The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan Promo Post!

 

Title: The Bloodprint
Author: Ausma Zehanat Khan
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Touring: October 2-October 13, 2017

 

The author of the acclaimed mystery The Unquiet Dead delivers her first fantasy novel—the opening installment in a thrilling quartet—a tale of religion, oppression, and political intrigue that radiates with heroism, wonder, and hope.

A dark power called the Talisman has risen in the land, born of ignorance and persecution. Led by a man known only known as the One-Eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.

But there are those who fight the Talisman’s spread, including the Companions of Hira, a diverse group of influential women whose power derives from the Claim—the magic inherent in the words of a sacred scripture. Foremost among them is Arian and her apprentice, Sinnia, skilled warriors who are knowledgeable in the Claim. This daring pair have long stalked Talisman slave-chains, searching for clues and weapons to help them battle their enemy’s oppressive ways. Now, they may have discovered a miraculous symbol of hope that can destroy the One-Eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: The Bloodprint, a dangerous text the Talisman has tried to erase from the world.

Finding The Bloodprint promises to be their most perilous undertaking yet, an arduous journey that will lead them deep into Talisman territory. Though they will be helped by allies—a loyal ex-slave and Arian’s former confidante and sword master—both Arian and Sinnia know that this mission may well be their last.

 

Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of The Unquiet Dead, published by St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books, and winner of the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. Her widely acclaimed second novel, The Language of Secrets, was published in 2016. Among the Ruins, her third mystery was published in February 2017. She is also at work on a fantasy series, to be published by Harper Voyager, beginning October 2017. The Bloodprint is Book One of the Khorasan Archives.
A frequent lecturer and commentator, Ms. Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. Ms. Khan completed her LL.B. and LL.M. at the University of Ottawa, and her B.A. in English Literature & Sociology at the University of Toronto.
Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine. The first magazine to address a target audience of young Muslim women, Muslim Girl re-shaped the conversation about Muslim women in North America. The magazine was the subject of two documentaries, and hundreds of national and international profiles and interviews, including CNN International, Current TV, and Al Jazeera “Everywoman”.
Ms. Khan practiced immigration law in Toronto and has taught international human rights law at Northwestern University, as well as human rights and business law at York University. She is a long-time community activist and writer, and currently lives in Colorado with her husband.
Connect with her at her website: http://www.ausmazehanatkhan.com or on social media

 

