Monday, May 15, 2017

Candace Robb's Kate Clifford Mystery Series Book Blast

Please join author Candace Robb as her Kate Clifford Mystery Series is featured around the blogosphere, from May 9-24.

The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb

Paperback Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Pegasus Books
Paperback; 256 Pages
Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book One
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller



Expertly recreating the social and political upheavals of late medieval Europe, Candace Robb introduces a new series starring Kate Clifford, a woman forged on the warring northern marches of fourteenth century England.

Political unrest permeates York at the cusp of the fifteenth century, as warring factions take sides on who should be the rightful king--Richard II or his estranged, powerful cousin in exile, Henry Bolingbroke. Independent minded twenty-year-old Kate Clifford is struggling to dig out from beneath the debt left by her late husband. Determined to find a way to be secure in her own wealth and establish her independence in a male dominated society, Kate turns one of her properties near the minster into a guest house and sets up a business. In a dance of power, she also quietly rents the discreet bedchambers to the wealthy, powerful merchants of York for nights with their mistresses.

But the brutal murder of a mysterious guest and the disappearance of his companion for the evening threatens all that Kate has built. Before others in town hear word of a looming scandal, she must call upon all of her hard-won survival skills to save herself from ruin.

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Praise for The Service of the Dead

“Robb’s deft hand creates a realistic political and commercial climate as King Richard II’s reign draws to a close in 1399. Comparable to Sara Poole’s Poisoner mysteries and Ariana Franklin’s Adelia Aguilar series, with its strong political setting and multiple plot strands.” (Booklist)

“A historical novel that deftly captures politics and interactions between different social interests in late medieval England…against the backdrop of social pressures and military actions, Kate’s character and world shine and draw readers into her choices and challenges.” (California Bookwatch)

“Kate Clifford is a wonderful creation, hard-nosed in some respects, compassionate and caring on the other. I look forward to the next installment of this delightful series!” (Historical Novels Review)

“The novel resonates with its compelling portrayal of an England on the brink of crisis.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The Service of the Dead is a tasty brew of political intrigue, larceny, and murder set within the walls of medieval York. Candace Robb’s latest historical mystery is steeped in the atmosphere of the late fourteenth century, and in Kate Clifford she’s given us a no-nonsense heroine and sleuth who is not only smart, but fierce when those she cares about are threatened. You’re going to love her.” (Patricia Bracewell, author of the Emma of Normandy Trilogy)

“The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb is a strikingly well-crafted novel that is a compelling page-turner from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for community library historical fiction collections.” (Midwest Book Review)

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A Twisted Vengeance by Candace Robb

Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Pegasus Books
Hardcover; 400 Pages
Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book Two
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller



As the fourteenth century comes to a close, York seethes on the brink of civil war-and young widow Kate Clifford, struggling to keep her businesses afloat, realizes that her mother is harboring a dangerous secret…

1399. York is preparing for civil war, teeming with knights and their armed retainers summoned for the city’s defense. Henry of Lancaster is rumored to have landed on the northeast coast of England, not so far from York, intent on reclaiming his inheritance-an inheritance which his cousin, King Richard, has declared forfeit.

With the city unsettled and rife with rumors, Eleanor Clifford’s abrupt return to York upon the mysterious death of her husband in Strasbourg is met with suspicion in the city. Her daughter Kate is determined to keep her distance, but it will not be easy-Eleanor has settled next door with the intention of establishing a house of beguines, or poor sisters. When one of the beguines is set upon in the night by an intruder, Kate knows that for the sake of her own reputation and the safety of her young wards she must investigate.

From the first, Eleanor is clearly frightened yet maintains a stubborn silence. The brutal murder of one of Eleanor’s servants leads Kate to suspect that her mother’s troubles have followed her from Strasbourg. Is she secretly involved in the political upheaval? When one of her wards is frightened by a too-curious stranger, Kate is desperate to draw her mother out of her silence before tragedy strikes her own household.


"Lovers of Shakespeare’s Richard II will find Robb’s intricate sequel to 2016’s The Service of the Dead a particular treat, as it charts the course of Richard’s downfall and his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke’s rise through the fears and uncertainties of the residents of the city of York in July 1399. These anxieties are worsened by a series of strange deaths connected to the extended family of Kate Clifford, a fierce young widow struggling to cope with not only her own household of jostling servants and the recently arrived illegitimate children of her late husband but also the return of her quarrelsome mother, Eleanor, from Strasbourg with religious women in tow. The character of Clifford is compelling and finely drawn, and for those readers who are patient enough to manage an unusually large number of secondary characters, the answers to a series of mysteries, starting with the reason for an intruder’s attack on a beguine (or poor sister) in the middle of the night, are highly satisfying." - Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

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About the Author


Candace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study

the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer. Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published historical novels about two fascinating women she encountered while researching the Owen Archer mysteries, Alice Perrers (THE KING’S MISTRESS) and Joan of Kent (A TRIPLE KNOT). 

Candace was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she and her husband love for its combination of natural beauty and culture. Candace enjoys walking, hiking, and gardening, and practices yoga and vipassana meditation. She travels frequently to Great Britain. 

