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Book & Author Details:
The Kronicles of Korthlundia
by Jamie Marchant
(Books I-III, plus The Ghost in Exile, a Korthlundian Kronicle)
Publication date: February 2nd 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
“Magic, love, hate, torture, heroes, and a story that will never stop blowing your mind!” Cheree~For Love of Books
The three volumes of The Kronicles of Korthlundia plus The Ghost in Exile: A Korthlundian Kronicle brought together for one low price. In addition to the novels, the collection features several bonus short stories, previously available only to members of my readers’ club.
The Goddess’s Choice–In a world where the corrupt church hides the truth about magic, the fate of the joined kingdom falls on the shoulders of two young people from opposite ends of the social hierarchy.
Crown Princess Samantha’s life begins to fall apart when she starts seeing strange colors around her potential suitors. She fears that she’s going insane–or worse that she’s defying the Goddess’s will. Robrek is a lowly farm boy with incredible magical powers. He has been biding his time waiting to get revenge on those who call him a demon.
Thrown together by chance, they must overcome their differences to fight their common enemy Duke Argblutal, who, with dark magic, is slowly poisoning the king’s mind and turning him against his own daughter. Time is running out for those chosen by the Goddess to prevent the power mad duke from usurping the throne and plunging the joined kingdoms into civil war.
The Soul Stone— A match made by the goddess is threatened by an Ancient Evil.
As Samantha and Robrek prepare for their marriage and coronation, they are met with opposition on all sides. Not all believe that the peasant sorcerer is worthy to be king, and the young couple must perform delicate political maneuvers to prevent the joined kingdoms from breaking apart.
As the church splits over opposition to their union, an unseen force is poised to release an ancient evil that was last defeated a thousand years ago. When the Soul Stone is broken free of its bonds, all life in its path succumbs to its power. How much will the new royal couple have to sacrifice to free the joined kingdoms of its evil?
The Ghost in Exile—A special Kronicle outside of the series that tells the story of Darhour. The novel takes place at the same time as The Soul Stone. The Ghost is going to hell. Not even the goddess can forgive his sins: assassin, oath-breaker, traitor (an affair with the queen earned him that title). No one can ever learn the princess is his daughter. To keep this secret, he flees to the land that turned him from a simple stable groom into an infamous killer.
His mission now? To find evildoers and take them to hell with him. But when an impulsive act of heroism saddles him with a damsel who refuses to be distressed, her resilience forces him to question why he really ran from his daughter.
The Shattered Throne— Queen Samantha’s spirit brightens as the festival of renewal approaches. The Ancient Evil that drained life from the land has been destroyed, and life is returning to the joined kingdoms. The birth of her heir gives her even more reason to celebrate. But a coup orchestrated by the unlikely alliance between a freedom-loving count and a fanatical church shatters both her plans and the ancient throne itself.
With her infant daughter missing and death and destruction spreading, Samantha finds herself faced with an impossible choice: save her daughter or her people. Already torn between a mother’s love and her duties as a queen, Samantha learns that an even greater danger threatens: the goddess herself is fading. What sacrifices will Samantha have to make to stop an evil god from taking Sulis’s place?
Jamie began writing stories about the man from Mars when she was six, and she never remembers wanting to be anything other than a writer. Everyone told her she needed a back up plan, so she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998. She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. One day in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized she’d put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. The literary article went into the trash, and she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice, which was published in April 2012. Her other novels include The Soul Stone, The Ghost in Exile, The Shattered Throne, and The Bull Riding Witch. In addition, she has published a novella, Demons in the Big Easy, and a collection of short stories, Blood Cursed and Other Tales of the Fantastic. Her short fiction has also appeared in the anthologies Urban Fantasy, Of Dragons & Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds, and Waiting for a Kiss. She claims she writes about the fantastic . . . and the tortured soul. Her poor characters have hard lives. She lives in Auburn, Alabama, with her husband and five cats, which (or so she’s been told) officially makes her a cat lady. She still teaches writing and literature at Auburn University. She is the mother of a grown son.
Robbie returned to the horses, loaded the supplies on Wild Thing, and rode in silence to the abandoned stable. He led Wild Thing and the strange horse inside. When he lit the lantern he kept there, he let out a whistle of amazement. The horse was a bronze-colored mare that looked more like it was forged out of metal than living flesh! But the horse’s impossible color wasn’t the only thing that struck Robbie. Sores spotted the beast’s body; puss and blood oozed from under the saddle. The horse’s coat was matted with dried blood. Her ribs stood out in stark detail. How could anyone neglect a horse so badly? “Where could you have come from, girl?” Robbie could feel a wail building up inside the horse, so he hurried to take the armor and other equipment off her back, unsaddled her, and removed her harness.
