Nine months have passed since Brynne Sullyan helped forge an alliance between the realms of Albia and Andaryon. A fragile peace reigns as both sides recover from the events of the previous year. Then mysterious raiders strike Andaryon villages.
Attempts are made on the life of Albia’s High King. As Sullyan scrambles to find those responsible, unseen enemies threaten to pull apart everything she has worked for, including her marriage.
The alliance begins to crumble, and Sullyan finds herself caught between two monarchs: the king she’s sworn allegiance to, and the man she loves as a father. To betray either one would break her heart, but if conflict is inevitable, she must make a choice…
Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. Cas supports many animal charities and owns two rescue dogs. She has a large collection of cacti and loves gardening. She is also a folk singer/songwriter and is currently writing and recording nine folk-style songs to accompany each of her fantasy books. You can listen to and download all the songs from her website: www.caspeace.com
See the video of her performing live at the King’s Envoy book launch here: http://www.caspeace.com/cas-
The Challenge is the first installment from Cas Peace’s series, Circle of Conspiracy. It is, also, my first introduction this author’s work. It will not be the last. I have to admit I am not a huge fan of the fantasy genre but I did enjoy this story. I found it to be magical, adventurous and intriguing.
I give The Challenge four stars. I look forward to the next book in the Circle of Conspiracy series.
The Circle is the second book from Cas Peace’s series, Circle of Conspiracy. I enjoyed the first book, The Challenge, and this one does not disappoint. If it was possible, I thought this one was more exciting. So much so that it kept my attention from beginning to end. I could not keep turning the pages.
I give The Circle four and a half stars. I look forward to the next book in the Circle of Conspiracy series.
The third installment from the Circle of Conspiracy series, The Full Circle, is the best I have the series to date. I thought this addition to the series was a great read. It makes me hope there will more books in the future.
Excerpt from Book 1 The Challenge:
Bull planted himself in front of Robin. “You young idiot! What the Void do you think you’re playing at?”
“Nothing,” spat Robin, his own temper rising. “I’m playing at nothing, Bull. Ask Sullyan what she’s playing at. Ask Taran!”
“I would, only you’ve driven him out, haven’t you? Well, I hope you’re proud of yourself. Oh, come on, Robin! Can’t you see you’re mistaken? If you believe for one minute that either of them would betray you like that, then you’ve no more sense than a mule’s backside!”
Robin rounded on him. “What do you know about it? I’ve spoken to people who saw them, Bull! It’s not just hearsay or gossip. This is fact.”
“Oh, fact, is it? Says who? Denny? And what exactly did he see, Robin? Two good friends working together, that’s what. That’s why she took Taran with her, for the gods’ sake! What did you expect her to do, ignore him? She would have behaved the same way if I’d gone, do you realize that? Would you have believed the rumors if it had been me instead of Taran? Because I love her just as much as he does, I can tell you that! And I know for a fact that she loves me too, because she’s told me often enough.
“But she doesn’t feel the same way about either of us as she does about you, gods help her! You know that perfectly well, yet this is how you repay her. One stupid little rumor from a man who’s bored out of his brain, a man who knows no better than to elaborate on some overheard, spiteful comment, and you throw away everything you’ve achieved over the last four years like a broken bowstring. Not to mention the love and trust of your life mate! What kind of a man does that make you?”
Robin looked as if he wanted to strike Bull, and the big man would almost have welcomed a fight. He thought he could probably still beat Robin in a fistfight, owing to his greater mass and size, but even if he couldn’t, it would give the young man a chance to work some of the poison out of his system. The Major controlled his fury with a huge effort, although his fists remained balled. Ignoring Bull’s question, he flung one of his own.
“If they’re so innocent, Bull, why did she turn her powers on me? Tell me that, if you can! If that isn’t a betrayal of trust, I don’t know what is.”
Bull shook his head. He was still dismayed at how overwrought Sullyan must have been to forget herself so thoroughly. He retorted forcefully. “You drove her to that! Something else to be proud of. You’re the only one who’s ever succeeded in making her lose control. That alone should tell you the depth of her feelings!”
