Thursday, January 31, 2019

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for January 2019

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month

It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some December books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, Asian fantasy, military fantasy, fantasy romance, paranormal romance, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, science fiction romance, science fantasy, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, horror, witches, ghosts, dragons, demons, elves, mages, robots, necromancers, alien invasions, cosmic junkyards, space marines, alien warlords, prison planets, rogue AIs and much more.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

The Flood Dragon's Sacrifice by Sarah AshThe Flood Dragon's Sacrifice by Sarah Ash:

Two rival clans. Two sacred pearls, the Tide Jewels, that can summon the Tide Dragons to protect the empire.

Two young men, Kaito and Naoki, one a Black Crane healer, the other a Red Kite shinobi, are sucked into an ancient, unresolved conflict between the gods of land and sea, when the exiled Red Kites steal the Tide Jewels and re-ignite a bitter clan war. Kaito must find a way to restore the emperor’s jewels – but how can it be done without betraying his own clan or angering the gods?

Bramble and Blood by Ashley BeasleyBramble and Blood by Ashley Beasley:

Welcome to St. Louis, home to mythological creatures, magic beings, and necromancer Eve Williams -expert on death and disappointment.

Especially disappointment since being fired from a prestigious job a with the Druid Brotherhood - the elite law enforcement of the magical community and the only family she’s ever known.

Now Eve’s left the magic community behind - except for her pain in the ass best friend who happens to be a witch - and she spends her time working for humans answering questions the faithfully departed left unanswered and avoiding the druids at all costs.

When a client asks for help to find a missing sister, Eve doesn’t see the harm in taking the unusual case - until her investigation uncovers the ritualistic murders of her fellow necromancers tied to the missing woman. Eve is reluctant to ask the druids for help but when an attempt is made on her own life, it forces her to work with the Druid’s Enforcer - a man who most in the magical community see as an assassin.

As onetime antagonists become hesitant allies while trying to find the killer, Eve finds herself knee-deep in sword-wielding druids, death magic, and psychotic witches.

Junkyard by Lindsay BurokerJunkyard by Lindsay Buroker:

McCall Richter works as a skip tracer, tracking down criminals, con men, and people who stop making payments on their fancy new spaceships.

Her job description says nothing about locating vast quantities of stolen maple syrup, but thanks to her helpful new android employee, she finds herself tramping through a “sugar house” on a frosty moon full of suspicious characters. The only witness to the crime? The junkyard dog next door.

Junkyard is a stand-alone novella set two years before Fractured Stars.

Shattered Prisons by D. Glenn CaseyShattered Prisons by D. Glenn Casey:

Julie is just an easy-going artist, who loves to paint pretty pictures and go for walks in the woods. Then, her grandmother dies and leaves her the house and she finds out there are secrets buried behind its walls.

Ripped out of a quiet life of art, she finds she is the centerpiece in a war that's been going on since the beginning of time and like it or not, she is going to have to follow in her grandmother's and mother's footsteps. Whether or not she believes in other-worldly demons and evil, they believe in her and they will use any weapon they can to draw her out, including threatening those she loves.

Jump into the battle between good and evil with both feet and hold on. It's going to be a wild ride.

Voice of Command by Melanie CellierVoice of Command by Melanie Cellier:

Elena has found the power in her voice—now she must decide how to use it

Finally accepted as a mage, Elena struggles with her commonborn roots. And when disaster strikes the kingdom, she can't shrug off the death toll as the mageborn have always done. Yet the limitations of her spoken magic hold her back—both in saving lives among the people and in competitions in the Academy's arena.

In desperation she turns to an unlikely source of assistance—Prince Lucas. But just as she begins to master her powers, she finds herself the pawn of stronger forces.

With everything she's struggled for almost within her grasp, she must decide what—and who—is worth sacrificing to come into her full power and take her place among the mages.

Marine by Joshua DalzelleMarine by Joshua Dalzelle:

Aliens exist… and, as it turns out, most of them aren’t that friendly.

Jacob Brown wasn’t even born yet the first time they attacked Earth.
He was only fourteen the second time it happened.

When Earth finally came together and fielded its first spaceborne military, Jacob didn’t hesitate to volunteer. Serving aboard a mighty starship, he’d be able to defend his planet—and his family—when, inevitably, they came again.

Just as he’s about to graduate training, however, Jacob is approached by an officer from Naval Special Operation Command and given a choice: volunteer for a risky mission to a dangerous, lawless world, or give up his dream of serving in the military and go home. He has no idea why he’s being singled out in such an unusual manner, but now it's either agree to their demands or give up his dream of being on a starship.

