Talia is an assassin—and a monster; cruel beyond measure or compare, and she hates herself for it. Yet a lifetime of cruelty and torture is not somewhat that is easily overcome, however; she intends to do just that.
A ghost from a past she thought long dead and buried re-emerges in her life, and this man she thought she’d never see again promises her hope and love and most of all a chance to redeem herself.
The two find themselves both ensnared in a complicated web of politics and intrigue, and Talia realizes all too late that her own hands helped to weave it. Pitted against the very woman who trained her in the arts of murder the pair struggle to understand and to stop a plot to usurp the crown and the murders of the entire royal family.
Desperate to find allies and beset at every turn by traitors, Talia and her lover are pursued by a life she wants to leave behind and the echoes of her past which are all too quickly catching up to her.
Find it here: A Monster Born of Madness at Barnes & Noble
My sleep that night was strangely peaceful, mayhap it was having a full belly which helped me sleep, or perhaps it was that I had become so exhausted from my recent ordeal and lack of restful sleep aboard the ship that I was able to curl up in a pile of straw and find sleep so easily. At any rate the reason why I slept so soundly is largely irrelevant and it wasn’t long lived. Despite how well I slept I was awoken in a rather rough manner.
I woke to the sound of a great commotion. I sat up from where I slept, my sleep numbed mind trying desperately to make some sense of what I was seeing. An olive skinned man stood just within the threshold of the building we were housed in, the early morning light pouring in behind him. The man beat on a pot with a large spoon and shouted at us in his native tongue.
I rose from where I had been lying and watched the man through sleep clouded eyes, my mind still reeling, trying to grasp what was happening. A handful of men made their way into the building and began to gather us together. One of the men spoke to us in Ibliese, his accent was thick and it was difficult to determine what he was saying. “I am called Bagkeer. I am slave, same as you. The master of this house has sent me to feed you and make you ready for trip.”
He motioned for us to follow him outside. I was fast becoming used to following orders and did as I was instructed without question. I followed him into the daylight and the heat of the day which even at this early hour was quickly becoming oppressive. I had to squint my eyes against the sun’s light to see much of anything. Just without the stable’s doors stood two large wheeled cages. Three other men came and separated the girls from the boys so that we stood in two small clusters. The boys had the chained collars fitted around their necks and they were led off, and from here they disappear from my tale. I never saw them again, nor do I have any inclination as to what their fates were.
The man called Bagkeer helped us into the cages. We broke our fast on sweet yellow and white melons and soft purple grapes. Also they gave us two sausage links apiece and more of that grainy bread we had been served upon our arrival to the stable. And there was water. All the water anyone would ever want. I tried to ask Bagkeer what the strange humped animals were, but he just ignored me as though I hadn’t even spoken to him. The stable’s courtyard was a flurry of activity as the previously mentioned animals were hitched to the cage wagons and others were saddled and watered.
As we sat within the cages eating our morning meal, one of the women that was busying herself in courtyard tethering the odd looking animals walked past the cage I was in. When she passed us by she stopped what she was doing and began to make odd looking symbols with her hands at us then she began a slow chant in her native language that sounded almost like a song. It was strangely beautiful even though I had no idea what she was saying. I could see tears forming in her eyes, she gave Bagkeer a quick hug and then she went about her way.
My face must have been quizzical enough that it was difficult to ignore, for Bagkeer flashed us a quick toothy smile where prior to now he had been ignoring any questions we asked of him. “She prays for your deaths,” he said simply. Like that would explain everything. I was so taken aback by this that I recoiled like I had been slapped. “Better you die on your trip than you reach your destination. I pray for your deaths too. May the gods take you quickly.”