Blood's Pride

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Overview

Evie Manieri's Blood's Pride is the first book of The Shattered Kingdoms, an engaging, action-packed, and "highly imaginative" (Kirkus Reviews) series of fantasy novels with epic scope and "the perfect mix of romance, family ties, betrayals, and agonizing dilemmas" (RT Book Reviews).

Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an ...

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Overview

Evie Manieri's Blood's Pride is the first book of The Shattered Kingdoms, an engaging, action-packed, and "highly imaginative" (Kirkus Reviews) series of fantasy novels with epic scope and "the perfect mix of romance, family ties, betrayals, and agonizing dilemmas" (RT Book Reviews).

Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation.

Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising--but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own?

Set in a fictional quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region with a strong cast of male and female characters, the series "presents a striking world with civilizations similar to those of the Vikings and the nomadic cultures of the Middle East, and with the Mediterranean sensibilities of the ancient Greeks. Her characters are passionate and memorable, lending a personal touch to a complex tale of clashing cultures and philosophies. Fans of Sharon Shinn, Elspeth Cooper, and Gail Z. Martin should enjoy Manieri's approach to culture and drama." (Library Journal, starred review)

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Plot and pacing to leave you breathless, characters you will treasure—a terrific debut!”

—Melanie Rawn, author of Touchstone

“Eve Manieri deftly portrays three clashing cultures about to be torn apart by violent rebellion. Against the background of war and revolution, three mismatched couples struggle to stay true to their families, themselves, and the ones they love. I found myself deeply engrossed in this fast-paced tale of honor and betrayal, hope and despair, secrets, revelations, and a whisper of divine magic.”

—Sharon Shinn, author of Troubled Waters

“Intrigue, betrayal and old rivalries play out against the fires of revolution.  Hang on for a wild ride!”

—Gail Z. Martin, author of The Dread: Book Two in The Fallen Kings Cycle

“This clever take on epic fantasy, filled with unexpected twists and turns right to the end, will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Michelle West and Patricia Bray.”

—Rachel Neumeier, author of the Griffin Mage Trilogy

author of Touchstone Melanie Rawn

Plot and pacing to leave you breathless, characters you will treasure--a terrific debut!
author of Troubled Waters Sharon Shinn

Eve Manieri deftly portrays three clashing cultures about to be torn apart by violent rebellion. Against the background of war and revolution, three mismatched couples struggle to stay true to their families, themselves, and the ones they love. I found myself deeply engrossed in this fast-paced tale of honor and betrayal, hope and despair, secrets, revelations, and a whisper of divine magic.
author of The Dread: Book Two in The Fallen Ki Gail Z. Martin

Intrigue, betrayal and old rivalries play out against the fires of revolution. Hang on for a wild ride!
author of the Griffin Mage Trilogy Rachel Neumeier