Soon, getting his career back on the right track will be the least of his concerns when it seems like everyone—and everything—he meets is trying to kill him. When he stumbles upon a secret most people on Earth are blissfully unaware of he realizes it's not just the aliens he needs to be worried about.

Mindspace Infiltration by A.K. DuBoffMindspace: Infiltration by A.K. DuBoff

Prevent a stellar civil war... or die trying.

When Captain Kira Elsar comes face-to-face with a military assault mech inside a civilian research lab, it’s abundantly clear that MTech is up to no good.

Illegal alien nanotech experimentation. Clandestine political dealings. Disappearances. Connections all trace back to MTech’s newest research lab on Kira’s homeworld.

As the Tararian Guard's sole telepath, Kira goes undercover to get to the bottom of the mystery. Hints point to a brewing stellar civil war, but she needs to gather proof. Except, the mysterious forces behind the conflict already have their own plans for Kira that will change her life forever.

Set in the internationally bestselling Cadicle space opera universe, the standalone Mindspace series is perfect for fans of sci-fi with superhuman abilities, political intrigue, military action, and devious aliens.

Destruction by M.R. ForbesDestruction by M.R. Forbes:

The Deliverance isn’t alone.

That’s not a surprise. The planet was chosen for a reason.

But the situation is more dire than Caleb ever imagined. The enemy he’s encountered isn’t the enemy he was seeking, and the conflict is expanding in ways he can barely conceive.

Taken prisoner by an opponent both familiar and foreign, he’ll have to prove himself one more time…

Or watch everything he’s fought so hard to protect be destroyed.

Destruction is the fourth book in the Forgotten Colony series.

The Demon Soul Invasion by C. GoldThe Demon Soul Invasion by C. Gold:

A summons gone very wrong, a demon lord bent on worldwide destruction, and a hated enemy turned temporary ally make this necromancer’s day a complete nightmare.

When a warlock calls asking for help, Marcus Blackmoor hangs up. After all, everyone knows the only good warlock is one who was never born. They murdered his parents, so this one can rot in prison where he belongs. But Marcus gets dragged into the investigation anyway since a soul needs interrogating and he's the right necromancer for the job.

Except, all the souls have gone missing and there's a terrible evil invading the spirit realm. It will take the combined help of his ghostly best friend, the warlock, and a kick butt fire mage to find the vengeful demon lord and banish him before he raises an army the likes of which has never been seen.

Touch of Eon by Anna HackettTouch of Eon by Anna Hackett:

She'll do anything to free her sister and save the Earth from invasion, even if she's blackmailed into stealing sacred alien artifacts...and becomes the prey of the dark, deadly warrior sent to hunt her down.

Special Forces Space Marine Lara Traynor wants to save her sister and her planet from annihilation by the deadly insectoid Kantos. Earth's Space Corps give her one option: steal three gems sacred to the Eon Warriors. Lara has never failed a mission and she doesn't plan to start now. What she doesn't expect is the big, hard-bodied warrior the Eon sent to stop her.

Security Commander Caze Vann-Jad was born and raised to be the best Eon warrior in the empire. Honed by the military academy, his years as a stealth agent, and by his hard warrior father, he has never failed. He knows one weak, inferior Terran is no match for him. But when he finds himself face to face with the tough, skilled Lara, he realizes he's underestimated the female warrior.

When they are attacked by a Kantos kill squad, it soon becomes clear that the Kantos are planning something far darker and dangerous. Caze and Lara are forced to change their dangerous battle of wits and skill into a fierce battle for survival. Neither of these fighters believe in love, but on the trail of a stolen gem, they will ignite an unstoppable desire, and discover that not only are their lives at stake, but their hearts as well.

The Serpent Waits by Bill HiattThe Serpent Waits by Bill Hiatt:

Amy Monroe’s journalistic instincts told her something was wrong in Santa Brígida. The town had too many strange disappearances, mental breakdowns, and bizarre weather patterns. Yet none of these anomalies got much press coverage, let alone serious investigation.

Planning to write a career-making expose, Amy goes to Santa Brígida undercover to find out the truth. She suspects clandestine scientific experiments, but from the moment a key source disappears—together with the motel in which she met him—she realizes that what’s really happening may be stranger than she could ever imagine.

Striving relentlessly to uncover secrets, Amy runs the risk of discovering the truth—that some secrets should stay buried.

