Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Excerpt: The King's Sword by C.J. Brightley

It's day two of the Blogger Book Fair and today I have for you an excerpt from C.J. Brightley's The King's Sword. Which is part of the Erdemen Honor Series.

A disillusioned soldier.
A spoiled, untried prince.
A coup that threatens the country they both love.

When retired soldier Kemen finds the young prince Hakan fleeing an attempted assassination, he reluctantly takes the role of mentor and guardian. Keeping the prince alive is challenging enough. Making him a man is harder.

As usurper Vidar tightens his grip on power, Kemen wrestles with questions of duty and honor. What if the prince isn’t the best ruler after all?

Invasion looms, and Kemen’s decisions will shape the fate of a nation. What will he sacrifice for friendship and honor?

Read the first chapter on my website or on Amazon.

EXCERPT from The King's Sword:

I heard a murmur off in the woods, sounds that resolved into distant voices. “Hst.” I motioned at Hakan, who sniffed irritably.

“When is it going to be ready?”

I stood silently, half-crouched, and slipped around the fire beside Hakan.

“What are you…”

I clamped my hand over his mouth and listened.

Yes, voices. And the sounds of several bodies moving through the underbrush toward us. They were trying to be quiet, and I’d barely heard them over the faint hiss and crackle of the fire. My fingers tight over Hakan’s mouth, I bent to whisper in his ear, “Be silent and don’t move.” He stared at me with wide, confused eyes, and I caught my pack up and slipped it over my shoulder. I pushed the glowing logs apart and threw handfuls of snow and wet leaves over the still-glowing coals. It wouldn’t hide the signs we’d been there, but it doused the flames; the light wouldn’t be as obvious. I left the half-roasted pheasant in the coals and turned to Hakan, who still stared at me.

“What are you…” he started again, and I put my hand over his mouth again, none too gently this time.

“Silence, I said,” I hissed in his ear. I pushed him into the darkness ahead of me. He suddenly thrashed, and I heard a distant shout from a different direction. How many of them were out there? I twisted Hakan’s arm up painfully behind him and heard him whimper, suddenly compliant. I muttered in his ear, “People are hunting you. When I tell you to be silent, I’m trying to save your neck.”

He nodded hurriedly, and I let his arm down. “Now follow me.” I listened a moment, but didn’t hear much, and so I led him deeper into the woods away from the road, northwest of our fire.

The moon was new, and the starlight was faint and unreliable. Even with snow on the ground, the darkness was thick, and I picked our way slowly. Silence was of greater importance than distance.

At last I thought we had left them behind, and I told Hakan to sit down behind a tree with my pack and not to move until I fetched him. I crept back carefully through the darkness, listening for every sound. I heard voices near our fire, and edged closer so I could see more clearly. Five kedani stood around the smoky coals, the ruined pheasant covered in ash and grit. One of them was poking at the coals.

“Hasn’t been long. Think it’s him?”

“I doubt it. You think he could make a fire?” The leader frowned thoughtfully and nudged the pheasant with the toe of his boot. “Should be able to hunt though. Could be.”

The others stared off into the darkness, eyes scanning the trees, and I tried to read the insignia on the leader’s sleeve. One of them shifted and I slipped closer, my steps slow and careful. The Second Division Kedani. They were out of Kesterlin. Were they still under Commander Basajaun? If I’d been sure, I might have approached them, asked why they were bothering lone travelers, asked for news. But I thought Koray Basajaun had been transferred. Not that it mattered much; his men wouldn’t know me, even if he did.

“Tracks here.”

Phraa. I had brushed at them, but only enough to conceal that there were two sets… the broken snow was obvious. I started toward the fire, letting my steps crunch on the snow and twigs beneath. “Who are you?” My voice was hard, rough. They startled and edged around the fire toward me, uneasy, and I frowned more menacingly.

The leader drew himself taller and answered, “Commander Neel Orjado. Who are you?” He was tense, nervous. “And why did you flee?”

I looked him and the others over, scowling. “Why did you barge into my campsite?” I glanced at the pheasant and glared at them again. “Can a man not camp half a league into the woods in peace?

The leader narrowed his eyes. “What are you doing half a league in the woods?”

I knelt and picked up the pheasant by one thin leg and held it up. “Trying not to have to share my dinner with beggars.” I tossed it at his feet and stared across at him. The commander was young, and perhaps had never even seen a Dari before. He was intimidated, though I had been careful not to say anything overtly threatening. Nothing to provoke a fight, just to make them uncomfortably aware that I wasn’t afraid of one.


About C. J. Brightley:


I’m the author of the Erdemen Honor series, including The King’s Sword and  A Cold Wind. I’m working on the third book in the series, to be released winter 2013, as well as a separate urban fantasy / supernatural thriller series scheduled for publication in winter 2013/2014. I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Google+Goodreads, or my website at CJBrightley.com. You can find my books at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and the iBookstore.


I will be at Intervention (Internet+Convention) 2013 August 23-25 in Rockville, MD! I’ll be signing books, and you can get a free sneak peek into my works in progress. If you can’t make it but you want to check out the books, please contact me directly and I’ll see what I can do.

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