For all your fantasy lovers, this week's Freebie-Friday is the first in Jane Shoup's thrilling series, Ammey McKeaf: The Chronicles of Azzuland. Download it for FREE on Amazon, Kobo, and the iBookstore. But before you do, check out this excerpt:
In the middle of the Cantabric Sea, surrounded by the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of France and the five kingdoms that make up the Iberian Peninsula, was the island country of Azulland. It is no more—or so they say, yet every ship that attempts sailing past that phantom land area, the very space the country once occupied, is lost, never to be seen again. ‘Cursed’ is the whispered reply. Perhaps. I once thought so.
The mystery of Azulland has been an object of great speculation and pure fabrication.Eventually, in the passage of time, it may be forgotten altogether, just as we’ve forgotten Ydlil, Khlohar, Atlantis and so many others. Perhaps it matters not—yet there are legendary tales from this country that are worth knowing. I know because it was my home—and will be again if I ever manage to secure passage back.
The regret I feel for fleeing her shores is more profound than words could ever express. Like the others who fled, I was fearful for my life. If granted time, I will explain that, but I dare not divulge the most compelling factors for my leaving at this point in my narrative. It takes time to explain how things came to be the way they are—or rather, were when I fled.
Over the course of the last several years, I have developed a fascination with the science, craft, and art of cartography. Often I look upon a favorite old map, fixated on the island of Azulland, and I can clearly picture the Blue Mountains we were known for. In my mind’s eye, I can see the great cities of Nawllah and Bellux-Abry, the grand castles and estates of the southern valley, the cold, clean rivers, and fields of wild loira – a deep blue flower so sweet in scent, nothing can compare. It does not grow anywhere else and so it will fade with the memory of the few of us who still remember it and who will, too soon, vanish from the earth.
I state this vow with utter conviction; if I am ever able to cross back to my homeland, I shall never leave those shores again, no matter what forces rip and tear at her.
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At nineteen, Ammey McKeaf is a golden-haired beauty that is beloved and protected, not only by her father, the most revered General in Azulland, but also by five elder brothers, all champions of the games that are held in the medieval island country. Her brothers have trained and challenged her all of her life, especially at swordsmanship, which will serve her well.
Trouble stirs when Marko Corin, the ambitious leader of Bellux-Abry, seeks to gain control of the country. His small bands of highly trained soldiers, known as ‘wolf packs,’ roam the country, reaping destruction and death. When a pack strikes close to the Forge, home to the McKeafs, Ammey is escorted to sanctuary -- but sanctuary is a thing of the past.
As violence reigns, Ammey is rescued and taken into the mystical Vihlae Forest, where she discovers strength she did not know she possessed, and learns the art of survival from one of her rescuers, sparking an undeniable passion. As Ammey travels from one end of Azulland to the other, battling to survive and protect those around her, she will be tried and tested beyond anything she could have imagined, but will her efforts be enough to save herself and those she loves?