No Man Can Tame by Miranda HonfleurNo Man Can Tame by Miranda Honfleur:

A human princess. A dark-elf prince. A kiss of fire and powder.

After a failed courtship in an ally kingdom, twenty-one-year-old Princess Alessandra returns home to a land torn apart by mutual hatred between the humans and the dark-elves. The "Beast Princess," as Aless is known by courtiers, confidently sets her mind to ways of making peace, but her father has already decided for her: she is to marry one of the mysterious and monstrous dark-elves to forge a treaty, and go on a Royal Progress across the kingdom to flaunt their harmonious union. While she intends to preserve the peace, the Beast Princess has plans of her own.

Prince Veron has been raised knowing his life is not his own, but to be bargained away by his mother, the queen of Nozva Rozkveta, to strengthen the dark-elf queendom. When his mother tells him he is to marry a self-absorbed, vile human, he is determined to do his duty regardless of his personal feelings. After arriving at the human capital, he finds the "Beast Princess" rebellious and untamed—and not to be trusted.

Aless and Veron face opposition at every turn, with humans and dark-elves alike opposing the union violently, as well as their own feelings of dissonance toward each other. Can two people from cultures that despise one another fall in love? Can a marriage between them bond two opposing worlds together, or will it tear them apart for good?

Peace Maker by Isaac HookePeace Maker by Isaac Hooke:

Jain, a former SEAL whose mind is now the AI core of an advanced alien warship, has agreed to broker peace between humanity and the extraterrestrial race known as the Mimics.

Unfortunately, a new breed of alien has decided to crash the party. These newcomers, part of the hostile Link empire, aren't very happy humanity is trying to coax a former member species into signing a treaty.

Jain and the Void Warriors have to fight off this new threat while struggling to salvage the smoldering ruins of the peace talks. Things certainly don't look good, not just for themselves, but humanity: if they can't secure allies against the Link, Earth will eventually be crushed.

Some days, having your mind stored in the AI core of a starship just isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Rift by Nathan HystadRift by Nathan Hystad:

They’ve watched us for centuries through the Rift.
They’ve prepared.
Invasion is inevitable.

The Earth Fleet has known of the Watchers for years, unwilling to share the knowledge with humanity. Now it might be too late.

Hidden away from the Fleet, one man is creating a new colony ship destined for the other side of the Rift, but he’s missing a few pieces.

Three other people have varied paths to get there. Ace goes from the streets of Earth to the Fleet training facility on the moon. Flint, an ex-Fleet pilot, must decide if a job is worth his life, and Wren, imprisoned for a secret project years ago, is given hope as an unlikely ally whispers words of escape in her ear.

Their journeys lead to Councilman Jarden Fairbanks, who knows of the impending invasion, and has prepared. All they can do is wait for the Rift to open once again, and see what’s on the other side.

Rift joins an ensemble cast facing immeasurable obstacles. If you enjoy space battles, prison breaks, androids, and aliens, buried under a shroud of mystery, this book is for you. Try it today!

Not an Elf by Madeline KirbyNot an Elf by Madeline Kirby:

It’s Jake and Boo’s first Christmas together, and they’re heading to Waxahachie to spend it with Petreski’s family. As if meeting your boyfriend’s parents isn’t nerve-wracking enough, there’s also a mob of siblings, a town full of gossips, trouble with a holiday display, and someone’s been sending poison pen letters to the local priest. Oh, and the pie is a bit of a disappointment.

In a house full of Cats, the nights are anything but silent, and it’s not long before Jake is convinced the Petreski family home is haunted. The truth, though, may be even stranger.

Who said small town life was boring?

Now with extra chocolate and nuts! And an elf.

Game Changers of the ApocalypseGame Changers of the Apocalypse by Mark Kirkbride:

It’s always the end of the world when you break up with someone. This time it really is... Everyone on the planet has mysteriously disappeared, leaving exes Greg and Polly. They've survived the apocalypse, yet shouldn't have. Battling each other and a malevolent entity that teases them with their fate, how long can they remain ahead? Even more terrifying than everyone else on the planet disappearing is what’s about to take their place…

Kragyn by Clarissa LakeKragyn by Clarissa Lake:

The war was over, yet the Sargans came and bombed his world to ruin…

They stole his life by making him a slave, but Kragyn Vermaktu was no slave!
He was a Farseek Warrior. His rebellion landed him on Julconi Prison Planet…
No guards, no rules…

A place where strength meant survival…

Stolen from Earth, sold as a slave Reanne Winter is forced to kill or be killed…
Earning her a one-way trip to Julconi…
Terrified by a mob of males outside the gate, she was sure she would be raped and killed before the day ended…

Enter Kragyn…

He calls her solmatu and offers to get her to safety.
A shock of attraction flashes between them as soon as they touch…
She knows she won’t get a better offer.

