In the aftermath of civil war, the people of Ffion starve. The trade has dwindled, the harvest has failed, and all power belongs to the cruel and corrupt. Those few who could have fled the forest continent for other lands, but most are trapped by their poverty and love of their homeland, with little hope for change.
Far beneath Chloris Castle, the rebel Naomi has been incarcerated since the tyrannical Princess Adrienne stole the Redwood Throne. Starved of light and warmth for the past four years, she has had only her rage and determination to keep her going as she both fears and yearns for death to claim her at last.
In a violent sweep of fate, she is dragged back into the light once more, the Princess and her Councillor hoping to use her as a pawn against the powerful Dragon King of Koren. Faced with an almost impossible choice, Naomi strikes a deal with her captors that will set her free at last.
Unfortunately, she soon finds she has taken on much more than she bargained for.
The book sounds wonderful doesn’t it! And it is. Here is a taste of her story:
The prisoner was dragged forward and thrown unceremoniously to the floor. She tried not to flinch as the hard stone jarred her weak body; the bones far too prominent under her pale and dirt-streaked skin. To the unsuspecting eye she appeared to be no more than a youth of about twelve or thirteen summers, her form so small and feeble, but Naomi was in fact a woman of twenty-two.
The past four years had been cruel, locked away far beneath the depths of the royal castle in a cell with no light and little food, and it showed. She lay where the guards had thrown her, finding herself unable to even move. Her eyes still stung and watered painfully at the bright sunlight pouring through the windows. She dared not admit, even in the privacy of her own mind, that the water streaming down her cheeks could be tears of joy at the sight of the warm, pure light after so many years in darkness. The relief of heated sunlight touching her cold flesh was a balm, and she feared that any moment she would awaken back in her dark pit of despair. The appearance of the guards and her removal from her prison had been so sudden, so abrupt, that even now she found the situation surreal. She had expected to never again see the light of day for as long as she lived. Now unsure, confused, and afraid, she simply lay where she had been dropped, conserving her strength and savouring the gentle heat.
Naomi realised through her hazy thoughts that she recognised that voice. It had been so long since she had heard coherent words from any mouth save her own that she found it difficult to digest. The guard that brought her the meagre amounts of food whenever he remembered she existed never spoke, and the only other voices she ever heard were those of the shrill, grotesque screams of the souls from the torture chamber on the floor above. At some point, she had decided that those almost inhuman sounds didn’t count and had done all she could to block them out. Her inability to do so had almost broken her mind, she was certain.
Naomi realised with a jolt that someone had quietly approached her prone form. She instinctively clenched her body in anticipation of a kick. A satin-shod foot did touch her, but only to prod her over from her stomach onto her back. With her filthy brunette hair no longer shielding her eyes, she gasped and threw her arms up and over her face.
‘Ah, I see. The light.’ There was a click and rush of magic, and the sunshine was shaded out to something much more subtle. ‘Better?’
It was better, but she missed the heat. She still felt disoriented and didn’t move her arms. Who was this man with this reedy voice? She vaguely remembered it. Something told her it was important, but she couldn’t quite grasp why.
‘I must say my dear, I remember you being far more intimidating than this. Perhaps leaving you in that pit for so long has made you useless to me after all?’ He seemed to be pondering aloud rather than actually talking to her. Just as well, as she didn’t have the coherency to respond. ‘That does ruin things a little, but I dare say our dear Princess Adrienne will be more than happy to finish you off once she gets here. Her hatred seems to have outlasted yours, apparently. Pity.’
Her family. The fire. The deaths. Her parents. Murdered. The screams. The torture. The child. Her father cursing her with his last breath, the blood gurgling up and catching on his words. Master Gerrard… Adrienne. Betrayal.Adrienne!
‘Adrienne,’ she rasped, fists clenching as the memories returned in a rush of fury and pain. Her eyes were open. She glared up at the man she now knew. ‘Cygnus. I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you both for what you’ve done.’
Naomi knew that she must make a pathetic sight, laying on her back, weak, unable to even sit up, but his laughter at her words filled her with such loathing, she was certain she would die of it. He clapped his hands, apparently pleased, but stepped back as though afraid she might somehow find the strength to fulfil the promise.
‘Oh my dear,’ he mocked. ‘We haven’t even begun.’
So who is Lorna? Well, she says she lives in a crooked little house in Norfolk with her husband, a lot of books, and a fifty year old begonia named Frank. She spends an inordinate amount of time dreaming up magic, dragons, and fearsome ladies, and has decided to try and make some sort of career from it by writing them down. She hopes this will give her a reasonable excuse when caught staring wistfully out of windows when she should be paying attention to the not-so-mystical “Real World”.
Since she has become increasingly vulgar with age, she writes predominately New Adult stories, and despite what a lot of people seem to think, she seriously doubts she will ever grow out of fantasy.
She doesn’t particularly want to.
To learn more about Lorna and her book, try these links:
And the Illustrations by Juliette Brocal