#ShareAReviewDay – THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay

While Marcia is ensconced in her writing cave, I thought I’d hijack #ShareAReviewDay with the latest review for the opening novel in my Five Kingdoms epic fantasy series, THE PRINCE’S MAN.

I’ve had a tough few weeks (months, really), and this lovely review helped lift my spirits:

REVIEW:
D. W. Peach
5.0 out of 5 stars  Wonderfully written
September 24, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining and skillfully-written fantasy novel. I was particularly taken with the tight narrative, not a wasted scene or conversation, every word counting as the story unfolded. This contributed to a quick pace and complimented the well-considered plot that comes together with a satisfying ending. Though the first in a series, The Prince’s Man can also be read as a stand-alone.

All that good stuff, and then there’s more… the characters are fabulous, deeply flawed and sympathetic at the same time. The relationship between Rustam and Risada takes center stage. There are hints of a romantic attraction but the reader is saved from moon eyes and heaving chests by a very real tension based on past experiences, current loyalties, and objectives. Despite being allies, there’s a lot of loathing going on here. I love that.

Elves, trolls, and were-cats throw the story into the classic fantasy genre and are integral to the plot and underlying theme of the book. The political machinations are realistic enough to be recognizable today. Prejudices, bigotry, genocide, and beliefs in cultural superiority are alive and well in her world-building. The characters are forced to revisit their worldviews, but just like in real life, they will only open their eyes so wide. And Jay doesn’t hold back on the brutality.

I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series and seeing what happens to the two main characters as well as a host of others who intrigued me no end. Recommended for anyone who loves a good fantasy.

Available at most outlets HERE Continue reading

Release day! The Prince’s Protege is available on all channels & The Prince’s Man is on #sale #0.99

A quick announcement that my latest story is out there in the world!

The Prince’s Protégé is available from today in all outlets, at the introductory price of $2.99 – if you enjoyed THE PRINCE’S MAN and THE PRINCE’S SON, you are going to want to read this one!

If you haven’t tried them out yet, what better chance than to pick up #1, The Prince’s Man for $0.99, for the next two weeks only.

When I set out to write The Prince’s Man, I began with the tagline ‘Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’, because those are two of my favourite books/movies.

I’ve always felt a bit sad and frustrated for James Bond, because he is never permitted to develop as a character beyond the super smooth spy with no real life of his own. I wanted to start with a similar character, and allow him to grow and change from his life experiences. Enter Rustam Chalice – ‘ridiculously good looking’ (according to one reviewer), suave ladies-man, accomplished spy, and a vain, shallow man at the start of the story…

Being a first time fantasy author at this point (I’d previously written non-fiction and SF), I freely admit I was quite heavily influenced by Tolkein’s creations, but added my own ideas and slants to create a unique world with a history all its own that shapes the societies of The Five Kingdoms, in which the rest of the series takes place. Today, #3 in the series debuts, but believe me, there are lots more to come…

Find THE PRINCE’S MAN on sale at AMAZON, and a choice of OTHER RETAILERS

Find THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE on special release offer at AMAZON and OTHER RETAILERS

 

Release day – THE PRINCE’S SON #EpicFantasy #sale

Yay! THE PRINCE’S SON is out there in the wide world!

Or on the internet, at least…

I would be very grateful if you lovely people would share my news

Today is release day for THE PRINCE’S SON, book #2 in The Five Kingdoms series, though as you’ve probably gathered if you’ve been here a while, I can’t abide cliff hanger endings, so once again this volume contains a complete story along with continuing threads of the series arc.

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Think ‘Lord of the Rings’ with a ‘Game of Thrones’ edge

She sought a husband, but found a destiny

Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats, and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victims’ strings with expert malice.

* * * * * *

I’ve shared a few excerpts in the run up to this day, and here is one more short snippet from Chapter 1

Excerpt

Nessa flung the doors open and hurried into the pleasantly appointed sitting room. Enya appeared scant moments later through the connecting door from the servants’ quarters.

Nessa pounced. “Enya, who is the delectable young man with the scar?”

The maid’s pretty round face lit with an impish smile. “That, my lady, is Rustam Chalice.”

“No!” A shiver of excitement ran up Nessa’s spine. “The Rustam Chalice? Really?”

