Book Tour: Killian the Assassin + Giveaway
|This is the first book I have read from this author. Yet, it will not be the last one that I read. Instantly, I was engaged in the storyline. This book is a very good start to this series. It moved at a fast pace with plenty of action. That is what is needed for book one in a series is to grab the reader's attention and keep them engaged to want to continue reading the rest of the books in the series.
Killian is a man of mystery. Yet, I would expect this from an assassin. However, as the story progressed some of that mystery was revealed, which just made me that more intrigued by Killian. Lady Pearl is not a wilting heroine. She is strong and has a good mind. Where the romance was concerned, it was a bit of a cat and mouse game that did lead into some spicy moments. Readers of fantasy books will want to check out this one.
The young nobleman’s companions followed their friend through the tavern doors. Shoulder to shoulder, they stood swaying before the challenger. There were five of the virile youths, each well-armed, and each drunk enough not to recognize the danger they were in.
The street was wide, and the front of the tavern was well-lit with lamps and torches. The people circled them and one of the musicians edged forward. His eyes gleamed with bloodlust as he began to pound a drum. The beat repeated bum bum bumpum bum bumpum bumpum bum bum. The priestesses threw magic herbs into the air and one of them began to chant, calling on the gods of war. The sounds echoed out into the night. Killian’s blood was fired by the pagan drumming and the chanting of the priestesses. They swayed their hips, whipped their long hair, and undulated suggestively, all because of the promise of bloodshed. The duel Killian orchestrated to complete the assassination he had been hired for, turned into a sacrificial ceremony.
Killian never understood why some towns on Celtica still followed the old ways. This had happened to him many times in the past all over the continent of Celtica. More than once when he dueled this ritual took place if one of the priestesses or druids were nearby. They always seemed to appear out of nowhere. Killian neither stopped nor welcomed the practice, as it was part of Celtica, and he gave into it. The superstitions of the people demanded it. Something about it was primal and raw, just like the fighting. It stirred his blood, as did the prospect of danger and the scent of blood in the air. The drum repeated bum bum bumpum bum bumpum bumpum bum bum. It felt as if the old gods gathered around them, waiting for blood to spill.
Killian surveyed the group of drunken noblemen with cold blue eyes and tried to hide the grin that was curling his lips. Not that he enjoyed making fools out of drunkards, but he enjoyed taking their money, and there were five of them. Challenging fools, too drunk to know better, kept his pockets filled with gold. Never once in all his years of dueling for money had he ever lost a fight, and it fed the bloodlust that was part of who he was. The excuse of a duel presented the opportunity to commit the assassination he was hired for. The pagan beat continued, urging Killian on.
The patrons of the Ram’s Horn Tavern, who rushed out to witness the duel, formed a wide circle. The barmaids came out with a few of the other women who were curious enough to watch the drama of a duel unfold. Many of them swayed to the beat of the drum and answered the priestesses’ chanting.
The proprietor of the Ram’s Horn Tavern came rushing out, begged the men to shake hands, be friends and return inside to their ale. His appeals fell uselessly on the young noblemen’s drunken ears and Killian’s as well. The pagan drumming in his veins would not let him stop now. He was ready. The ale he drank did not affect his fighting skill. Regardless, no matter how much he drank, he could never get drunk, so this was going to be easy. Though he was sober and could forget the insults he had instigated, he seemed angry enough to let the duel continue for his profit.
“Ah sir, please let us return to more peaceful pursuits. I’m sure the young sirs meant no offense.” The proprietor’s frantic entreaties were ignored. “Boys will be boys!” He gave a nervous laugh. Whether his concern was for Killian, or the five young men, was unclear.
More people joined the crowd coming from down the street to watch the ensuing duel. They created a circle around the duelers, watching for the fight to begin. The flickering torches added heat and excitement to the primitive scene. The beat of the drum echoed, bum bum bumpum bum bumpum bumpum bum bum.
