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Lindsay Townsend

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Member Since: Sep, 2008

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Bronze Lightning
by Lindsay Townsend   

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Books by Lindsay Townsend
· Mistress Angel
· Bride for a Champion
· Dark Maiden
· An Older Evil
· A Christmas Sleeping Beauty
                >> View all

Category: 

Historical Fiction

Publisher:  Bookstrand ISBN-10:  1606012746 Type: 
Pages: 

355

Copyright:  2009 ISBN-13:  9781606012741
Fiction

Historical romance novel set in the Mediterranean and Europe during the Bronze Age.

Price: $5.99 (eBook)
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Sarmatia is a trainer for the Bull Rite, the dangerous, glamorous ceremony of bull-leaping that gave a young Kretan entry into adulthood. Fearn is healer from the distant northern Isle of Stones summoned for his skills to the sick-bed of Minos, the Kretan king. They meet on the dusty flagstones of the palace courtyard and both save a life.

A year passes. They are betrothed, but Fearn has returned home and is chosen king of his small northern country. As king, master of storms, he cannot return to Krete. Fearn writes to Sarmatia releasing her from her vows - but is this what they really want?

Sarmatia leaves Krete to search for Fearn. Many months and life-and-death adventures later, she is reunited with him. She and Fearn are still deeply in love but there is an unknown enemy working against them, one who will stop at nothing, even murder.
 

 [I've written about the setting of Bronze Lightning here.]

 


Excerpt

Krete, c.1562 BC. Summer.

Sarmatia spun away and was gone, somersaulting over her hands and landing with a soft clash of gold ankle bells. Their meeting of eyes had lasted no more than a breath, yet it kept returning to haunt her as the music shrilled to a climax and the piebald bull was let into the court. Even as the flute players left and the Bull Rite began, her gaze was drawn to the back of the courtyard.
Three of the seven had completed their Passage and two were gone: the fourth initiate should have been ready. As the bull came to a jolting stop at one end of the court, pawed restively and licked the painted flags, Sarmatia motioned to a creamy-skinned, gray-eyed girl. The youngster backed up a step. The bull raised its head, its horn scraping against a pillar. The girl blanched and looked wildly about, ready to run. In three strides Sarmatia made up the space between them and gripped her arm. Unseen by the families, she pressed the flat of her dagger into the initiate's side. Cruel to be kind, she threatened.
'This or the bull if you show your back, Pero!' she whispered, turning the blade for the girl to feel its edge. 'The only way out is through the horns.' Whatever Sarmatia's private disgust and unease, custom and the crowd demanded it. They would not forgive Pero if she failed.
'I can't!' Pero was shaking and near tears. A low murmur ran around the watching crowd like a wind through barley: the mob and the bull would not wait much longer. Pierced by pity, Sarmatia squeezed the girl's thin shoulder. 'Do you want to be a child all your life?' she asked gently.
'Sarmatia, I can't! Those horns, they're like knives, and the bull— Oh, Mother!' Pero's voice cracked. 'It's looking for me!' The bull had trotted out of the shadows at the back of the courtyard.
Sarmatia stepped in front of Pero, shielding the girl. 'Look, it's nothing.' She ran forward, clapping her hands.
The bull halted and its head slewed round towards them, a brown forelock covering one eye. 'To me!' she shouted.
The beast dropped its great horns. She heard the people applaud. With an explosion of dust the bull charged. She felt its hot, closed mind surrounding her. For an instant skill deserted her. She remembered she was too old for the Bull Rite. A blaze of gold spilled from the bull's horns, instinct returned and with it sureness. She caught the horns and let herself rise. Time and the horizon fell back, she could see the blue vault of heaven, the red-mouthed 'O' of the crowd, a flash of red-gold hair as Fearn turned his head, following her descent. Her feet touched the bony rump of the bull, she tucked in her arms and somersaulted off, running forward as she landed.
Behind her the beast gave a sulky grunt, swept this way and that with its horns and lashed its tail. Pero worked her way into its sight, swaying her hips to keep quick and supple. The piebald ambled off in the opposite direction then suddenly spun about and bore down on the girl in another burst of speed. Sarmatia moved to cover Pero's tumble and signalled to the remaining initiates to do the same. She heard the girl seize the bull's horns, with a great smack on each palm, and saw her tossed, arching like a dolphin in mid-air and rising clear of the deadly gilded horns. The time of peril would be when the girl landed. If Pero caught an ankle or winded herself, Sarmatia knew she would have to be in quickly to distract the beast.
There was a shower of dark hair and Pero touched earth to a roar from her family. Sarmatia grabbed her arm and pulled her clear, but was not fast enough: already the bull had skidded round. Too late, Sarmatia realized what the beast had seen. A child had kicked a hole in the fencing and was running out into the turbid afternoon light. No time to draw the bull off— all she could hope for was to reach the boy first.
Sprinting, her insides turning to water, Sarmatia rushed for the child. As her hands closed round his tiny—so tiny!—body and her cheek grazed the stones she thought, with terrible clarity: I promised they would be safe. I've failed.
For a second, a dark breathing shadow hung over her. Then came pain, the slow tearing punch of the horn.