Did the Bloodprint represent deliverance or deception?
            There were
only three among them who would be able to read it, even if by some fortuitous working
of fate, Arian was able to find it. Herself, Ash, and Ilea.
            And why
would the Black Khan help them? Solely for the sake of the Sacred Cloak?
She raised her eyes to his
face.           
            “You do not
seek the Bloodprint for yourself, Excellency? You were the one who thought
to—intercept it.”
            Thief, her
eyes called him. And liar, as well.
            “Rukh,” he
reminded her.
            She
pretended to soften. “Rukh, then. You said you have proof of the Bloodprint.
Are you able to read the Claim? Is it true you were schooled in the High
Tongue?”
            A glimmer of
amusement in his eyes suggested he fully understood the things she hadn’t expressed,
her private dismissal of his character.
            “I’m not as
fluent as the Companions of Hira.” He made a small bow to Ilea. “But neither am
I ignorant.”
            No, Arian
thought. He wouldn’t be. And he’d evaded the more important question. She
returned to it.
            “You do not
expect to retain the Bloodprint, if I am able to retrieve it?”
            “If you are
able to retrieve it, all of Khorasan will be at your feet.”
            “That is not
why I pursue it.”
            It was
important to her that she convince him of this, though she couldn’t have said
why.
            His eyes
narrowed, as if he’d grown tired of her.
            “A Companion
who does not seek power, perhaps because she wields it so wholly.” There was a
caustic note in his voice. “The Bloodprint doesn’t matter to me. I have taken
the Cloak as payment, it will serve me well enough.”
            His words
challenged her to deny him.
            Arian didn’t
think twice.
            “It isn’t a
prize to be bartered.” She turned to Ilea, prepared to risk the High
Companion’s wrath. “And the Cloak isn’t yours to cede. It belongs at Hira. We
are its rightful guardians.”
An indefinable expression
crossed Ilea’s face.
“It was the price I paid for
the Black Khan’s counsel. A counsel we desperately need.” There was a bitter
edge to her voice. “You’ve been away too long, in pursuit of your misguided
quest. I’ve had other priorities at Hira.” She made an impatient gesture with
her hand. “Either accept your Audacy, or refuse it. I will not countenance
further debate.”
Why not? And then
realization struck Arian. For all of her discouragement of Arian’s efforts with
the slave-chains, Ilea had expected
Arian to bring the Cloak to Hira. How else could she have known to make her
bargain with Rukh?
She had known Arian would seek it. And she had meant to trade it away.
            She was
swamped by a feeling of grief. How had she and Ilea come to this point?
            “Why do you
look so betrayed? You chose to pursue the Cloak for your own ends. I understood
it would serve a larger purpose.”
            “What
purpose?” Arian whispered.
             “The defence of Hira. The defence your actions
made necessary.”
            “My
actions?” Arian echoed the words without understanding their meaning.
            Ilea’s
response was cruel. She had found a way to strike back.
“Yes, your actions. Your unceasing war against the slave-chains has put
the Citadel at risk. The One-Eyed Preacher brings his war to Hira. And when he
comes, the Citadel will fall.”
            Arian
blanched at the words. Was the High Companion right? Had she brought
destruction to the Citadel? When everything she treasured was at Hira?
            “No,” she
said, grief in her voice. “That cannot be true.”
            The Black
Khan murmured something to Ilea, and the waters of the All Ways resumed their
careful dance. Ilea crossed her arms, pressing both hands to her circlets. She
waited impatiently for Arian to mimic the gesture.
“This is not an Audacy to
undertake only as it suits you. Our very survival is at stake—the lives of the
Companions, the sanctity of the scriptorium, the Citadel itself. Will you
accept this Audacy? Or does your courage forsake you at the outset of the war?”
This
isn’t the outset.
I’ve
been waging this war for a decade.
At too great a cost, she now
realized. But Arian accepted the Audacy’s rites. The time for dissent had
passed. She had no choice but to seek out the Bloodprint.
Or face the end of the
world.
Monday, October 2

Book reviewed at Reading Reality

Interviewed at Mythical Books

Book featured at I Smell SheepTuesday, October 3

Book featured at CGB Blog Tours

Book featured at T’s Stuff

Wednesday, October 4

Book featured at Comfy Chair Books

Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

Thursday, October 5

Book reviewed at Books for Books

Book featured at The Dark Phantom

Book reviewed at Good Family Reads

Friday, October 6

Book reviewed at Portrait of a Book

Book reviewed at BTH Reviews

Interviewed at Leigh Anderson Romance

Monday, October 9

Book reviewed at Bibliophile Ramblings

Book reviewed at BookStopCorner

Book reviewed at Ashley’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 10

Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge

Book featured at A Title Wave

Wednesday, October 11

Book reviewed at Morbid Romantic

Book reviewed at Natural Bri

Book reviewed at Thoughts on Books

Thursday, October 12

Book featured at Okbolover

Book reviewed at Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf

Book featured at The Bookworm Chronicles

Friday, October 13

Book reviewed at GothicMomReviews

Book reviewed at Good Choice Reading

Book reviewed at Books Are Love

 

 

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Review of The Lens and the Looker

The Lens and the Looker This review is part of a blog tour I have signed up to. Thanks to Pump Up Your Book and to Lory Kaufman for the wonderful opportunity to read this book.

It’s the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s) have finally created the perfect post-dystopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradations. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan.

In this first of a trilogy, we meet three spoiled teens in the year 2347. Hansum almost 17, is good looking and athletic. Shamira, 15, is sassy, independent and an artistic genius. Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities.

