Warprize

Warprize

by Elizabeth Vaughan

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Overview

Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan

“Vaughan’s brawny barbarian romance recreates the delicious feeling of adventure and the thrill of exploring mysterious cultures created by Robert E. Howard in his Conan books and makes for a satisfying escapist read with its enjoyable romance between a plucky, near-naked heroine and a truly heroic hero.”—Booklist

The daughter of a Warrior King, Lara was trained as a healer. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to warring Firelanders. Unable to depose her sibling or negotiate peace, Lara serves her people by healing the warriors—on both sides of the conflict—who are injured in battle.
 
Lara finds herself educated in her enemy’s language and customs in return for her attention and compassion. She never expects that her deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. To save her land and her people, Lara trades her freedom to become the Warprize.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425240540
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Series: Chronicles of the Warlands Series , #1
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 449,210
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Elizabeth A. Vaughan is the USA Today bestselling author of the Chronicles of the Warlands series. She believes that the only good movies are the ones with gratuitous magic, swords or lasers. Not to mention dragons. At the present, she is owned by incredibly spoiled cats and lives in the Northwest Territory, on the outskirts of the Black Swamp, along Mad Anthony’s Trail on the banks of the Maumee River.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

I pulled the shard out just as his wound began spurting blood.

“Goddess, no.” I dropped the knife, pressed my hands against his stomach, into the blood, and threw my full weight onto the wound. Biting my lip, I pressed harder still, desperate to stop the bleeding. “Hold him, boys.”

The apprentices gathered around the table grabbed tight to his arms and legs, all of them wide-eyed and pale as they tried to keep him from moving. The wooden table beneath my aged patient creaked and complained at the added weight as the room echoed with the sound of our leather shoes slapping against the stone floor and my patient’s frantic panting.

A quick glance around the large kitchen told me that there were no other healers in sight. They were all in the main hall, tending the others. Just the apprentices, clustered around the table. Blood bubbled up between my fingers, warm and thick. The metallic smell was strong and settled in my mouth. There was something wrong with the smell, but I was too busy to think on it. One of the lads frantically waved a fresh bandage before my eyes, and I snatched it, crammed it into the wound, and pressed down. I had to get it stopped. The bandage turned to scarlet before my eyes.

The man under my hands groaned and thrashed, trying to get away from the pain. One of the smaller lads was flung away. The patient’s freed arm swiped through the air, catching me on the cheek. Vision blurred for a precious instant as my head rocked back with the blow. My hair came loose, and one long brown curl floated down to lie in the blood that surrounded my hands. The felled boy scrambled up and threw himself back into the fray, grabbing the flailing arm and wrestling it down. “Sorry, Lara,” he told me.

“Hold him.” My voice was a croak. I was too harsh on the lads who were trying their best. Their bloodless faces were pale blurs. I heard the one next to me swallowing rapidly. Pray to the Goddess that he’d not spew on the wound. My shoulders tightened as I tried to increase the pressure, trying to staunch the red flow. “I need help here.” I raised my voice to carry into the main hall that was filled with wounded and other healers.

“Lara? What’s happened?” A quiet, calm voice came from behind me.

It was Eln, thank the Goddess.

The warrior surged up again, and the table squeaked in protest. We stayed with him, trying to keep him still, trying to keep the pressure on. He cried out suddenly, then sagged back, exhausted. I gulped in breath to answer. “The shard came out clean but he’s bleeding.”

A head popped in next to mine as Eln craned his scrawny neck to have a look. My teacher for years, he always moved like a gray lake-crane. He made a noncommittal noise, then pulled a deep breath in through his nose. I gritted my teeth. Sometimes he decides that I need a lesson in the midst of saving a life, even though I’ve held my mastery for years. Eln’s head pulled back, but I could feel him standing behind me.

“Not my patient, and not my place to say.” Eln’s voice was quiet, but cut through the moans of the warrior. “But what happens after you stop the bleeding?”