This clever take on epic fantasy, filled with unexpected twists and turns right to the end, will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Michelle West and Patricia Bray.
Publishers Weekly
This hefty fantasy, first in a series from debut author Manieri, presents the tangled dynamics of two cultures at war with each other and within themselves. The peaceful fisherfolk of the Shadar were overrun by albino, telepathic Norlander warriors, who forced the Shadari to mine the local dark ore necessary to forge the Norlanders’ deadly, thought-sensitive black metal weaponry. A generation later, the Norlander governor has placed the mines and garrison under the control of his eldest surviving daughter, Frea. Frea’s brother, Eofar, is upset about the treatment of the Shadari slaves and worried about his younger sister’s obsessive concern for old-fashioned traditions that have little place in their new land. Meanwhile, the Shadari scheme to overthrow their oppressors with the help of the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary leader whose real motivations are hidden. Plot twists, romantic entanglements, and political rivalries make for lots of melodrama in this dense, complicated series setup, which leaves many plot threads dangling for later books. Agent: Becca Stumpf, Prospect Agency. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Without warning, the warlike Norlanders invaded the lands of the Shadar, enslaving the people and reaping the profits from the black ore mined to make the enchanted swords of the Norlander warriors. Unable to defend themselves against the pale-skinned, undead conquerors, the Shadar nevertheless attempt a rebellion and hire a fierce mercenary known only as The Mongrel, a woman whose body bears the ravages of previous wars and whose temperament is both volatile and, some say, mad. VERDICT Manieri's debut, the first of a projected epic fantasy series, presents a striking world with civilizations similar to those of the Vikings and the nomadic cultures of the Middle East, and with the Mediterranean sensibilities of the ancient Greeks. Her characters are passionate and memorable, lending a personal touch to a complex tale of clashing cultures and philosophies. Fans of Sharon Shinn, Elspeth Cooper, and Gail Z. Martin should enjoy Manieri's approach to culture and drama.
Kirkus Reviews
Fantasy debut from New Yorker Manieri, previously published in the U.K. A generation ago, the Norlanders came in their ships to attack Shadar, a peaceful city lodged between the desert and the sea. The Shadari ashas, or wizard-priests, all jumped into the sea (having, we later learn, taken a drug that enabled them to see the future), leaving the city all but defenseless. The Norlanders, or Dead Ones--they're telepathic among themselves, have frigid blue blood and sunlight is lethal to them--enslaved the survivors. The Norlanders set the Shadari to toil in the mines for the metal which, smelted and tempered with Norlander blood, imbues weapons forged from it with magic powers. Now, the Norlander governor lies dying. Of his three warrior children, ice-maiden Frea nurses ambitions to return to Norland and conquer it; Isa yearns to challenge Frea and win the right to name her sword; and Eofar has fallen in love with a Shadari, Harotha, and impregnated her, though to protect the baby, Harotha claims the father is Daryan, the Shadari daimon or king. Underground leader Faroth, Harotha's twin brother, sees opportunity in the Norlander's internecine struggles and negotiates with the Mongrel, a mysterious and reputedly unbeatable mercenary warrior, to lead a rebellion. Dramash, Faroth's young son, has the magic powers of an asha, and Jachad, king of the desert-dwelling Nomas, can summon flames. The stage is set, then, for a fine brouhaha. There's plenty of action, most of it physically improbable, computer-game style. As for the characters, apart from their confusingly similar names, you'll rarely encounter a more conflicted, emotive, impulsive, secretive, garrulous bunch whose favorite phrase seems to be "No, wait." Flawed and overinvolved, but highly imaginative; an encouraging foundation on which to build future efforts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765368911
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Series: Shattered Kingdoms Series, #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 217,522
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Evie Manieri

EVIE MANIERI has a degree in Medieval History and Theatre from Wesleyan University. Blood's Pride is her first novel. She lives with her husband and daughter in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt

Blood's Pride

Shattered Kingdoms Book 1


By Evie Manieri

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2012 Evie Manieri
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3234-9


CHAPTER 1

"There he is," she told Jachad, in her ageless, sexless, expressionless voice.

Jachad stopped beside her and dropped his pack down onto the desert sand. He followed the gaze of her eye across the gray sweep of the dunes and isolated clusters of rocks and on up to the mountains in the east, where he saw a black shape winging its way toward them from the great square shape of the temple. Each majestic sweep of the creature's wings etched an arc against the silvery pre-dawn sky. Its long tail snaked out, piloting like a ship's rudder, while the needle-sharp claws on its hind feet raked the air. Mounted on its back on a broad leather saddle was a figure draped in a shimmering white cloak.

"Well, I certainly hope that's him," Jachad replied, "because if it's not, we're in real trouble." With a practiced flourish he unwound the gauzy scarf from around his head and ran a freckled hand through his shock of bright red hair. Then he turned to his companion, frowning. "You're sure you want to do it this way?"

In place of an answer, she reached into a hidden pouch inside her grimy multicolored robe and brought out a small bundle swaddled in a scrap of red cloth.

He said, "You can't even be sure he remembers—"

She tossed the bundle to him.

"Careful!" he cried, snatching the object out of the air and clutching it to his chest. He held it there for a moment, pressing it against his heart. Then he unwrapped the package with nervous fingers and held the contents up in front of his eyes. The cork of the little glass bottle was still sealed up tightly under a thick layer of wax, and the bottle was half-full of a syrupy dark-red liquid. Jachad sighed with relief.

"You could at least tell me if it works," he said, looking over at her. She wore her cowl low over her face, but he could see the faint glow of her silver-green eye. "If he's fool enough to try it himself, I'd feel better if I knew it wasn't going to poison him."

"You'll both have to take your chances." She turned away and left him behind without a backward look, resuming their eastward trek toward the Shadar alone.

"This won't take long. Don't get too far ahead," he called after her. But the stillness of the desert deadened his words and if she heard him, she made no sign.

Jachad called up an oily film on the palm of his right hand and flicked his fingers over it to spark up a little fireball, not much bigger than a marble. He worried it between his fingers. He knew it was in his own best interests to avoid a confrontation now, but he still felt a little cheated. It was sure to come sometime, and when it did, he wanted to be there.

