Title: Traitor’s Prize (The Bloody Crown Trilogy book 2)
Author: Thaddeus White
Main character description (short). William Penmere is king of Denland, accused of bastardry by the rebellious House of Esden. Facing treachery within his own ranks and outnumbered on the field, he battles to save his throne. And his head.
Synopsis: Internal divisions threaten to rupture both the Houses of Penmere and Esden. William Penmere has to grapple with a barbarian invasion and the joys of buying soldiers with his marriage bed, whilst Stuart Esden is angered to be sent south to deal with the Earl of Hurstwood rather than confronting Black Will.
Bloodshed and betrayal abound, battles rage and cities are besieged, but a knife in the back can be worth a thousand swords.
Brief Excerpt 250 words:
James stepped forward, and heard the men behind him re-forming the line. The noonday sun brightly illuminated the battlements of the fort. A score of men had their bows strung, but none were aimed at him. Yet.
“I have come to parley,” he called.
Hushed whispers between the defenders soon gave way to silence.
“We are willing to accept your surrender,” one man answered, to the defenders’ laughter.
“Sir Ralph Boulton, I take it?”
The man stood atop the wall nodded. “Aye. You’re taller than I expected. I heard Stuart Esden was a stumpy little bastard.”
James smiled. “The prince is neither stumpy, nor little, nor a bastard, good sir. I am his brother-in-arms, Sir James Seidmore, sent to acquire the Maiden, whether by your consent or by your death.”
“And what do you offer for the surrender of this fine fort?”
“Your lives,” James answered. “All will be ransomed, if possible, and kept from harm if not. Those who prefer freedom may buy it at the cost of two fingers from the right hand, that they cannot fight against Esden upon release.”
Ralph spat over the battlements. “Imprisonment, ransom and having fingers snipped off does not sound very appealing, Sir James.”
Aren’t we an astute little rabbit?
“I agree. But all of those things are better than death. Prince Stuart will have this bridge in his hands by dusk.”
Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)? Traitor’s Prize is a twisting tale of treachery and heroism, grim bloodshed and valiant deeds, an intoxicating blend of backstabbers and noble men and women trying to do what’s right in an unkind world. [NB It follows immediately on from Kingdom Asunder (reduced to $0.99 until 5 August).]