Four Feasts Till Darkness
Christian A. Brown
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication: September 9, 2014
Number of pages: 540
Word Count: 212K
Cover Artist: Brian Garabrant
"Love is what binds us in brotherhood, blinds us from hate, and makes us soar with desire.”
Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her--visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.
With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/8E_RVXgpqB8
Menos was darker than usual: its clouds as black as the shadow of fear that haunted Mouse. The city felt more menacing to her. She saw shadows in every corner, noticed the glint of every ruffian’s blade or slave’s chain as though they were all intended for her. The warning of Alastair played inside her skull on a loop of nightmare theater.
A hand over her mouth startles her awake, and she twists for the dagger in her pillowcase until she recognizes the shadowy apparition atop her, who hisses at her to calm.
“Alastair?” she gasps.
The hand unclenches and the willowy shadow retreats to more of its own; she can only see the scruff of his red beard in the dark.
“Get up, Mouse. Get dressed.”
Her mentor sounds annoyed or confused; she is each, but finds her garments quickly enough anyway.
“I don’t like good-byes, so let’s not call this that,” Alastair says with a sigh. “But it will be a parting, nonetheless. You need to go low. Lower than you’ve ever been before. A new name won’t be enough. You’ll need a new face. I don’t know how or who, but the sacred contract of our order has been broken. Your safety has been bought.”
Mouse knows the who and how, and as she glances up from her boot-lacing to explain to her mentor her predicament, she sees that he is gone. Just empty shadows, echoing words, and the sound of her heartbeat drowning out all the rest.
She expected the dead man and his icy master to emerge from the dim nooks and doorways of the buildings she passed at any instant. With a hand on her knives and a fury to her step, she swept down the sidewalk; no carriages for her today, as they were essentially cages on wheels—too easy to trap oneself in. With its sooty storefronts and their wrought-iron windows, its black streetlamps that rose about her like the bars of a prison, Menos was constricting itself around her, and she had to get out.
You’ve survived worse than the nekromancer, she coached herself, though she wasn’t certain that was true. She hurried through the grimness of Menos, dodging pale faces and quickening her step with every sand. By the time she arrived at the fleshcrafter’s studio, she was sweating and stuck to her cloak. She looked down the desolate sidewalk and up the long sad face of the tall tower with its many broken or boarded-over windows. When she was sure she wasn’t being pursued by the phantoms that her paranoia had conjured, she pulled back a rusted door that did not cry out as it should have, given its appearance, but slid along well-formed grooves through the dust. She raced through the door and hauled it closed.
It was dark and flickering with half-dead lights in the garbage-strewn hallway in which she stood. Mouse picked through the trash with her feet, tensing as she passed every dark alcove in the abandoned complex. Hives, these places were called, and used to house enormous numbers of lowborn folk under a single roof. In Menos, even the shabbiest roof was a desirable commodity, so the building’s ghostly vacancy meant that it likely was condemned by disease at one point. Soon the stairwell she sought appeared, and she tiptoed down it, careful not to slip on the stairs, which were slick with organic grunge.
Couldn’t have picked a nicer studio, she cursed. I’ll be lucky if this fleshcrafter leaves me with half a lip to drink with. Lamentably, speed and discretion were her two goals in choosing where to have her face remodeled. Such stipulations cut the more promising fleshcrafters off the list and left her with the dregs. She hadn’t put much thought into what she would have done, or even if she would end up hideously disfigured. Monstrous disfigurement could even work in her favor, as she bore an uncanny resemblance to that crow-eviscerated woman whom she suspected was the object of the nekromancer’s dark desire. I’ll take ugly over dead. Over whatever he has in mind for me.
