Black Widow…

21 Nov

Another GSP release from Author of the Week: Sheila Deeth.

Black Widow by Sheila Deeth

History records a British queen Boudicca in 60 AD leading the Celtic tribes against Rome after her daughters were denied their inheritance. Meanwhile, legend tells of Joseph of Arimathea bringing the Holy Grail to Britain’s shores. Black Widow combines legend, history, faith and fantasy, in a tale of Boudicca’s sister, enamored with visions of a strange blue man with mystical powers. As Romans bring their peace and laws, the stranger inspires the Iceni to compromise. And as Joseph brings his foreign god, the stranger seeks a balance between old and new. But when all is lost, love turns sour and the lonely princess weaves a web of deceit to draw her lover back, plotting vengeance through the passage of years and generations.

Excerpt:

I saw him in my dreams. Mother never believed me of course, and Boudicca just called it wishful thinking. “We women will save the world,” she said, “not warriors in woad.” But I saw him, painted blue as a soldier with etchings of lace on his face, and I knew he’d save me, which mattered more.
    I saw him when the wind howled fearsome horrors outside the camp. Dogs and wolves were yowling our defense. Winter’s storms were the promise of war in spring, while branches and stones tapped and tore at the tent’s fabric walls. My eyes were closed and I was sleeping in, pretending safety lay in ignorance. But I heard the noise, and behind it all, in dreams perhaps, I heard screams, the crackle of fire, and slow firm footsteps scarily heralding an enemy’s approach.
    The first time I saw him, the spider-web of chain-mail hadn’t yet appeared. I didn’t even know what chainmail was, and his skin was clear. His eyes were blue as his painted face and the sky, and he smiled down at me.
    I saw the flames behind him then—thought they’d rise and burn his feet, but he walked straight through. The tent’s wide flap became his door, sealing closed at his back though it surely never really opened. I didn’t feel its breeze. Then he lay at my side, warm as summer, and traced my face with blue fingers, silken nails trailing like knife-blades, smoothly dangerous, caressing my neck. He cut my clothes from me with a thought and poured his hands on my body, outside and in, like water flowing over and through, his tongue like the touch of fire. His fingers strummed their music on my soul. The blue man’s strength enveloped my skin, absorbed me into him, or him to me as he pulsed with power. Then, when I woke, my body was pooled with sweat of winter’s warmth and the musky scent of love.
    “Nimi’s got a boyfriend,” Boudicca laughed as I cleaned and examined myself. I threw a pillow at her, but she grabbed my hands, her fingers strong as any boy’s and far less gentle than his. “You don’t want to fight me,” she said, her eyes turning suddenly fierce, and I answered no. Boudicca was my older sister, my dearest friend, and my every-conquering foe.
    The blue man was a dream back then, but war and its dangers were real, just halted for winter. Fires burned all night in our camp as frozen undergrowth began to green, thickening the air with smoke from undried wood and our lungs with coughs. Guards whooped and wailed to keep strangers and demons away. And the daytime smoke of cooking mixed with burning and weapons and fear. Winds of dawn bore no more peace than hollow night.
    Father held a meeting to discuss how we’d defend ourselves when the enemy came. Trackers walked the perimeter to check if spies had been near. And I crawled among the shale and earth by the entrance to our tent, wondering if I’d find his footprints there. I found nothing of course. Whether stranger or demon, my blue man passed unhindered in and out in his night-time journeys and I was glad.                                                       

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/SheilaDeeth.html#BlackWExc

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Widow-Sheila-Deeth-ebook/dp/B004UN5TO0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385050931&sr=8-1&keywords=black+widow+sheila+deeth

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