Can the passion that burns between them grow into the legendary solmatu bond?
Or is it just a symbiotic relationship born of the need to survive?

Freaky Deaky Tiki by Amanda M. LeeFreaky Deaky Tiki by Amanda M. Lee:

Hadley Hunter is learning about life, love … and being a witch.She has a hot and hunky boyfriend, new friends, and family she didn’t know existed until recently.Her plate is full.Life gets even busier when a Detroit grim reaper named Aisling Grimlock hits Moonstone Bay for her honeymoon. Aisling is loud, brash … and pregnant. Unfortunately, she’s not one of those women who gets happy and develops a glow at the notion of a new baby.When a body turns up on the docks, Hadley decides to help her boyfriend Galen investigate. All she knows for certain is that the murder looks ritual thanks to the tiki mask left behind … and the gaping wound in his chest.Since she’s bored and limited, Aisling latches on to Hadley and volunteers to help. That means zipping around the island and investigating the local cult that lives in the forest.Aisling has specific ideas about what should be done. Hadley has her own ideas. And Galen wants them both to steer clear of his investigation.Things are bound to collide … and they do in spectacular fashion.What happens when Detroit’s mouthiest reaper and Moonstone Bay’s newest witch collide? You’re about to find out.The stakes are high, death is in the air … and a few more secrets are about to be unveiled. Strap in, because things are about to get freaky.

Company of Strangers by Melissa McShaneCompany of Strangers by Melissa McShane:

The wizard Sienne hopes to make a name for herself as a scrapper—someone who scours the ruins of the Empty Lands for treasure and lost magical artifacts. But first she must find someone willing to take a chance on a desperate beginner.

When Sienne finally catches a break, she becomes part of a ragtag group of adventurers—a desperate scrapper named Dianthe, her wizard-hating partner Alaric, the drunk priest Perrin, and a young fighter named Kalanath.

But finding the treasure proves only the beginning. They must learn to work together as a team. Their very survival may depend on it.

An epic adventure of daring quests, second chances, and the power of friendship.

Realm Source by Vincent B. MoneymakerRealm Source by Vincent B. Moneymaker:

Are there places beyond heaven and depths below hell? Explore the boundaries of existence by travelling worlds beyond measure in a story beyond belief where universes are born and die but a father's love for his child lasts forever.

War-Sworn by Aaaron D. SchneiderWar-Sworn by Aaron D. Schneider:

Broken people with sharp edges can carve their own destiny.

Luce isn't just hurt, he's broken and he's not alone.

The Twilit Kingdom is in flames as the Gythraul Legions play out their death throes across the vulnerable countryside, while Queen Meabh turns her attentions to dissidents at Mount Falchrreg. An ancient and long-absent power returns––shaken and confused––while an elder evil seeks to realize an apocalyptic vision.

Luce still hasn't picked up all the pieces, but Armageddon waits for no man, so its back into the meat-grinder with his ragtag crew. They've got gambits to dare, prophecies to fulfill, and sacrifices to make, with nothing but blood and fire ahead.

The fate of more than just the Twilit Kingdom hangs in the the balance, and Lieutenant Bollham is still grasping at the veil that hides the most terrible truths which underpin the erupting conflict. The truth, so long hidden, is about to ignite a fire that could burn all of Other-Realm to cinders and holocaust shadows. Times are desperate like never before and Luce is going to have to make some unlikely friends and even that might not be enough to save a world that isn't even his own.

But you know what they say: what doesn't kill you, only delays the inevitable.

Validated by Valentine's by Joynll SchultzValidated by Valentine's by Joynell Schultz:

Ivory has the perfect man, from his microchip processor to his flesh-like exterior.

Ivory hated that she loved her Christmas gift this year. Her sister gave her the perfect humanoid companion, but there’s just one problem: he’ll never be able to say he loves her, no matter how much Ivory falls in love with him.

Was her dream man a present or a curse?

But when Ethan (Ivory’s Dream Droid) looks at her with those sweet blue eyes and secretly earns enough money to enter her in the city-wide bake-off, she realizes she doesn’t care. He’s hers. And that’s the best gift of all.