“Yes indeed, my lady.”

Enya bobbed her head in emphasis and several blonde curls slipped from beneath her cap. She reached up, trying to stuff them back in, and Nessa stepped over to help her. The young noblewoman sighed in envy of her maid’s crowning glory. Not that she begrudged the girl her doll-like prettiness or her mop of golden curls, but as ever Nessa wished she had been born with something more striking than her straight brown hair and hazel eyes. While her irises had unusual streaks of light and dark colouring—the only visible difference between her and Julin—people had to inspect them closely to notice.

And surely it would take something special to get a second glance from the infamous Rustam Chalice.

Even Julin appeared mildly interested and asked: “Did he come by that mark in the fire? How sad; he must have been very handsome before.”

So Julin had noticed, but she was wrong—the scar made him all the more attractive. Nessa dragged her attention back to Enya.

“… already had it when he was captured. The way I heard it, it was punishment from the goddess for being vain, although some say it was for daring to use magic.”

Nessa pursed her lips. In her opinion anyone who looked that good had a right to be vain. And as to the other, she found it hard to believe the power responsible for saving their kingdom from the vile pretender might be abhorred by the goddess.

Magic! Ugh.” Julin shuddered. Nessa opened her mouth to point out where they might be now if Rustam Chalice hadn’t used magic when something else struck her.

“But how come he’s here? I thought using magic got him exiled, with his life forfeit if he entered Tyr-en ever again.”

“He’s here under diplomatic protection,” explained Enya, who had obviously quizzed the other servants. “He’s a special envoy for the Kishtanian king.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Nessa as a thrilling notion struck her. “Do you suppose he’ll be travelling back to Kishtan with us?”

* * * * * *

Now for the important bit!

You can buy THE PRINCE’S SON for the next few days at the special introductory price of $2.99/£2.44 at the following stores – just click on your choice of store and it will take you to the appropriate site.

AMAZON          B&N(Nook)       iTunes(Apple)       Kobo           Goodreads

So grab your copy before the price rises, and join Rusty and friends on another high stakes adventure.

For those of you who still like to read a ‘real‘ book, the PAPERBACK (a chunky doorstop of a book) will be out in a couple of weeks time, just in time to be a Christmas present, even if it is to yourself…

And just in case you haven’t yet read volume 1, THE PRINCE’S MAN, and you want to start at the beginning (a very good place to start…) it’s currently on sale at $0.99/£0.99, so what are you waiting for?

Amazon                 B&N                   iTunes            Kobo              Scribd

****PLEASE SHARE****

Thank you!

#SALE #0.99c – THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay #fantasy

ON SALE – PLEASE SHARE

In celebration of the imminent release of Book 2 in THE FIVE KINGDOMS series, Book #1, THE PRINCE’S MAN is on sale for 0.99c until Tuesday.

If you haven’t yet read it, now is your chance, and if you know any fantasy fans, please share.

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Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings – a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life, so when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master teams him up with an untouchable, beautiful aristocratic assassin who despises him.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death

Excerpt

“Remove your hand, Chalice,” Risada hissed, “unless you want to lose it.” Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek – THE PRINCE’S SON by Deborah Jay

Marcia, your wish is my command…..

Here is another excerpt from the book I am currently editing – THE PRINCE’S SON, sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN.

* * * * * *

Bay Iberian

When Rustam gave a small whistle, the bay stallion ghosted out of the early morning shadows.

Rustam ran a hand along the stallion’s muscular crest, his fingers sliding through the cascade of black mane to the warm sleekness of the silky hair beneath. “I really hate to do this, boy, but you’ll have to stay behind this time.”

A pair of huge, dark eyes regarded Rustam with reproach before Fleetfoot shook his head vigorously, long strands of mane whipping from side to side to slap Rustam sharply across the face. “Ouch! I’m sorry, really I am, but even you can’t climb a goat trail; I need you here, to keep the others safe. They can’t look after themselves the way you can.”

