Delve into the legend that is El Cid!

THE FALL OF KINGS is the breathtaking third instalment of the Legend of the Cid by STUART RUDGE.

Find out more below, and order your copy from Amazon. And while you’re at it, why not catch up with the first two books in the series too?

Castile. 1071 AD. Three kings. One crown.

After Sancho II of Castile dispatches his champion Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar to capture his brother, King Garcia of Galicia, he hopes it is a defining moment in his quest to reunite the lands of his father under one banner. But Alfonso VI of Leon is one step ahead, and has already added the lands of Galicia to his domain. When the only alternative is war, Sancho turns to Rodrigo to lead the armies of Castile, and he must use all his tactical acumen to defeat the Leonese in the field. Only one son of Fernando can claim victory and become the Emperor of Hispania.

Rodrigo and Antonio Perez, now a knight of the realm, find difficulty adjusting to the new regime. Dissent and unrest run rife throughout the kingdom, and the fear of a knife in the dark from enemies old and new hangs heavy upon the pair. But if it is allowed to fester, it threatens to undo all that has been achieved. Can Rodrigo and Antonio root out the enemies of the king, and prevent chaos reigning throughout the land?

Publication Date: February 5th 2021

Publisher: Independently Published

Page Length: 406 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

View on Amazon: Amazon UK • Amazon US • Amazon CA • Amazon AU

Author Bio:

Stuart Rudge

Stuart Rudge was born and raised in Middlesbrough, where he still lives. His love of history came from his father and uncle, both avid readers of history, and his love of table top war gaming and strategy video games. He studied Ancient History and Archaeology at Newcastle University, and has spent his fair share of time in muddy trenches, digging up treasure at Bamburgh Castle.

He was worked in the retail sector and volunteered in museums, before working in York Minster, which he considered the perfect office. His love of writing blossomed within the historic walls, and he knew there were stories within which had to be told. Despite a move in to the shipping and logistics sector (a far cry to what he hoped to ever do), his love of writing has only grown stronger.

Rise of a Champion is the first piece of work he has dared to share with the world. Before that came a novel about the Roman Republic and a Viking-themed fantasy series (which will likely never see the light of day, but served as good practise). He hopes to establish himself as a household name in the mound of Bernard Cornwell, Giles Kristian, Ben Kane and Matthew Harffy, amongst a host of his favourite writers.

Social Media Links:

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Still a few days left!

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll already know that I’ve teamed up with 30+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Historical Romance novels to two lucky winners. Plus, the Grand Prize winner gets a BRAND NEW eReader. Well, the contest is still open for a little longer. You can win my novella, A TREACHEROUS ENGAGEMENT, plus books from authors like Lucinda Brandt and Emily Royal. Enter the giveaway by clicking here 👉bit.ly/HistoricalRom-Jan21

Good luck and enjoy!

Grab a rip-roaring historical adventure for just £0.99!

The Danish King’s Enemy by M.J. Porter is on special offer for a limited time. Here’s what the book is all about:

Every story has a beginning.

Leofwine has convinced his king to finally face his enemies in battle and won a great victory, but in the meantime, events have spiralled out of control elsewhere.

With the death of Olaf Tryggvason of Norway, England has lost an ally, and Leofwine has gained an enemy. And not just any enemy. Swein is the king of Denmark, and he has powerful resources at his fingertips.

In a unique position with the king, Leofwine is either honoured or disrespected. Yet, it is to Leofwine that the king turns to when an audacious attack is launched against the king’s mother and his children. But Leofwine’s successes only bring him more under the scrutiny of King Swein of Denmark, and his own enemies at the king’s court.

With an increase in Raider attacks, it is to Leofwine that the king turns once more. However, the king has grown impatient with his ealdorman, blaming him for Swein’s close scrutiny of the whole of England. Can Leofwine win another victory for his king, or does he risk losing all that he’s gained?

The Danish King’s Enemy is the second book in the epic Earls of Mercia series charting the last century of Early England, as seen through the eyes of Ealdorman Leofwine, the father of Earl Leofric, later the Earl of Mercia, and ally of Lady Elfrida, England’s first queen.