Top Ten List of World Class Heroines (In Literature/ Entertainment)
Those of you who don’t know me—which is probably a rather large amount of folks at the moment—don’t know that I have an aversion to weak female leads. I like women who stand up to adversity, who are quick on their feet, and who are positive role models. I could go on forever about all the Mary Sues in our media, but I believe in putting positive energy out into the world, so here’s a list of some of my favorite female role models in popular culture. (Note: no offence to any actual persons named Mary, or Sue, we’re talking about the meme J)
10. Lady Gaga. Let’s just get all the pop stars out of the way in one lump sum. With the current trends in music, such as J Lo and Nicki’s travesty of a video that set women’s rights back about a decade, the pickings are slim. What was that horrid thing--that can never be unseen—even called? Jiggelz? Arse-pudding? I struggle to recall anything beyond undulating flesh. Anyhoo, I’ll put Lady Gaga on the list since she’s brave enough to wear suits of pastrami and challenges social issues—even if she’s bat-you-know-what bonkers. Honorable mentions for this position go to Tegan and Sara, and Brandi Carlile, for keeping it both soulful AND classy.
9. Sailor Uranus: Gender-bending, sporty and tough! In the Japanese version, she’s written as a lesbian. Which is potentially misogynistic for the presumption that she must be a lesbian to like “manly” pursuits like driving and sports, as well as embracing of diversity for being an openly gay character.
8. Elsa, princess of Arendelle. She chooses family over love and learns how to harness a devastating power within herself. Not too shabby for a Disney Princess.
7. Regina, Evil Queen/ reformed villain. I have a soft spot for characters that evolve into their heroism. In Regina’s case, the love of her child—not even one of her own blood—transformed her into a person that does the right thing. Most of the time. She WAS an Evil Queen, after all. I doubt her edge will ever be dulled.
6. Daenerys Targaryen. She grows from a sold-off-woman into a powerful queen. Her ruthlessness, come certain points, isn’t admirable, so she only lands at #6.
5. Pam, vampire sass-queen of True Blood. I definitely admire the life that Kristen Bauer gave the character in the transition from book to screen. At times her acerbity can wear one’s patience a little thin, but in the last few seasons of the show (as the quality of the script nosedived, in my opinion) her characterization flourished. We saw that Pam had a human heart under all that cynicism. And damn, did she ever have all the good lines!
4. Lady Mary. I think most of Lady Mary’s appeal can be attributed to the actress that plays her, Michelle Dockery. Otherwise an opinionated, scandalous aristocrat could come off as entirely alien and cold. But there’s a warmth to Lady Mary, and a great deal of growth, too, that she experiences after the birth of her child and the loss of her husband. I think that growth is essential to heroism. The capacity for change. Lady Mary demonstrates that in spades with her impressive character arc.
3. Hermione Granger. Smart, humble, pretty—but not vain. Also worth noting is that Emma began the #HeForShe campaign, which is brilliant. Men need to engage themselves in fighting sexism.
2. Xena Warrior Princess. She’s kicked every arse that needs kicking and then some. She’s plain awesome.
1. Morigan Lostarot. Omg—he didn’t! I did. I plugged my own novel. But hear me out as to why she’s so great. Like many heroines, she has a rather unsavory fate thrust upon her, and while she has moments of weakness, she never truly pines or whines. She keeps moving ahead; challenging fate, challenging a demented and dark King. She even finds epic love. Not that she needs a man’s devotion to fulfill herself, only to compliment her. She is independent, resourceful, and has a blend of courage and cautious wisdom. I’m interested to hear what you think about Morigan and the other heroines in Feast of Fates. There are several heroines, and some rather menacing women, too. I promise to surprise and delight you with each.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts today!
All the best,
Christian A. Brown has written creatively since the age of six. After spending most of his career in the health and fitness industry, Brown quit his job to care for his mother when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2010.
Having dabbled with the novel that would eventually become Feast of Fates for over a decade, Brown was finally able to finish the project. His mother, who was able to read a beginning version of the novel before she passed away, has since imbued the story with deeper sentiments of loss, love, and meaning. He is proud to now share the finished product with the world.