Fleetfoot heaved a large sigh and rubbed his forehead against Rustam’s shoulder. Leaning into the equine embrace, Rustam caught sight of one of the grooms rolling his eyes to the sky. Crazy, that’s what they thought he was. He smiled privately and kept his silence. It wasn’t their fault they couldn’t see the tiny bit of magic flowing between him and the magnificent animal. When the lads talked to their charges they communicated with tone of voice and a few easy words, achieving a level of trust and affection any human might gain with a horse. But for Rustam’s entire life it had been so much more than that. The ease with which, even as a child, he’d been able to catch the naughtiest ponies; the calmness he’d instilled in the wild black mare no one else could handle, and the way that over the years of their service together Nightstalker had always sensed where he was, and when she was needed.

It wasn’t until they journeyed into Shiva that Rustam understood it to be an attribute of his elven blood; he was a Horsemaster in more than mere words. Now, with a Shivan bred steed, that link was even closer.

“You know they think I’m soft in the head for talking to you, don’t you?” Fleetfoot snorted; horsey laughter if ever Rustam had heard it. He slapped the hard-muscled red shoulder. “It’s not funny!” He shook his head, drawing the dark thread of his thoughts back together. “No, nothing about this is funny.”

He stared into the liquid depths of eyes turned wary. “I need you to keep this lot safe, hear me? I don’t know how long we’ll be gone, or if you’ll be secure here. Watch over them, for me, yes?”

Fleetfoot snorted again, head nodding up and down. Rustam draped an arm over the stallion’s withers and bent forward to bury his face in the abundant mane. With his eyes shut, he inhaled the glorious scent of horse, and felt his muscles relax. He was leaving the caravan with the best possible guard he could arrange, in the absence of a small army.

* * * * * *

For those of you who have read THE PRINCE’S MANrsz_pm-ebook_flat_2 never fear, Nightstalker is only absent on maternity leave 😉

CIMG2427And here I am with another hobbit hole 😉

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many dressage horses, and her complete inability to cook.

Jay’s debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, won a UK Arts Board award, and was an Amazon Hot 100 New Release. Second in the series, THE PRINCE’S SON is due out this summer.

Her Urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, is the opening novel of the projected five book CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES, and the stand alone short story SPRITE NIGHT is also now available.

In 2014 she published the multi-author SFF anthology, THE WORLD AND THE STARS, which features her SF short story PERFECT FIT.

She is also the author of several non-fiction equestrian titles published in her professional name of Debby Lush.

Find out more about Deborah at http://deborahjayauthor.com/ or follow Deborah on twitter, facebook, Pinterest  and Goodreads.

#ExcerptWeek & Blurb – THE PRINCE’S SON by Deborah Jay

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Those of you who follow my blog have already seen this blurb, but for those who haven’t, this is the back cover copy for my soon-to-be released sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN (epic fantasy).

THE PRINCE’S SON

Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victim’s strings with expert malice.

Excerpt

Something moved beyond the picket line.

Nessa froze. Her heart stopped beating, and then thudded so loudly she was certain whoever was there must hear it. Surely it had to be one of their party slipping away to relieve themselves? It could not be either Rustam or Sala unless they had circled around beyond the horses, and why would they?

She stumbled an involuntary step back, gave a little cry as metal dug into her back, then realised she was pressed up against one of the ribs of the wagon.

The shadowy figure stopped, appeared to be sniffing the air.

That made up her mind. No human scented like that. She did not know what it was, but it wasn’t one of them. Continue reading

#Excerpt week – USURPER’S LEGACY (The Prince’s Son) – Deborah Jay #Fantasy

USURPER’S LEGACY (The Prince’s Son)

A little longer than my usual excerpts, this is the prologue from my nearly complete (yay!) sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN, and tells the climax of the first book from a very different viewpoint…

* * * * * * * *

Hungry flames invaded the garlands festooning the roof beams of the palace’s Great Hall. Tiny specks of gold darted in and out of the greenery, setting new fires wherever they touched; miniature dragons with flickering wings—salamanders.

Forbidden magic.

Another cluster of berries exploded, raining hot juices down upon the heads of the panicked crowd. Mykel Dench braced himself as a horde of finely-dressed nobles stampeded towards him. On the raised dais at the front of the hall he could see his master, Hensar, the pretender to the throne, grappling with the loyalist spy, Lady Risada Delgano vas Domn. The stench of burning greenery, the cacophony of screams and clatter of tumbling chairs all faded into insignificance for Mykel when Lady Risada slit Hensar’s throat.