You can get your copy here: Amazon UKAmazon US

Want to know more about, or connect with the author? Read on.

I’m an author of fantasy (Viking age/dragon-themed) and historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest), born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since AD1066. 

I write A LOT. You’ve been warned!

WebsiteTwitterInstagram

The Danish King’s Enemy is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.

“She sees Ghosts”…who wouldn’t be fascinated by such a title?

I am thrilled to be able to share an extract of David Fitz-Gerald’s awesome story with you today! Read on to find out more about the author, the story, and where you can buy it, and to sample the spine-chilling excerpt.

Here’s the story:

A blazing fire killed her family and devoured her home. A vengeful demon haunted her. Ghosts of the Revolutionary War needed help that only she could provide. A young woman languished, desperate to survive, and teetered on the edge of sanity.

Mehitable grew up in a freshly tamed town, carved from the primeval forest. Family, friends, and working at the mercantile filled her days and warmed her heart. For Mehitable, life was simple and safe, until tragedy struck. When her family perished in their burning home, she retreated into a world of her own making.

As a young girl, she had seen glimmers, glimpses, and flickers of the spirit world. She closed her eyes. She turned her back. She ignored the apparitions that she never spoke of, desperately hoping they would leave her in peace. She was mistaken.

Grief-stricken, Mehitable withdrew from the human world. Ghosts were everywhere. They became bolder. She could no longer turn her back on the spirit world. Her friends feared for her survival. Nobody understood her. She would have to find her own way.

Fans of TV’s Ghost Whisperer and Long Island Medium will especially love She Sees Ghosts. This historical novel features memorable characters and delivers bone-tingling, spine chilling goosebumps. It stands on its own and it is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series by the award-winning author of Wanders Far―An Unlikely Hero’s Journey. David Fitz-Gerald delivers a historical novel with a bittersweet ending that you won’t see coming.

Would she save the spirits’ souls, or would they save her? Only time would tell.

Intrigued? You can get your copy HERE.

Here is the excerpt:

Mehitable stood in the cemetery beside her family’s marker. It was the first time she had returned to the cemetery since the funeral, four years earlier. She had dreaded going to the cemetery and had to force herself to look upon the words carved into the stone. Though she felt a sense of loss every day, New Year’s Day was always particularly hard for her. The painful memories cascaded around her like snow dropping from heavily laden branches on a sunny winter morning. She brushed the tears from her cheeks with a wet mitten and inhaled. She was glad that she visited the cemetery after all. Soon she would move away with Polly and Reuben, and she might never return to Poultney again. Other than the fact that her toes were cold, she realized that the visit to the cemetery was quite peaceful.

As she began to leave the cemetery, something caught the corner of her eye. It was a man. Not just a man, but a soldier. She walked slowly toward the road and cast her vision to the ground in front of her, where she planned to place her feet. Even with her eyes diverted, she was able to watch the man whose path she was certain to cross. She couldn’t remember ever having seen a soldier before.

As she got closer, her pulse quickened. He was an imposing figure of a man. The closer she got, the more intriguing he looked.

Every couple of steps he stopped to look off into the woods or turned to look back down the road behind him. He put his fingers in his mouth and sent a shrill whistle trumpeting down the intervale below. Then he put his hands to his cheeks and called out, “Pendennis!”

Mehitable walked slowly toward him. Normally she would have walked briskly but she tarried along because she was fascinated. She felt drawn to him. He had a certain magnetism, though he seemed somewhat distracted. She wondered if he was looking for a child, or perhaps a dog.

The man looked to be in his mid to late twenties. He was tall, significantly taller than most men, even taller than Reuben. His shoulders were broad and his waist was narrow. Instead of a red coat or a blue coat, like the soldiers she had heard of, the man wore a dark green jacket with bright gold buttons that matched the tassels that dangled from epaulets at his shoulders. He wore a tricorne, beaver skin hat with a cockade that resembled a chamomile flower. His waistcoat was tight, like his jacket and matched the color of his snug breeches. His neatly tied white cravat and ruffled jabot adorned his neck and chest. His tall black riding boots looked immaculate. Mehitable had never seen such a well-dressed man. She was working up the courage to politely say, “How do you do?” when the man began to fade. She gulped and hurried her pace. The air smelled strangely of woodsmoke, horse manure, and pomander, that intoxicating scent of an orange spiked with rare and exotic cloves. It had not crossed her mind that the man was a spirit. She wondered at the strength of his presence.

