Historical Fiction author Nancy Northcott is my blog guest today, here with an excerpt from the final volume in her trilogy, The Boar King’s Honor.
Book Title: The King’s Champion
Series: The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy
Author: Nancy Northcott
Publication Date: May 1, 2023
Publisher: Falstaff Books
Page Length: 378
Genre: Historical fantasy with romantic elements
This scene is from Chapter 1. Sebastian Mainwaring, who is working with the evacuation, Operation Dynamo, goes outside for a breath of air and gets a surprise. It has been edited slightly to adjust its length.
The spiral stairs to the surface level made Sebastian’s knee protest, but he ignored it. Fractured during a little foray into Czechoslovakia after the Nazi invasion, it hadn’t healed properly. Still, he’d managed to talk his way into a desk job instead of being mustered out of the army with a war obviously on the way. Detached duty with the War Office was better than a seat on the sidelines.
He pushed open the heavy outer door and walked into the cool evening air. After so many hours underground, the breeze on his face lifted his spirits. He strolled to the edge of the cliff so he could see the harbor far below. A steady stream of ships cruised through the opening in the breakwater to enter the English Channel, as usual. With them tonight, however, went a flotilla of small boats, everything from yachts and Thames excursion boats to tugboats to freight scows to fishing boats.
A vision flashed over his sight. A beach crowded with men in combat gear. Thousands of them sat in masses or snaking lines on the sand. Waves lapped the shore, the water unusually calm. Overhead, Messerschmitts made strafing runs. Men jerked or spasmed and fell to the sand. Some of his fellow soldiers fired back at the attackers with their rifles. The planes were too high, out of range, but he couldn’t fault the men for trying. Helplessness and anger must be the order of the day.
The familiar bitterness welled in his throat. He should’ve been in France. Had trained for years to do just that sort of thing. For nothing, now.
The familiar voice yanked him out of the vision.
At his side stood the ghost of his many-times-great grandfather, Richard Mainwaring, his predecessor as Earl of Hawkstowe from early in the reign of Charles II until late in that of Queen Anne. Though he’d lived into his seventies, he appeared as a man in his early thirties. His dark hair fell to his shoulders, and he wore the knee breeches, doublet, and hose popular in his youth, with lace at his collar and cuffs. His black hair, chiseled features, and blue eyes, all traits of Mainwaring men, might’ve come from Sebastian’s mirror.
No one else would be able to see Richard, but conversation would be awkward if anyone was near. A quick glance reassured Sebastian. Richard looked tired, though, which was unusual. A trick of the light, perhaps? What could weary a ghost?
Sebastian smiled. “Hello, Richard. Why so solemn?”
“There’s a wizard headed for the beach at Dunkirk. When she returns to England, you must speak with her.”
“I assume there are a few in a force the size of the BEF, so—hang on. ‘Her’? Is she a nurse?”
“She’s a journalist, approved by whoever manages such things. She’s been with several units over the last weeks.”
Someone should’ve sent her back to England straight away when the Germans rolled into France, but it was too late to fix that. “Why are you telling me this?”
“She’s a very distant cousin of yours, Kate Shaw. Powerful in her Gifts but untrained.”
Sebastian gestured toward the harbor. “I’ve a bit much on my slate for training a novice, distant cousin or not. I can see if someone at the Merlin Club might help.” The covert group of Gifted operated in Britain’s defense without being bound by edicts of the British wizards’ governing body, the Conclave.
“That won’t do. She doesn’t even know she’s Gifted. Her parents died in an automobile crash when she was a baby. In America. The family who adopted her gave her a good life, but they are practical people and taught her not to believe in magic.”
An image flashed into his mind, a woman standing on a beach amid legions of Tommies. The hair tucked under her tin hat might be brown or dark blond when it was clean. Dirt splotches on her face didn’t conceal the strong, attractive features or her full mouth. She appeared to be a few years younger than his thirty-three. The determined set to her chin and the grim resolve in her eyes drew him.
He banished the image with a shake of his head.
“Again,” Sebastian said, struggling for patience, “I haven’t the time for this.”
Richard regarded him steadily. “She’s a seer.”
“You must be mistaken.” There had never been more than one in a generation and not always even one. In this generation, Sebastian was it.
“I know how rare that Gift is,” Richard told him. “Over the centuries, however, our line has spread far and wide. Each of you carries Miranda’s blood and the potential for her Gift.”
A potential that rarely manifested. Richard’s wife, Miranda, had brought the seer Gift into the family line, but it often skipped generations. To have two at the same time, with war coming, the strategic advantage—
“We’ve often discussed how ill-prepared Britain is for this war,” Richard reminded him. “Kate would be a great help to you, especially if you cannot break the German codes.”
“If she cooperates. If she knows what she’s about. If she even accepts that she has such a Gift.” Yet he didn’t need to be a seer to sense the possibilities her coming offered.
If she made it back.
The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy
A wizard’s misplaced trust
A king wrongly blamed
A bloodline cursed until they clear the king’s name.
Book 3: The King’s Champion
Caught up in the desperate evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from France in the summer of 1940, photojournalist Kate Shaw witnesses death and destruction that trigger disturbing visions. She doesn’t believe in magic and tries to pass them off as survivor guilt or an overactive imagination, but the increasingly intense visions force her to accept that she is not only magically Gifted but a seer.
In Dover, she meets her distant cousin Sebastian Mainwaring, Earl of Hawkstowe and an officer in the British Army. He’s also a seer and is desperate to recruit her rare Gift for the war effort. The fall of France leaves Britain standing alone as the full weight of Nazi military might threatens. Kate’s untrained Gift flares out of control, forcing her to accept Sebastian’s help in conquering it as her ethics compel her to use her ability for the cause that is right.
As this fledgling wizard comes into her own, her visions warn of an impending German invasion, Operation Sealion, which British intelligence confirms. At the same time, desire to help Sebastian, who’s doomed by a family curse arising from a centuries-old murder, leads Kate to a shadowy afterworld between life and death and the trapped, fading souls who are the roots of her family’s story. From the bloody battlefields of France to the salons of London, Kate and Sebastian race against time to free his family’s cursed souls and to stop an invasion that could doom the Allied cause.
The King’s Champion concludes Nancy’s Northcott’s exciting Boar King’s Honor Trilogy.
This series is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.
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Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance.
Nancy earned her undergraduate degree in history and particularly enjoyed a summer spent studying Tudor and Stuart England at the University of Oxford. She has given presentations on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III to university classes studying Shakespeare’s play about that king. In addition, she has taught college courses on science fiction, fantasy, and society.
The Boar King’s Honor historical fantasy trilogy combines Nancy’s love of history and magic with her interest in Richard III. She also writes traditional romantic suspense, romantic spy adventures, and two other speculative fiction series, the Light Mage Wars paranormal romances and, with Jeanne Adams, the Outcast Station space mystery series.
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