THE PRINCE’S MAN
THE PRINCE’S MAN is the first of a quadrilogy, set in THE FIVE KINGDOMS.
Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings – THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.
Meet Rustam Chalice, hedonist, dance tutor and spy. Rustam loves his gigolo lifestyle exactly the way it is, so when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action.
Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.
And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.
This is how they meet…
Excerpt – THE PRINCE’S MAN
“Dart, meet Charmer. Charmer, meet Dart.”
Rustam looked pleadingly at Halnashead. “You’re joking, surely? You must be. She can’t be Dart; she’s—”
“What?” cut in Lady Risada. “A woman?”
“No! Well, yes. I suppose so.” Rustam shifted uncomfortably, his mind reeling as it tried to adjust to the concept of a noblewoman as a player. Female servants on occasion, yes. But a lady?
He glanced aside at the lady in question. She stared coldly back.
“Please, please!” Halnashead drew their attention. “I want you two to get on with each other. Does it surprise you so much, Rusty?”
“Rusty?” echoed Lady Risada derisively.
Taken aback by the lady’s obvious animosity, Rustam considered the prince’s question. “I suppose it shouldn’t. With her court position, the lady has access to all levels of nobility; certainly a great asset to your Highness.”
“And don’t you forget it, dancer boy,” muttered Risada.
Halnashead frowned. “Be nice, Risada. Rustam is my most skilled agent.”
“Most skilled womaniser, you mean!”
Following THE PRINCE’S MAN will be THE PRINCE’S SON, then a novella, THE PRINCE’S NEPHEW, and to round off this story, THE PRINCE’S HEIR.
Also to come are KISHTAN’S GEM, prequel to THE PRINCE’S trilogy, (already written, undergoing editing), and novella FRAGILE, telling the tale of a minor character from THE PRINCE’S trilogy, who grabbed my interest and developed a whole tale of her own, and a place in subsequent novels.
THE FIVE KINGDOMS
THE FIVE KINGDOMS, where the action all takes place, is a land relatively recently colonised by humans, but native home to many species, including elves, dwarves, trolls, elementals and a host of magical creatures. Humankind fled their homeland to escape a magical war that became a holocaust. To survive, many risked the dangerous seas in the exodus that has become known as THE CROSSING, some four hundred years before the events in THE PRINCE’S MAN take place.
Fully two thirds of those who set out were killed by sea monsters, leaving the survivors few in number and with a jaundiced view of magic.
Following is a short history of events since landfall, recorded in a scroll from the library of Rhonde Seminary, in the kingdom of KISHTAN.
Ancient History Text
In ages past, before humankind landed upon these shores, the land belonged to the elves. When men first arrived, they were welcomed by the elves as brothers, for the physical differences between man and elf are slight.
Quickly, mankind spread throughout the land, settling the hills and valleys, the mountain reaches and the sea shore. The elves, were few in number but long lived – a paradox to man, gentle but fierce, ancient even then. They did not object to the filling of the quiet, previously empty land and, undismayed by the rapid spread of man, the ancient race withdrew to the leafy glades of the forest, which was their preferred habitat.
But mankind grew suspicious of their neighbours, perplexed by their quixotic nature and covetous of their prodigious lifespan. Certain that a secret was being kept from them, mankind began to invade the forests, driving the elves out until they had nowhere left to go.
And then it was that mankind discovered the elven race was not as helpless as it first appeared. Possessed of magical skills rooted in nature, it seemed that the very land aided them in defence of their homes and their lives. Human sorcerers summoned to subdue them found their spells turned back upon themselves. In the end cold steel proved to be the only sure way to kill them.
The elves fought fiercely, selling their lives dearly until their numbers were so depleted they abandoned their forests and fled into the mountains, hiding with the aid of their magical skills while they prepared one last great sorcerous working to save their race from extinction.
From that great working was born the land of Shiva, a place within the mountains, yet outside of this world. A place that can only be attained by passage through the enchanted Rainbow Gates which are scattered and hidden throughout the Five Kingdoms.
Few humans have looked upon the beauties of Shiva, for it is said to be a fair land indeed, and few are the elves seen in the kingdoms since that time. Yet some believe they will return to wreak vengeance upon mankind and reclaim the land they lost through gentleness and generosity.
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Subsequent novels will take place in others of the Five Kingdoms, including one already begun, placed in the kingdom of Tyloc, home to superstitious mountain clans, and also to the mysterious GEMEYES.