I slammed my eyes shut. My patient shifted again, and we moved with him, automatically.

“Stubborn child . . .” Eln’s voice was a whisper, but I heard it. “You may have gained your mastery but you haven’t truly learned, have you?”

I did not want to concede to his wisdom, did not want to face what the scent of waste in the blood meant, the scent I’d failed to identify a moment before. But experience had been a hard teacher, harder than Eln had ever been. With a nod, and a strangled sob, I released the pressure on the wound. The apprentices froze, not understanding.

“Come, boys.” Eln spoke quietly. “Come with me.”

I ignored them all as they filed out. One stopped, and looked at me.

“Why’d ya stop?”

Kneeling to wash my hands in a bucket on the floor, I looked up into his wide young eyes. “Eln will tell you, child. Go now.”

Eln would not miss a chance to give a lesson, a chance to explain the slow, painful death of a belly wound that stank of waste. Explain that a good healer knew when to let a patient go, that death wasn’t always an enemy. Explain that good healers didn’t stubbornly refuse to acknowledge their limits. I wished them the best of it, for it was a lesson I’d never learned.

Coward that I was, I took a moment to rinse my tunic and trous of the worst of the blood. That might save me some abuse from Anna when I returned to the castle. She claimed that I didn’t own a piece of clothing that didn’t have blood on it at one time or another. The cool, wet cloth felt good against my hot and sweaty skin.

I took a fresh bowl of water and a clean cloth and bathed the man’s face. The bleeding had turned sluggish. It would not be long now. The man sighed and relaxed, muscles releasing their tension under my touch.

Aye, Eln would offer a lesson. But I would offer comfort to a dying man.

The water seemed to ease him, and I put the cloth down for a moment, and steadied myself. I forced myself to rinse my hands again, working the nails to get the blood off. I took a moment to clean the one stray lock of hair and tuck it up again. My hair was a constant irritation, the curls were never content to stay neat on top of my head.

The kitchen had cleared again. It was the best room in the old barracks to use for the worst of the wounded. The large tables served well, and every counter and cupboard was filled with jars and bowls of ointments and remedies. I stared at their bright colors and the false promise of the claims that they could cure all ails. But nothing lay there that could save this man.

A noise drew my attention down. His eyes fluttered open. Once again I took up the water and cloth. As I worked, he focused on me, a question in his stare. I smiled.

“You are in the healing house, warrior. You took a wound. Rest now.”

He licked his lips, narrowed his eyes. “Lance . . . tip broke off . . . belly.”

I nodded. No need to speak. He knew.

He closed his eyes, then opened them again and for the first time he seemed to really look at me. “Fought with your father, Lady.” He gasped as the effort cost him breath. His voice was soft and tight.

I paused. Few were left that could claim to have known my father. “I am sorry, but I don’t know you.”

He didn’t seem to hear me. One corner of his mouth turned up. “You’ve his eyes, child. All fey blue and wise.” His arm trembled as he tried to raise his hand. I caught it and held it in mine. His eyes got a strange light in them, perhaps an echo of his younger self. “Now there was a king, your father. What a warrior he was.” He looked over my shoulder, seeing into the mists of memory.

“I miss him,” I said quietly.

A wave of pain crossed his face. “Aye, Lady,” was the breathless response. “So do we all.” He seemed to gather strength somehow, and he squeezed my hand and gave a slight tug. I lowered my hand to his mouth. With a rasping breath, he spoke. “My hand to yours. Bless you, Xylara, Daughter of the House of Xy, Daughter of Xyron, Warrior King.” He pressed his dry lips to the back of my hand.

It had been long since I’d heard those old words. I kissed his forehead. “My hand to yours. Blessings upon you, Warrior of the House of Xy.”

He smiled, slipping into death even as his hand slipped from mine.

“YOU CARE TOO MUCH.” IT WAS ELN AGAIN.