“You are all quite drunk, so I will allow you the opportunity to apologize to me for the insults you have given, pay me a large purse of gold for the damage done and I will let you go on your way unharmed,” Killian shouted at the young men.
“Who do you think you’re speaking to!” One of the other young men staggered forward. “There are five of us and only…” he squinted one eye and peered, “one of you! You can’t take us all!”
“You’re all drunk and stupid is what you are. It would almost be unfair of me to fight you, but you have ruined my expensive boots and insulted my honor. Now, pay me gold or pay with your lives!”
The young noblemen blustered indignantly and drew their swords. Maybe it was the cold night air or the threat of death that sobered them a little, but they straightened and took fighting stances while attempting to look as threatening as possible.
“Last chance boys…pay up and be on your way, or I promise none of you will live to see the sunrise.”
Drawing his sword, Killian’s eyes were glistening with anticipation, and he was ready to fight. Everything came into sharp focus and his hearing distinguished several night sounds over the endless drumming. Crickets sang and a horse whinnied in the distance. Killian’s eyesight sharpened on his foes and his intended victim. The drum beat on. The priestesses chanted. Torches smoked and the night wind stilled.
The large crowd was anxious, and the proprietor was wringing his hands. No doubt worried about the tabs that were not going to get paid if any of the young noblemen were killed, or if people sneaked off without paying. Killian glanced over and saw Lord Doyle Warfield had exited the Ram’s Horn Tavern with his guards and was watching the fighters with intense interest.
There must have been an unseen signal because, all at once, the young noblemen rushed Killian with shouts and waving swords. Even though the blades were waved by drunken fools, they were still sharp and deadly. However, Killian was always prepared and could not be caught off guard. Then it happened. He struck with skilled precision. Blocking the first attack, he knocked away two swords coming toward his throat. His movements were almost a dance, slash, strike, and stab. The metallic clang of sword on sword rang out, accompanying the sound of the drums. Sidestepping, he leaned to his left, blocked a downward strike with his sword, and slashed out with the dagger in his left hand. Another sword block and a kick to the belly, and the first fool went down groaning. As he fell, Killian expertly slashed and severed the boy’s purse dangling from his belt. It fell to the dirt.
For the next assailant, it was a punch to the jaw. Killian had a vicious left hook that connected hard with the young man’s nose, which gave a satisfying crack. With the follow-through, the dagger still in his grip, sliced a shallow gash into the boy’s face. The three that were left crowded forward, fouling each other as they tried to stab and hack at Killian. One had to fall back, so offset by drunkenness, as not to be much help. Killian’s sword sang and he unarmed another attacker before engaging with the next. So, the fight went into a whirl of striking sword blows that could not be met by his speed and skill. Each youth eventually fell. The one he had been hired to kill died quickly.
Killian decided against killing the rest of the fools and had them unarmed, wounded, and unconscious on the ground. It had happened so fast that the crowd barely had time to cheer and bet on the outcome. Sheathing his sword and not even breathing hard, Killian surveyed his fallen foes with disgust, then went to gather his winnings. Rummaging through each youth’s coat and belt, he confiscated their money pouches. Later, he would collect his fee from the man who hired him for the assassination. It had been too easy.
About the AuthorWendy L. Anderson is a Colorado native and mother of two boys. She has an English Degree from Regis University and writes books, short stories and poetry. Wendy is a devout reader of the classics, fantasy, sci-fi and historical fiction. She has decided it is time to write down the fantasies from her own mind. Writing about everything from fantastical worlds to the stuff of her dreams she takes her stories along interesting paths while portraying characters and worlds she sees in her mind’s eye. Her goal is to deviate from common themes, write in original directions and transport her reader to the worlds of her creation.
Can’t get enough? Read the Kingdom of Jior epic fantasy series:
Of Demon Kind
Redemption of the Fallen
Heirs of Jior
Iron and the Arrow
The Last Ny-Failen
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