Her long strides had already carried her some distance away by the time the beast dropped to a graceful landing among the rippling dunes and its rider extricated himself from the complicated harness. Jachad forced himself to turn his attention to his Norlander client. The tall man wore the cowl of his white cloak down around his neck and his gloves tucked into his sleeve; he wouldn't need them until the sun crested the horizon. True to form, his long white hair was pulled back and bound with a leather cord and the hilt of an enormous broadsword rose from behind his right shoulder. But Jachad also noticed that his pale skin lacked the slight iridescence—like a fish's scales—that his people, the Nomas, had always admired in the Norlanders, and that the flesh under his luminous silver-gray eyes sagged as if he'd been losing sleep.

"King Jachad?" rasped the Norlander.

"Lord Eofar," he answered, smiling. He opened his right hand and the little fireball snuffed itself out in a wisp of black smoke. "It's good to see you. You got my message, I see."

"I did. Thank you," said Eofar. His features remained so still, his face so rigid, that Jachad found it hard to believe his lips could move at all. The words he spoke fell to the sand like lead weights, devoid of any life or expression. It was no mystery why the Shadari still referred to them as "the Dead Ones" even after all these years. "I didn't expect you to come personally."

"Oh, but this is a very special commission. Plus, I had some other business out this way."

"Don't your people need you?"

Jachad laughed. "I would have thought you knew by now not to take my title too seriously. We Nomas need a king about as much as a snake needs a pair of boots."

The Norlander took a moment to unhook a waterskin from his belt and take a long drink, then he put his hand to his throat and massaged it. "It's very dry out here."

Jachad knew what Eofar expected, but even though this transaction would earn more than his tribe had seen in the last half-year, he still hesitated. "We can speak Norlander, if you prefer," he forced himself to say.

Eofar answered at once, only this time his words made their way directly from his mind to Jachad's without any of the mechanics of sound. Jachad wouldn't have minded so much if that had been the extent of it, but everything Eofar felt came along with the words: an assaultive jumble of relief, anticipation, anxiety, excitement, fear, and a host of other emotions too subtle to name, all accompanied by swirling colors and strange images. For reasons no one really understood, some people—most notably, the Shadari—couldn't speak Norlander at all: the words and emotions simply didn't register for them. In Jachad's opinion it was one of the few ways in which they were fortunate. He pressed his knuckles to his temples and tried to stay focused. Surely the Norlanders did not experience each other with such intensity; life would be unbearable.

he said. <I'm sorry to drag you out here to the desert, but the garrison's supplies aren't due to be delivered for another few weeks, and your letter said it was urgent.>

Eofar assured him.

As a rule the Nomas kept themselves well informed, but somehow the caravans had missed this important bit of information. said Jachad, trying hard to project nothing but mild concern. The Norlanders apparently had no trouble lying to each other, but he could never be certain of carrying off even the most innocent of deceptions—and in this case, he had no wish to share his feelings about old Governor Eonar with his only son.

replied Eofar, his distress coming across like a splash of muddy ochre.

The sooner the better, Jachad thought to himself. At least, he hoped it was to himself.

said Eofar, but his emotions were so murky that Jachad felt this subject was even less to his liking than the last.

Jachad asked briskly. With a suitably dramatic flourish, he produced the little bottle and held it up between his thumb and forefinger.

Eofar's eyes shone more brightly as he examined the merchandise. he said, but his attempt to feign disappointment was laughable; his desire was reaching out like a pair of grasping hands.

<I'm asking thirty-five.>

Jachad shook his head apologetically. He felt Eofar's dismay and pressed his advantage.

The words dropped like iron ingots, dark and hard. He reached beneath his cloak and pulled out a fat little purse. His words tailed off.

Jachad scratched his head and desperately tried to conceal the fact that he had been prepared to take twenty-five. Finally he said,

Eofar's surge of relief nearly knocked Jachad backward. He wrapped the little bottle back up in the scrap of cloth and held it out with a smile. Instinctively Eofar reached for it. His hand came close enough for Jachad to feel the chill radiating from his skin before they both remembered themselves and pulled back.

said Jachad. He deposited the little package carefully in the sand between them. Eofar picked up the bottle and left the purse lying in the same spot for Jachad to retrieve.

He flipped opened the purse and tossed a coin to Eofar, who caught it neatly in his pale hand.

Eofar ruminated as he undid the clasps of his cloak and carefully tucked the bottle into the pocket of his shirt.

said Jachad.

Jachad answered, trying to mask his impatience with extra good cheer. They'd had this conversation before, and his answer was always the same. The bargaining had gone as well as could be expected up to this point, and now he wanted Eofar to leave so he could catch up with his companion. He certainly did not want to waste his time defending his people's customs to a Norlander yet again. It was bad enough that once he reached the city he would have to contend with the open hostility of the Shadari, who even after twenty-odd years still blamed the Nomas for failing to come to their aid against the Norlanders.