Robbie looked the horse in the eyes. “I need to fetch water and warm it so I can make you feel better. Do you understand?” The horse nodded. Robbie lit a fire in a brazier he used to warm the place in the winter and went to fetch water from the stream. He poured it into two different containers. The first he mixed with herbs that would both cleanse the horse’s wounds and deaden the pain. In the other, he poured oats to make the mash. When the herbal mixture was ready, he used it and a large jar of his best ointment to treat the horse’s injuries, beginning with the mouth, which was cut and raw. No wonder the animal was so thin; eating anything rougher than mash would be excruciating. As always when he touched an animal in need, he felt the gratifying tingle of energy. Sighing with the pleasure of it, he wondered if this was what it’d feel like to be touched by a woman—by Milady.
“I don’t think you’re a demon. But I don’t know what you are. By the look of the armor you must have been some knight’s lady. But what happened to him? Sores like these don’t form overnight. If he’s still alive, he obviously doesn’t deserve a lady like you. So how about it? Will you be my lady?” He paused at the sound of his own words. Milady. “I had a lady once. For one day, that is. My brother didn’t approve—I’m sure he wouldn’t approve of you, either.”
The Princess Samantha sat at her dressing table and glowered at her reflection as her maids dressed her hair. She detested balls and loathed the hundreds of suitors who flocked around her: “I have never seen a lovelier flower, Your Highness!” or “Your eyes rival the brilliance of the stars, Your Highness!” If I hear that one again, I’ll vomit. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if even one of them meant it. Sometimes she wished . . . She pushed the thought away. As the heir to the throne, she couldn’t expect romance.
“Let us be painting your face tonight, Your Highness!” Ardra begged. Samantha’s maid was as small and slight as the princess herself and had hair so blonde it was almost white. The princess smiled at the quaintness of her speech. Although both Ardra and Malvina had been in Murtaghan for over ten years, they still hadn’t lost the peculiarities of their western Lundian accents.
“Yes, Your Highness,” Malvina chimed in. “Lady Shela’s maids said just yesterday we couldn’t possibly be knowing our business ’cause you never be wearing paint.” Malvina, more of a typical Korthlundian woman, was tall and broad and not nearly as pretty as Ardra.
“Lady Shela,” Samantha snorted in disgust. Shela wore so much paint she resembled some ghastly sea creature. Samantha knew she wasn’t pretty, but she was fond of the freckles that speckled her nose and thought the emerald green brilliance of her gown set off her white skin and auburn hair beautifully. Besides being appallingly uncomfortable, paint would absolutely spoil the effect. The princess gestured toward the huge portrait that covered one wall of her bedchamber. “Do you think Danu wore paint?”
Malvina shrugged. “The Princess Danu was said to be a powerful sorceress, Your Highness. She probably didn’t need to wear paint to attract men.”
Samantha laughed bitterly, as she thought of the army of men waiting below. “I wish not wearing paint was all it took to scare them off. They say Danu never married, and see how happy she is.”
Samantha yearned for Danu’s freedom. The long-dead princess was laughing as she galloped across the fields with her auburn hair flying out behind her in the wind. The stars on the forehead and chest of her horse shone against its gorgeous coat. Samantha loved this painting, which was just as well because it was bolted to the wall and couldn’t be removed without tearing her chambers apart. She’d decorated the rest of her bedroom to match. Tapestries of horses covered the walls. Her dressing table, armoire, and large four-poster bed had horses carved into the woodwork. A quilt, embroidered with horses and stars, was spread over the bed. The mantle over her fireplace sported figurines of horses in gold, silver, jade, crystal, and precious stones. Every new ambassador added to her collection.
“Your Highness, you’ll be having to marry one of them eventually,” Ardra persisted. “The king won’t be letting you hold out forever. You are seventeen, after all. Your mother was only thirteen when she married the king.”
“You needn’t remind me, Ardra.” Samantha picked up her silver-backed brush from the dressing table, a gift from the Neasarian ambassador that was inlaid with an amber Horsetad; diamonds marked the stars at its forehead and chest. She fingered it lovingly. “Do you think it’s true Danu rode a Horsetad?”
“So the bards sing of her,” Ardra said.
Malvina made an impatient noise in her throat. “And they also be singing she turned suitors into toads with her kiss! You don’t really believe such nonsense, do you, Your Highness? Nobody can tame a Horsetad.”
“No, I suppose not,” the princess sighed wistfully, then smiled at the toads that hopped around the feet of Danu’s horse. How I wish my kiss could do that!
Finally, her maids were finished weaving the jewels through her hair and had attached the simple gold circlet of the heir. Samantha tried to take a deep breath, but was prevented by the tightness of her corset. “That’s it. This is the last time I wear a corset. Have my dresses altered to fit without one. And don’t lecture me about fashion. I’d rather be able to breathe.”