His voice floated over the stone tubs that had been set aside to wash instruments. I ignored him for the moment, concentrating on getting things clean and ready for the next wave of wounded. Experience taught that the lulls in the fighting were to be used, not wasted.

“A good healer is dispassionate. Objective.”

The warrior’s body had been taken up for burial. He had been the last of the severely wounded. I had a small cluster of unhappy apprentices outside, boiling bandages and linens. Not their favorite chore, but a vital one.

Eln had started brewing more orchid root at the fire. The sweet scent was a comfort. Others were tending the large kettles of fever’s foe outside. Everyone, no matter how tired, worked and waited. For the sounds of more battle, more wounded. I closed my eyes, giving in to my exhaustion, and prayed for an end to the war that waged outside the city walls. Prayed that the Firelanders would stop using their lances. Prayed that I’d be skilled enough that no more of my patients would die.

Eln rattled the jars and bottles, and I opened my eyes and watched him. My old teacher, his long arms stretching out, putting them in some kind of order. Slow and steady, moving carefully on tall legs, considering each step. The straight, gray hair that flowed down his back only added to the image of a lake-crane. He gave me a look out of the corner of his eye, and shook his head. “How can one so slight be so stubborn?”

“Eln, how long was I your apprentice?”

He stared pointedly at my bruised cheek. “Long enough to learn.” He regarded me with a solemn look.

“And I have been a master for how long?” I rinsed more of the instruments and set them on a cloth to dry.

He pursed his lips, and pretended to study one of the jars. “Long enough to learn to talk back.”

I snorted. “During that period, how many times have you said that to me?”

“More than I can count, but that does not make it any less true.” He started to gather up the things we would need to check the wounded and tend them. “If you are so wise, Lara, then why do I see guilt in your eyes?”

I glanced out the kitchen window. The afternoon shadows were growing. “I should not have tried to cut it out. Should have left it alone. If I had . . .”

“If.” Eln came to stand next to me. “If you had left it in, was his death not as sure? You tried. That was all you could do. All any of us can do when we are overwhelmed like this.”

I dried my hands, and blinked back tears I didn’t have time for. “We’d better get to work.”

