Thursday, 10 October 2019

Empire’s Daughter by Marian L Thorpe

Title: Empire’s Daughter
Series: Empire's Legacy Book 1
Author: Marian L Thorpe
Genre: Alternative universe medieval adventure
Publication Date: Feb 2015

For twenty generations, the men and women of The Empire have lived separately, the women farming and fishing, the men fighting wars. But in the spring of Lena’s seventeenth year, an officer rides into her village with an unprecedented request. The Empire is threatened by invasion, and to defend it successfully, women will need to fight.

When the village votes in favour, Lena and her partner Maya are torn apart. Maya chooses exile rather than battle, Lena chooses to fight. As Lena learns the skills of warfare and leadership, she discovers that choices have consequences that cannot be foreseen, and that her role in her country’s future is greater than she could have dreamed.


This excerpt from Empire’s Daughter is from Chapter One, giving a little history of the society, and introducing the major conflict of the book. Prior to this Lena, the protagonist, and her partner Maya, along with all the women of Tirvan, have learned of the soldier Casyn’s arrival, and that he has requested to speak to the women at a council meeting.

      "Women of Tirvan," Sara spoke again, "will we hear Casyn speak in the name of the Empire?" While we had the right to turn down such a request, in practice they were always granted, making the question essentially a formality. We voted with raised hands, unanimous in our decision to hear Casyn speak.
      At once, a middle-aged man, not tall, his dark hair streaked with grey, entered from the north-facing door of the hall. Gille walked beside him. If eighty pairs of women’s eyes made him uncomfortable, he did not show it. At the ring of benches, he paused, turning to Gille. She gestured him on. He strode into the centre of the circle, where he turned slowly on his heel, taking us in. His eyes met my mother’s. He inclined his head to her, looked around once more, and began to speak.
      "Women of Tirvan." His deep voice and measured speech conveyed a sense of authority. My mother had described him as a grave man. Now I could see why.
      "I thank you for allowing me to speak. I would ask one further thing: that you hear me out. The message I bring you tonight will not be welcome, and I am afraid your first reaction will be to reject the messenger." Maya inched closer to me. I found her hand and held it briefly.
      Casyn hesitated, then turned to Gille. "Forgive me," he said, "but I am unused to speaking in such an arrangement. May I join the circle, so that my back is to no one, or speak from outside it?”
      "From outside the circle, I think," Sara said from her seat. "We can turn to face you." He nodded, moving past the benches; we shifted ourselves, and he continued.
      "Forty-eight years ago, I was born in this village to Xani, your smith. For seven years, I played in the fields and at the harbour and called Tirvan home. And then I left, as all boys do, and learned another life. This is how things are, and have been, for many generations. For all those generations, there has been peace in the Empire, or if not peace then small wars, wars in which we have been victorious. We have policed our borders and administered our lands, with little disturbing our way of life." His eyes moved over us as he spoke. "But the world changes. In all the women’s villages of the Empire, this week or next, a soldier like myself will arrive to ask to live in the village, to take up a trade." Casyn paused, for a breath, a heartbeat. "And to teach you and your daughters to fight.”
      No one spoke. Casyn watched us in silence. In some small part of my mind, I felt myself measured, judged; the rest of my thoughts scattered like grouse from a harrier. I gripped Maya’s hand, looking up. In the firelit room, I could see my own confusion reflected on every face. Teach us to fight? I struggled for clarity, to make the words mean something. I heard Dessa speaking, her voice very low, and strained to hear.
      "Do you know what you ask of us?”

Author Bio:

Writer of historical fantasy and urban fantasy for adults. The Empire's Legacy series explores gender expectations, the conflicts between personal belief and societal norms, and how, within a society where sexuality is fluid, personal definitions of love and loyalty change with growth and experience.

The world of Empire's Legacy was inspired by my interest in the history of Britain in the years when it was a province of the Roman Empire called Britannia, and then in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire. In another life, I would have been a landscape archaeologist, and landscape is an important metaphor in the Empire's Legacy trilogy and in all my writing, fiction and non-fiction.

I live in Canada for most of the year, England for the rest, have one cat, a husband, and when I'm not writing or editing, I'm birding.

Giveaway to Win all 3 paperbacks of the Empire’s Legacy trilogy (Open INT)

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