Monday, April 6, 2020

Sellsword's Oath

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Buddy flick epic fantasy! The second in the Assassins of Landria series from the award-winning, bestselling author of Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst and The Chronicles Of The Necromancer books!

Wandering mystic Yefim Makary, known to his followers as the ‘Witch Lord’, disappeared before he could be accused of inciting dissent against King Kristoph. His supporters among the disenchanted aristocrats who weren’t arrested have fled or died by their own hand. The king is happy to put the matter behind him. Yet Burke, the commander of the elite King’s Shadows, doesn’t believe the threat is over, and he assigns his two most troublesome, rule-breaking—and successful—assassins to ferret out the real threat and put a stop to Makary’s plots.

Joel “Ridge” Breckinridge and Garrett “Rett” Kennard rose through the ranks of the Landrian army together, from teenaged conscripts to seasoned fighters. Together, they became the most feared team of assassins in Landria, surviving longer that most in their profession by virtue of excellent fighting skills, legendary bravado, peerless strategy, and an uncanny synchronicity.

As the threads of a new plot come together revealing disloyalty among the priests and generals, Ridge and Rett once again find themselves on the run, hoping they and their allies can figure out the Witch Lord’s latest scheme before it costs them their lives—and the king his throne.

read an excerpt...
“Moving along,” he said with a grimace, “there’s the matter of your next assignment. The Witch Lord has disappeared. We know he wasn’t killed or captured, but right now we have no idea where he’s gone. The nobles who supported him have either vanished, committed suicide, or been imprisoned for attempted treason. Some of us believe it’s only a matter of time before the Witch Lord makes another move, but until then, King Kristoph is eager to move on and put the incident behind him.”

Ridge thought the king didn’t want to look weak by dwelling on the attack. Kristoph had narrowly escaped death, and now he needed to show his enemies he was strong enough to take the matter in stride. That didn’t change the reality of Kristoph’s situation, and it presented a complication when it came to protecting him.

“Do you agree?” Rett asked.

Burke looked pained. “I serve the king, which requires doing what he asks and what he needs,” he added in a quiet voice. “So I am authorizing you to keep your ears open, but anything you find out—anything—you bring it to me before you act. Are we clear?”

Ridge and Rett nodded.

“In the meantime, I have a job for you. Those counterfeiters I mentioned before. Treason of a different kind.” He slid a folded paper across the table to Ridge.

“It’s your letter of marque to go after anyone illegally producing the coin of the realm,” Burke said. “We believe there’s a group set up near the border, where they can prey on merchants looking to exchange gold for Landrian currency. Counterfeiting is an act of violence against the king’s treasury and the realm itself. You’ll be passing as traders. Find the people responsible, destroy their forge, and end the threat. As quietly as possible.”

“Yes, sir,” Ridge replied.

“If in the course of your duties you learn more about the Witch Lord and his disciples, I’ll be fascinated to hear about it,” Burke added. “Now, finish your ale and go home. You’ll be leaving in the morning.”

about Gail Z. Martin...
Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, SOL Publishing, Darkwind Press, and Falstaff Books. Recent books include Witch of the Woods, Sellsword’s Oath, Inheritance, and Night Moves. With Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of the Spells Salt & Steel, Wasteland Marshals, Joe Mack and Jake Desmet series. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance including the Witchbane, Badlands and Treasure Trail series. Recent books include Loose Ends and Unholy.

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some "personal stuff" about Gail Z. Martin...

Q: Does this book have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea, its symbolism, its meaning, who you dedicated it to, what made you want to write it?
A: I’ve heard from so many readers that they used to love epic fantasy but no longer had the time for big thick books. My first three epic series are those big fat books—and I love that—but I wanted to bring people back into the genre who had given up. So the Assassins of Landria series is epic fantasy without the epic length. It’s ‘buddy flick’ epic fantasy—a little lighter, shorter, faster-paced and snakier.

Q: Where do you get your storylines from?
A: Getting ideas isn’t the hard part—they’re everywhere! Once I have the characters in mind, they pretty much come up with the plot!

Q: Was this book easier or more difficult to write than others?  Why?
A: Easier on some levels because there aren’t as many point-of-view characters or ‘braided’ plot threads as in the big thick books. More difficult because I still wanted to provide the ‘feel’ of epic fantasy, so the action and worldbuilding needed to be strong, but in fewer pages!

Q: Do you only write one genre?
A: No. As Gail Z. Martin, I write epic fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk and post-apocalyptic adventure. As Morgan Brice, I write urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. It’s fun getting to switch things up!
Q: Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these wordsis it Starbucks, a den, a gardenwe want to know your inner sanctum?
A: I’ve really had to learn to write just about anywhere—at various locations in my house, at airports, hotels, restaurants, and on planes, trains and ships! As long as there’s wifi for research, I’m happy!

Q: And finally, of coursewas there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer?
A: I’ve been telling stories since I was a little kid—making up characters and adventures, spinning tales about ghosts and monsters and magic. No one who knows me is surprised!

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