Thursday, January 15, 2015

Heir of Faxinor by Michelle Levigne

Back Cover Blurb:

When Andrixine falls ill and spends the winter recovering at Snowy Mount, a community of holy folk, scholars and healers, she never dreams it will be the first step of an adventure that will change her life. But her illness came from a murder attempt, and the same enemy tries to kill her traveling party on the way home.

When she seeks a weapon to rescue her mother, she is chosen by the mystical Spirit Sword to lead in the defense of her country, Reshor, against its ancient enemy. First, she must rescue her mother and uproot treachery from within her own castle and family. The friends she gathers along the way become her closest allies and supporters -- and she is surprised when friendship with a young warrior turns into something more.







Read an Excerpt:

Prologue
THE SWORD HIT the slate paving with a wooden clatter. Andrixine followed it a heartbeat later, her bruised knees making a sodden thud that echoed dully in the old creamery-turned-practice room.

“I hate this,” she grated between clenched teeth, refusing to gasp like a cow in labor despite the racing of her heart and the sweat that blinded her. A vision of her warrior friends among the Sword Sisters mocking her weakness stabbed at her heart and mind. Her shoulders shook as she braced herself stiff-armed against the floor. Palms slid on sweat-slicked stone.

“You have been out of your sickbed only five days, daughter.” Brother Klee picked up her practice sword and carried it to the wall rack holding other blunted wooden weapons. “Enough for today.”

“No. I have to keep working.” Andrixine flinched as her voice banged off the stone walls. “Please?”

For a moment, the two simply looked at each other, volumes of communication passing between the emaciated noblewoman and the tall monk with silver in his dark hair and beard. She shuddered, her fine trousers and linen shirt drenched in sweat from a mere ten minutes of sword drills. He breathed normally, his dark blue robe barely disturbed. Andrixine sat back on her heels. Her warrior braids, thin twists of dark hair bound with the silver cord reserved for nobles, swung free of the clips that held them out of her face. A gasping laugh escaped her, and she raked more sweat-drenched strands of hair out of her too-pale face.

“You lasted ten strokes longer than yesterday. The regimen is intended to make you stronger, not send you back to your sickbed.” He held out a hand to help her stand. “If you exhaust yourself, how shall you stay awake during your contemplation time in the chapel?”

“This is like no training regimen I’ve ever known.” Andrixine wobbled as she regained her legs. “You say it’s meant for kings and Oathbound warriors — why use it on me?”

“We have no training programs for noble maidens who will inherit their fathers’ estates,” Brother Klee said with a smile. That earned him a snort from the exhausted, noble maiden leaning on his arm. His smile faded. “You must know, we believe you were poisoned.”

“Who would poison me? Who would hate Lord Edrix Faxinor enough to attack his heir?” She shuddered and twisted free of his support, to stagger to the bench next to the door.

“Not your father, Andrixine. You. Who profits if you do not inherit?”

“Lorien doesn’t want the estates. She’d be a troubadour if she could. Or spend her life in Court, dancing and dictating fashion. None of the boys want the bother. They want to be soldiers. Not that I blame them,” she mused, nodding. “I would give anything to take my oath of celibacy and join the Sword Sisters.”

“Anything but Faxinor, you mean. You were born to serve, Andrixine Faxinor. Your heart is loyal, and you know your duty clearly. You are a true servant of Yomnian, and you will always put the right ahead of your own desires and dreams. That is why we chose to give you this training regimen reserved for those entering holy service.” His dark eyes mesmerized her. “Despite your summers training with the maiden warriors, you are still an innocent at heart. You think too well of the entire world, despite knowing enemies wait to destroy Reshor. Think, Andrixine. Your illness came on you too suddenly, too severely to be mere disease. What happened just before you fell ill?”

She stared at the monk, sensing she knew the answer already but that it was one she wished to keep hidden even from herself.

“We were on a tour, Mother and Alysyn and I. We visited Uncle Maxil at Henchvery. He was angry at me, like always.”

“Why?” he snapped, like the Captain of the Guard at Faxinor Castle, drilling a new recruit.

“I refused to marry Feril. Again. He was furious. Icy furious, so you could only see it in his eyes.” She closed her eyes as the scene played itself in her memory.

Feril, her sneering, greasy, overweight cousin, pouting because she refused to consider him a suitor. Her uncle, dark and regal, drawing his dignity around himself like a cloak as his manners turned cold.

“Then what happened?”

“We left the next day. Alysyn fell ill, and we stopped at Maysford. I was so worried about her, and certain Feril would try some nasty trick in revenge, and so glad to be heading home, I didn’t pay attention to how badly I felt.” She opened her eyes. “Is it only good fortune that when trouble strikes my family, Snowy Mount is close by to help us?”

“Yomnian’s hand is on you, just as it was on your parents when they fled Sendorland to save their lives. Snowy Mount has always been and always will be a refuge for those in need, a haven for those who devote their lives to contemplation and study and healing, an anchor for those who give their lives to Yomnian by serving others. Your mother brought you here to the mountains to heal because she trusts us implicitly.”

“Even so close to the border with Sendorland,” Andrixine murmured. “Isn’t she afraid someone will learn Arriena of Traxslan is here, and send someone to kill her?”

