Sunday, May 14, 2023

Sunday Snippet: The Queen's Scribe by Amy Maroney #SundaySnippet #HistoricalFiction #TheCoffeePotBookClub @wilaroney @cathiedunn

The Queen’s Scribe

Sea and Stone Chronicles

by Amy Maroney


A broken promise. A bitter conflict.
And a woman’s elusive chance to love or die.

1458. Young Frenchwoman Estelle de Montavon sails to Cyprus imagining a bright future as tutor to a princess. Instead, she is betrayed by those she loves most—and forced into a dangerous new world of scheming courtiers, vicious power struggles, and the terrifying threat of war.

Determined to flee, Estelle enlists the help of an attractive and mysterious falconer. But on the eve of her escape, fortune’s wheel turns again. She gains entry to Queen Charlotta’s inner circle as a trusted scribe and interpreter, fighting her way to dizzying heights of influence. 

Enemies old and new rise from the shadows as Estelle navigates a royal game of cat and mouse between the queen and her powerful half-brother, who wants the throne for himself.

When war comes to the island, Estelle faces a brutal reckoning for her loyalty to the queen. Will the impossible choice looming ahead be her doom—or her salvation? 

With this richly-told story of courage, loyalty, and the sustaining power of love, Amy Maroney brings a mesmerizing and forgotten world to vivid life. The Queen’s Scribe is a stand-alone novel in the Sea and Stone Chronicles collection.

Summer 1457
Off the Coast of Cyprus
      The merchant galley teetered on a cresting wave and pitched forward with a sickening lurch. Estelle’s heart battered her ribs like a leashed falcon desperate to take flight. She drew in a breath, then regretted it. The air in this cramped cabin smelled of sweat and seawater, and her chest felt weighted by stones.
      Each time she opened her eyes, there was nothing but blackness, thick and cloying as syrup. Signora Rosso snored lightly beside her, oblivious to Estelle’s suffering. Surely, a night had never passed so slowly. When would dawn come? When could she wake her chaperone and escape the galley’s hold?
      The anxious thoughts came faster and faster, goading her pulse into a wild rhythm. She pressed her hands over her heart, willing it to slow.
      Calm yourself. Find the thread of a memory and pull.
      She hurtled back in time a dozen years, imagining the oak-studded hills of Auvergne, land of her birth. In her mind’s eye, she saw a young girl picking daisies in a lush meadow.
      There I am. But where’s Étienne?
      She conjured up her brother’s figure emerging from the shadow of an oak tree, racing through the waist-high grasses.
      “Come! The mare’s had her foal!”
      Estelle smiled in the dark, remembering the joyous exuberance of his shout. She made a circle of her hands, weaving together imaginary daisies. On that long-ago day, had she placed the crown of flowers upon Étienne’s head? Kept it for herself? Abandoned it in her excitement to see the newborn foal? Sleepiness crept into her mind like mist, stealthy and silent, ready to claim her.
      Then the wavering blare of a horn tore the memory into shreds. She dragged her eyelids open, anticipating the second trumpet blast, the signal that dawn had arrived.
      When it came, she said a silent prayer.
      A day’s voyage left to Cyprus, the captain said last night. Santa Maria, I beg you, protect us on these seas today.

(c) Amy Maroney. All rights reserved.

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Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an Amazon-bestselling historical mystery trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Amy’s award-winning historical adventure/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus. An enthusiastic advocate for independent publishing, Amy is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Historical Novel Society.

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