Who hasn’t been thrilled by the epic adventures and great stories of Greek mythology? I know I have, so I’m delighted to spotlight Rise of Princes by Janell Rhiannon, the second book in the Homeric Chronicles series, an imaginative and exciting retelling of the story of the Trojan Wars.
You can read two excerpts from the book below plus if you click on this link and sign up for Janell’s newsletter, you can receive an .epub copy of the first book, Song of Princes, FREE!
Plus, for a limited time, Rise of Princes is FREE too! Click on the Amazon purchase links below.
And I’m really spoiling you today because there’s also a giveaway (INTL) with a chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card. To enter, click here. But hurry, the giveaway closes 8th June.
About the Book
Publisher’s description: In the Song of Princes, the western Greek world is set afire by the brazen escape of Helen of Sparta with Paris, the Forgotten Prince of Troy. As their ship plows east across the Aegean, the Great War trails close behind them. Not even the gods could silence the thundering shields and singing arrows following the lovers back to Troy.
In Rise of Princes, Agamemnon and his horde lay siege to Trojan allies for nearly nine years, but it is Achilles, the Golden Warrior, who brutally ravages the Troad lands becoming the Sacker of Cities. His fierce onslaught prompts the gods to intervene on behalf of the Trojans and their allies. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty and patroness of Troy, sends the Princess Briseis to calm the bloody fury of Achilles. Hektor, the Golden Prince, leads the Trojan army against the western invaders, keeping Troy safe behind the Great Wall. As Defender of the Citadel, he grants sanctuary to thousands of refugees seeking safety from the death and destruction sweeping the land. Behind the solidarity of the royal family, tensions over the continued presence of Helen of Sparta threaten to topple the empire. When the fate of Troy appears most grim, a ray of hope is offered by a new prophesy. Despite his private losses, Hektor vows to remain the strength his people need.
Across the Aegean, the Greek kingdoms struggle with disturbing news from Troy. Queen Clytemnestra of Mycenae, reeling from Agamemnon’s ruthless betrayal, loses faith in the gods and plots her revenge. Queen Penelope of Ithaka, young and uncertain, prays to Athena for her husband’s swift return. And Tyndareus, the former king of Sparta, works to usurp Menelaus’ throne. Trojans and Greeks face heartbreak as the war, sparked by the vanity and greed of men, continues with no end in sight.
Format: ebook No. of pages: 534
Publication date: 1st May 2017 Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Adult
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Excerpt: “War and Love” in Rise of Princes (Homeric Chronicles #2) by Janell Rhiannon
[From Chapter 6]
The battle cry, a thunderous roar of thousands, carried on the wind, warning the people of Methymna that death was coming for them. Those seeking safety within the city walls waited far from the gore upon the ramparts. From high above, fear gripped their bones and souls as they watched the soldiers with Black Shields move through their army like a plague. It was impossible to ignore the warrior-god, standing tall among his men, gleaming golden and ferocious in Apollo’s light. His menacing sword slashed flesh and cracked bones and split heads with every stroke; behind him, bodies fell like broken flowers crushed by a beast in the field. As the western tribes lay waste to the Methymnaan army, the princess pulled the pin from the knot holding the gate’s massive latch in place. The devastation could now consume the city for lust and gold and geras untold.
Achilles stood amidst the carnage, blood dripping from his arms and face, as his eyes locked on the commander of the enemy. He watched as Hypsipylos smashed his blade and rammed his shield against his foes; he stood almost as tall as Achilles and almost as broad.
A worthy opponent and a good day for the Methymnaan commander to die. The Golden Warrior’s roar rose above the din of battle and Hypsipylos turned, knowing instinctively who challenged him in mutual combat. He plunged his sword deep into an invader’s chest, pulled it free with fresh blood dripping down the blade, and bore down on Achilles like an enraged bull catching the scent of an enemy afield.
The mighty warriors clashed. Shield against shield, blade against blade, Achilles and Hypsipylos unleashed their fury on each other. Dust clouded around them like a swirling storm. The harsh scraping of metal on metal sang through the air. Citizens from above watched in fascinated horror, while men on the battlefield ceased their fighting and circled the combating champions. The warrior-god of the west arched his sword in a flash of silver, smashing the pommel into Hypsipylos’ cheek. The Methymnaan hero stumbled back, dropping his shield guard momentarily. Achilles, lunging forward, used his shield as a battering ram and smashed its edge into Hypsipylos’ shoulder. The dark hero’s sword arm faltered with the blow. Achilles moved in for the kill with the strength and skill of a lion.
At last Achilles’ blade, glinting cruelly in Apollo’s light, caught the enemy’s exposed chest and slashed ferociously through Hypsipylos’ armor. The gash split his chest open, spilling his guts and blood on the ground. The commander of the Methymnaan army fell hard on his knees in the dirt, kneeling awkwardly at Achilles’ feet. He gasped as dark red blood oozed from the corners of his mouth down his chin and neck. “My city … Peisidike …”
Achilles sneered down at the dying commander. “That whore gave up your city.”
“No …” He grimaced, stiffened, and then fell over, blood still welling up from his throat and spilling through his open mouth. His dead eyes stared at nothing.
