Author: Joseph Robert Lewis
Page count: 364
Genre: historical fantasy, action/adventure
Joseph Robert Lewis began his career writing about deadly firefights in Afghanistan and Iraq, studying cutting-edge military technologies, and chronicling personal journeys across south Asia. Now he writes novels that bring together his love of wild adventure, rich character studies, stunning scientific concepts, and the amazing history of human civilization.
Tell us about your book:
For fans of swashbuckling adventures such as The Princess Bride and The Three Musketeers:
When they tried to conquer the New World, the Espani lost everything: soldiers, ships, wealth, and even their faith. But Don Lorenzo Quesada believes an ancient holy relic will restore his country to prosperity and honor, unless the military finds it first. Accompanied by his best fencing students, his Incan wife, and her sabre-toothed cat, Lorenzo races across his wintry homeland through a gauntlet of blood-thirsty assassins, undead demons, and giant beasts to recover the sacred skyfire stone.
But when the stone is stolen and a massive Espani warship sets sail for Marrakesh, Lorenzo must stop a war that could destroy all the nations of the Middle Sea, even if it costs him both the holy stone and his life.
How long did it take to write the book?
It took a little less than four months to develop and research the concept, write the draft, revise, circulate to readers, revise, edit, and publish.
What inspired you to write the book?
Well, it’s a sequel to my steampunk adventure The Burning Sky, so my first inspiration was a desire to shift the focus from my Industrial Age vision of Morocco to my Age of Sail vision of Spain. I wanted to tell another adventure story, but with a bit more humor and a more diverse cast than the first book. In addition to the original cast, this one features altered versions of historical characters like Dante Alighieri, Nicholas Machiavelli, Ferdinand Magellan, and Salvator Fabris. Plus, there’s a lot more sword fighting!
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
Absolutely, I researched sixteenth-century Spain extensively, including its culture, politics, religion, military, technology, and even local superstitions. This story is fairly straightforward and episodic, so I took my time weaving in elements from history and mythology to enrich this alternate world and to throw as many monkey wrenches at my heroes as possible. From there, it was just a lot of fun writing the story itself.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
Mostly, I hope readers enjoy the escapism and adventure and excitement, as well as the humor and diverse cast of characters. On a deeper note, I hope readers appreciate the complex points of view that the characters represent in terms of culture, religion, and politics as they discuss issues of violence, war, and death. But mostly the humor!
Where can we go to buy your book?
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Home page: http://josephrobertlewis.wordpress.com/books/halcyon-2-the-broken-sword/
Author’s site: http://www.josephrobertlewis.com/
Excerpt from book:
The rapier sliced through his right sleeve and seared the flesh of his sword arm even as he tried to parry. Lorenzo fell over the frozen wheel rut as he clamped his left hand over the cut. Fabris struck again and the hidalgo watched his espada fly across the road and clatter against the frozen face of a snow drift. The cold of the road beneath him stabbed up through his heavy coat to sting his legs and back as the Italian stood over him, his rapier hanging at his side.
Fabris exhaled, his breath dancing and swirling in the cold night air. “And where is your God now, Don Lorenzo?”
Lorenzo shrugged. “Everywhere, nowhere. Same as always. He hasn’t written lately. Some people are beginning to worry, actually.”
Salvator snorted. “And what does a man of God think at a moment like this? Do you curse your lord and savior for abandoning you, for spurning your devotion? Or do you cling to your sad faith right to the last moment, praying for the heavens to open and a host of angels to save your worthless skin?”
Lorenzo shook his head slowly. God was the last thing on his mind. He kept picturing Qhora sitting by the fire, waiting for him to come home alive. And his students waiting for him to come striding through the door to tell them all was well. And poor Enrique with his cheeks weeping dark blood. And even the foreigners who had trusted him to lead them all to safety.
But mostly Qhora. Tiny, beautiful Qhora. As powerful and fearless as she was fragile and alone. And with him dead, she would be utterly alone.
If only. Lorenzo winced. If only we had had a child, this might not be so horrible. At least I would have fulfilled the Mother’s commandment, and left someone behind with Qhora.
He said, “No, not at all. I just—” A movement in the shadows off to the right behind the Italian caught Lorenzo’s eye. “—I just find myself feeling very grateful. Grateful for all I’ve been given. For my life, my health, my friends. And for cats.”
“Cats?” Salvator frowned.
“Yes.” Lorenzo smiled faintly. “I’m feeling profoundly grateful for cats right now.”
Behind the Italian, Atoq padded softly across the covered bridge, his massive body weighing heavily on the old, frozen planks. The wood creaked and groaned with his every step. Salvator stepped back from the hidalgo to look over his shoulder at the enormous beast walking toward him. Atoq’s claws clicked on the ice and his long white fangs shone in the starlight as he emerged from the bridge and proceeded up the road.
“What the hell is that?” Salvator pointed his rapier at the sabre-toothed monster.
Lorenzo stood up slowly, still clutching his right arm. “Call it fate. Call it luck. Call it a heavenly host. My wife calls him Atoq.”