Sneak Peek Wednesday: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

Isle of Blood and Stone
(Isle of Blood and Stone #1)
by Makiia Lucier
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: April 10, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.

The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.

 

 

Sneak Peek

It was not the first time someone had spat at Mercedes, or even the fifth, but it had been some years since Elias had witnessed the insult.Just before they reached the raised portcullis, Commander Aimon broke off with a salute and rode toward the arena with his men. Elias followed Mercedes into the castle’s courtyard, a large circular space open to the sky. The sea air was faint here, high on the hill, overpowered by bougainvillea and the blood oranges growing in the nearby orchard. An ancient olive tree dominated the center: two hundred feet tall and growing, its thick, gnarled roots burst from the ground and left to creep along the surface.

The ladies of the court strolled about, weaving their way among soldiers and servants and robed scholars deep in conversation. Many called out greetings to Elias, welcoming him home. A few clucked at his appearance. And they swept low, in deference to Mercedes, second in line to the throne.

All of them bowed, that is, except one.

The courtyard was surrounded by an arcade three stories high. An old woman stood just inside the ground level, partially concealed by the crimson bougainvillea cascading off an upper balcony. As Mercedes rode past, the woman spat, missing the horse’s rear hooves by a hands width.

Anger tightened his stomach. A quick glance at Mercedes dashed any hope that she had not seen what happened. She stared straight ahead, her face composed. But her shoulders had stiffened, and her chin had lifted up, up in that way he recognized. This he had not missed. He nudged Pythagoras forward until he had placed himself between Mercedes and the old woman. He did not know her. She was dressed as a tradeswoman.

Old enough to have remembered that day eighteen years ago. Bitter enough to blame Mercedes for it though she had still been in her mother’s womb. He said nothing, only watched and waited and wished it were a man standing there by the bougainvillea. One did not have to be so polite with a man.

Mercedes was King Ulises’s cousin, his only living relative. Her father, Agustin, long dead, had been the old king’s younger brother. Her mother, Alyss, a beautiful noblewoman from Mondrago. Her parents had fallen in love and married long ago, when it was still acceptable for a del Marian to marry a Mondragan. Before the kidnappings and the murders. Before the two kingdoms had gone to war.

Conversation trailed away as people turned to see who it was Elias watched, stone-faced. The old woman must have gained some sense, seeing his expression, because she curtsied, quickly but correctly, and scurried off toward the gates. Mercedes would not look at him. There was the familiar crush of white pebbles and sea shells beneath his boots as he dismounted. He handed his reins over to a groom.

“Who was that, Marco?” Elias asked.

The boy glared after the old woman. “I’ve never seen her before, Lord Elias. Should I find out? I’ll follow her.”

“No, you won’t.” Mercedes handed her reins to the boy and said, firmly, “Thank you, Marco.”

The boy looked from Mercedes to Elias, and sighed. “Yes, Lady.” He took himself off, leading the horses behind him.

Once the boy was out of earshot, Elias frowned at her. “I didn’t know this still happened. How often, Mercedes?”

“It is nothing to do with you.” She turned on her heel and marched off toward the door that led to the king’s chambers.

He caught up with her easily. “Does Ulises know?”

“Why would I tell him? So he can punish an old woman?”

“Yes.”

Mercedes threw a dark glance in his direction. “Leave her alone. She’s entitled to her rage.”

He felt his temper spike. She didn’t truly believe that? “No she isn’t. Not toward you.”

Mercedes stopped directly beneath the archway, ignoring the curious stares turned in their direction. “I don’t need a champion, Elias. And I won’t have you running to the king and telling tales. I can fight my own wars.”

He would have argued his point forever, had she not at that moment lifted her eyes to meet his. There was the anger he expected, but just beneath, nearly hidden, a bone deep mortification.

All at once, the fight left him. He said, only, “Mercedes. You should not have to.” He motioned for her to precede him, and they made their way in silence to the king’s chamber.

 

 

 

Meet Makiia Lucier

Makiia is the author of historical fiction and historical fantasy for young adults. She grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam (not too far from the equator), and has degrees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Her debut novel, A Death-Struck Year, was called a “powerful and disturbing reading experience” by Publishers Weekly. It was a finalist for Germany’s top book prize for children, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, as well as Japan’s Sakura Medal, and was named an ABC Best Books for Children Selection by the American Booksellers Association.

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7 Thoughts on “Sneak Peek Wednesday: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

  1. Seems like an interesting story. Thanks for the sneak peek 🙂

  2. Yes, please! 😀

  3. I didn’t know about this one

  4. That sounds like it would be a really good mystery.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing a sneak peek. This sounds so good and I love that cover too!

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