Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Daughter of Aithne NBtM

Betrayed by her own prodigy, Eolyn stands accused of treason. As power-hungry nobles dismantle her life's work and honor, the desperate queen forges a risky alliance with the ruthless and cunning Mage Corey. Determined to defend her son's claim to the throne of the Mage King, Eolyn prepares for her last and greatest battle, this time against her own sisters in magic.

Across the Furma River, Taesara of Roenfyn is drawn out of seclusion and into an ever-more vicious game of intrigue and war. Subject to the schemes of a shrewd uncle and the mysterious ambitions of the wizards of Galia, Taesara struggles to assert her own destiny, even as she takes up arms to defend her daughter's inheritance.

In the climactic finale to The Silver Web trilogy, threads of love, honor, betrayal, and vengeance culminate in a violent conflict between powerful women, opposed to each other yet destined to shatter a thousand-year cycle of war.

"An enticing and elegant series finale, filled with magic and turmoil." -KIRKUS REVIEWS

Eolyn shifted in her seat. A thousand words stood poised upon her lips, of which only a handful could be chosen and delivered. Each conversation in the coming days had to be undertaken with great care, especially when it came to this mage.

“Why did Thelyn come for us, and not you?” she asked.

“I was needed to track down the magas still residing in the City,” Corey replied. “Besides, Thelyn was the better mage for that task.”

Mariel, she thought. He would not have had the heart to bind Mariel.

A small sign, perhaps, that Mage Corey could yet be counted among her friends.

“I understand you are to oversee their interrogation,” Eolyn said.

“It is true, my Lady Queen.”

“I have expressed my concerns about this to the King. He assures me that you and your mages will not be permitted to—”

“My Lady Queen, if there is one thing you have learned in the years of our friendship, it is that I will do whatever must be done in the moment at hand, and I will harden my heart to see it through.”

“That may be the case, Mage Corey. Yet I also know that words are your most effective tool. You have never resorted to violence to obtain what you require.”

Corey let her statement hang in the air.

Eolyn averted her gaze, suddenly aware of the icy tension in her hands.

I, too, am being interrogated.

“You did not bring a scribe,” she said quietly.

“What need have I for a scribe, my Lady Queen?” He softened his tone. “We are, as of yet, simply conversing.”

The Making of a Villain

What’s the secret to crafting a good villain?

How can we craft characters who, despite their nefarious acts, invoke some level of sympathy and understanding?

The answer lies in perceiving your story from the villain’s point of view. Like all major characters, villains must have dreams they seek to fulfill; ambitions that justify who they are and the actions they take. They may even believe they are working toward a greater good, and that their dream would ensure a better future for everyone concerned.

To illustrate these points, let’s have a look at three of the villains of The Silver Web trilogy: the wizard Tzeremond, Prince Mechnes of the Syrnte, and Princess Taesara of Roenfyn.

Tzeremond appears in Eolyn, Book One of The Silver Web. A wizard of the Old Orders, Tzeremond honed his craft in an era when both men (mages) and women (magas) freely practiced magic. Tzeremond’s intolerance of magas has deep roots, but the final straw for him was when women of magic rose up against his student, the Mage King of MoisehĂ©n. After that long, bitter war, Tzeremond decided his people’s only hope for peace lay in eliminating all women of magic. On behalf of the Mage King, he and other wizards systematically hunt down and burn magas like Eolyn. Tzeremond is a villain who commits awful acts for what he truly believes is a noble cause. He never once doubts his actions are right in the eyes of his gods, and this is what makes him so dangerous.

Book Two of The Silver Web features the series’ most nefarious villain: Prince Mechnes of the Syrnte Empire.  Brilliant and ruthless, a conqueror of nations, Mechnes is master of violence, manipulation, and sensual pleasures.  He sees into the thoughts of others and uses their hopes, fears, strengths, and weaknesses to serve his own designs. To Mechnes, life is a blood-soaked game that he is destined to win; all others must serve his ambitions or be eliminated. He is a truly hedonistic villain, and the only north on his moral compass is himself. Does Mechnes have any redeeming qualities at all? You’ll have to read Sword of Shadows to find out!

In Daughter of Aithne, the final installment of The Silver Web trilogy, Taesara of Roenfyn takes center stage as Eolyn’s most important antagonist. Of the villains in this series, Taesara is the most sympathetic. Once queen in her own right, she now wages war to defend her only daughter’s claim to the throne. Due to the beliefs of her people, Taesara eschews all magic. Yet she faces many of the same challenges as Eolyn as they both assert their fate in a world ruled largely by men. Taesara has a dash of Tzeremond’s dogmatism, but she is a woman of honor and compassion. She sees herself as a servant of her people. Readers of Daughter of Aithne will probably like this villainess very much. In fact, they may have a hard time deciding who to root for before the novel ends!
Those are some of the star villains of The Silver Web, each one illustrating a different approach to making a character readers love to hate.

Tell me about the villains you have read about or written about. What made them stick in your mind? What do you think makes a successful villain?

Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands all her life. Her pastimes include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

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