Thursday, October 23, 2014

"The Falcon Throne"

Karen Miller writes speculative fiction. Mostly of the epic historical kind, but she’s also written Star Wars and Stargate novels and under the pen-name K.E. Mills writes the Rogue Agent series, about a wizard with special skills who works for his government under unusual circumstances.

Miller applied the Page 69 Test to The Falcon Throne, book 1 of The Tarnished Crown series, and reported the following:
From page 69:
'So,' said Harald, stirring. 'Cousin Roric.' The hall's warm light revealed a sheen of sweat, broke sudden upon his forehead. Buried deep within his steady voice, a tremor. But was it fear or rage? There was no way to tell. 'I should've expected this. A wise man knows that sooner or later a cur dog will bite the feeding hand. But love closed my eyes. And now here you are, betraying what little noble blood you possess that's not tainted rotten by the whore who whelped you.'

Humbert muttered a curse. 'Roric, don't -'

'Peace, my lord,' he said mildly, though his heart pounded. 'My mother is dead a score of years. Harald's slighting words can't hurt her. Or me.'

Harald laughed. 'No? Roric, I have more ways to hurt you than there are spines on a hedgehog and I'll enjoy showing you each and every one.'

'Be quiet, Harald,' said Vidar, stepping forward. 'We're not here for a taunting, but to -'

'To disrupt the gaiety of my court!' Harald said, his voice sharply risen. 'And I promise you, I am mightily displeased!'

'Ho, are you?' Humbert retorted, scowling. 'Well, so are we displeased, Harald, with far more grievous cause than you. Now, marry your teeth together a time and hear what's to be done with Berold's duchy, that you held in trust and have treated worse than a poxed drab.'

Still holding Argante's slender hand, drawing her with him, Harald retreated to an ornate chair placed nearby upon a dais. With Argante haughty beside him, her fingers fiercely clasping his, he sat.
Here, then, is the inciting incident in The Falcon Throne, book 1 of The Tarnished Crown series. Harald has been a terrible Duke of Clemen: abusive, greedy, indifferent to common decency, riding roughshod over the rights of his barons. To save the duchy, and themselves, those barons - led by Humbert - have made a pact to support the overthrow of their duke and in his place install his bastard cousin, Roric. It's a desperate move, born of desperation and rage - and it might have worked. Only Clemen's barons have made two serious mistakes. They've under-estimated the threat facing them from the neighbouring duchy of Harcia ... and they've over-estimated Roric's suitability as Harald's replacement.

The Tarnished Crown is an epic fantasy series and The Falcon Throne is its opening act. It tells the story of three duchies and the struggles of their rulers to maintain power in the face of opposition both human and supernatural. It's also the story of four families whose fates are more closely entwined than even they realise. Loyalties are forged, and tested, and broken. Good men and women find themselves acting without honour, while bad men and women are seemingly rewarded for their sins. There's courage and cowardice and desperation and cold-blooded calculation ... and not one of them knows they're being played like pawns on a chess board.
Learn more about the author and her work at Karen Miller's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Falcon Throne.

--Marshal Zeringue