He turned his head briefly before facing the furious young man again. Dropping the anger, he tried appealing to Robin through sadness. “Dammit, Robin, she’s hurting so badly. She needs her friends around her right now. We all do. Artesans should stick together at times like this, not tear each other apart.”
Robin’s hand cut the air in a desperate gesture. “Well, I’m hurting too,” he cried, a note of hysteria creeping into his voice. “Only no one seems to care about that! You’re all turning against me and I’ve done nothing wrong. If all you can do is blame and berate me, then I’m better off without you. Just leave me alone in future.”
He flung himself away and stalked off, but not before Bull saw the tears glittering in his eyes.
Top Ten List
1) Anthing to do with animals, especially dogs and horses. My favorite horse breed is the Friesian, which is why I put one in my novels. I also own two rescue dogs and support many animal charities.
2) Singing, especially folk-style songs. I also sing in my local church choir.
4) Dragons and (I have to admit!) unicorns. I have collected figurines and statues of dragons and unicorns since I was small and have a vast collection, some of which live outdoors. But I don’t like “twee”, only ones that look like they could be real.
5) Reading, especially fantasy and sci-fi.
6) Country walks.
7)All wildlife, especially butterflies. I used to breed and release UK varieties, and belong to the Butterfly Conservation Society.
8) Did I mention chocolate?
9) Spending time with family members. Author Interview
- How do you spend your free time?
- I have two rescue Lurcher dogs, Milly and Milo, so I love going for country walks. I also love gardening and have a large collection of unusual cacti. Singing is another love of mine and I have written and recorded some folk-style songs that appear in my books. They can be found on my website, www.caspeace.com
- What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
- Confidence that my writing is any good. I always write for myself, so having the confidence to show it to other people is a struggle. I’m always surprised when complete strangers like or identify with my writing, and that gives me a huge boost. All the lovely reviews I’ve received for my Artesans series, plus emails from fans, helped me overcome that initial lack of confidence. Now I just write what I want and don’t worry so much about whether it’s “good” right from the start. I know I can always edit and improve.
- When did you first realize you were an author?
- I never intended to become an author, I was only writing as a hobby, so I guess it was when I decided I had to take the plunge and show my first “real” piece of writing to my husband. He read it and really loved it, despite not being a fan of fantasy novels, and that gave me the confidence to send it out to agents and publishers. Although I received many rejections before finding my first publisher, I also received much encouragement and many personally-written comments. That’s when I realized these writing professionals were treating me as a serious author.
- What kind of music do you listen to while you write?
- I enjoy a wide variety of musical genres, and I love to choose music that suits what I’m writing. My Artesans series is set in a medieval-style world, so I listened to lots of medieval-style chants and plainsong while writing it.
- What is your favorite part of writing?
- I don’t ever plot my novels, so I love to just sit down (with a pen, I can’t type fast enough!) and simply write what’s in my mind, letting the ideas flow as they will. Then I really enjoy the editing process; going back over what I’ve written and polishing it.
- What is the most important thing in your life and why?
- My family. I very recently lost my father at the age of 92 and was so grateful to have a close-knit family that helped each other through the difficult times. My parents have been extremely supportive of me throughout my life, and they and my husband were encouraging throughout my writing journey. I love them all dearly.
- If you could go out to lunch with any literary character, which would it be?
- It would have to be Richard Sharpe from the Bernard Cornwell “Sharpe” series. Not only is Sean Bean (who plays Sharpe) extremely handsome, but I also based my High King Elias Rovannon on Sean’s portrayal of Richard Sharpe. I would love to find out what he thought of Elias!
- Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
- Wow – yes! I learned what fun it is to be completely in control of your own world. That’s why I love fantasy so much – ANYTHING can happen! But I love making my worlds and characters feel as credible as possible; I want readers to imagine my characters could walk into a room at any second and be as real as you or me – only maybe more so!
- Do you have any advice for other writers?
- I have a panel stuck to the wall above my laptop. I can’t remember its author now, but the advice it shows has served me well. It says: “If you ever suffer moments of self-doubt, remember that every successful writer was once where you are now. Nothing is wasted. Every word you write, every page, every chapter, holds a lesson. Success may be just around the next corner, and you may be closer to it than you think. Hold the faith – you just have to keep going, keep growing, keep writing fresh words.”