For more information, please visit Candace Robb's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, May 9
Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 10
The Reading Queen

Thursday, May 11
Carole Rae's Random Ramblings
The Paperback Princess

Friday, May 12
Jo's Book Blog

Saturday, May 13
The Never Ending Book

Monday, May 15
A Book Geek

Tuesday, May 16
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, May 17
Book Nerd

Friday, May 19
Books, Dreams, Life

Saturday, May 20
Buried Under Books

Monday, May 22
The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 23
The Lit Bitch
A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, May 24
T's Stuff


Monday, May 8, 2017

Outremer blog tour - Extract

Outremer by D.N. Clark
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication date: May 9, 2017


Outremer I
Who Controls The Past Controls The Future
 An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.
Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.
Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.
Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.
The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

About the author: After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.




Extract                                                                  

This scene follows immediately after the original founding knights of the Templar's locate and enter a secret chamber beneath Jerusalem and recover ancient artefacts in 1109 AD.

Megalithic Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni, Malta, 1109 AD.

    No sooner had the Count knelt down to pick up the ornate necklace in Jerusalem, when at that exact same moment, across the Mediterranean Sea upon a raised artificial plateau near the shore on Malta’s East coast at the site of a buried Megalithic Hypogeum, a tall, clean-shaven middle aged looking man dressed in a full-length white mantle stood motionless beneath a single standing, large and very ancient Holm Oak tree. The tree shaded an even more ancient stone burial mound. The man sensed something, like a soft wave of water gently hitting him. The setting sun was reflecting hues of crimson and red off the white undersides of the Oaks leaves to beautiful effect. His long tied back hair matched the white of his clothes. His eyes were closed tightly, his hands resting upon a staff as he breathed in deliberately slowly, held his breath for a moment, and then exhaled even more slowly. A slight breeze blew his mantle tunic top open revealing a black and yellow striped cord with a hexagonal pendant replete with a depiction of a stylised bee hanging around his neck.



Fig 1:

    The staff was unusual in that it had a dark polished metallic type horse shoe at the top positioned above a round ball of identical colour. As the Sun sank slowly over the horizon, it cast long shadows across the small open clearing within the woods where the great Oak tree stood separate from the rest. The round ball section of the staff appeared to glow from the inside and a pale bluish green light began to emanate from it shining through his fingers. The man opened his eyes wide revealing large piercing blue eyes that reflected the silhouette image of the tree he stood before. His gaze slowly moved downwards to look at the small figure of a young blonde haired girl of no more than four years of age approach him. Her smile was mesmerising as she stood before him and looked up. He sighed softly and returned the smile. She outstretched her hand for his and when his hand met hers, he knelt down and looked intently into her clear youthful blue eyes.
    “We are but the last few of our kind! You cannot understand me, nor grasp what I say to you yet, but now, as my work can again continue, so too is your journey just beginning my child; so come, we have much to do,” he said softly.
    The little girl squeezed his hand tightly, and simply smiled back at him.

Port of La Rochelle, France, Melissae Inn, Spring 1191.

    A tall figure cloaked from head to toe in a dark grey, almost black, ankle length over tunic with a bright blue sash wrapped around his middle and over his right shoulder stood with his back to the main entrance door of the two storeyed Melissae Inn. A former manor house, it was situated alone at the top of a raised outlet of land that jutted into the harbour opening of the protected straits of the Pertuis d’Antioche, part of the Bay of Biscay to the south of La Rochelle. The port echoed with the sounds of traders, sailors and builders working upon the new half completed outer harbour wall and castellated towers that flanked the entrance. Several large Genoese galleys were berthed alongside Hospitaller and Templar ships along with several merchant Cog vessels; their sails were being furled away.
    With stables, a sizable bunkhouse and a natural fresh water well, it was a haven for travellers and pilgrims to stop and rest as many passed by on the path named the ‘Allee Stella Maris’ due to several myths and stories that surrounded it being named as such, which the inn fronted onto. It had commanding views north across the sheltered harbour and west overlooking the open Atlantic ocean beyond. The sun was casting its last rays on the horizon creating bright shimmering starbursts of light upon the calm waters, which silhouetted him to those inside the inn. A chilly breeze gently blew and he raised the hood up over his head. He stood a while longer gazing out towards the open ocean as raised voices and laughter filled the air with a cacophony of noise he would rather not hear. Stephan, the inn’s proprietor, exited the door looking more like a blacksmith than an innkeeper with his oversized boots and dark leather apron and sleeves rolled up on his arms. Large in both size and character, his receding ginger hair gave away his older age despite his face being youthful and kind looking.
    “I think it’s about time you came inside and warmed yourself. That wind will chill you before you realise it,” he said loudly to be heard above the noise. He wiped a small drinking goblet with a cloth as he waited for the man’s reply and adjusted a small sign that hung bearing the name of the inn and an image of a bee, a beehive and a scallop shell.
    The man raised his right hand in acknowledgement but carried on looking out across the har­bour. A horn blew in the distance and echoed out as workers constructing the harbour entrance fortifications were called to stop their day’s work. The regular and repeated thuds and metallic clanging sounds started to cease almost at once. Only the noise of several horses tied up near the inn neighing and making the odd snort as a Mareschal farrier tended them now punctured the air, plus the occasional laugh and female shriek coming from inside the inn. As the last rays of the sun set in bright crimson and orange hues on the long streaks of cloud on the horizon, the man turned slowly, pulled the hood and cloak around himself tighter and walked toward the inn’s main entrance. Built from both local sandstone blocks and with large wooden beams, the inn was a solid refuge against the bitter Atlantic winds and weather that could batter the shoreline during the winter months, but mostly the bay afforded La Rochelle a temperate climate all year, almost identical to its southern French ports on the Mediterranean. It made for an ideal location as a major Freeport for traders.