Sunday, 8 March 2015

THE WITCHES' COVENANT

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About The Book

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00010]Title: The Witches’ Covenant
Author: Michael Dalton
Genre: Alternate History / Fantasy / Romance
Erich, Ariel and Astrid have begun their life together, but all is not well.
Ariel and Astrid have discovered that sharing a husband is a greater challenge than they anticipated, a challenge that is exacerbated by a difCicult winter trip to Wittenberg, where Erich hopes to enter the service of Frederick III, Elector of Sachsen. But their trip is soon interrupted by unexpected complications.
In the town of Marburg, a century-old agreement that has kept the peace between the Landgraviate of Hessen and a band of witches in the forest is beginning to unravel. The young Landgrave, Philip, needs to consolidate his authority, and the witches want something from him that he does not dare surrender.
Erich and his wives are drawn into this conClict, and in the process discover a mystery that seems tied to their unique magical bond—a mystery that may threaten its very existence if they cannot resolve it.
In this second installment in the bestselling Twin Magic series, Michael Dalton spins together magic, steampunk, and traditional German fairy tales into another entertaining alternate history adventure.

Author Bio

Michael Dalton is a professional journalist and editor. He lives with his family and multiple pets in Southern California.

Links

Website: http://michaeldaltonbooks.com/

Book Excerpts
Excerpt #1
Ariel and Astrid walked slowly around the clearing. Here and there, though they were difficult to pick out from more than a few feet away, were rotten, moss- and lichen-covered logs set around the stones, forming a sort of amphitheater.
“I am thinking of Bertrand’s story,” Astrid said finally. “The witches,” Ariel added.
“What do you think this place is?” Erich asked.
“I don’t know,” Ariel replied. “But it does seem like the sort of place they might have gathered, if his story was accurate. Though it looks like years since anyone has been here.”
Erich walked up to the spring and knelt down. But when he reached for the water, Astrid spoke up.
“Don’t,” she said. “Why?”
“Places like this . . . I have never seen such a thing before, though I have read about them . . . such springs are often said to be enchanted.”
“Can you tell?”
The girls looked at each other.
“Sensing enchantments is more divination than naturalism,” Ariel said.
“But the spring? The two of you have undine blood in your veins.” “This not a river,” Astrid said.
“Water is water, is it not?”
“For the most part,” she replied. “That is, if this is a natural spring.” “Then see what you can tell. I do not want to go further if we are
heading into a witches’ den.” “I suppose we can try.”
Ariel and Astrid joined hands and closed their eyes. Erich watched for a moment, then glanced around them into the woods. Though it was mid-morning, the forest beyond the clearing was tenebrous and gloomy.
Finally the girls looked up at him. “There is a power here,” Astrid said. “What do you mean?”
“There are places in the world where the Flow moves more strongly than elsewhere, where it is concentrated.”
“Much like a spring,” Ariel said. “Just as water can flow freely from the ground like this, there are spots the Flow emerges into the world in a pure stream.”
Erich looked around the clearing, then back down at the spring. “And this is such a spot?”
“Again, we have only read about these things,” Astrid said. “I have never seen one in person.”
“Is it dangerous?”
Ariel shook her head. “It is simply the Flow. It could be used for good or evil. But whatever a mage might do here would be enhanced, perhaps significantly.”

Excerpt #2
The creatures that attacked them were entirely silent. One moment Hans was walking behind Heinrich, and the next there was a thin-legged thing—almost like a fleshy spider with a child’s head—on the man’s back, cutting his throat with a slender knife.
As Heinrich fell, blood spurting from the gaping wound in his neck, Hans stood there frozen as if he were watching the scene on a stage. Up ahead of him, Giancarlo had drawn his sword and was slashing at two of the creatures that had dropped from the trees above.
As the horses scattered in alarm, Hans watched as the thing that had killed Heinrich rose from the body and turned in his direction. Still he could not seem to move.
Hans realized he was about to die.
At the last possible moment, his arm became unfrozen, and he drew his rapier just in time to impale the creature as it leapt at him. Snarling and clawing at him despite the blade through its chest, the thing tore a long gash on Hans’ arm. But then Hans thrust forward, pushing it away, and it was dead.
He spun around just in time to see three of the things finishing off Tomas, stabbing him repeatedly with their knives.
Hans froze again. He might have killed one, but he could not see how he could possibly take on three of them. Then one of the things rose and sprang at him, and he somehow caught this one as well, running his rapier through its neck.
With that, Hans could take no more. He turned and ran toward Giancarlo, who had killed the two small creatures before him but now faced something much larger. Hans was at first taken aback, thinking it was a tall, almost skeletal man, dressed in fine clothes more suited for court. Then he realized the thing’s skin was rough bark, and its fine breeches and waistcoat were leaves and moss woven to resemble human clothes. It was nearly seven feet tall, towering over Giancarlo, whose rapier was doing it no appreciable damage. It was all the mercenary captain could do to keep the thing at bay and avoid its slashing claws.
That was when a dark form appeared behind the wood-thing, and

Giancarlo cried out in alarm.

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