Monday, March 27, 2017

"Daughter Of Blood" -- Meet the Characters!

US cover
A few weeks back I shared right here that Daughter of Blood (The Wall Of Night Book Three) has been longlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel — which is very exciting news.

It's been awesome, too, to have such wonderful Supernatural Underground support as the voting is on for the shortlist. What a great community the authors and readers here are!

I'm sure you all agree that one of the most important things that "makes" a book is the characters. So with Daughter of Blood getting the Legend Award longlist nod, if you havena already stepped between the covers to meet the characters I thought you might enjoy an opportunity for the main characters to step out and meet you.

So without further ado, please meet some key players from Daughter of Blood:

UK cover
Malian, the Heir of the warrior House of Night:

'[The facestealer] drew the axe and swung in one swift, fluid movement. If Malian had not been expecting an attack, the blade would have split her skull. Yet even as he moved, her mind was burrowing into the wooden handle, splintering it to shards as the weapon cleaved the air. A voice screamed as her opponent cursed and snatched at his sword, which Malian’s power told her was warded against magic. She threw the dagger from her wrist sheath, and the facestealer’s smile was contemptuous as he deflected it with the sword. He was fast, she gave him that, but so was she, and his contempt slipped as she drew the frost-fire sword before he could counter-strike. The blades clashed together—and his sheared off below the hilt.'

Kalan, Malian's closest friend and ally

'Outside, the
Halcyon’s gangway thudded down onto the Grayharbor dock and someone came up it, whistling. Time to move, Kalan thought—but he still took care over his armor, paying attention to every buckle and binding. In Emer, a knight learned how to arm himself, but it felt odd to be so doing without any of the comrades he had lived and fought alongside for the past five years. Kalan slid the longsword and scabbard with the hydra device onto his belt and buckled it on, realizing that it was almost the first time since he had fled the Keep of Winds with Malian—six years ago now—that he could recall being alone. Yet the most disconcerting step was donning the crimson cuirass of Blood, the House that had expelled him as soon as his old powers manifested at seven years of age.

“What are you, boy? Who? …None of our family ever had such powers!” Kalan heard his father’s voice again, from that long ago day when he had been banished from family, Hold, and House. “You are no more son of mine.” '

Myr, also known as the Lady Mouse (and the Daughter of Blood of the title)

'Noise broke over Myr like a physical wave as she approached the arena known as the Field of Blood. She stopped, almost reeling from its force, while the curtains to the Earl's box stirred before her. Her brother's retinue and Blood’s guests would be waiting on the other side—and from the roar of sound, every tier that ringed the great amphitheater must be full. Myr took a deep breath, summoning resolve, while her attendants whispered and the guards stood like statues, blank faced. A Daughter of Blood must not show fear, Myr told herself...'

Faro, a Grayharbor street kid

' “You will take us there,” the stranger said.

Not for nothing, I won’t, Faro thought. The nearer of the other two strangers turned as though overhearing his thought and held up a copper coin between black-gloved fingers. Faro hesitated, aware of the sharpness within his stomach and that an Ijiri penny would buy him both a meat pie and an unblemished apple at the market. “Well?” the first man demanded, and Faro nodded reluctantly, snatching the coin out of the air when the second stranger flipped it to him...Once they set out, the cobbles still dark with rain, the two strangers walked to either side of him, with their companion in the moving hood immediately behind. Silently, Faro cursed himself for having given in to the coin’s temptation.'

Asantir, the Commander of Night

'Shortly afterward, as the warrior flowed seamlessly from one form into another, Myr realized she was seeing a variant of the Derai-dan. Patterns at ground level spun into airborne, acrobatic leaps, and she barely breathed as the blades continued to inscribe their flawless, fatal parabolas around the warrior at the heart of the gyre. This is the true Derai-dan, she thought: not the flashes of it we’ve seen in the arena, or the fragments incorporated into Blood's drills. ... Below them, the flow of the Derai-dan slowed and then ceased altogether. Myr held her breath and waited: for someone to move or strike a brighter light, or for the warrior's face to lift and turn so she could put a name to it...

 "Commander of Night." Parannis was almost purring with satisfaction. "I hoped I would find you here." 

"Lord Parannis." Asantir remained poised between darkness and shadow, her voice impossible to interpret. '

Raven (whom reader Kristen Blount describes as an "international man of mystery") 

'An owl called again from almost overhead and the second bird answered, a mournful echo from the wood. Emuun’s wolf smile thinned as he studied Malian. “Yes, whatever you are may be too dangerous to take chances with. I should just kill you and have done.”

“Perceptive.” Raven detached himself from the gap where the roan was tethered. He had resumed the hedge knight’s amulets and shabby armor, and his visor was raised as he halted a few paces clear of Malian. “But as for the rest…Not this time, Emuun.”

Emuun was staring, the last remnant of his wolf’s smile wiped away. “It’s not possible,” he said slowly, as though struggling to accept the evidence of his senses. “You’re dead. You all died in the void.”

“Yet here I am.” Raven was ironic. “You broke your own rule, Emuun. Didn’t you always say that you only accepted a death when you saw the body?” '

Tirael, an Envoy of the House of Stars  

'The envoy turned out to be not only one of his House’s ruling kin, but the Countess of Stars’ second child. His silk and jewels, as well as the silver-chased armor of his company, thirty in number, made the dress uniforms of Adamant’s warrior-priests look drab. “Popinjays,” a sentry muttered.

Her watch partner rolled his eyes. “How much’d you bet against every one of them having a name longer than my arm?” 

The first sentry shook her head, because the envoy might have introduced himself as Tirael, but any Son of Stars’ full name would have at least five syllables. “Too long for everyday use,” Tirael had said, smiling as he dismounted with a swirl of his blue-black cloak.'

Although not all the characters, these are most of the story's key players. I hope you've enjoyed meeting them here on Supernatural Underground.

So You Want To Vote For the Award?

If you want to vote for the Gemmell Awards shortlist, voting is still open until Friday 31 (UK time.) Just follow the following link to get to the voting page:

Gemmell Award Voting Page

Then: Scroll down the list of titles until you reach the book you wish to vote for: for example, “Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe") and click in the circle to the left of the title;

To complete, go to the end of the list of titles and click “Vote.”

You can also vote for the Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer and the Ravenheart Award for Best Cover Art (Daughter Of Blood's UK cover is in the running for that, as well!)

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