Ivory's perfect world falls apart the closer she gets to the bake-off. It starts with a lost entry and Ethan having a few programming malfunctions, then she discovers someone's deliberately sabotaging her. What started out to be a dream Valentine's day, begins to turn into a nightmare. A large supportive family, a caring artificial companion, and the best cupcake recipe in the world might not be enough to uncover who's setting Ivory up to fail.

Barriers by Patrick SkeltonBarriers by Patrick Skelton:

Nathan Gallagher’s life on post-solar-flare Earth just took a turn for the worse.

Barrier Administration has ordered his quadriplegic son to be euthanized at a hospital deep in the solar badlands. Nathan’s only hope is his father, a brilliant aerospace engineer working on an experimental device that would enable Ian to walk again. Only healthy individuals can remain citizens of Barrier cities, and his father’s invention would grant Ian the right to live and re-enter the safe confines of the Barriers.

There's just one problem: Nathan’s father is missing.

Can Nathan locate him even while the government watches his every step? And if he does find his father in time, can he really help?

BARRIERS is a sci-fi thriller set in a dystopian future where Earth is under siege by the sun. The powers that be decide who gets protection under the Barriers…and who doesn’t.

Jane Bond by V.R. TapscottJane Bond by V.R. Tapscott:

Jane Bond was just a simple elementary school librarian.

But then her life got sidetracked by digging up the AI Pilot of a 140 million year old spacecraft.
Now, she's running all over the world looking for spaceship parts, falling in and out of love and trying to keep her friends from thinking she's crazy. Not only that, but the ship she's helping to recover starts sounding more like the Death Star than the Millennium Falcon.

When did life get so complicated?

A fun read with Bond-style gadgets, action, adventure, an alien intelligence for a sidekick and a little romance thrown in for good measure.

Neron Skies by Kerry TaylorNeron Skies by Kerry Taylor:

Dominion has Nova’s face and Reena’s name—Cyrillius will use and kill them if they’re caught. But being on the run in space isn’t so bad, Nova’s always wanted a different life, and she’s got it now.
It started with a rumor, that the Bahiri still exist—peaceful worshipers of the Nero and Neron. After what happened on Korpillion, Valen told Nova to find them, and to stay away from him. So that’s where the wanted crew aboard The Corsair is headed, across the entire galaxy to the G sector. Nova wants answers about what she did and how it’s possible.

She’s in denial. About what she might be. About where her heart lies. She knows Valen Nero is a bad man, so why is he the only one who fills the hollowness in her chest? Why does she ask him to keep his promise: I will come for you, Nova. And when he does, she’ll learn the truth about him, and what happened to shape him into the man he is today.

A.I. Apocalypse by James David VictorA.I. Apocalypse by James David Victor:

One rogue Artificial Intelligence to rule us all

Captain Eliard Martin has found himself in an alternate universe ruled by Armcore’s rogue artificial intelligence. Eliard and his alternate crew must take back the galaxy and return things to normal or humanity will never be the same. Can he change the past to save the future?

A. I. Apocalypse is the eighth book in the exciting Valyien series. If you like fast-paced space adventure, the rogue crew of the Mercury Blade will keep you entertained for hours.

Imperius Wrecks by A.E. WilliamsImperius Wrecks by A.E. Williams:

A Satirical Peek at the Future

What does our future hold?
If the recent turmoil in the United States is any indication, the outlook is possibly grim.

This short-story by acclaimed science fiction author and raconteur A.E. Williams explores one possible outcome.

Williams puts his redoubtable wit to the task of describing just what we're up against, from a potential oligarchy, to the devastation of Earth from global warming, surgical nuclear strikes and the sheer ego of one man.

This modern parable of political will drags you kicking and screaming into your worst nightmare - or, perhaps, your ultimate fantasy.

You will be stunned, then shocked, then awestruck at how possible this scenario seems.

Qunatum Contingency by R.K. YoungQuantum Contingency by R.K. Young:

Few possessions are worth risking your life over, but she’ll roll the dice for her space freighter.

Andromeda “Mia” Spire lost her late father’s ship—and her home—in a dirty game of pulsar poker, and now she’s pulling out all the stops to get it back. But her pay sucks, and there’s no way in all the stinking swamps of Mandoorum that she’ll have the money in time to save it. The loan sharks will tear it apart for scrap. And she’ll be next.

Enter Toras Zaru, an eccentric hermit with too much money and a unique collection that’s missing an important element. He’s paying big bucks for someone to fly across the galaxy and face almost-certain death to get it. The payout would solve all her problems—except another crew has beaten her to the punch.