She chastised herself for getting all out of sorts over a dead man. Yet she couldn’t resist stopping and turning to look when she heard his voice again, calling. “Pendennis!” When she turned, he stood at attention and stared straight into her eyes. Then he removed his hat, bowed deeply, sweeping his long arm dramatically behind him before returning his hat to his head. Mehitable turned and hurried away as quickly as she could.

Finally, when she could only hear his call far off in the distance, she turned to look one final time. He appeared as a tiny green dot surrounded by white snow on the top of the hill. Despite his flamboyance and the fact that he was dead, she couldn’t help having romantic thoughts about him. Thoughts she hadn’t entertained about living men or boys, except Reuben, briefly and occasionally before sending those thoughts from her mind. As she hurried up Lewis Road that afternoon, she compared the man to Reuben. He was a bit taller, more muscular, and his facial features looked strong and boyish at the same time.

She tried to put the man out of her mind, but she couldn’t shake a feeling of sadness over his loss, and she felt a desperate need to know what or for whom he was searching.

About the Author

David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means that he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing. She Sees Ghosts―A Story of a Woman Who Rescues Lost Souls is the next instalment in the Adirondack Spirit Series.

You can find out more about, and connect with David here:

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram

Author interviews are always revealing!

If you fancy a deeper insight into my writing quirks and eccentric habits, you could do worse than have a look at the fun Interview I did with fellow author Pam Lecky! 😜 Thanks so much for doing this, Pam ❤️

Life’s a pitch…

Find out how I started out as a published writer and how long my (*blush*) apprenticeship was by checking out this article in the Wiltshire Times. Also, discover how to get a bit of recognition for your own writing.

Do you feel lucky?

If you do, all well and good- I’ll tell you about three contests currently going on where you can try your luck. And if you need cheering up, you might like to immerse yourself in my latest Tudor era romance, LORD OF MISTRUST. As this is release day, it’s still only $0.99 or £0.77, but you’ll need to get your copy NOW before the book goes up to its normal price of $2.99.

Here’s the blurb-

Headstrong Chloe dresses as a boy and runs away to her birth mother to escape a horrendous marriage. She’s shocked to discover that her parent owns a bawdy house, and is in no position to help- nor will she reveal the identity of Chloe’s father. When a street accident throws Chloe into the lap of the tempting Robert Mallory, he offers distraction and adventure, but his stubborn refusal to trust her endangers them both.

Hot-headed Robert Mallory is battling to protect his sister, his livelihood, and his honor. He’s a spy who can’t follow the rules and distrusts everyone, particularly the delectable young woman from the bordello. Having endangered her, then rescued her from a nest of traitors, he learns that Chloe is the natural daughter of the one man he can’t afford to upset, Sir Mortimer Fowler. Offering marriage to save Chloe’s reputation is out of the question, as Fowler needs her for bait in a deadly trap.

Robert is faced with an impossible choice. He’s desperate to save Chloe, but if he follows his heart, the security of the entire realm is at risk.

Also only available for TODAY is the contest I’ll be running in the Dragonblade Facebook group where’ll I’ll be giving away books, a gift card and offering an insight into LORD OF MISTRUST through a fun multiple-choice quiz.

Running until July 4th is the Dragonblade $25 Gift Card and paperback giveaway. You can have several chances to win, so it’s well worth a shot!

If you want to check out a wonderful historical blog, why not pop over to the Coffee Pot Book Club? You can find out more about my Tudor era TRYSTS AND TREACHERY SERIES as well as win yourself some signed papaerbacks (for UK winners only).

Another exclusive peek at the latest Tudor romp!

LORD OF MISTRUST comes out on December 30th, but if I were you, I’d buy it NOW at two thirds discount. Order your copy here for just $0.99.

Here’s a bit about the story. You can also scroll down for an exclusive extract from the book.