These three “hard cases” refuse the valuable lessons History Camps teach. But when they are kidnapped and taken back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy, they only have two choices; adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. The dangers are many, their enemies are powerful, and safety is a long way away. It’s hardly the ideal environment to fall in love – but that’s exactly what happens. In an attempt to survive, the trio risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them – or it could change history. (From Goodreads)

Okay. Word to the wise; there is sci fi elements, but you won’t be spending too much time in the future world. The book is mostly set in 14th century Italy. That being said, this might disappoint some readers who are looking forward to reading about a post-dystopian world. I didn’t mind as historical fiction was always something I liked to read. Mixing historical fiction with science fiction elements also provides an interesting story. The sci-fi element does make a significant impact on the story (with Pan) but it doesn’t overpower it. Which is nice, as there’s lots of historical setting descriptions to provide a good accurate setting that is easy to picture.

I thought it was interesting the author decides to make this book a post-dystopian society/setting. With all the dystopian fiction out there, this is an interesting and refreshing twist. Although not all the answers on how the setting came to be is revealed. It would have been nice to provide that bit of background information, alas it’s not necessary.

The main general plot was really good. It gets even better towards the end with a good action climax and the ending leaves you wanting to know what happens next (there is a bit of a sneak preview of the second book at the back). As mentioned before, I liked the description of the historical setting. Not only was it concise and in detail but it was enforced and repeated throughout the novel. I can only think this is because it makes the characters (and the reader included) realize how much everything is taken for granted. The constant reminder of people’s rotting teeth was rather gross, but it really does enhance the setting, and lets you count your blessings for being born in a different time period.

The three characters were nicely written and well done. I would have preferred to see more of Lincoln in this story (he is a smart aleck and has a funny quote or two). Yet the story focuses a lot more on Hansum and a little on Shamira. Lincoln does disappear for some time during the last half of the book however I am hoping he would come back with a bigger role in the second book. I’d have to say I liked how all three developed in their own way. Lincoln ends up maturing a lot as he used to be the real mouthy and rebellious one of the three. I liked Hansum, he was the steadier and unspoken leader of the three plus the love story with Guilietta provides a good part of the romance in the book – I thought they were rather cute together. Although besides Lincoln, I liked Pan a lot too. He helped the three through their adventures, but also provided a means of making their living situations improve (however it does have consequences). I’d like to know more in detail what consequence this may have in the future, but for now you do see a change in Pan’s appearance (which is comical).

With such a unique idea of the History camps and an interesting blend of science fiction and historical fiction, this book was a real fun read. It had a bit of everything in one well written book. Readers might also notice it’s also an interesting history lesson on 14th century Italy (well, at least on how people lived back then). I would definitely recommend this to other readers (I think it’s most suited for those that like YA). It’s certainly a different read and lets readers take a break from the massive amounts of dystopian fiction out there.

I give it a 7.5 out of 10

Review of The Tudor Secret by C W Gortner

The Tudor Secret

The Tudor Secret

I got this book as part of The Tudor Secret blog tour by Pump Up Your Book. Thanks! it’s greatly appreciated! I’ve read another one of his books previously; The Last Queen. I do have The Confessions of Catherine de Medici on the TBR pile (waiting to be read soon!)

The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and, above all, spies. Summer 1553: A time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the king’s brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil, who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past. A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth’s quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a bold stable boy and an audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret is the first book in The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles. (From Amazon.ca)

I have a thing where I love any historical fiction that has a lot of intrigue and mystery. I also love the politics behind the court. I’m fascinated by it. This book has everything you want. Intrigue, mystery, twists and turns, some action, a bit of romance, it’s a mixture of everything! however it’s so well written and well done that it doesn’t feel like it’s been put together sloppily.

