Songs of Seraphina
By: Jude Houghton
Publisher: Tenebris Books, Grimbold Books
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Some battles bleed so much, and for so long, that the earth never truly forgets their dead. Some battles are born of oppression, and some of greed, and some simply because it was written in the stars.
Three sisters—Charlemagne, Cairo and Pendragon Agonistes—are sent from America to England to live with their eccentric grandparents after their mother disappears and their father falls to pieces. But before the girls have time to find their feet, Charlemagne is married off to a dead man, Penny takes a nap and wakes up as a boy, and Cairo is swept into a dangerous romance with a man who wants her for more than her considerable charm. With the girls wrapped up in a conflict they barely understand, they don’t notice that their grandmother is transforming, or that the two demigod assassins who took their mother are now coming for them—if one of them can get over his crisis of conscience.
In this richly painted tale, at whose heart is the unbreakable bond of family and blood, the world of Seraphina collides with our own as three unique girls are dragged into twilight lives past, fighting for vengeance, retribution, and the survival of their exiled people.
“What do we do now?”
Hamquist shrugged. Crakes gestured down the garden. Another shrug.
Crakes scratched his chin with his stump, and then, for want of any better ideas, swung the head in a circle, and threw it as hard as he could. Arching high in the air, it twirled and sprayed blood before landing with a thud in the adjoining field.
“There,” he said, pleased with himself, “the stench will attract a nibbler and that will be that.”
Hamquist said nothing but pointed to the ground, to the headless corpse already beginning to attract flies.
Ah yes, Crakes thought, the problem of the rest, the bigger piece.
“I’m not throwing that thing,” he said hurriedly, suspecting that this was somehow becoming his responsibility. After taking a life in Divine Judgment, a huge conflagration would rise, consume the body, and release the spirit. No mess, no fuss. However, when battle degenerated into farce, when a mere man had the audacity to challenge demigods, it was all they could do to keep their dignity. There would be no soul-purging fire for this Ward. Crakes would be unable to conjure one even if he tried.
“Agh,” snarled Hamquist suddenly, “forget this for a game of soldiers.”
He raised a hand and the ground opened up before him; twelve feet of solid earth displaced in an instant. He gave the body one sharp kick and it plunged down into the cavity. He then flicked his wrist and the earth fell back into place, burying the body in a deep, inescapable tomb.
Crakes stared in stunned silence.
“What are you looking at?” Hamquist crossed his arms.
“You’ve never done that before.”
“Never needed to.”
“What is it for?” Crakes asked. All talents had a purpose.
“No,” Hamquist said and turned towards the woods.
“All right.” Crakes shrugged, not willing to push it. “I’ll meet you there.”
“I need to replace these.” Crakes gestured at his leather breeches. They hung in strips, torn away completely at the groin. He would have to find something in the Ward’s house, unless he wanted to continue the hunt naked.
Hamquist raised an eyebrow. “I’ll see you there, then . . . tiny.”
Crakes forced a smile at what he assumed was a joke, still shaken by the earlier confrontation. Was his defiance forgotten? Or would Hamquist’s fury rise again?
In the sky, the dark clouds that had been mustering finally snuffed out the sun. The commonfolk believed that rain out of season was a sign of a god’s displeasure—the drops of water, divine spittle. Perhaps it was. He cursed under his breath. Watching Hamquist stride towards the forest, he thought again about Cairo Agonistes. And her sister, the one who looked like Mia. The first drops of rain ran down his cheek and dripped from his chin and Crakes wondered how long it would be until they could finally go home.
About the author…
Jude developed a love of fantasy from a relatively early age after realising an innate talent for making stuff up could result in something other than detention. A somnambulist, insomniac, lover of letters, Jude writes late into the night, most nights, tumbling down the rabbit hole to dream of other lives. Jude currently lives in Pennsylvania with an over-enthusiastic family and absurdly entitled dog.
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