Customer Reviews

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Warprize 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The King of Xy¿s daughter Xylara chooses to become a healer rather than a royal pawn, and her sire allows her to train under the tutelage of Eln and to use her skills especially when they are at war. When her father dies, her half brother Xymund becomes the monarch. He sees healers as traitors because they comfort the enemy too and has other plans for his sister insisting the Daughter of the Blood can be used as a bargaining chip in their war with the Firelanders........................ Xymund may be Zy¿s son, but he is not his equal as a warrior so their country loses to the Firelanders. Negotiating a peace, Xymund cleverly includes his half-sister as a WARPRIZE. Reluctantly Xylara accepts her fate to keep her people safe. To her shock, Xylara finds her hosts are not barbarians but have many of the same concerns the people of Zy have. When she heals and nurtures the ill, Keir the Warlord realizes what a WARPRIZE he really gained. As they fall in love and peace settles on the two lands, Xymund tries a sneak attack as he covets his neighbor¿s kingdom....................... The key to this strong otherworld romantic thriller is that readers will believe that the world of Zy and Firelander exists as Evelyn Vaughn cleverly throughout her fine tale provides cultural tidbits into this realm. The story line reads like a medieval tale with bartering of royals as commodities and betrayals a way of life. Interestingly though Keir and Lara go from disdain to admiration to love as both struggles with trust issues because duplicity is the norm in their respective circles. Fans of medieval like romances on other worlds will take immense delight in this terrific tale.............. Harriet Klausner
Evesica_Royale More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book and the continuing series. The characters were very much alive and the setting was very detailed. I definitely reccomend this to people who love a historical fiction with some fantasy and romance thrown in! The plot can be a little confusing in the beginning because of the creative names Ms. Vaughan gives items (ie. coffee is called kavage in the books) but everything makes sense in the end. This book is one that is difficult to put down, even if you are reading well into the night. I have read it again and again and have yet to be bored with it.
kep More than 1 year ago
I found this book refreshing and enjoyable. The main characters are Keir the Warlord who is powerful, honorable, intelligent and stubborn and Lara the Warprize who is gentle, caring, just as intellegent and just as stubborn. What makes their story so enticing is that Keir is tough and rough when he needs to be but so gentle and tender with Lara. The secondary characters are just as great and enjoyable. They help enhance the plot and make the main characters more interesting. I loved them all. My favorites being Gils, Atira and Simus. The author has a gift with words and she draws you into the two diifrerent cultures she has created (Xyians and Firelanders). I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it.
moonlesslife More than 1 year ago
I actually fell in love with this book after reading it for the reason I became captivated with Lara and her high spirited ways and attitude. The book creates a world in which you enter during a time of war and peace settlements. The king, who is in many ways tyrannic, gives up his sister to keep his throne. XyLara only agrees to become the warprize to help her people and to do her duty, in the process of being a master healer. I definately rate this book a 5 for it's ability to captivate the reader so deeply, that the book becomes addicting and hard to put down.
TJ_Shaw More than 1 year ago
4 Beautiful Stars! I decided to give this epic fantasy a go after reading some reviews about it and I’m so glad I did. The opening scene sucked me right into the story. I just love books that hook me within the first few pages, better still if within the first few sentences just like WARPRIZE. Lara is an amazing female protagonist. She has an internal strength and devotion to her craft as a healer that makes her very courageous even though she’s not a warrior. I loved her passion and voice. Keir, the Warlord, wasn’t as clearly depicted for me, maybe because Ms. Vaughan wrote in the heroine’s POV only. Although I still got a good picture of him, I would’ve liked to know what he was thinking during some scenes. I also would’ve liked a little more action in the bedroom, but those nit-picky sentiments didn’t prevent me from enjoying the book. Ms. Vaughan’s writing style kind of reminds me of Jean Auel and her CLAN of the CAVE BEAR series in that Ms Vaughan is very descriptive in her world building, yet not to the point of dragging out a scene. I look forward to reading the next in the series, WARSWORN. Focused. Strong. True.
usabraat1 More than 1 year ago
Great read, couldn't hardly put it down till I finished it! Can't wait for the next one to come out.
EnterThePortal More than 1 year ago
For me, WARPRIZE hit the spot, but it was not your typical epic fantasy or fantasy romance. It reminded me a bit of the Daenerys Targaryen storyline in Game of Thrones (the sister who marries the warlord barbarian)...Xylara is given to Keir, the warlord barbarian, by her brother the king, and forced to live with him in his army camp. But the similarity ends there. Xylara believes she is a slave. Keir demanded her as Warprize as part of a peace agreement with the Kingdom of Xy. Despite her apparent captivity, Xylara begins to find a place in the army camp as a healer and even comes to appreciate the hard warlord that sleeps next to her and the ways of his people. Meanwhile, Keir does everything he can to make Xylara feel welcome, while still maintaining his warrior pride. Characters: *****5 Stars I loved the characters in WARPRIZE. Xylara is strong in her convictions, frequently standing up for what she believes in and facing down warriors twice her size and covered in weapons. Yet she also maintains a certain vulnerability because of her lack of size and strength, and because her brother has emotionally wounded her by