Sir Robert Mallory thinks the young woman he encounters, who is dressed as a boy, is a pickpocket and a prostitute. He soon discovers that the delectable Chloe is, in fact, the illegitimate daughter of a man to whom he owes a great deal of money. Things go from bad to worse when she’s kidnapped by traitors to the crown.

Robert is faced with an impossible choice. He’s desperate to save Chloe, but if he follows his heart, the security of the entire realm is at risk.

Here is a exclusive extract from the book.

“How shall we occupy the next hour?”

There was a glint in his eyes that belied his claim of exhaustion. A predatory glint.

She backed toward the door. “I hope you’re not having any lascivious thoughts, sir. I’ve told you time and time again that I’m not what you think.”

He followed her and as she reached for the latch, his hand came over hers. “Pray, don’t decamp just yet, Mistress. You have not yet explained your presence at Mistress Riviere’s, nor why you were dressed as a boy one moment and a charming woman the next. I beg you, indulge me. Fill my empty moments by telling me your story.”

Curse it! He was far too close, his blue eyes alight with mischief. And with promise. She gulped.

“Step back, sir. You’re trying to take advantage of me. If I saved your life tonight, you should be showing me your gratitude, not… not looming over me.” And not looking like he wanted to kiss her, threatening to reawaken all those wicked imaginings she’d had earlier.

“Was I looming? My apologies. So, are you going to tell me what you were doing in that house of ill repute?”

“Certainly not, as it’s none of your business.”

He tipped his head on one side. “If you are a whore, you’re the most reticent I’ve ever encountered.”

Why did his gaze keep sliding toward her mouth? It was most unsettling.

She pushed her shoulders back. “I’ve told you so many times that I am not. You should accept the word of a lady.”

“If you are a lady, then who are your people? Who are your family, and whither are you bound?”

He was looming even more. So close, she could feel his breath on her face. And there was no space for retreat. Placing a hand firmly on his chest, she gave him a push, but he was immovable. Instead, the rogue placed his palm over hers and came even closer.

Time for the knee again? She rather thought it was. But before she could move, he’d wrapped his arms tightly around her, pulling her against him.

“Nothing to say, Madam Mystery?” His lips teased her ear.

She tried to speak, but her voice lodged in her throat. A giddy sensation of excitement washed over her as she stood quivering in his arms, fascinated to discover what he’d do next. The strength and power that emanated from him both comforted and alarmed her. Protection, safety, danger. She wriggled, only to find his arms tightening around her.

He pulled his head back a little, and she was able to focus on his face. His gaze had darkened and a smile played about his lips.

“I find staring death in the face has a way of making one feel gloriously alive—as if one’s continued existence was a gift not to be squandered. As if there isn’t a single moment to lose. Tell me, didn’t besting that blackguard stir your blood, just a little?”

She shook her head. It had been terrifying. Particularly when he’d pointed his weapon back at her.

“But you were magnificent.” Even though Sir Robert was holding her less tightly now, her limbs had turned to water, and she couldn’t have escaped had she wanted to. Did she still want to escape?

He twined a curl of hair behind her ear and stroked her cheek. Suddenly, she remembered she was wearing only her thin summer nightgown. Far too little to shield her body from his. He must be able to feel her breasts pushing up against him—it would incite him, would it not?

What else had her mother taught her about evading the attentions of a lustful man? Frantically, she searched her memory, struggling to pull together her scattered thoughts. Sir Robert, meanwhile, was gazing at her mouth again, a hungry smile on his lips.

Go limp. That was it. Go limp and slide down, out of the grasp of your over-amorous suitor.

Well, it might work with the clientele at Mistress Riviere’s when they overstepped the mark, but they didn’t have the reflexes of Sir Robert Mallory. The instant she relaxed, he scooped her up and held her across his body.

“You’re not about to swoon on me, are you? Mayhap you’d better lie down.” He carried her to the bed and laid her atop the cover.

Nay! If she lay down, she’d be completely at his mercy. But when she struggled to sit up, he pressed her shoulders back against the mattress, then lowered his head and touched his lips to hers.

It was the briefest of touches, but it calmed her fears and, at the same time, ignited a curiosity within her. Her treacherous body demanded more.

