(Book One of the War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters)
by S.R. Cronin
GENRE: Historical Fantasy
Ryalgar, a spinster farm girl and the oldest of seven, has always preferred her studies to flirtation, yet even she finally meets her prince. Or so she thinks, until she discovers he’s already betrothed. Embarrassed, she flees her family’s farm to join the Velka, the mysterious women of the forest known for their magical powers and for living apart from men.
As a Velka, she develops her telekinesis and learns she has a talent for analyzing information. Both are going to come in handy. For she’s continued to meet her prince at the forest’s edge, thinking being his mistress isn’t such a bad deal. Then she learns more about his princely assignment. He’s tasked with training the army of Ilari to repel the feared Mongol horseman who’ve been moving eastward for years, killing all in their path. And, her prince is willing to sacrifice the outer farmlands where she grew up to these invaders, if he has to.
Ryalgar isn’t about to let that happen.
She’s got the Velka behind her now, as well as a multitude of university intellectuals, a family of tough farmers, and six sisters each with her own unique personality and talents.
Can Ryalgar organize all that into a resistance that will stop the Mongols? She thinks she can.
I tried to make conversation with Davor over a dinner the two families shared at the tavern next to the inn. Although he was polite, he showed little interest in getting to know me. That annoyed me, so I pushed him for information.
“Do you think this swarm of Mongols will attack us this winter, or wait till the next?”
He raised an eyebrow.
“I don’t generally discuss military intelligence with civilians. I’m sure you understand.”
He turned to one of his friends to talk about something else. Before he could open his mouth, I tapped him on the arm.
“Do you think the Mongols will enter through the grasslands of Biru? It’s by far the easiest way into Ilaria and word is they have horses they let graze before they attack.”
He gave me a more serious look.
“The Velka have women from all of the nichnas,” I added. “We amass our own intelligence, for our own protection. I’m sure you understand.”
His tight little smile was one of acquiescence. “Unlike some of my peers, I do respect the Velka’s abilities. But surely you women know you couldn’t be safer than you are deep in the forest of Ilari.”
He downed his last swallow of ale. I’d started him on a subject he knew well, and it seemed he couldn’t resist sharing a little more of his expertise. “I’m speaking of you and the Zurians, too, of course, because they live in the forest as well. In fact, if we Svadlu don’t handle this invasion the way we need to, the Velka and Zur could be all that’s left of Ilari once the Mongols are through with us.”
“Then we both understand how serious this is.” I gave him my brightest smile. “If the Svadlu put the entire army at the obvious entrance to the realm, we’re all safe, but only if they prevail. If they hedge their bets and keep some fighters in reserve, they’re more likely to lose the initial battle but could still protect some of the nichnas if the Mongols do get through. Just not the outer nichnas like Vinx and Biru. They’d have to give them up.”
A server set another beverage in front of him and he gave the mug an eager glance.
“Look. We’ll protect everything we can. Sacrifices may have to be made. Okay?”
With that he downed half the contents of his new mug, turned his back to me, and began to talk to one of his friends. I don’t think he realized what he’d just shared. I now knew the Svadlu were at least considering sacrificing my homeland.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how odd she is.
All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
Author Social Media Links:
Author Blog: https://sherriecronin.xyz/
Book Series Blog: https://troublesome7sisters.xyz/
S.R. Cronin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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