Blog Tour, Book Extract, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literature

Blog Tour: Book Extract – Daughter of War by S.J.A Turney

Book Extracts

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Daughter of War by S.J.A Turney  

Release Date:  April 9th 2018 

Publisher: Canelo 

Book Blurb: 39461485

An extraordinary story of the Knights Templar, seen from the bloody inside 
Europe is aflame. On the Iberian Peninsula the wars of the Reconquista rage across Aragon and Castile. Once again, the Moors are gaining the upper hand. Christendom is divided.
Amidst the chaos comes a young knight: Arnau of Valbona. After his Lord is killed in an act of treachery, Arnau pledges to look after his daughter, whose life is now at risk. But in protecting her Arnau will face terrible challenges, and enter a world of Templars, steely knights and visceral combat he could never have imagined.
She in turn will find a new destiny with the Knights as a daughter of war… Can she survive? And can Arnau find his destiny?
An explosive novel of greed and lust, God and blood, Daughter of War marks the beginning of an epic new series from bestseller S.J.A. Turney. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden and Matt Harffy. 

Links to Book: 

Goodreads – Here

Amazon UK – Here

Netgalley – Here

2963485Author Bio:

Simon lives with his wife and children and a menagerie of animals in rural North Yorkshire, where he sits in an office, wired on coffee and digestive biscuits, and attempts to spin engrossing tales out of strands of imagination while his children drive toys across his desk and two dogs howl as they try to share a brain cell.

A born and bred Yorkshireman with a love of country, history and architecture, Simon spends most of his rare free time travelling around ancient sites, writing, researching the ancient world and reading voraciously.

Following an arcane and eclectic career path that wound through everything from sheep to Microsoft networks and from paint to car sales, Simon wrote Marius’ Mules and, with help and support, made a success of it. Now, with in excess of 20 novels under his belt, Simon writes full time and is represented by MMB Creative literary agents.

Simon writes Roman military novels in the form of the bestselling Marius’ Mules series based on Julius Caesar’s campaigns, Roman thrillers in the Praetorian series, set during the troubled reign of Commodus, medieval adventures in the Ottoman Cycle, following a young Greek thief around the 15th century world, and a series of Historical Fantasy novels with a Roman flavour, called the Tales of the Empire.

Author Social Media Links:   

Twitter as @SJATurney

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/SJATurney/

Website http://www.sjaturney.co.uk 

Goodreads Here

Daughter of War Extract

Arnau climbed the chapel steps with a sombre expression to the accompaniment of dirge-like chanting from the ornate room ahead. Each step seemed to him to be a position in the hierarchy of Aragon. This heavy, worn stone was Arnau and the house of Vallbona, a small, struggling and poor fiefdom near Barcelona. The second step with the groove from some careless spur-wearer was the chapel’s owner, the Lord Berenguer Cervelló, who was currently being carried over it on a rich, fine funerary pall, wrapped tightly in white linen and smelling of strong, sweet spices to disguise the stench of a body brought a hundred miles under the Iberian sun. The third step, slightly less worn and with an ancient mason’s mark visible in the corner, was the Lord Bernat d’Entenza, to whom Santa Colona himself had owed fealty and who was a close confidante of the fourth and final step: Pedro the Second, Count of Barcelona and King of Aragon. The nearest thing on the Iberian peninsula to God himself. Steps to power, and sometimes to grief. 

Pedro the Second was not present, of course, for the funeral of his loyal knight Berenguer, who had died at the hand of the Moor in the service of his king. Pedro himself was far too busy establishing himself and his new rule, having succeeded only two years previously. Pedro, pious and in close league with the Pope, had enough on his plate, formulating plans to extend Christian control over Iberia, unlike his fellow monarchs Phillip and Richard who fought endlessly for control over their contested lands in France. Instead of the Aragonese king his favourite, and distant, cousin Bernat d’Entenza had travelled to the castle from his own fortress in Fraga. Arguably the most important and influential nobleman in the king’s court, it would be seen as a mark of the regard in which Santa Coloma was held that such a noble might attend, even without the presence of the king. One might also point out a loose familial connection between the great, departed Berenguer lying tight-wrapped and pungent on the bier and the bored-looking Lord d’Entenza, who would likely be the man to administer the estate of Santa Coloma now, with only a daughter to inherit, regardless of how shrewd and impressive that young woman might be. 

The bier reached the top step and was placed in the heart of the chapel while the various nobles, knights and men at arms took their places. The common folk stood outside in the courtyard, silently standing vigil for their lord. The chapel felt cold after the searing Catalan sun, and even in his heavy, fur-lined mantle displaying the rather obscure lion of Vallbona, Arnau shivered. His gaze played across the figures. Most were solemn, their faces downcast. Only five were not. Six, Arnau realised, if he counted himself. 