“Sweet as sugared rose petals. I would taste you again.” His voice was as soft as the caress of his lips.

She should turn her head aside, or fight—or even scream. But she did none of these things. She merely gazed into his admiring eyes and wondered what was to follow.

“No complaint, Mistress?” He brushed her lips with the tip of his tongue, and they tingled in response.

Nothing to complain of as yet.

Don’t forget- if you buy the book now, it’ll only cost you $0.99! Here’s the link- http://mybook.to/mistrust

***CONTEST CLOSED***Historical Romance Cookie Hop Prize Draw

Huge thanks to Heather McCollum for putting this together.

My Christmas cookies have to be Tudor in origin, since my current series is set in Elizabethan times. So hereafter follows the receipt (that’s what they called recipes back then) for Cyvele, or Almond Cakes.

Ingredients:

1 cup (or more depending on the freshness of the bread) breadcrumbs

4 ounces (half cup) ground almonds

quarter cup +2 tablespoons sugar

half teaspoon salt

two eggs

oil and/or fat for frying

Mix dry ingredients ( reserving the extra sugar), preferably in a blender; add eggs, beaten, if not using a blender. Heat oil and/or other fat in a frying pan and drop the batter in in small spoonfuls, flattening with the spoon if necessary (which you’ll it will not be if you are using deep fat). Turnover once if not using deep fat. Drain on paper, and sprinkle with reserved sugar before serving – warm, preferably.

An alternative procedure which may be convenient and offers good results is to chill the batter for an hour or so, then divide it into balls (about 20) and flatten into cakes; the cakes should be small and not too thick. One advantage is that much of the work can be done ahead of serving time; another is that the cakes will be of more uniform size, and less uneven in appearance.

From “PLEYN DELIT- Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks” by Constance B Hieatt and Sharon Butler

Let me assure you, these crisp little cakes are absolutely delicious!

My Christmas Tidbit– Midwinter Folklore

The midwinter solstice is one of the great turning points in the sun’s apparent course through the sky, a time when its light is waning and the day is at its shortest. Our pagan ancestors would have found this a significant time, and done what they could to boost the sun with light of their own, by building midwinter fires. One example of this practice has survived in Europe in the form of the Yule Log. In England, according to an antiquarian by the name of John Brand, excessively large candles, called Christmas candles, were lit on Christmas Eve. A log of wood, the Yule Log, was laid upon the fire, preferably kindled from the remains of the previous year’s log. Oak was the preferred wood for the Yule Log, and before it was completely burnt out, it was rescued from the flames and preserved for a year. Keeping the log was supposed to protect the house from damage by lightning and fire, and to ward off the Devil, and the ashes thereof could help cows to calve, and heal the ailments of both cattle and people.

Source- The Golden Bough, J. G. Frazer

To win the Gift Card, you will need to visit all the authors’ blogs and collect the names of their cookies. But don’t worry, you have NINE days to do it in, and send your list to Heather McCollum so she can choose the winner at random. You will find the details on the Facebook Event Page HERE.

If you are visiting the websites/blogs in order, there’s a list of all the links below. You may find it easiest to visit all the sites in alpabetical order.

GOOD LUCK!

