20 April 2022

Blog Tour Excerpt from Sea of Shadows (Sea and Stone Chronicles, Book 2) by Amy Maroney,


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

1459. A gifted woman artist. A ruthless Scottish privateer. And an audacious plan that throws them together—with 
dangerous consequences. 

Excerpt: Summer, 1459 ~ Rhodes Town

Anica followed her family out the front door, Maria and a manservant close behind. Outside, the sun blazed overhead and life pulsed in the streets as if their family’s private tragedy meant nothing. Trumpeters at the grand master’s palace up the hill bugled a serenade to mark the fleet’s arrival. It was clear, though, that news of the arriving ships had already spread. Merchants and their wives, artisans, traders, notaries—it seemed all of Rhodes Town was streaming downhill toward the harbor.
   Hurrying to match Heleni’s stride, Anica adjusted her violet headpiece embroidered with silver thread, a recent gift from Aunt Rhea. It was the first time she’d worn any color other than black for six months, and she’d felt a twinge of guilt when she put the garment on. Heleni’s headpiece was bright fuchsia, the color of the deadly but beautiful oleander flowers blooming in gardens all over Rhodes Town, and it glittered with gold thread. Glancing at her sister sideways, Anica realized Heleni had rimmed her eyes with black kohl and stained her lips with pink-tinted beeswax.
   “Too slow.” Heleni pulled at Anica’s arm. “We’re missing everything!”
   Anica shook her off. “The boats aren’t going anywhere. It takes ages to unload them.” She raised her voice, directing her next words to Papa. “I hope there’s a vessel from the Black Sea carrying oak for panels and another from Alexandria full of minerals for pigments.”
   Heleni let out an exasperated sigh. “You would. I hope there are silks in every color of the rainbow and a Hospitaller ship full of strong, handsome knights.”
   Papa glanced at them over his shoulder. “Heleni, have you painted your face again?” he asked.
   When she didn’t answer, he looked at the sky as if to implore God for patience. Next to him, Mamá clutched his arm, her face concealed by a gauzy black veil. Before Beno’s death, Mamá would have wiped Heleni’s face clean at the door, scolding her all the while. Now she was listless and unseeing, her mind preoccupied with the one person who wasn’t there.
   Santa Maria, Anica prayed. Give my mother a reason to smile today.
   As they passed the Salviati home, the banker and his family, along with an entourage of slaves and servants, were filing out the door.
   “Buon giorno, Signor Salviati,” Papa said. He nodded at the banker’s wife. “Buon giorno, signora.”
   The woman inclined her head at Papa but studiously ignored Mamá. Anica’s heart pounded a little faster at the slight. Her mother had once taken in one of this family’s house slaves, a woman who had been beaten half to death by Signora Salviati and flung out on the streets. That was nearly five years ago, and Signora Salviati had shunned Mamá ever since. Luckily, Signor Salviati himself had overlooked the matter.
   “Troilo has just arrived from Florence,” Signor Salviati said, sweeping a ring-laden hand at his son. “He’ll be joining me at the treasury this week. Your gold could not be in better hands.”
   Anica dropped her chin, studying the cobblestones underfoot.
   “What good fortune,” Papa said politely, turning to the young man. “How do you find Rhodes after so many years away?”
   “Florence has its advantages. But Rhodes suits me. The climate, the sea air, the beauty.” The young man’s gaze returned to Anica. “Yes, there is much to recommend it.”
   After another moment of polite conversation, Papa bade the Florentines farewell. He turned down a narrow side lane rather than following the main street past the Kastellania.
   “But the other way is faster!” Heleni protested.
   Papa ignored her. Anica knew his detour was for her mother’s benefit.
   When Mamá and the aunts had wailed during the funeral procession for her brother, spectators had warned they could be flogged for defying the knights’ rules.
   Anica herself had not wailed. She’d distanced herself from her shrieking Greek relatives, clinging to her father’s arm during the entire procession, his quiet strength keeping her upright as tears rolled down her cheeks.
   She clenched her teeth, forcing the memories away. Here in these bright streets, she could escape the worries marching through her mind. At the very least, she had to try.

Amy Maroney

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About the Author

Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an award-winning historical fiction trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Her new historical sus-pense/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus. Find out more at Amy’s blog: https://www.amymaroney.com/ and connect with Amy on Facebook and Twitter @wilaroney

3 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting the blog tour for Sea of Shadows.

    All the best,
    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club

    ReplyDelete
  2. This book sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks so much for hosting Sea of Shadows today, Tony!

    ReplyDelete

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