Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Welcome Anne Barwell

A Knight to Remember  
Dragons of Astria series, Book One
M/M, fantasy
Dreamspinner Press
Buy at Publisher

Blurb:
"The last of your line will be in the embrace of a dragon."
Aric, Crown Prince of Astria, has been brought up to believe that all dragons are evil. But when he speaks with one, he finds himself questioning those beliefs. The dragon tells him to find a sword in Sherwin Forest to save not only his kingdom but also his sister, Georgia, who must otherwise wed the prince of a neighboring kingdom.

At the start of his quest, Aric dons a disguise and meets Denys, an archer and herbalist who lives alone at the edge of the forest. Denys agrees to guide Aric into the forest, but then Georgia appears, revealing Aric’s true identity.

However Aric learns he is not the only one keeping secrets. Denys has a few of his own that could change both of their lives forever.


Excerpt:

Denys retrieved his water bladder and drank deeply. His skin was flushed, but that was the only outward sign of his recent intense physical activity.
“We need to rest for a few minutes.” Denys shook his head. “The men have divided into two groups. We have shaken the first but the second will be upon us as soon as we leave the forest.” His expression was grim. “You can surrender if you wish, but I’d prefer not to. I have heard stories of these men. Even if they are directed to bring us in alive, most of their prisoners arrive at their destination very much the worse for wear, and that’s if they’re lucky.”
Aric wiped water from his mouth with the back of his hand. He lowered his water bladder. Could this Morwenna know about his quest? Was she working for King Malachite? It was the only thing Aric could think of that made sense. If that were the case, telling these men he was Prince Brandric of Astria, and showing them the crest he carried as proof, would not deter them from doing what they’d been paid to do. From what he’d overheard, King Malachite wanted to invade Astria. The sword had the potential to be a powerful weapon in the hands of whoever wielded it. If Astria possessed it, it would give her the means to protect herself from Logan. But if Logan’s king got hold of the sword first, there was the chance it would provide a magical advantage Astria had no hope of defeating.
According to legend the sword also had the means to unite kingdoms and bring peace to the land. Naturally, as seemed to be the way of legends, it wasn’t very clear as to how it could be used to accomplish that goal. It was just as vague as the dragon prophecy that had haunted his family for generations. The price for peace achieved through a bloody war could be a harsh one, especially if it resulted in a king such as Malachite upon the throne.
“Perhaps you are right, and whoever these men are working for know we are looking for the sword.” Aric met Denys’s gaze directly. “Who I am does not appear to matter to them.” Otherwise why bring down the wrath of Astria by killing its prince? If they knew about the sword, they would know who Aric was. Wouldn’t they? But how had they found out about the quest? Georgia wouldn’t have said anything, and the dragon…. The dragon was an unknown factor in all of this. Even so, Aric knew his trust in it was not misplaced. It? Him? It had sounded male, but who knew if that meant anything. There was so much he didn’t know about this, and that in itself did not bode well.
Denys raised an eyebrow, but Aric smiled thinly. “We fight,” he told Denys, “and then I’ll tell you everything I can about what you want to know.”

Author bio:
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth.

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