* * * *

She came awake suddenly, crying out. Firm hands kept her flat against the stones.
'Peace, Kretan,' said the man crouched beside her, pressing a cloth onto the spurting wound in her side. 'There's nothing to fear.' In the sun his hair framed his broad-featured face like a nimbus, yet there was darkness behind him. The bull was still free in the courtyard.
Sarmatia wet her lips with her tongue. 'The child?'
Fearn jerked his head to one side. 'Ramose has taken his son. He's safe.' The initiates were also gone, the crowd hanging back, uncertain what to do.
They were alone in the court, except for the bull. Fearn pressed on her side again then withdrew the cloth. A dark spiral of blood pooled under Sarmatia's ribs; blood no longer pumped from the wound. She scarcely felt it as he bound the gash with a bandage made from his tunic. 'You must leave, Sir, the bull—'
She broke off, eyes widening, and Fearn whipped round. Ready to gore, the bull was lowering its huge head, its face so close that its breath stirred the bristles of Fearn's beard. Fearn threw up an arm to fend off the horns and drove a fist into the face of the beast. 'Get back!' He hit the creature a second time. 'Learn your lesson!'
The bull snorted and the healer shifted, covering Sarmatia completely with his body. He stamped the stones and shouted at the beast. 'Go on! Go on!'
As Fearn's boot hammered the flags, there came the rumble of a distant storm, like the muffled roar of a lion. The beast started back and with a bellow turned tail and ran.



Professional Reviews

Red Roses for Authors
Sarmatia is the Bull Rider in the sacred rites. It is her place to help the children go through the rite so that they may become adults. She has always been content with her life but that is about to change with a chance meeting, a meeting that will end up transforming her view of life.

Fearn has always been a healer. It is his ability to heal that has made his name know far and wide. He has come to Krete to heal the king. Traveling to Krete has given Fearn the chance to meet Sarmatia, which has changed his life.

Fearn has found the one woman that he wants to spend his life with. Before he can do that he needs to make sure his people have a healer when he is gone. He goes home with the promise to Sarmatia that he will return for her and that they will be together. Once home he finds opposition to his leaving his family and the people. As he is about to leave having trained a new healer the unthinkable happens and the king dies. Now being part of the royal family Fearn must be tested along with others to see who will be the new king. Wanting no part of ruling the people Fearn nonetheless takes the test to show his good will. The one thing Fearn never saw coming was inheriting the crown. Now the only chance he has at happiness is if Sarmatia is willing to come to him on a several months long journey and giving up the life she has always known.

How strong is Sarmatia? She is about to find out just what she is capable of. She is about to start on a journey that will test her in its own way. One that if she is not careful she just might not survive. Sarmatia is going to find out just how much she loves Fearn as she is tested time and again.

Thinking that once she is reunited with Fearn that all will be well. Now they are going to be able to start their lives together she finds that she is very much mistaken. Some one is trying to hurt them and if they don’t find out who is behind the attacks they just might not be able to have a life together after all. Someone wants what they have and will stop at nothing until they get what they want. There are several people with a motive but which one is conniving enough to get away with the stealthy attacks without being seen. They will have to survive long enough to find the person or persons so that they will finally have the happiness they have tried so hard to enjoy.

This is a remarkable book in that it takes you back in time. It is well written so that you get a glimpse of the world at that time and it gives you a wonderful mystery as to who is behind the attacks and keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. The many twists and turns keeps you engrossed as you try to figure out who is behind all the mishaps that keep happening.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses.



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Books by
Lindsay Townsend



Mistress Angel

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Bride for a Champion

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An Older Evil

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A Christmas Sleeping Beauty

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