Alanna Lucaswww.alannalucas.com
Amalie Howardhttps://amaliehoward.com/
Amy Jareckihttps://amyjarecki.com/historical-romance-cookie-hop
Amy Rose Bennetthttps://amyrosebennett.com/historical-romance-cookie-hop/
Christina Brittonhttp://christinabritton.com/
Deb Marlowewww.DebMarlowe.com
Diana Lloydwww.DianaLloydBooks.com
E. Elizabeth Watsonhttps://eelizabethwatson.com/happy-holidays/
Elizabeth Langstonhttps://elizabethlangston.net/holiday-hop/
Elizabeth Keysianhttps://elizabethkeysian.com/2020/12/04/historical-romance-cookie-hop-prize-draw/
Eliza Knightwww.eknightauthor.com
Heather McCollumhttps://www.heathermccollum.com/historical-romance-holiday-cookie-hop-2020/
Jacki Deleckihttps://www.facebook.com/JDelecki
Jane Charleshttps://www.janecharlesauthor.com/christmas-fun
Janna MacGregorwww.jannamacgregor.com
Jennifer Siddowaywww.jennifersiddoway.com
Jerrica Knight-Cataniawww.jerricasplace.com
Jessica Clementshttps://www.jessicaanneclements.com/holiday-hops
Kate Parkerwww.KateParkerbooks.com/holiday-cookie
Kathleen Bittner Rothhttps://www.facebook.com/Kathleen.bittnerroth.author
Liana De la Rosawww.lianainbloom.com
Lori Ann Baileyhttps://loriannbailey.com/rugelach/
Madeline Martinhttp://www.madelinemartin.com/2020/12/wwii-carrot-biscuits/
Nadine Millardhttps://www.facebook.com/nadinemillardauthor
Patricia Kiyonohttp://www.patriciakiyono.com/post/historical-romance-cookie-hop
Renee Ann Millerhttps://reneeannmiller.com/category/blog/
Samantha Gracehttps://www.samanthagraceauthor.com/holiday-cookie-hop
Tara Kingstonhttps://www.facebook.com/TaraKingstonAuthor/
Tina Gabriellehttps://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle
Tracey Devlynhttps://traceydevlyn.com/events/63/historical-romance-holiday-cookie-hop

An exclusive peek at the latest Tudor romp!

LORD OF MISTRUST comes out on December 30th, but if I were you, I’d buy it NOW at two thirds discount. Order your copy here for just $0.99.

Here’s a bit about the story. You can also scroll down for an exclusive extract from the book.

Headstrong Chloe dresses as a boy and runs away to her birth mother to escape a horrendous marriage. She’s shocked to discover that her parent owns a bawdy house, and is in no position to help- nor will she reveal the identity of Chloe’s father. When a street accident throws Chloe into the lap of the tempting Robert Mallory, he offers distraction and adventure, but his stubborn refusal to trust her endangers them both.

Hot-headed Robert Mallory is battling to protect his sister, his livelihood, and his honor. He’s a spy who can’t follow the rules and distrusts everyone, particularly the delectable young woman from the bordello. Having endangered her, then rescued her from a nest of traitors, he learns that Chloe is the natural daughter of the one man he can’t afford to upset, Sir Mortimer Fowler. Offering marriage to save Chloe’s reputation is out of the question, as Fowler needs her for bait in a deadly trap.

Robert is faced with an impossible choice. He’s desperate to save Chloe, but if he follows his heart, the security of the entire realm is at risk.

Here is a exclusive extract from the book.

The hero, Sir Robert Mallory, has just offered to marry Mistress Chloe Emmerson in order to save her reputation. He doesn’t get quite the response he’d anticipated…

“He could tell from the glint in her eyes that she was becoming angrier by the minute. Mayhap he should excuse himself until she calmed down. Ye gods, if this was how she behaved when he offered to save her reputation, how would she react if she knew he’d drugged and searched her?

“If I swear not to mention your name to my father, will you tell me where he is?”

“I dare not.” He spread his hands in a gesture of helplessness.

“Will you not tell me the nature of your dealings with him, then?”

“I cannot.” Robert felt wretched. He’d just made the biggest mistake of his life and was about to reap the consequences.

“Then, get out of this chamber, sir.”

“I can’t go. Not until we’ve resolved this.”

“Go. I never want to set eyes on you again.”

“Chloe.” He straightened his spine. “You’re being unreasonable.”

There was a sudden flurry of movement, and before he could react, she’d taken one of the dags from his luggage and was pointing it at him with a trembling hand.

“Wrong. Now, I’m being unreasonable. Get you gone. Send someone else to collect your chest. Be sure not to follow me to London—or ever again repeat your insulting suggestion that we be wed.”

Was she holding the gun that was still primed, or the one that wasn’t? He dared not take the risk. Flinging up his hands, he bowed his head.

“As you wish. Though I have to say I wish things were otherwise.”

“Go.” She waved the gun.

He went. He could see no other choice.”

* A “dag” is a Tudor handheld gun, as featured in the first Trysts and Treachery book, LORD OF DECEPTION.