Deborah Jay shares an extract from her epic fantasy The Prince’s Man which is Book One in The Five Kingdoms Series. The book is on offer for just this week at 99c/99p
About The Prince’s Man
Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’
Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.
And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.
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.
Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.
An extract from the book.
“Remove your hand, Chalice,” Risada hissed, “unless you want to lose it.”
Rustam released her, and lay back with a sigh. “Don’t you ever get tired of making threats? Or is it the only form of conversation you know?”
“It seems to be the only sort you respect. And I hardly think the kind you’re used to is appropriate outside the bedchamber.”
She stood up and flounced over to her horse, began digging through a saddle bag. Rustam reconsidered—flounced was not really the correct verb. It would be hard for anyone to flounce wearing those figure hugging breeches and bulky jerkin, but that was how she moved and it made for interesting watching, particularly from his supine viewpoint.
Goddess, he thought in frustration, what a gorgeous woman. Why must she be so obnoxious?
A pair of thin legs walked past his face and Rustam glanced up, startled, his wrist knife slipping instinctively into his fingers.
“Don’t do that!” he snapped at Elwaes.
“Pardon me? Do what?”
“Creep up on people like that. You can get killed that way.” He slid the dagger back into its sheath.
“Apologies, friend Rustam. I had no intention of creeping and, I might suggest, your thoughts were elsewhere at the time.”
Rustam scowled, unable to dispute the Shivan’s observation.
“What’s that?” he asked suspiciously, eyeing the greenish mess in Elwaes’s hand. The elf smiled.
“Rhak moss. It makes an excellent poultice.”
At that moment, Risada returned with a length of cloth. She raised her eyebrows as Elwaes proceeded to slather the gooey moss onto Rustam’s wounds, but wordlessly handed him the cloth which he bound tightly around the whole mess. Rustam stood up and tentatively put some weight on the injured leg. It did feel a touch better, cooler at least. He hobbled over to Nightstalker and began rummaging through his saddle bags for a new pair of breeches.
“Can we ride on now?” Risada asked with a touch of impatience as he fastened his belt.
“Lead on, your Ladyship.”
For the remainder of the day they followed the stream along the plateau, keeping a wary eye out for further ambushes. The towering peaks to either side drew a little closer, but still there was no end to the broken ground staggering endlessly away in front of them. Mosses and short tufts of coarse grass were the only vegetation and they saw no signs of either animals or trolls, other than the occasional pony sized hoof print in the softer soil of the stream bank.
As night fell, Risada reluctantly agreed to make camp where they were, rather than fumble on in the dark and risk falling into a crevasse.
“I don’t think we should risk a fire,” she said. “If they’re following us it’ll act as a beacon.”
“I agree,” said Rustam, unsaddling Nightstalker. “How about that?” he muttered to Elwaes who was removing the mare’s bridle. “We actually agreed on something.”
“Don’t expect it to last,” snapped Risada from behind her grey, and then added, “I have very sharp hearing, Chalice.”
“Matches your tongue then, doesn’t it?” he murmured beneath his breath.
This time she didn’t hear.
One of the reviews for the book
D. W. Peach Wonderfully written September 24, 2019
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.
Read the reviews and buy the book at 99c this week only: Amazon US
And 99p: Amazon UK
A selection of other books by Deborah Jay
Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US
And Amazon UK: Amazon UK
Read more reviews and follow Deborah on : Goodreads
About Deborah Jay
Deborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.
Fortunate enough to live not far from Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.
THE PRINCE’S MAN (#1 The Five Kingdoms), winner of a UK Arts Council award, is her debut novel. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON, and #3, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGEE, are both now available.
Urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, is the first in a projected 5 book CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES, and a stand alone short story SPRITE NIGHT is available for FREE.
Deborah has also published a multi-author SFF anthology THE WORLD AND THE STARS, which includes her SF story, PERFECT FIT.
She also has non-fiction equestrian titles published under the name Debby Lush.
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Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will take advantage of Deborah’s offer this week for The Prince’s Man.. thanks Sally.