The plot flows and the pace is even. What I liked the most is the point of view of the character. Most historical fiction novels take place in the viewpoint of someone who’s Royalty, and almost always it’s a female character. So, seeing the story from Brendan’s eyes is definitely something different and I would say, refreshing. It’s about time we see it from a guy’s point of view! and a ‘nobody’ at that!. I’d have to say I liked him from the start. He’s easily likable and his development throughout the novel was from a young man with an almost childlike naivete to someone who’s well versed in how to behave and act in court, and who’s about to become a double agent (so to speak). I thought the change was very well done. Brendan matured throughout the novel and the transition was smooth.

I’m a huge fan of political intrigue, and this book has a lot of it. I loved the double crossing, the secrets revealed, and the deeds done in the past that are coming back to haunt certain individuals in the book. The Dudleys are as scheming and ruthlessly ambitious as ever (and I still have a strong dislike for Robert Dudley. Always have. Always will). Frances Brandon follows close behind on my hate list. It’s amazing how ambition and greed takes precedence over everything else and brings out the worst in people. It might be a challenge to keep track of all the intrigue however once you get all the characters straightened out, everything does fall into place.

Besides Brendan, I’ve taken a liking to Cecil. Although he’s also a sneaky sly character who uses Brendan, and others to his own purposes and agenda, I like how he underhandedly talks himself out of a tense situation and manages to turn it around. He remains unharmed and still in a powerful position as Elizabeth’s advisor. He’s a very ‘quiet’ character, yet his behind the scenes actions make the plot interesting and makes it move forward with Brendan’s help.

I think it might have helped to have a little family tree chart handy, or at least a list of characters for those that might not be familiar with Tudor history it does get slightly confusing towards the end it takes a bit to straighten out Brendan’s connections and ties with other families. However, those well versed in the history, will have no problem. Other than that, there is no other issue I can think of with this novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and as this is the first book in the Spymaster Chronicles, I am waiting for the next one! I loved the intrigue. Absolutely loved it. I definitely recommend this for historical fiction lovers of Tudor history.

I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

Review of A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor

The Visitor

The Visitor

Thank you Tribute Books! for allowing me to read and review this book for the blog tour! it was much appreciated.

It has taken centuries to recognize that all humans possess certain unalienable rights. There will come a time when we have to consider whether others deserve those rights as well. That time will come on July 3rd 1863. When a stranger carrying a shiny,metallic valise steps aboard a train carrying Abraham Lincoln home from a 2 year stint in Congress, everyone stares, wondering about the stranger’s odd clothing and strange footwear with the word Nike emblazoned on them. When the strange man shows up in Lincoln’s office at the White house 14 years later, still wearing the same clothes, carrying the same valise and looking not a day older, the president and his staff know something is odd. But when Edwin Blair opens his valise and projects a 3d image of the Earth on Lincoln’s wall, then proceeds to tell a fanciful tale about time traveling aliens preparing to land at Gettysburg on July 3rd, they are sure they’ve met a lunatic.
Unfortunately for them, they’re wrong. (From Goodreads)

It took me a while to get into this book. It’s very different and a little difficult to get the gist on what’s going on. It helps being patient, and then your interest in the book should grow as you go along. It’s most definitely something very interesting to read. It’s a great mix of historical fiction and time travelling, mix that with aliens and it’s a pretty good adventure to read through.

It does help a little if you’re into the history. Unfortunately the American Civil War isn’t my strong point and one of the periods of history that I am the least interested in. So, although I know the names of the big players, the others (Lincoln’s presidential staff, for example) just went over my head. It’s a little frustrating as when reading historical fiction, I prefer knowing who’s who. Besides that, I found Lincoln depicted accurately as someone who is open minded, and intelligent. It’s interesting to see his reaction towards Blair, and the ability to think out of the box and to accept Blair’s explanation was well done. General Lee was also interesting to read as he listens to Blair as well. It took quite a bit of convincing but I thought that was a memorable scene.

This is a great alternate history book, with science fiction mixed into the story. I would probably have liked this book more if I was more interested into this kind of history. However, no regrets on giving this one a try. The writing is great and flows clearly plus the unique storyline is an added bonus. Don’t hesitate to pick this book up. I think it’s definitely worth it.

I give it a 7 out of 10.