Morning my lovelies. Today I’m on the blog tour for Empire’s Daughter by Marian L Thorpe, and am delighted to bring you an extract and giveaway!
For twenty generations, the men and women of The Empire have lived separately, the women farming and fishing, the men fighting wars. But in the spring of Lena’s seventeenth year, an officer rides into her village with an unprecedented request. The Empire is threatened by invasion, and to defend it successfully, women will need to fight.
When the village votes in favour, Lena and her partner Maya are torn apart. Maya chooses exile rather than battle, Lena chooses to fight. As Lena learns the skills of warfare and leadership, she discovers that choices have consequences that cannot be foreseen, and that her role in her country’s future is greater than she could have dreamed.
This excerpt from Empire’s Daughter is from Chapter One, introducing the main character Lena, her partner Maya, and giving the reader both a little information about the structure of this society, and a hint of the conflict ahead.
My aunt Tali had come down to the harbour to collect fresh crab for supper. She helped us unload the catch, sort the damaged traps onto the jetty, and sluice down the deck of Dovekiebefore she mentioned the arrival.
“There’ll be a meeting tonight, Lena,” she said, sorting through the catch for the largest crabs.
I looked up from the trap I was examining. “A meeting? All of us?” I frowned. Only a major event would justify a full meeting outside of the usual schedule. If something minor but urgent needed attention, the council leaders—my mother, our Aunt Sara, and Gille the herdswoman—met to mediate or decide.
“What’s happened?” Maya asked.
Tali stood, her basket full of crabs. “Take this, Pel, and go home. I’ll be there soon.” Pel, tall and strong for his six years, took the heavy basket and started up the hill to the village. Women’s business held no interest for him. Tali watched him for a minute before turning back to us.
“What’s happened?” Maya repeated.
“We have a prospective tenant for the forge,” Tali said.
I looked at her in puzzlement. This was expected. After burying Xani, our metalworker, in the cold of last midwinter, we had heard of a young smith looking for work at Delle village, several day’s ride to the north. She had just finished her apprenticeship and their forge had no place for her. We had sent a message north in the saddlebags of a returning soldier; her arrival was expected any day.
“Of course,” said Maya. “What’s her name?”
“Is there a problem?” I asked.
Tali grinned, her teeth white against her tanned face. “Oh, there’s a problem,” she said. “Our prospective new metalworker is neither from Delle, nor newly-qualified. As a guess, I’d say our new smith brings thirty years of experience—military experience. And his name is Casyn.”
I stared at my aunt, my hands tightening on the crab trap. Maya gasped. All men left the villages at seven to enter the Empire’s military schools, spending their adult years serving on the frontier. In retirement, they raised horses or grew grapes or taught in the schools, finishing out their days with whatever part of their regiment had survived. Twice a year, war and distance allowing, they came to the villages for Festival, to be provisioned, to gather food and cloth and wine, to make love and father children, to give and carry messages. Festival lasted a week, and then they left. This pattern had shaped our lives for generations. I shook my head. “But he can’t.”
Tali shrugged her narrow shoulders. “That’s to be decided at meeting. He was born here—he’s Xani’s son, actually, so that may give him double claim.” She bent to pick up a broken crab trap. “Are these to go to Siane? Let’s get the catch into the holding pools and take these up. If we stand here talking much longer, you won’t have time to clean up or eat properly before meeting, and I want to get those crabs into boiling water.”
about the author
Writer of historical fantasy and urban fantasy for adults. The Empire’s Legacy series explores gender expectations, the conflicts between personal belief and societal norms, and how, within a society where sexuality is fluid, personal definitions of love and loyalty change with growth and experience.
The world of Empire’s Legacy was inspired by my interest in the history of Britain in the years when it was a province of the Roman Empire called Britannia, and then in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire. In another life, I would have been a landscape archaeologist, and landscape is an important metaphor in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy and in all my writing, fiction and non-fiction.
I live in Canada for most of the year, England for the rest, have one cat, a husband, and when I’m not writing or editing, I’m birding.
Win all 3 paperbacks of the Empire’s Legacy trilogy
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tour hosted by
Rachel’s Random Resources
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour and to Marian and the publisher for sharing an extract with us.
Good luck in the giveaway!!