Tuesday, September 6, 2016

True Colors of Betrayal (Legends of Tivara, Daughter of the Dragon Throne, Book 3) by J.C. Kang

Release date: August 31, 2016
Subgenre: Epic fantasy, Asian fantasy

About True Colors of Betrayal


The world knows Kaiya as the Dragon Charmer.
After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all she wants is to return to a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor assigns her an onerous task: negotiating with the aggressive Teleri Empire for the extradition of her cousin, who tried to murder the imperial family and usurp the Dragon Throne.

The mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.

When the Teleri Empire breaks off negotiations, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed. 



Value of a Dragonfly’s Life

Zheng Tian knew many ways to kill the smuggler, but none to ease his own conscience.
A column of sun streamed in from the dusty warehouse’s skylight, reflecting off his target’s seventeen glittering rings. All it would take was a signal to assassinate him and his two bejeweled henchmen.
Hold the dragonfly with care, eight-year-old Princess Kaiya’s voice chimed in his head, quoting an old Hua proverb. For even their fleeting lives have value.
What was the value of a man’s life?
Now twenty-one, Tian banished memories of the gentle girl to the recesses of his mind. Time to focus on the most distasteful of his duties. Just eleven feet away, the olive-skinned Estomari merchant walked from crate to crate, checking items off a cargo manifest and barking orders.
The twenty-four wooden crates contained legitimate trade goods, for sure. However, Marcus Larruso also trafficked in the local girls, sending them to the South, where their fair complexions and blonde hair would fetch a handsome price. Perhaps he deserved death.
Tian’s goals weren’t particularly noble, either. As much as he wanted to, he wasn’t here to rescue impoverished girls from a short and miserable life of exploitation, far away from home.
Larruso reached the last of the two crates, while one of the heavily-armed bodyguards stepped onto the spot where he would die.
The power of life and death, in Tian’s hands. Perhaps that burden was a form of punishment, one which widened the gulf between his carefree youth and the ruthless spy he had become.
He flashed the hand signal from his vantage point.
Six Moquan Black Fist spies fell upon the three unsuspecting smugglers in clinical silence.
Old Tong, the most experienced of them, darted from between the last two crates. He covered Larruso’s mouth and slashed his throat with a black-lacquered knife.
At the same time, Pockmarked Zu dropped from the rafters. He stomped through the largest man’s knee and applied an unremitting chokehold. His victim’s frantic clawing only hastened his demise.
The most recent arrival to their embassy in Iksuvius, Cheng, burst out of the shadows and hacked at the third henchman’s neck with his curved sword. Blood sprayed, and the man let out a choked screech before falling dead.
 “Clear.” Six voices echoed the word in quick succession. Lives, so easily snuffed out.
Pockmarked Zu eased the body to the hard-packed dirt floor. “Brilliant plan, worthy of the Architect.”
“And executed with the precision of the Surgeon and the Beauty.” Young Cheng’s eyes crinkled as he opened one of the many crates.
Tian snorted. His plan had not been much more than picking a hiding place, and choosing the right timing against overmatched thugs.
“Now which one of you is the Beauty?” Old Tong looked from Young Cheng to Pockmarked Zu before shaking his head. He was old enough to have known the three legendary masters, all struck down in their youth a generation ago. Under clan orders, he never spoke their names, though he animatedly recounted their exploits when given a chance. “Neither, you’re both too ugly.”





About J.C. Kang:

JC Kang's unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Star Trek and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor and technical writer to pen multicultural epic fantasy stories. 


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