A mighty cheer rose among the united Greeks. The enemy turned to retreat, finding escape impossible. Achilles wiped the muck of blood and dirt from his blade. The fighting left his throat parched, so he spat. The bodies of his enemy lay heaped around him. The entire city lay slaughtered and scattered in the dust.
[From Chapter 35]
Briseis stoked the fire beneath the cauldron of water for Achilles’ bath. She’d already had the women carry in the wooden bathing tub and fresh linen. They stood about the tent giggling and flitting like little birds in a bush. I wonder which one of them he will choose to pour the water. Afterward, the chosen woman always emerged dripping wet and flushed, disheveled and most annoying to Briseis, smiling.
At Achilles’ command, she worked alongside Knaxon as Achilles’ personal slave. Because of that, she knew the Myrmidon commander took many women to bed, sometimes two or three at a time, but always casting them aside by light of day. It was fairly legend among the camp that Achilles’ prowess in bed was only rivaled by his bravery in battle.
She angrily jabbed the flames with a long stick, knocking a small, burning log loose, collapsing the fire brands. She quickly kicked the small logs back in place, using the stick to reposition them. She choked on the resultant smoke, before the flames rekindled. Why do you care, Briseis, that he will choose a golden-haired woman to pour for him? She stirred the water. It was fairly steaming. She would mix the hot with the cold in each pitcher for the water pourer. What takes him so long?
The Myrmidon commander had gone to the beach to soak first in the cold water of the Edremit, before taking the hot waters of a private bath. Bathing was the single luxury Achilles indulged in, as far as she’d observed. The women’s chattering suddenly grew louder, as they pointed toward the beach. Briseis turned her head to see Achilles, tall and proud, striding up the beach completely naked. His men hailed him as he passed by, and the women fairly pushed each other aside, each hoping to be noticed. She turned away, flushing at the sight of his brazen nudity. Pompous. Arrogant. The cauldron clanged as she stirred.
He walked by all the golden-haired beauties she and Knaxon had selected and he ignored them all.
“Briseis, you will pour,” Achilles said, as he pushed into his tent, leaving the small gaggle of willing conquests standing mouths agape.
Briseis looked to the camp women reluctantly walking away, and then at a bronze hydria. Grudgingly, she dipped it into the hot water, mixing it with cool water from another jug. She carried it into the tent. She froze when she saw Achilles already reclining in the tub, his head tilted back against the wide rim. He made no attempt at modesty.
“What are you waiting for, Briseis? Pour.”
She approached the tub, cautiously. Why be fearful? She glanced at the length of his naked body. Even the gods cannot be more perfect. Every muscle, the entire length of his body was carved with precision. She dumped the first pitcher down his wide chest.
Achilles, opening his eyes in surprise, grabbed Briseis firmly by the wrist. “Pour slowly.”
When Briseis returned with another jug, Achilles said, “Undo my braids.”
She bristled. He has at least fifty. Darkness will fall before I am finished. “Would you not prefer another to―”
“Your water will be cold―”
“Have another bring hot water to fill the basin. Then, undo my braids. I would clean the mud from my hair. Patrokles remarked I smelled of ‘muck and shit’.”
“He speaks honestly.”
Achilles slapped at the shallow water, splashing her. “Hold your tongue, woman. Go, do as I command. There is a short blade on the table. Use that to cut the ties.”
When the young, honey-haired slave poured the last of the hydriai, she lingered near the tub’s edge. A twinge of jealously tugged at Briseis, before she could stop herself. What do you care another woman finds him desirable? Who would not?
Achilles waved the woman off, and she left with head hung low to her chest. Idiotic girl.
Briseis fingered the small knife as she picked it up. She ran her thumb lightly over the flat of the blade, testing the edge for sharpness. She recalled her husband in that moment; his body ruined in the dirt of war. She shivered at the memory of the dark god’s revelry amidst carnage and death. I cannot recall the sweetness of his face. Was I even in Lyrnessus? Or was that someone else entire?
She positioned a low stool behind the tub where Achilles’ head rested and picked up a soaking wet braid in one hand, bringing up the blade with the other. Achilles’ eyes were closed, his chest rising and falling in a light sleep. She eyed the vein at his neck, beating the steady rhythm of his life.
“Do not even consider it,” Achilles said quietly.
Briseis cut the leather bond, set the knife on the ledge of the tub, and silently undid the length of his honey-silver hair. One by one she cut the leather ties. She fetched hydriai of fresh water, pouring it through his locks until they were clean. Briseis handed him the pile of fresh linen.
Achilles stepped from the tub. “Call the women to empty the water.”
Briseis left the tent feeling ill at ease. Why does he not take me as he takes other women? You are dark-haired, and old, Briseis. She cursed the gods that she had begun to see her enemy in a softer light. She clenched her fists at her sides. I remember. I remember. I remember. As she walked through camp, tears slid down her cheeks. I am forgetting. Gods curse me, I am forgetting. She tried desperately to hold her husband’s face in her mind. It slipped like a shadow from her eyes. I am forgetting.
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About the Author
Janell always had her nose in a book, reading by flashlight when it was “lights out” time. Her love of reading turned to a curiosity about writing. She now writes in all the spare moments she can squeeze out of a day. She also writes fiction and fantasy with some romantic spice for good measure. Janell adores mythology and fantasy. Anything magical and mystical. And dragons. And gargoyles. Her guiding motto: “I tell stories, not genres.”
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