Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Melissa McPhail to the blog. She is the author of Cephrael’s Hand and is here to share about her book. If this book sounds like something you would be interested in reading, please find a buy link below and pic up a copy or two.
In Alorin…three hundred years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centuries past earned him a traitor’s brand. It is the Adept Vestal Raine D’Lacourte’s mission to learn what Bjorn knows in the hope of salvaging his race. But first he’ll have to find him…
In the kingdom of Dannym…the young Prince Ean val Lorian faces a tenuous future as the last living heir to the coveted Eagle Throne. When his blood-brother is slain during a failed assassination, Ean embarks on a desperate hunt for the man responsible. Yet his advisors have their own agendas, and his quest for vengeance leads him ever deeper into a sinuous plot masterminded by a mysterious and powerful man, the one they call First Lord…
In the Nadori desert…tormented by the missing pieces of his life, a soldier named Trell heads off to uncover the truth of his shadowed past. But when disaster places him in the debt of Wildlings sworn to the First Lord, Trell begins to suspect a deadlier, darker secret motivating them.
Cephrael’s Hand is available:
Cephrael’s Hand Chapter 1 excerpt
…As Prince Ean val Lorian tread across the sand, a gusting breeze brought the stench of seaweed and wet rocks, and something else, some proprietary scent seemingly owned by that beach alone. He remembered it well—it and all of the memories it harbored, memories carried like autumn leaves spinning in funnels across the sand.
“I said goodbye to both brothers upon this very spot,” he observed to his best friend Creighton, recalling a much younger self who watched as first one brother and then the next was carried away toward an awaiting royal ship at anchor. Neither brother had returned from their journey south, one lost to treachery, the other claimed by the Fire Sea. Now Ean stood upon this shore not as a boy but as a man of ten and eight, and he’d never been more aware of how different his life had become, how much the fingers of tragedy and obligation had molded and changed him.
“The Maker willing, we shall meet them again someday in the Returning,” Creighton said respectfully, repeating a litany they’d both recited too many times already in their young lives, “and know them by Epiphany’s Grace.”
“Aye.” Memories of his lost brothers had stolen what joy he’d summoned for his homecoming, leaving naught but unwelcome emptiness in its place. “Come,” the prince said, affecting a happier tone to shake off the clinging cobwebs of loss. “Let’s see how far we can get before my mother’s men spot us.”
Creighton set off with Ean across the beach. “I only hope they’re not inclined to shoot first and ask questions later. There’s nothing like a bolt in the shoulder to sour one’s homecoming.”
Ean grinned. “No one could mistake you for a brigand in that outfit.”
Creighton adjusted his ermine cloak and straightened his shoulders. “You never get a second opportunity to make a first impression, and Katerine’s favor is worth any effort.”
The prince chuckled. “A first impression? Wasn’t it Katerine val Mallonwey who looked raptly on as you tried to escape that sea skunk on this very beach all those years ago?”
Creighton cast him an aggravated look. “How was I to know it was mating season?” He shook his head and scowled at Ean’s back. “I had to burn that cloak. The smell never would come out of it.” Ean laughed again, and Creighton lifted his head and glared sootily at him. “I do believe you take perverse pleasure in my misfortunes.”
“Creighton, the entertainment value alone is priceless.”
“Maybe.” Suddenly a foolish grin split his face. “Tonight, upon our return to Calgaryn, I’m to see her.”
Ean stopped in his tracks. “You told her of our landing?”
“No—of course not.”
“You know the threat upon our lives—never mind the precarious situation of my father’s throne. If you told Katerine or anyone, Creighton—”
“Ean, I swear, I did not.”
Ean dropped his arm and gave him odd look. “Very well.” He started them walking again. “I take it that you mean to propose then.”
His enthusiasm somewhat dampened by Ean’s outburst, Creighton withdrew a velvet pouch from his vest and emptied its contents onto his palm. “I was going to give her this.”
Ean took the ring and looked it over. A single ruby glinted amid delicate silver filigree fashioned in the shape of a rose. “It’s beautiful. It must be very old.” He handed the ring back to Creighton with a smile of apology.
“It belonged to an Avataren Fire Princess,” Creighton murmured while returning the ring carefully inside his vest.
“Ahh… so my mother and her Companion Ysolde are in on this farce, too. I’m hurt I wasn’t entrusted with the secret.”
“Only for your own protection, Ean. We wouldn’t want any rumors going about that you were planning to propose.”
Ean snorted. The truth was, there were so many rumors about him, he couldn’t keep them all straight.
The boys turned their attention back to the climb, which became ever steeper, and Ean grew pensive in the silence that followed. He found it strange to be returning as men to these places where they’d played as children…strange to find comfort on a chill and treacherous shore, yet it was there he’d fled when first one brother and then the next were taken, snatched away by the pitiless snares of Fate.
And stranger still to find comfort lingering there, like an old friend waiting by the wayside.
“My prince, is that you?” Footsteps approached from the path above, and soon a soldier’s mailed form solidified in the moonlight. “Fortune bless you’re both safe. This way if you will, my lords.”
The climb grew steeper, and only silence accompanied them until they neared the rise, where the unwelcome sound of battle disrupted the might. The soldier held up his fist to halt them. “Stay here!” He sprinted up the trail.
Creighton gave the prince a wide-eyed look. “Ean, we can’t just—”
“Of course not!”
They darted after him.
A battle indeed greeted them at the crest, where the moonlight revealed a writhing frenzy. Ean stared open-mouthed as he tried to make sense of the scene. He motioned Creighton to follow, and they ducked through the tall sea grass looking for an opening into the fray.
Suddenly the prince felt the cold press of steel against his neck, and he stilled beneath the blade.