Mykel shrieked his fury but his voice vanished into the crowd. Rage lent him strength and he ploughed into the oncoming mob, swinging the pommel of his sword like a club, not caring if he cracked a bone or three, or sliced the odd gobbet of flesh. He’d worked too hard for this moment; for the downfall of the royal family and their spymaster, Prince Halnashead.

His master might be dead, but Mykel would see Prince Halnashead dead too. And that bitch Risada. Continue reading

#ExcerptWeek – USURPER’S LEGACY by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy

So this time I am treating you to a teaser excerpt from my upcoming release, sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN, titled (probably) USURPER’S LEGACY.

This is from the prologue, which gives us the climactic scene from the end of the previous book from the villain’s point of view…

“Risada!”

The high voice cut through the crackle and hiss of the burning hall. Mykel spun towards it and saw the one piece of good fortune left to him. When the beam fell, Lady Risada had been forced back from the dais and now stood, wavering on unsteady feet amidst tumbled chairs, two rows over. Mykel smiled. Small compensation, but at least one of Halnashead’s spies would not leave the hall alive. He raised his sword.

“I don’t think so.”

The voice came from right beside him—just before a chair crashed against his shoulder, knocking him off balance. One of its legs caught him along the side of the head and stars sparkled across his vision. The breath that whooshed out of his body was replaced by smoke as he inhaled, and he coughed it back up even as he lashed out at his attacker. His sword swung through empty space as something smacked into the back of one knee, felling him.

He landed in a tangle amidst fallen chairs and smouldering greenery. Heat seared his lungs as he struggled to regain his breath. If he didn’t escape the hall soon he would die, yet he still found his focus drawn to Lady Risada, on her knees now and so tantalizingly close.

Continue reading

#Excerpt Week – Epic #fantasy – THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay

Excerpt from THE PRINCE’S MAN

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Epic fantasy ~ Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings…

 

Chapter 12 – TUNNEL CREEPERS

Rustam squeezed past Nightstalker, and scrambled up behind Elwaes. He had no idea what tunnel creepers were, but the fear in the elf’s voice was all too apparent.

“Go Risada, go!”

The grey leapt forward, kicking loose stones from beneath its feet to clatter away down the mountainside, adding to the horses’ rising panic. Sickly pale, bloated creatures swarmed out of the holes, and Rustam gagged on the mephitic stench that preceded them. Risada’s mount spooked sideways and jumped half a length up the left bank to reveal the pallid, segmented body of a creeper blocking the path ahead.

The nightmarish thing, which stood as high as the gelding’s chest, shifted its weight rapidly between its six legs, threatening great speed although the huge body merely quivered up and down with the multiple joints clicking loudly. Tiny eyes glittered from behind its mouth-parts, vanishing as ragged fronds waved under its pincers. Those pincers with their wickedly serrated edges and pointed tips held Rustam’s horrified gaze, and he felt his empty stomach constrict even further: the monster’s exoskeleton looked as tough as armour, probably impervious to steel, except perhaps at the joints. Not that he had any desire to get close enough to test the theory. Continue reading

#Excerpt from THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy

Excerpt from THE PRINCE’S MAN – prologue

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Risada tiptoed across the darkened bedchamber and felt behind the tapestry for the hidden niche. Her tiny fingers located it and she grinned as the lock tripped with a faint click.

She heard voices in the outer chamber and light flickered around the doorframe.  Heart thudding against her ribs, she dropped to her knees and scuttled forward through the swinging panel into the secret room. This was such fun!

Careful to close the panel behind her—Daddy said you must always lock doors when you were going to have your back to them—Risada wasted no time clambering onto the chair she had positioned beneath the spy hole. Her nose wrinkled at the smell of dust. It seemed like ages since Daddy had shown her how to work the hidden catch. Certainly it had been before that woman had arrived.

At thought of Mistress Chalice, Risada scrunched her face up into a ferocious scowl. How she hated her dancing tutor. Oh, the woman was very polite, and she was very beautiful—all the servants said so—but Mummy didn’t like her so Risada didn’t either. And the maids were saying such wicked things about Mistress Chalice and Daddy. Well, tonight Risada was going to see for herself.

Continue reading