He began walking casually toward Eofar's triffon, hoping Eofar would follow. he continued.

said Eofar, following Jachad to his mount. She lifted her massive head from between her front paws and sat up as they approached. Jachad patted her coarse fur, examining the small, round ears protruding from tufts of longer fur, the deep eye-ridges and long snout. With the ashas' secret passage in and out of the temple lost to history, the triffons were the only way to come and go, and Jachad was forced to ride on one of the creatures each time he came to negotiate with the governor for the garrison's supplies and sell trinkets to the soldiers. He had grown accustomed to it over the years; the last few times, he had even opened his eyes.

Eofar said as she bent her short legs slightly to make it easier for him to mount. He buckled himself into the harness and took up the reins, then stopped suddenly.

Jachad turned and pretended to look where he was pointing. There was no sense in denying that they were together: Eofar's sharp Norlander eyes could easily spot her smeary footprints leading away, even in the tricky half-light. Jachad reminded himself that the best lie was simply an edited version of the truth. >Oh, she's just a business associate. I'm escorting her to the Shadar. She has some scars on her face, so I sent her on ahead. I know how you Norlanders feel about that sort of thing. I didn't want to upset you.>

<Should I ask what her business might be?>

<Only if you want to know,> said Jachad.

<No, I suppose not,> Eofar answered. <"Let all so afflicted ..."> He trailed off.

<What's that?>

<What? Oh, nothing. It's from The Book of the Hall. Norlander scripture.> Eofar stared thoughtfully across the sands at the dwindling figure. <Did you know that in Norland they take deformed babies and injured soldiers and people like that out into the forest and leave them there to freeze to death? It's said that if Onfar—our god of life and death—decides that a person is worthy, he heals their affliction and sends them home again.>

<Yes, I had heard that,> Jachad said, clamping down on the anger this unexpected disclosure elicited. <And how many has he judged worthy so far?>

Eofar answered without looking away from Jachad's associate.

Jachad tapped his fingers together to disguise the little sparks sizzling between them and stepped back, out of the way of Aeda's enormous wings.

Eofar whistled to his mount and she crouched low, then sprang into the air. A moment later the Norlander and the triffon were winging their way back to the temple. Jachad watched until their shadowy figures blended into the temple's stark façade.

Then he scooped up his pack and ran after his companion.

He tracked her easily, though her footprints had shifted away from their original easterly direction. He began to see gaps here and there, as if she were stumbling, then the trail veered even further from due east and Jachad, looking round, saw the reason why. She was heading toward a low circle of sand-smoothed boulders a little to the north. He stopped and watched as she stumbled and fell to her knees a dozen paces from the stones. Reflexively he started toward her, but before he had gone very far she was on her feet again and a moment later, she had disappeared behind the rocks.

The dawn breeze whisked across the desert and rustled through Jachad's brilliant silk robes, offering him a greeting, a whispered welcome to the new day. The sand at his feet swirled and shifted, and the sun's first rays glowed behind the smudgy mountains. Jachad Nisharan, king of the Nomas, dropped his pack into the sand and knelt down to pray to his father, the sun god, Shof.

Absolute privacy, every day, at dawn and dusk, without fail: that was the condition she had imposed on him, the same condition she set for anyone who desired her services, and in the two weeks she and Jachad had been traveling together he had scrupulously honored his promise.

The wind began to gather strength, blowing westward from the sea.

He looked at the rocks and wet his lips. Dire warnings echoed in his mind. He had been putting off this moment, but they would reach the Shadar before sunset and he might never have another opportunity. He had to see for himself; if he let this chance slip by, he might as well have stayed with his tribe on the other side of the desert.

He stood up, and as he edged toward the rocks, the wind died down and the sand hissed back to the desert floor. Jachad dropped his pack and silently slid through a narrow space between two of the boulders.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Blood's Pride by Evie Manieri. Copyright © 2012 Evie Manieri. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 29, 2014

    I tried to like this book. Interesting setting and protagonist,

    I tried to like this book. Interesting setting and protagonist, yet this book failed to draw me in. It failed to make me care who lived or died.

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  • Posted September 26, 2013

    Good book. Plenty of Character's, action, love, death, drama- an

    Good book. Plenty of Character's, action, love, death, drama- and, mythical creatures, with some ancient gods thrown in. I recommend you try this book, especially if you like game of thrones, or, big character driven books. And if not, try it anyway and see what you think.

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    Posted June 14, 2013

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    Posted September 26, 2013

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