his tent up and Janna would have made it warm and comfortable. It was nice to have someone waiting for him.
“Might I stay with you, sir?” Trisa asked.
“Sure.” Braeden knew he should send her straight back, but they’d all be on their way in a few minutes.
Braeden told Miro to round everyone up, and an instant later, heard pistol fire. He couldn’t see where it came from but it was close. “Form up,” he shouted, wheeling Kazmir around to get in front of the others and pulling a pistol from its holster. Then he paused, holding his breath.
More shots followed a few seconds later, whizzing past his head, but not hitting anyone. They were lucky it was already so dark and that they weren’t on the road where they might have made easier targets. The dark also meant they should be able to spot muzzle fire if the enemy was close by.
“That way,” Trisa said in his ear.
“What did you see?” Braeden asked.
“Flames, little ones, over there near that house.”
“Get behind me,” Braeden told Trisa, then had Miro bring everyone else up. “Head toward the house and fire at anything that moves.”
They moved slowly toward the tall farmhouse, nothing but a shadow against the increasing snow. Braeden didn’t want to give the others time to reload, but he didn’t want to charge into an ambush either. When the next crack came, he was ready. He saw the flash and fired straight at it, and so did several others. There was a scream in front of him, abruptly cut off, and the thump of a body onto the ground behind him. He hoped it wasn’t Trisa, but couldn’t look back right now. He kept moving forward and pulled out his other pistol. In the dark there’d be no reloading. But that was also true for the enemy.

He advanced on the house, pistol raised. There was a rustling, the jangling of a harness and he resisted the urge to fire in that direction. Instead, he spurred Kazmir on and came upon them as they were getting away. 



About Christina Ochs:

Christina Ochs is the author of the historical fantasy novels Rise of the Storm and Valley of the Shadow. Her first series, The Desolate Empire, is based upon the events of the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War (1618-48). Many of her characters are also based on historical figures.

With a bachelor's degree in History and an MBA, Christina uses her writing to indulge her passion for reading and research. Publishing as an indie author provides an outlet for her entrepreneurial side and she is an avid supporter of fellow authors, both independent and traditionally published.

Christina lives in a semi truck full time, traveling the United States with her truck driver husband and two cats, Phoenix and Nashville. 


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