The priest, of course, busy eulogising the great lord, had an upturned face, eyes upon heaven, where Berenguer’s soul now resided, as his delicate voice drifted up in haunting tones to coalesce around the vaulted ceiling like smoke. Bernat d’Entenza, rather callously, had his scribe with him and was carrying out some unnamed business in whispered tones during the proceedings. Neither of them looked particularly sombre. Ferrer della Cadeneta, may the Lord send him rot within, had not once shown an iota of respect, his gaze repeatedly flicking between the preoccupied Lord d’Entenza and the last figure whose eyes had not once touched the ground. 

Titborga Cervelló, daughter of Berenguer and heiress of his estate. 

The lady of Santa Coloma had reached fifteen years of age only the week before her father’s death, though it would have been a blind and short-sighted man who considered her but a girl. Something of an enigma and a prize at once, she was already a year past the age when one would have expected her to marry, and yet, surprisingly, remained untrothed. Arnau had watched Titborga grow over the seven years he had served Santa Coloma, watching the young woman advance in leaps and bounds with every visit from his home in barren Vallbona. Possessed of the same wit and will as her father, she was a voracious reader and orator, able to talk rings around the most loquacious courtier. She had been an able administrator even by twelve, handling the estate in conjunction with her father after her mother’s passing. She was a mistress of the board at both backgammon and chess, as Arnau himself could attest. Blessed with smooth, pale skin and lustrous dark hair that fell in waves, she was a picture of beauty. And now she was the inheritor of the entire Santa Coloma estate. Her suitors would be queuing at the door once a respectful period of mourning had passed, probably sooner. 

Arnau realised after a moment that he had been looking at the lady of the castle for longer than was truly respectable and glanced away only as her gaze touched his. He felt the heat of embarrassment rise in his cheeks and lowered his face until the redness faded. When he looked up again, she had her attention elsewhere. 

Whatever the Lord d’Entenza decided was to happen with Titborga and the estate, it was the business of great men, not minor landowners such as Arnau. Vallbona was little more than a grand farmhouse with a tower, its inheritance an old coat of arms with barely the land and finances to support it. He would need to spend more time at Vallbona when he left Santa Coloma, attempting to improve the estate’s farms alongside his old, boss-eyed steward if they were to be able to meet requirements from his liege over the next few years. Hard times had lain ahead in Vallbona even before the death of Berenguer. 

The funeral droned to a close slowly, a mass reminding all of their own mortality and the need to follow the example of the man being eulogised, a small choir singing the praises of Berenguer and his line and exhorting the Lord God to watch over those he left behind. The body was removed and taken to the place of burial where a heavy stone coffin awaited, and finally the attendees dispersed with dour faces. 

Ignored by the more powerful lords, Arnau spent some time with three of the other minor men at arms, drinking rich wine from the Santa Coloma vineyards and eating bread and slices of juicy lamb with local goat’s cheese. They played dice – Arnau lost – and chess – Arnau won – and passed the day in quiet obscurity. Finally, as evening came on and the melodic strains of vespers rolled across the castle from the chapel, Arnau made his way to the small room in the gatehouse that he habitually used upon his visits. The heat had been stifling during the day, but the wind had changed at sunset, bringing an odd chill off the sea. Men who had stood atop the walls running with sweat only hours earlier were now wrapping up in cloaks and complaining about the breeze. Fires had been lit. 

Arnau lay stretched out on his pallet, still in his funeral garb and now smelling of strong wine, pondering all the potential changes facing Santa Coloma and therefore also Vallbona. It was said that even so early in his reign the new pious King of Aragon sought a grand push south against the Almohads of Valencia. Since the enemy victory at Alarcos over the might of Castile, the reconquest of the peninsula had stalled and the Moors were becoming more confident and stronger with every passing month. And if Pedro the Second announced a new campaign, especially if the Pope were to throw in his support, all the God-fearing nobles of the country would be required to join the Crusade, bringing their men at arms with them. What then for Santa Coloma and its lesser knights? What then for parched Vallbona, which needed every hand to the plough to make it through the year? 

He drifted into a near-slumber, half aware of the crackling fire in the corner of the room and the distant barking of a dog. Rosin burned in cressets, giving the room a glow of dark amber and a smell like torched pine trees. As had so often happened since the events at the Ebro days earlier, the first image to fill his wandering mind was that of blood and horses, of men and death, of Berenguer de Santa Coloma lolling, dead, in his saddle. He stirred uncomfortably at the thought, as though there might have been some way he could have prevented it. 

He turned over, his mind picking out new images of blood and of death, of a man on a horse with a red cross on white, singing songs of joy in the midst of hell. 

 Here are the other stops on the blog tour, definitely go and take a look at these blogs to. 

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