Thursday, May 29, 2014

"The Chronicle of Secret Riven"

Ronlyn Domingue is the author of The Chronicle of Secret Riven and The Mapmaker’s War, the first two books of the Keeper of Tales Trilogy. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, was published in ten languages. Her writing has appeared in New England Review, Clackamas Literary Review, New Delta Review, The Independent (UK), Border Crossing, and Shambhala Sun, as well as on, The Nervous Breakdown, and The Weeklings.

Domingue applied the Page 69 Test to The Chronicle of Secret Riven and reported the following:
First, a teaser for The Chronicle of Secret Riven: An uncanny child born to brilliant parents, befriended by a prince, mentored by a wise woman, pursued by a powerful man, Secret Riven has no idea what destiny will demand of her or the courage she must have to confront it in the Keeper of Tales Trilogy’s second book. (By the way, readers can read the trilogy out of order. The Chronicle of Secret Riven takes places 1,000 years after The Mapmaker’s War.)

This is what happens in the excerpted chapter… Zavet, Secret’s mother, tells the story of how she translated a text that no scholar had been able to decipher. At the time, Zavet was a linguistics student at a renowned high academy, and no one believed her. On page 69, she shares that her mentor finally acknowledged she was right.

Page 69 represents the novel quite well. Secret begins to speak—to people—when she’s seven years old, but she never loses the quiet, watchful nature she reveals in this part of the story. There are several mysteries surrounding her, which includes the “patron” mentioned here as well as why she and her mother have peculiar gifts with languages. And another strange manuscript will appear soon enough, one Zavet cannot turn away.

From page 69:
She felt a lurch in her belly that pulled at her tongue. She understood Zavet’s certainty very well. Secret knew the language of creatures and plants. Why and how that was so was a mystery to her, as unexplained as her mother’s faculty with human languages. The connection Secret made between their abilities disturbed more than pleased her.

“And what did you receive tonight?” Bren asked after Zavet paused long enough to indicate her tale was done.

“An apology in his quivering hand. More than twenty years later, I’ve been proven right. Other scholars came to the same conclusion. They had additional tablets, too, more discovered in the same area. No mention of the people, however. The script might have been lost to them. Language and symbols have a way of becoming obsolete.”

“Is that a manuscript he sent as well?” Bren asked.

Zavet patted the unbound pages. “Yes. Unusual though. He sent a transcribed copy even though he knows I prefer to work with the original. The text must be considered highly valuable.”

“But you will decline and return it,” Bren said.

Secret glanced at her father. His voice was quiet but commanding.

“Of course, Bren. I haven’t forgotten the terms of the agreement with the patron,” Zavet said.


“Although I am quite tempted.”


Zavet walked over to him and swept one hand against the back of his head as she picked up his dinner plate. He brushed her fingers with his as she stepped away.

Whatever matter arose between them had settled quickly.

“Finished your dinner?” Zavet asked Secret.

Copyright © 2014 by Ronlyn Domingue. With the permission of the publisher, Atria Books.
Learn more about the book and author at Ronlyn Domingue's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Mapmaker's War.

My Book, The Movie: The Mapmaker's War.

Writers Read: Ronlyn Domingue.

--Marshal Zeringue