“Who would send word, in the middle of winter? Who would care that Lady Faxinor was once a noblewoman of Sendorland? Who would want to take revenge?”

“Uncle Maxil would love to send her back to her nasty relatives,” she said, going very still. “Brother Klee, my uncle hates me because I won’t marry his son. He hates my sisters and brothers, because seven of us stand between Feril and Faxinor becoming his inheritance. But he would never kill us. His wife, Gersta of Henchvery, would gladly murder to get what she wanted, but she’s been dead fourteen years now.” 

“Andrixine, heir of Faxinor, hear me,” Brother Klee intoned, pulling himself up straight and tall, so she could see the warrior hidden inside the peaceful, silvered monk. “You are touched by Yomnian’s hand. You are a faithful servant of the All-Creator, and that alone makes you a targetof evil forces. You should have died of that poison, but you did not. Put aside the words of men and false loyalties that blind you. Listen with your heart and with the spirit Yomnian put within you, and you will know the truth, and the true path to follow.”

She stared into his dark eyes, shivering as she had done when illness racked her body and wasted away her muscle, and delirium kept her mind prisoner.

For three long heartbeats, the bearded monk vanished. The man who stood before her had Brother Klee’s eyes and wide shoulders, but he was clean-shaven and thirty years younger. Instead of the simple blue robe of a holy scholar, he wore battle-scarred leathers and shining chain mail. His warrior braids were long and dark, bound with the red of an Oathbound warrior and the blue of holy service. He held a naked sword in his right hand, the scabbard in his left. 

The scabbard was a dull ivory color, like bone, the fine designs dark with the grime of years — maybe blood. Andrixine sensed she should recognize the sword by the scabbard alone. The sword’s blade looked clear as crystal and seemed to swallow up all the light and send it back tripled, blinding, fractured into thousands of razor-sharp pieces. The pieces struck at her eyes, penetrating her mind and spirit, sending terror through her that she had never known, even in the worst of her fever dreams. 

Andrixine cried out and jerked free of the vision. Shuddering, she pressed her fists into her eyes. 

“Daughter?” Brother Klee dropped onto the bench next to her and put an arm around her shoulders. “What is it?”

Andrixine shook her head. How could she tell him? He would think she had relapsed.

She knew that sword, if only because it had haunted her dreams nearly every night since she had regained her right mind. Maybe even before that.

Andrixine’s hand itched to grasp the pommel, and her arm ached to test the weight and balance of the blade. If Yomnian’s spirit touched her, as Brother Klee said, was this a warning or a quest she had been given? Or a delusion sent by dark spirits, to blind her to the path she should follow in life?

She was Andrixine Faxinor, heir and first-born of Lord Edrix Faxinor. She was destined to care for the Faxinor estates, to make a high-born marriage and provide herself with a suitable heir. Her duties required she train soldiers to protect Reshor whenever King Rafnar called for them. Her duties would not let her go free, to live the life of a warrior maiden in holy service with the Sword Sisters.

She most certainly could not follow a vision quest for a sword that called to the depths of her very soul. 

“Nothing,” she finally whispered. “I’m just tired. My head aches a little.”

“Your heart aches as well,” Brother Klee said. “You know what I have said is true. You have enemies, and they will not go away no matter how much good will you bestow on the world.”

“No.” She opened her eyes and tried to smile at him. “They will not. Thank you for making me see.”


Book Trailer:


To buy the book, go here:
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About Michelle:

On the road to publication, Michelle fell into fandom in college (she is a recovering Trekker, and adores “Warehouse 13” and “Stargate SG-1”), and has 40+ stories in various SF and fantasy universes. She has a BA in theater/English from Northwestern College and a MA focused on film and writing from Regent University. She has published 50+ books and novellas with multiple small presses, in science fiction and fantasy, YA, and sub-genres of romance. She has been a finalist in the EPIC Awards competition often since 2004, winning with Lorien in 2006 and The Meruk Episodes, I-V, in 2010. Her training includes the Institute for Children’s Literature; proofreading at an advertising agency; and working at a community newspaper. She freelance edits for a living, but only enough to give her time to write.



Connect with her here:



MICHELLE is giving away a copy of HEIR OF FAXINOR. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post







Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


4 comments:

Caryl Kane said...

Thanks for the interview with Michelle. Heir of Faxinor sounds like a great read!

psalm103and138[at]gmail[dot]com

Deanna Stevens said...

I enjoy reading this genre, sounds like a great story...
dkstevensneAToutlook DotCOm

Laura Pol said...

New book and anew author to me! Had an interesting premise that encourages me to read more! Plus the cover is super pretty! Thanks for the giveaway! :)
Sylvesternator AT yahoo DOT com

Michelle Levigne said...

Just a note to everybody who has come to check out the spotlight: the current publisher is in the process of releasing the books so I can switch to Writers Exchange. If you can't find the books (I can't imagine Amazon being THAT fast to take it down) you can write to me to buy a print copy of HEIR or LORIEN while we wait for Writers Exchange to release the books. Email me at MichelleLevigne@gmail.com for information. I plan to put up a bookstore on my web site soon, with the details and what's available in print.

Thanks for coming, everybody!!

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