Welcome to my tour stop for The Lion’s Pride by Natalie Crown! The tour runs August 3 – 14 with reviews, author interviews, guest posts and excerpts. This is a YA Fantasy/Alternate World book that released on August 2nd. This is the second book in the The Semei Trilogy. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.
About the Author:
Onto my love of reading and, consequently, writing – it was my dad that played a big role in encouraging me to read. He didn’t push me towards books necessarily; he simply read a lot himself. Then I would pick up his books and read them after him. I was reading high and epic fantasy from a very young age. I guess that might explain why I have always loved adventure stories with magic and intrigue and princes and princesses in.
I was aware that I wanted to ‘be a writer’ from a very young age. I was convinced I would be the first best seller that hadn’t reached double figures in age yet! I wrote about the Danshees, furry creatures that lived through a mirror. I wrote about a Sand Bottle that transported a boy into a world of magic. I wrote about a sick girl finding a music boy that healed her, but transported her back in time. (Wow, I always have loved alternate universes…)
When I was eight I wrote my first novel called The Land of No Return. Despite the title, I am determined to return to it one day. I feel like I owe it to my past self. So, as you can see, I have always been writing. There have been times when I have gone weeks without scratching down a word. Then there are days where I churn out multiple chapters and only my body’s silly desire for sleep and/or food can stop me.
I write because I enjoy it. I write fantasy because I enjoy it. I try my hardest to put something of myself into my writing. I like to think my characters have depth, I like to think that my fantasy worlds reflect upon the real world in some way. You guys will be the judge of that but even if you don’t agree I know that I at least try and I can do no more than that.
These days I live in North London and I love it. I work full time and London is a hectic city. Juggling work, writing and a social life is tough but nobody is forcing me to do it so I can’t complain. The dream is that writing will be my career one day but it doesn’t matter if I never quite make it. I love writing too much to ever pack it in.
I am desperate to get a dog. My mum suspects I miss my cats at home more than I miss her. I am a devout Arsenal/Ferrari/Rafael Nadal fan. I get all mad when confronted with a case of social injustice and then I get all mad when people take the fight for social justice too far. I mostly keep those thoughts to myself and simmer with rage. I watch good TV and bad TV, because I can. What I can’t do is enjoy bad books (subjective opinion of course). I just can’t.
$25 Amazon gift card & copy of The Wolf’s Cry or The Lion’s Pride in paperback (INT), two (2) additional winners will receive a copy of The Wolf’s Cry or The Lion’s Pride in paperback (INT)
Ends Aug. 18th
Prizing provided by the author, hosts are in no way responsible.
Extract from Chapter Three
‘Come on,’ Jamie placed his hands on Kammy’s shoulders.
Kammy reached to grasp his fingers as they walked. ‘You don’t have to come. Maybe Seeve can barter for your freedom, and you can go home.’
‘And leave you here alone with this horrid bunch? I don’t think so.’
Kammy squeezed his fingers tighter. ‘But it’s different for you…’
He propelled her towards the door, holding her in place when she tried to face him. ‘There’s no guarantee he would let me go. I’d rather be with you.’
Kammy pressed her mouth shut.
As they were about to leave the office, Welm stepped to Kammy’s side and cleared his throat. Kammy smiled broadly, but Welm stared at his feet – clutching the large book to his chest.
‘I’ll see you later,’ said Jamie, leaving the two of them alone.
Kammy listened to the voices fade outside. The odd burst of footsteps scurried past, but the action had moved elsewhere. She watched Welm watch the floor until the silence stretched for too long.
‘Danorrah, huh?’ she said, abruptly.
Her voice roused him. He drummed his fingers against the spine of his book. ‘I wanted you to know that I will not be coming with you.’
‘But…’ Kammy frowned, ‘if anyone can help us find Danorrah, it’s you. I know that nobody knows it was your home, but…’
‘I was barely a man when I left Danorrah. I spent near the whole voyage below deck. I have no concept of how to find the island, or of where to go across the sea. I will be no help on that journey.’
‘You don’t want to see it again?’
He smiled sadly, ‘I’m not sure. It would not be as I remember it.’
Kammy pressed her lips together. ‘If you stay here, Bagor will…’
‘I will give myself up to Bagor.’
Kammy’s strangled voice escaped, ‘But you can’t. That…he…’
‘He won’t kill me because he needs me. I can try to work against him from the inside. Maybe I can hinder him. If not, then at least I can learn the truth of his plans.’
‘But he’ll never trust you. He won’t tell you anything.’
‘He does not need to tell me anything. I only need to observe, to listen.’
Kammy shook her head and Welm smiled, but she could see the sorrow within him and like a wave guilt overwhelmed her. He was putting on a brave face, but he had lost Fii too. His life was still a mystery to her. How many others had he seen die? What pain had he felt before? And Kammy, she had doubted him and here he was ready to sacrifice himself.
‘Welm, when I was in the palace…with Bagor…’ she bit her lip, ‘he told me something about you…’
Welm’s smile burrowed at her. ‘That I killed the Council?’
The calm way in which he said it made Kammy feel even worse.
‘And you believed him?’
‘No…no…I just…’ she trailed off and heat flooded her cheeks.
‘Bagor is adept at twisting the truth, and I have long known that I am not the easiest man to trust.’
Kammy hung her head. ‘That’s no excuse.’
‘Is it not? The strongest leaders of our land, Semei that know him well, have been taken in by his lies.’
‘But you’re my friend,’ said Kammy, anger at herself making her snap.
Welm fell silent and, after a moment’s hesitation, Kammy looked up at him. He smiled and there was a glint of moisture in his eyes. He held out the book to her and when Kammy hesitated he reached for her hands and placed the book atop them. Kammy stared at the heavy leather tome. It was tied with a leather clasp, but it was still threatening to burst with papers and scraps. An envelope rested on top.
‘You must take this with you. I do not want it to fall into Bagor’s hands.’
‘What is it?’
‘My work and more besides.’
Kammy tried to push the book back towards him. ‘I can’t take this. You’ll need to use it.’
He took a step back and clasped his hands before him. ‘You have to take it. You must keep it safe. I no longer need it, but you might be able to learn something from those pages. Some of the most basic concoctions are listed there. You should start with those.’
Kammy wrapped her arms around the book. ‘You really think I can?’
‘Of course,’ Welm nodded. ‘Just as I believe you will find Danorrah. I would like you to return and tell me about it. That will be enough. Now, you need to go and get ready.’
Kammy looked from the book to Welm and she felt as though she might burst into tears. Instead, she threw her arms around him. She could feel the bones of his shoulders, she squeezed him so tight, and he froze. When she finally released him he scurried away. She had never seen him move so fast.
Kammy placed the book on the table and picked up the envelope, slipping it open. It was stuffed full with paper. She knew there was plenty she needed to be doing, but she started to unfold the paper piece by piece. Her jaw dropped. Each sheet was covered in hand drawn diagrams, and messy notes. Each sheet was devoted, in detail, to the form of a lioness.
With trembling hands, Kammy refolded the paper and re-stuffed the envelope. She slipped the envelope between the pages of the book and she stepped out of Seeve’s office, ready to join the others. But already she knew she had a new fixation; her eyes yearned for the image of the lioness and her heart thrilled at what it might mean.
She was Semei, after all.