HOUSE OF RUIN
by Miriam Newman
When the beleaguered citizens of the capitol city of Thelona are swept by plague in the absence of their ruling class, which has fled it en masse, desperation finally pushes them to take to the streets. With their city burning, the Lords of Thelona have no choice but to shoulder the burden of responsibility. In the absence of their Highest, they turn to Caius, Scion of the House of Bardin. He has unwittingly placed himself in the path of his ruler’s ambitions and also endangered his human slave, Lela.
A boiling cloud twisted above Syrstine as though the gods had decreed rain only for the prime city of Longos. The long line of elite winding their way back from Solstice Season spent on country estates were turned to figures of insignificance. Chatter about return to their Solstice Homes, winter festivities to be attended, business and marital fortunes to be brokered—all dwindled and died. Such a harbinger of evil had no regard for them. Too shocked to move, they stopped in their tracks.
“That is no natural thing.” Antin, Scion of the House of Valens, looked in thinly-veiled horror at the cloud of indigo, lavender and black doing an evil dance above his city.
“No.” Scion of the House of Bardin since his father’s death, Caius reined in his bay gelding. “It is smoke and weapons fire.” He alone appeared more curious than fearful. Thirty years of age by Thelona’s two suns, Caius was in his prime, with a broadsword in his saddle scabbard and a knife strapped to one calf. Most of the other men carried the same, but without the same ability to use them. It had been too long since they had tried.
“Weapons fire? Then the aircos are here.”
“No. It’s the Mercenary Corps.”
“What would bring Mercs to Syrstine?” Neither man could remember the Mercenary Corps–enforcement arm of the Air Company–touching down on Thelona. But Caius had been off planet for eight years, and he had been a Merc at the time.
“Invasion or insurrection,” he told his friend.
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SOME WORDS FROM MIRIAM
Can you discuss your hierarchy? What inspired it?
What a great question!
As readers of my historical romance know, I am a student of hierarchy in the historic sense. The creation of societies is in essence the creation of civilization, and the story of future civilizations is science fiction.
My mythical planet of Thelona is one where civilization is simultaneously comprised of elements of past and future. Similar to ancient Rome—and other empires—it is a hierarchy where power resides in the rule of successive noble families in whom the original, ancient virtues have been corrupted. Exposed to the colonization of space-going races, the nobles of Thelona have become a decaying bunch where corruption, slavery, internecine warfare, ruthless political scheming and immorality have left them prey to the superior technology and exploitation of a space-going guild that employs mercenaries. Improbably, my hero has challenged the traditional hierarchy of his planet to join that guild, returning to Thelona only to settle the affairs of his deceased father.
“Scion – Book I: House of Bardin” is the story of his return and his inadvertent challenge to the corrupted Emperor and his minions. My present book, “Scion – Book II: House of Ruin,” demonstrates what happens when such a hierarchy fails. In coming months, “Scion – Book III – House of the 12th Planet” will be a story of redemption. I hope the readers will enjoy them.
Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18-year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals. You can see my books at miriamnewman.com.
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Miriam will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the toura Rafflecopter giveaway