It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and His Word deeply, and when she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one.
Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.
Visit Emma Right at her home site and blog for tips and ideas about books, homeschooling, bible devotions, and author helps of various sorts: http://www.emmaright.com
and follow her on facebook emma.right.author and “like” her fan page at http://www.facebook.com/keeperofreign
Books written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people. A Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it?
For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema.
Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules doesn’t get himself killed first.
List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Emma Rightt an imprint of Telemachus Press (May 19, 2013)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
The young King grunted a response, his attention focused on the red words whispering out of his plumed pen.
Glancing at his cupbearer, he said, “I am aware, Eleazer.” His velvet lapels caught the golden gleam flickering from the lanterns hung on the columns and gave it a rich burgundy sheen.
“Perhaps the wine will help?” Eleazer poured scarlet juice into a goblet and held the fluted stem out, his eyes drawn to the highness’ pale wrist. His master’s pallid face sent a shiver up his spine, and a knot of worry formed above Eleazer’s brows. Palm clammy, he set the goblet next to his master’s arm.
The room was dim despite the golden sparkle of the dragonfly lanterns hooked to the four columns of alabaster that flanked the two draped windows. Books, their golden spines atop each other, were stacked on the mahogany table. Copper wires forming two “X”s upon each spine bound the leaves of the magnificent Books.
“The new star,” the King said, “will be birthed tomorrow, so I must finish writing the Sacred Tomes.” He paused and shot Eleazer a smile. “Why don’t you bind this remaining stack? You can include this end page I am finishing later.” He waited for Eleazer to reply, but the servant only stared at the floor. “My instructions are in the Master Books, but you must inform the others to keep the matter to yourselves.”
“I know— Gehzurolle must not find out.”
“More importantly, do not let him deceive you.”
“You are a most faithful servant—friend, Eleazer. Thank you.”
“It has been my honor, Your Highness. I should thank you.” Eleazer wanted to say more but his throat strangled the words. He swallowed hard a few times and bowed, as a sigh slipped from his lips.
“Do you comprehend my wishes?” The King’s eyes rested on Eleazer’s face.
“Completely.” Eleazer dared not add anything further lest his voice break entirely. His hands busied with the binding of the closing chapters, whilst his master penned the final paragraphs.
All those books yet not a single ink pot on that writing desk, or, on any other furniture in that library. Too soon Eleazer would have to bid his master adieu. What if he failed the King?
“Master, I wish you didn’t have to d—”
“Don’t start this again, Eleazer — no other way exists. You must trust me. If all of you heed the Words, you will end up better off.” Without looking up, the King said, “Once you’ve completed the binding you must leave me alone. I am almost finished.”
Afraid he might forget the Majesty’s visage, Eleazer’s eyes flitted to the King’s face and drank in the dark brows, the high cheekbones, the soft lips. He opened his mouth to say something, but only shook his head, bowed a fraction, and exited through the double doors.
Alone in the chamber, the King pierced his bruised vein a last time and completed the closing paragraph.
1. ONE NIGHT
The last thing Jules Blaze thought of before he closed his eyes was how he, how anyone, could undo the curse his people were under. He was in the middle of a dream, a nightmare as far as he was concerned, begging Grandpa Leroy and Grandma Bonnie not to leave, when someone banged on their front door, shaking their entire treehouse.
Who’d be crazy enough to disturb them at this hour? He sat up on his bed and cocked his head. His mother’s soft tread tap-tapped on the wood floor of their treehouse.
“Who’s there?” her muffled voice asked, harsh and whispery from sleep.
The banging stopped.
“Erin, open up.” Mr. Saul’s voice, gruff and loud, jolted the last fog of sleepiness from Jules. He peered over at his brother sleeping noiselessly in the bunk below him, and quietly slipped down the ladder. On tip toe he sneaked to the trap door opening that led down to the living room where Mr. Saul stood dripping from the rain.
“Is everything okay?” Erin said.
“Would I visit now if it were?” Saul said. Then in a gentler voice he added, “I’m sorry. Please, let’s take a seat, Erin.” He nodded at Jules who’d slipped down the pull down ladder to join them. “Jules.”
Jules thought about his father at the war front and swallowed a lump in his throat. Was this why Dad hadn’t sent any word to them for the last months? Because he couldn’t?
Saul held Erin by the arm. He led her to the dining room chairs behind the sofa covered with knitted shawls and afghan throws.
Jules trudged to the window and peered at the branches outside. The arm of the oak tree grew so thick they could easily live in it, although getting up there could be a problem, especially since he was afraid of heights. These days they didn’t even live in stone houses, or even wooden ones, unless living under a tree counted as a wooden home. Elfies lived in trees, or burrowed under rocks, in the forest of Reign.
“Take a seat, Jules.” Mr. Saul locked eyes on him for an instant. “I just received word from the river front patrol—Leroy and Bonnie’s boat capsized in the storm. They’re searching for the bodies, but it doesn’t look good.”
Erin let out a gasp and brought a fist to her mouth. “No!”
“Boat? How can they be sure it was them?” Jules leaned forward in his chair.
“Some of their belongings floated to shore, and I identified the wreck—the pieces drifted to the bank.”
Erin looked at him blankly.
Saul said, again, “The boat…was a wreck.”
“Boat?” Erin said.
“I’d loaned it to them.”
Saul looked at the ceiling. “They’d wanted to get across to Handover.”
“Handover? That’s preposterous. After telling us never to cross the river and saying how dangerous Handover is?” Erin’s voice sounded angry amidst her sobs.
Saul pushed his chair back and stood. He reached into the cloak of his pocket, brought out a few items and laid them on the dining table. “Some things to remember your folks by.” And with that he turned and stalked back out into the dripping night.
Jules stared at his grandpa’s pocket watch, the green felt hat the old man always wore, especially on damp days, and his grandma’s silk scarf she donned when the wind ruffled her snowy white hair. Erin sobbed more violently, and Jules stood behind his mother’s back, leaned over and hugged her trembling shoulders.