Luckily for Mia, Zaru thinks she’s got the skills they need to get the job done. If she’s willing to help the crew, they’re willing to give her a lift and a share in the profits. But after years of fending for herself, Mia isn’t much of a team player. If she wants her father’s ship back, she’ll have to learn to trust the crew, or risk being thrown out of the nearest airlock.

And that’s just the beginning of her troubles.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Flood Dragon's Sacrifice (Tide Dragons, Book 1) by Sarah Ash

Release date: January 11, 2019
Subgenre: Historical fantasy, Asian fantasy

About The Flood Dragon's Sacrifice:


Two rival clans. Two sacred pearls, the Tide Jewels, that can summon the Tide Dragons to protect the empire.

Two young men, Kaito and Naoki, one a Black Crane healer, the other a Red Kite shinobi, are sucked into an ancient, unresolved conflict between the gods of land and sea, when the exiled Red Kites steal the Tide Jewels and re-ignite a bitter clan war. Kaito must find a way to restore the emperor’s jewels – but how can it be done without betraying his own clan or angering the gods?




A whirr of wings, a scratch of claws alighting on the steeply sloping roof of the temple.
            “Only birds,” Kai murmured sleepily, turning over on his narrow mattress. But as he lay in the darkness of his little monastery cell, the thought nagged at his drowsy mind. Birds flying at night? Birds of ill omen, like owls?
            Owls – or Red Kites?
            Had the rival clan penetrated the monastery’s defenses?
            He sensed a faint flicker of energy, like a breeze gusting through the monastery compound, warning of a coming storm. And the Flood Dragon seal on his left wrist began to throb.
            “Someone is here.” Someone – or something – had just flitted swiftly and silently past his room. He sat up, fully awake now, his heart beating painfully fast, reaching for his robe. His hands shook as he knotted the belt about his waist. Should I sound the alarm? Perhaps he had been dreaming.
            His wrist throbbed again and, looking down, he saw in amazement that the tiny blue flame at the centre of the dragon tattoo had begun to glow in the darkness. And it only glows when the emperor takes the Tide Jewels from the temple to perform the yearly ritual…
The Red Kites knew secret, forbidden Shadow skills. Emperor Suzaku had banished them from Cipangu for using those deadly arts to kill his father. Surely they wouldn’t be so reckless as to try to steal the jewels?
            Another flicker of fleeting shadow set his skin crawling. The tiny flame throbbed again. 
            Am I the only one who’s heard them? And how many are there?     
            The sudden clanging of the monastery’s warning bell rang out. Men’s voices shouted out in the night, followed by the clatter of running feet.
            “Khoryeon invaders! We’re under attack!”
            “The Khoryeons are here!” The monks were awake at last and on the move. A flare of torches illuminated the darkness. Kai slid open his cell door to see the warrior monks thundering past, torchlight glinting red on the honed steel of their weapons. 
            Many years ago, the kingdom of Khoryeo had sent its vast war fleet into the bay below. Empress Himiko had used the Tide Jewels to summon the Tide Dragons to defend Cipangu – and the Khoryeon fleet was decimated. Ever since then, the monastery on the headland had kept the Tide Jewels safe in a temple especially dedicated to honor the dragons of Ebb and Flood.
            But lately there had been rumors about a renewed attack from the kingdom of Khoryeo; the ministers of Left and Right in the imperial court had warned the abbot that King Taejo would strike at the Tide Jewels first, so that the emperor could not use them to sink his warships. The warrior monks had even been training the acolytes in archery so that they could help ward off any invaders.
            A thunderous thud shook the monastery buildings. Kai seized his bow and quiver, ready to do what he could to defend the Tide Jewels. The Black Cranes were known throughout Cipangu for their skill in archery, but his palms were sweating as he fitted an arrow to the taut string. I’ve never fired my bow at another living person before.
            “The main gate!” went up the cry. “They’re trying to break down the main gate!”
*** | Amazon UK


About Sarah Ash: 

Sarah Ash trained as a musician but writing fantasy novels has allowed her to explore her fascination with the way mythology and history overlap and interact (her second published novel Songspinners is set in an ‘alternate’ eighteenth century Bath, her home city).The five novels in the epic fantasy Artamon sequence (Random House) are also set in an alternate eighteenth century world – with daemons and dragons. The new Tide Dragons series grew from Sarah’s love of all things Japanese (especially manga and anime which she regularly reviews for Anime UK News). It draws on the ancient legend of the Tide Jewels and the lifestyle of the Heian imperial court. Book 2 Emperor of the Fireflies is available in e-book format!


Website | Twitter