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On the cusp of the Great War, an even more pitched battle is waged in the furthest corner of the Nordic highlands, the final chapter of a centuries-old rivalry, pitting a troubled bloodline of thieves, journeyman, and politicians against the last and greatest dragon of the hemisphere, Asmodeus.
Until now, the source of this antagonism has been a single gemstone, the fabled shamir, whose history traces to the coffers of King Solomon. The present clash, however, has been sparked by the emergence of an even more desirable, more defiant, and more powerful force than that.
Inspired by the golden legend of St. Margaret, Brooks Hansen’s Asmodeus is a masterfully woven tapestry of history, myth, and fantasy, in the tradition of J.R.R.Tolkien, Bram Stoker, and C.S. Lewis. By turns a romance, an adventure, and the darkest imaginable Gothic, his tale is also, as seen through the eyes of the maiden Margrét, an unflinching exploration of our divided nature — what makes us beasts, what makes us human, and what makes us divine.
Enjoy an Excerpt
So in she'd go and spend the whole day filling her bowl – that was how she thought of it, and of herself. Whatever there was to taste, she would; whatever there was to touch, she would. Or smell, or hear or understand. Again, she spent most of her time in the library, going from book to book, or jar to jar. She discovered that if she took the jars into the music room and simply put them to her ear, she could hear stories as clearly as if she were reading them to herself. She heard them all, and often if she was so inspired she'd go straight to the dressing room and find whatever she needed – the gown, the tunic, the turban or the suits of armor. She would take up the bows and swords and stand before the mirrors, and the mirrors would reply with villains and muses and nemeses, courtiers, paramours, challengers and fiends. And it wasn't long before she realized the mirrors were not mirrors at all, but frames and thresholds leading into deeper tunnels, dungeons and catacombs. All she had to do was step through and she could slay knaves, dance Orientales, escape dark dungeons. She could be all things: a queen, a maiden, she could be king, scientist, alchemist. Each garment set off another world, another past and future, filled with her in its guise. She could conclude the war; dress the wound; finish out the sentence; remove the head or have her head removed; she could starve or gorge, fly (as she already knew how to do); but swim the deepest oceans too; command, obey, chisel, play, pray, betray; everything a human could, or any beast had ever done, she could do.
Or almost everything.
No wonder, then, that every day should end with sheer exhaustion. Finally she would be so tired she'd lose all track of where she was. How could she know, with all these doors and halls and little corridors she followed? She'd try retracing her steps back on through the picture frames or mirror frames and jars, but sometimes she would simply lie down where she was, right there on the rug or in the nearest chair, and that was fine. That worked too, because no matter where she fell asleep, she always woke up back in her bed again, and in her room, where there would be a new light coming in, a new blanket, and new flowers on the bureau, waiting to greet her.
And he'd have done that too.
About the Author:BROOKS HANSEN is an author, screenwriter, essayist, and teacher. His novels – THE MONSTERS OF ST. HELENA, PERLMAN’S ORDEAL, THE CHESS GARDEN, and BOONE (co-authored with Nick Davis) were all New York Times Notable Books. THE CHESS GARDEN was also selected as a PW Best Book of the Year in 1995. He has written one book for Young Readers, CAESAR’S ANTLERS, which he also illustrated. In 2009 he released his first memoir, THE BROTHERHOOD OF JOSEPH, and in 2005 he received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for his most recent book, JOHN THE BAPTIZER, which was published in 2009 by W.W. Norton. More recently, his fiction appeared in CENTRAL PARK: AN ANTHOLOGY (Bloomsbury USA, 2012), and he has an essay slated to appear in another upcoming anthology THE GOOD BOOK (Simon & Schuster, 2015).
Brooks Hansen is the critically acclaimed author of The Chess Garden and 7 other books, most recently Asmodeus: The Legend of Margret and the Dragon. He has recently launched his own imprint, Star Pine Books. He lives in Carpinteria, California with his wife and children.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Brooks-Hansen/e/B000APA6TA
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