Before her maids could protest that without a corset she was almost as flat as a boy, she left the room. She passed through her reception room, which was decorated in a similar style to her bedroom and contained more ambassadorial gifts. Pausing in front of her favorite tapestry—a white mare at the edge of the forest, helping her newborn foal stand, she wished she were heading for the stables instead of the ballroom. She forced her face into a court smile and left her chambers.
Her two bodyguards bowed and fell in behind her. The princess couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t been followed by two heavily armed men. She’d grown so used to them she often forgot they were there.
Since the lady didn’t care, Robbie didn’t feel the slightest bit embarrassed that he couldn’t dance. She whirled away from him, and he swung her into his arms. She laughed, and he wished the night could last forever, but far too soon the lady stumbled and caught hold of his arm. “Should we sit one out, Milady?”
Breathing heavily, the lady nodded. “I guess I’m more tired than I thought.”
As Robbie led her back to her retainers, he noticed the grim looks on their faces. The scarred man had joined the two younger ones who’d been following them around. Scarface bowed to the lady. “Milady, we have a long ride back. We truly must leave.”
The lady sighed. “I guess you’re right.” She turned to Robbie. “I had a good time. It was fun.”
It was the best day of my life! Please don’t leave! Please say you’ll come again! “Yes, Milady. It was fun.”
“I truly wish I could stay longer, but we do have a long ride, and it isn’t fair to keep my men longer,” she said. Robbie cursed her men into the seven hells. The lady, however, let go of his hand. She kissed him on the cheek, caressing his face with her soft lips. “Goodbye, Robbie. Remember me,” she said, then followed the scarred man off into the darkness.
How could she think he’d ever forget her? Robbie touched his cheek, feeling as if he’d just lost the most precious thing in the world. He hurried away from the dance floor before anyone could see him crying. He wiped his eyes as he threaded his way through the now deserted stalls toward Wild Thing.
The review of The Goddess Choice: Kronicles of Krothlundia by Jamie Marchant
I received a free PDF copy of The Goddess Choice by Jamie Marchant Book One of the Kronicles of Korthlunida by Jamie Marchant so I could complete a review for a book tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. There are several other books in the series which are currently available for purchase. I was not paid for this book review.
The Goddess Choice is a fantasy adventure of the traditional sense. The hero, Robrek, is clearly defined as different from his fellow country men by the dark skin he inherited from his foreign mother. Banded a demon he is scorned and feared, left alone to develop his magic. The princess is high spirited and independent and is slowly being forced out of her choice of husband by the magical machinations of an evil duke who wants to rule.
I loved the development of the story both the main characters are magic wielders who gradually learn their magic over the course of the book. A lot of the story development is filled with Deus ex Machina, as it is revealed that the Goddess of the land has decided that the princess should be Queen and provides her champions with the means to succeed. But the forces of evil are great and even with all the divine favor showered upon the pair, success for the hero and the princess are hard fought.
A word of warning. While it isn’t horrifically graphic, there are rapes and tortures described in the book. I personally don’t advocate that kind of violence in books and would have avoided signing up for this book tour had I been aware of the nature of the book’s content. There are also descriptions of a heretical priest performing ritual sacrifices of virgin children to create his magic potions for bewitching the King, and one of the rape victims of the evil duke commits suicide and hangs herself. A racist priest also tries to have the mixed ethnicity main character burned alive at the stake and claims that the boy is a demon because of his differences. Heck, the book opens with the main character begging his father to stop beating him.
All of the above aspects listed in the prior paragraph combined made me dislike this book. As someone who has experienced violence done to her being because of other’s racism I would not recommend this book to anyone else who has experienced something similar as it will likely upset you. I would not recommend this book for anyone who has suffered sexual assault, domestic violence, or has experienced any kind of difficulty with traumatic experiences. This is likely not the book for you.
While I did enjoy the plot of the story, making the princess queen and the hero she loves helping her, the devices used to propel it were callously deployed and clumsily wielded. The bad guys aren’t just bad, they are racist, sexist, misogynistic, raping, sadistic, king-mind-controlling murderers. Not JUST murderers, they are child sacrificing murderers who defile their Goddess by trying to make everyone believe she is actually a God.
We get the point. The bag guys are bad. Continue on with the story.
If one can ignore or pass over the awful things which are described in order to continue the story, one may like it. I found the plot fascinating, the world well formed, and the people and cultures interesting enough to plough on through. But will I read the sequels if I don’t have to? Probably not. I don’t think I could handle any more innocents being sacrificed or the High Priest’s slow decent into guilt ridden madness for the crimes he’s committed.
For the story itself I would give four stars, but my abhorrence of awful things in it would be only a two star. So I’m averaging the two and giving the book three stars.
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