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I was bewitched by this story from the first page.  Princess Nefasti, a young girl of ten, is thrust into a life of intrigue and power when her father is poisoned.  Left in the control of her uncles, Nefasti must shake off their greedy, self-serving fingers and become a true queen to her people.  She surrounds herself with loyal fighters and servants, and eventually, she is ready to show her uncles and the world that she’s more than a pawn in their games.
The characters are rich, the setting is vibrant, and the story is filled with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing.  I was rooting for Nefasti and her motley crew of loyal retainers, and I really enjoyed this story.  For those who like historical fiction with a touch of the paranormal, this is an excellent read.
Medieval Fantasy
Title: The Dark Lady
Author: R.J. Hore
Date Published: 2/12 – eBook and 5/12 – Paperback
Publisher: Champagne Books

A young girl, Nefasti, wakes

to discover her father, the King of the ancient kingdom of Vadio, has been poisone

d and her mother, the Queen, is near death, leaving her the sole heir to the crown. Princess Nefasti has three uncles who feel otherwise. Two uncles believe the solution to controlling the kingdom is to

betroth her to one of their sons, the third thinks that by marrying her himself he will secure the crown. To compound Nefasti’s problems, Vadio is surrounded by three hostile kingdoms, the remnants of the days when Vadio ruled most of the known world. These kingdoms plot to take control, whether through an arranged marriage, or war, or by whatever manner they can.

Princess Nefasti has two main goals, to survive, and to discover who is responsible for the death of her parents. Surrounded on all sides by plots, in order to save her life, is she destined to the side of darkness, or is she simply a misunderstood child? She must find allies and use her wits while trying to hold on to the throne. If I had to look at what prompted the idea for this novel, it was first wondering how certain individuals in fiction or history obtain their reputation, and second, looking at the life of Queen Elizabeth the First as a young girl in a precarious position surrounded by scheming nobles.


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They say she is the Devil’s spawn, born in a cloud of brimstone and sulphur on a night when the peaks echoed with thunder and the castle walls trembled. I know that it is not true, and I should know. I was the midwife; although there was a storm, worse than I’d seen in many a year. She did scream like the Devil when she popped, but it was the cries of her mother, the queen, who drowned her out. Lady Gratia never had been strong, and losing two still-born sons had taken any remaining strength for birthing out of her. The ignorant outlanders whisper drunkenly in the inns that she is evil and cursed; that to gaze upon her face is death. This is a lie! Some careless folk say, when they think no one is listening, she walks across the lake to drink the blood of babes and drain the life force from careless husbands. I know this is also a lie; I have never seen her walk on water.

~ * ~

Nefasti knew something was wrong when her old nursemaid Vita peered through the half-open portal, whispered, “Stay here! Do not leave your room,” and quickly closed the door.

She heard the tortured grinding of the heavy iron key turning the lock and waited a moment, then slipped from her bed, trotted barefoot across the cold stones and pressed her ear against a crack in the worn wood. Heavy footsteps echoed down the hall to stop just on the other side.

R.J. Hore

A reader of genre fiction since a very early age, got down to serious attempts at writing over thirty years ago, although employment kept getting in the way.

 I did write a considerable amount of non-fiction during my business career, enough to be listed as a professional writer by the Canadian Authors Association.

 Hobbies include trying to keep on the good side of my wife, keeping track of my children and grandchildren, and wrestling the blasted cat off of the keyboard. In my diminishing spare time I sail on Lake Winnipeg and try not to get lost.

 My writing history includes:

 Winning first prize in a National Canadian Authors short story contest (a romantic ghost story) and having that published in an anthology, and having a modern vampire tale published in an anthology that seems to be doing quite well.

 A current member of three writing organizations, for several years I was in charge of the judging for a national Canadian history book contest, and chaired a writer’s workshop in Winnipeg that self-published an anthology, including three of my pieces: a sci fi piece, an attempt at an epic poem, and a true tale of how I almost drowned my brother and his wife in a storm the first year I owned a sailboat.

 I currently review science fiction and fantasy genre novels and anthologies for an on-line magazine aimed primarily at school libraries. I’m losing track, but I have done somewhere over 60 reviews so far.

 In 20I0 co-authored a non fiction history: “The Rotary Club of Winnipeg-100 Years of Service”.

 Through BURST Books, writing as R.J.Hore, I have a medieval fantasy tale of murder and intrigue entitled “The Dark Lady” that came out in February 2012 and a fantasy detective story scheduled for December 2012 called “Housetrap”. Housetrap is designed as the first in a series of novellas; I have three others in the set already completed, but not scheduled, as of this date: “Dial M for Mudder,” “The House on Hollow Hill,” and “Hounds of Basalt Ville.” Already scheduled for publication, I have a novella “Knight’s Bridge” another medieval tale arriving in March 2013, and a full length novel, again a medieval fantasy, working title “Pawn, Queen, Checkmate,” coming out in April 2013.

 And of course, I also have a large stack of completed manuscripts in various stages ranging from a “What If” — the North Americans discovered Europe first, set in 1215AD – to a contemporary bickering married couple swept away to an alterative universe, or a futuristic tale of a lady archeologist set in outer space.

Check out the other tour stops!

October 9 – Wonderland Reviews – Review/Interview

October 10 – My Cozie Corner – Review/Giveaway

October 13 – Rowan’s Mom – Review/Giveaway

October 14 – BookanAppointment with Wisdom Books – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt October 15 – Books For Me – Review/

October 16 – The Cosy Dragon – Review/Giveaway

October 17 – My Reading Addiction – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt

October 18 – Words I Write Crazy – Review/Giveaway

October 19 – Jen McConnel – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt

October 21 – Shakira’s Book Blog – Review/Giveaway/Interview/Excerpt