Sword of Shadows
by Karin Rita Gastreich
GENRE: Dark Fantasy
Sisters in magic, Eolyn and Adiana seek to revive a millennial tradition once forbidden to women. When war strikes, their fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.
Determined to defend her people, Eolyn seeks to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. Trapped by the invading army, Adiana is taken prisoner and placed at the mercy of the ruthless Prince Mechnes.
Even as their world is torn asunder, Eolyn and Adiana cling to a common dream. Courage and perseverance guide them toward a future where the Daughters of Aithne will flourish in a world set free from the violence of men.
"War propels the story forward, and the characters are at their best when circumstances are at their worst." -Publishers Weekly
This is the second book in THE SILVER WEB trilogy. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, or as the sequel to the first book, EOLYN.
As Joturi-Nur’s breath slowed, Rishona wrapped her fingers around the jeweled hilt of his broad sword. She adjusted her balance and tilted the blade, trying to see Abartamor’s oversized figure at her back.
When at last the San’iloman laid still, the priest nodded to the princes. Abartamor’s heavy step sounded behind Rishona, along with the slow unsheathing of his sword.
“I, the eldest son of Joturi-Nur, challenge your claim,” he said. “Face me, so that I may send you with my father to the Afterlife.”
Rishona spun, hands wrapped around the hilt of the scimitar, and cut deep into Abartamor’s protruding belly. The prince cried out as metal parted flesh. Blood sprayed across Rishona’s shimmering gown. Abartamor dropped his weapon and staggered backwards, eyes wide and lips quivering in protest.
“What have you done?” he stammered. “My niece? A woman? It’s not possible…not permitted…”
He sat hard on the floor and stared dumbfounded at the entrails spilling from his belly.
Rishona strode forward and drove the scimitar into his thick neck. With a few vicious hacks, she cleaved Abartamor’s head from his torso. Tearing off her veil, she leveled the sword at his brothers and demanded, “Who else would challenge me?”
For several moments there was no sound but the gurgle of Arbartamor’s blood, pooling around Rishona’s satin slippers.
Then Paolus-Nur drew his weapon.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.
Purchase link for SWORD OF SHADOWS, Book Two of THE SILVER WEB: https://www.amazon.com/Sword-Shadows-Silver-Web-Book-ebook/dp/B01G5L1GEG/
Purchase link for EOLYN, Book One of THE SILVER WEB: http://www.amazon.com/Eolyn-Silver-Web-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01B8F4G50/
Interview with Karin Rita Gastreich
As a kid did you write or make up stories?
Yes! All the time. As a kid, I loved inventing stories.
The first story I remember writing was based on a dream I had when I was in grade school. In middle school, I took a creative writing course that I still remember as one of my favorite classes. Throughout high school, I wrote short stories and even tried my hand at a few novels, though I never finished more than a few chapters.
Early on, I decided not to pursue a career in writing for various reasons, but creative writing continued to be a hobby no matter what else I was doing in life. It wasn’t until I finished my first fantasy novel, Eolyn, I decided to try my hand at publishing.
Where does most of your Character inspiration come from?
That really depends on the character. Some of my characters are inspired by real people or historical figures. Yet even those characters, as they develop, become entities in their own right. By the time I finish writing a story, these characters bear little resemblance to the people who originally inspired them.
The origins of other characters are not so easy to trace. A good example of this is Prince Mechnes, one of the villains of Sword of Shadows. I honestly can’t point to anyone who reminds me of him, which is probably a good thing. I really do not want to know anyone like him. On the other hand, Mechnes is so thoroughly amoral, the thought that I may have invented him entirely on my own is kind of scary. I mean, who knew that kind of evil was lurking somewhere in my imagination?
What was the inspiration for your book?
The Silver Web trilogy has many sources of inspiration, but at the heart, I wanted to write a fantasy story where women played central and complex roles. Sword of Shadows, in particular, was inspired by stories I heard of World War II while growing up. I had family members who were civilians caught in the crossfire in Europe at the time. Hearing about the horrors and challenges they faced had a lasting impact on me. It made me sensitive to the plight of civilians, especially women and children, caught in war zones. While Sword of Shadows is set in a very different time and place, it is intended as a story of war, as told from the point of view of women and children suffering under its most brutal aspects.
What is your favorite spot to write?
Once a year, I meet with a group of women authors at a writing retreat in Virginia Beach. These women have become a really important source of inspiration and support for me. My favorite place to write is in that big house on the beach with them.
What advice would you give budding writers?
Enjoy the journey. Know that just by writing your stories, you are a writer. There are many important reasons to write that have nothing to do with publishing, so don’t feel like you have to publish in order to be a writer.
If you are drawn toward publishing, find a writers group where you can get support, advice, and honest, critical feedback on your work. Don’t ever submit a manuscript that has not been thoroughly critiqued. If you go into self-publishing, do not publish anything that has not – in addition being thoroughly critiqued – undergone professional editing.
Publishing can destroy the joy of writing if you aren’t careful. Do your research ahead of time and think carefully about the publishing route you want to take. There are costs and benefits to both traditional and self-publishing. You should weigh these carefully for every novel you produce.
Shoot for the stars but maintain a healthy dose of realism. In other words, keep the day job. Most writers (95%) do not make a living off writing, and most independent authors actually lose money because of everything that they invest in professional editing, cover art, marketing efforts, and related activities. The fiction market is oversaturated, so it is very difficult for any publication to generate enough income to cover the cost of production, much less to compensate you for all the time you put into writing it in the first place. Be prepared to balance writing around your other financial, professional, and personal commitments; make sure you have other ways to make ends meet and to subsidize your activity as a writer.
Most of all, write because you love to write. Love of writing is what gets us through the good times and the bad. If you write because you love to write, you will always find fulfillment in the stories you craft, whether they are read by five people or five million.
Karin will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.