giving her away as a slave. Similarly, Keir is a leader, strong and proud, but he seems to truly care for Xylara, who becomes his weakness. The side characters were extremely well-drawn, rounding out a wonderful cast with Simus, the loud and humorous general; Gils, the wannabe apprentice healer; Joden, the Singer and storyteller who records the oral history of the clan; and Marcus, the always grumbling and grouchy manservant for Keir. Plot: **** 4 Stars The action was a little weak, the story mostly revolving around the relationships between the characters and the internal conflict. However, that really didn't bother me as the story was so strong in other areas, so I never really felt the lack. If you like a character-driven novel, this would be a good pick. Setting: ****4 Stars The setting was beautifully developed. I could almost taste the dust in the practice ring, or see the tents in the army camp, and there was a marked difference between the setting in the camp versus the setting in the city. I became absorbed Xylara's world, making the story flow around me as I read. Romance: ***** 5 Stars I really liked the level of romance in WARPRIZE. The characters don't just jump into bed right away...well, they sort of do since Keir installs Xylara in his tent and sleeps next to her, but they don't do anything while they're there for most of the story. It gave them time to get to know each other and the author did a great job developing their relationship, including its flaws. Genre - Fantasy: *** 3 Stars This was not your typical modern fantasy novel. There was no magic, no mystical creatures, no dwarves or elves or vampires. In a way, it was more of an alternate world political intrigue and adventure story. The focus of the plot was on the cultural conflict between these two very different peoples. That being said, I think it's a bit of a throwback to fantasy novels of the past. The technology is medieval and life is a struggle for survival. I thought it was refreshing to get away from the modern urban fantasy/paranormal romance for awhile. I recommend this for people who are new to fantasy, enjoy strong characters and relationships, and/or don't mind a slower-paced novel with a little less danger and physical excitement.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was marvelous. Lara is definatley my all time favorite female heroine. She's smart, strong and compassionate. Though she seems to fall in love really quickly, she's not head over heals all the time and retains a decent amount of self-respect. The characters kept me laughing throughout the entire book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is book #1 of a triology. The entire triology is wonderful. Sad to see the stories end. The set focuses on other adventures and not just the 'romance,' but it is so well written I got attached to the main characters as well as many others in the story. This was a true, deep love story. Such a nice change from the typical 'guy chases girl.' And really not a paranormal. One small incident when they say goodbye to thier dead....Nice book, well written. Couldn't put it down. Had to reread this and book #2 when book #3 (finally) came out. LOL
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of those rare books that was seen as a 'beach read', and came through as a true adventure. With people that really speak to you and a more than convincing world, the romance of this book runs free. I did not believe I could enjoy a book with a story-line that pushes a (virgin) healer into slavery. Yet, I LOVED this book!!! Who'dve thought?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a person that scours the shelves in the book store for something that sounds different. If your like me warprize should be your next book. Because it was surprisingly different. Just set aside the weekend and get comfortable, because it's a hard book to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the pace of the book because it keeps you on the edge of your seat. I reccommend this book to anyone that justs wants to read a good book about romance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Warprize casts two fantasy cultures on a collision course and we experience it through the main characters: the warlord and his warprize. The protagonists are complex, interesting, and unpredictable enough to make fascinating reading. Their cultures function as characters in the story as well, since communication is fraught with cultural assumptions and traditions that complicate the plot. With strong secondary characters, cinemagraphic story-telling, and adept character development, the adventure flies along. It's been months since I stayed up late reading a good book. What a relief from the lamely written vampire/werewolf drivel swarming the shelves under the guise of fantasy.
Anonymous 18 days ago
Great story ! Honor, strength, jealousy, betrayal . Bravery , loyalty and love. Well written, with a touch of humor and lots of courage. Enjoy!!
Anonymous 26 days ago
Enjoyable read. Interesting blend of two cultures that need to learn of each other.
Anonymous 26 days ago
I loved this book
Anonymous 29 days ago
Very enjoyable. Good characters
Anonymous 29 days ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was a page Turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful foray into a vivid new land
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast paced and hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story of romance between two different cultures
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The heroine was a little too sweet and innocent for my tastes, but the story was well written, the characters engaging and kept me reading. I will be buying the next installment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much I researched the next in the series before I reached 100 pages. It didn't go to far into the science fiction region or to the romance one. It was a good blend of two. I will be reading the whole series. Elizabeth Vaughan has a new & dedicated fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hooked right from the first page! Entertaining, page turner, and drew you in until the end. Can't wait to see if there is another book on Lara and Keir.