Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sky in the Deep BLOG TOUR: Excerpt



Sky in the Deep
About the Book: 
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: April 24th 2018
OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating. ~Goodreads

EXCERPT

“I saw him. I saw Iri.”
He wrapped the torn cloth around my arm, tying it tight.
“What are you talking about?”
I pushed his hands from me, crying. “Listen to me! Iri was
here! I saw him!”
His hands finally stilled, confusion lighting in his eyes. “I
was fighting a man. He was about to . . .” I shuddered,
remembering how close to death I’d come—closer than I’d
ever been. “Iri came out of the fog and saved me. He was with
the Riki.” I stood, taking his hand and pulling him toward
the tree line. “We have to find him!”
But my father stood like a stone tucked into the earth. His
face turned up toward the sky, his eyes blinking against the
sunlight.
“Do you hear me? Iri’s alive!” I shouted, holding my arm
against my body to calm the violent throbbing around the
gash.
His eyes landed on me again, tears gathered at the cor-
ners like little white flames. “Sigr. He sent Iri’s soul to save
you, Eelyn.”
“What? No.”
“Iri’s made it to Sólbjǫrg.” His words were frightening and
delicate, betraying a tenderness my father never showed. He
stepped forward, looking down into my eyes with a smile.
“Sigr has favored you, Eelyn.”
Mýra stood behind him, her green eyes wide beneath her
unraveling auburn braids.
“But—” I choked. “I saw him.”

“You did.” A single tear rolled down my father’s rough
cheek and disappeared into his beard. He pulled me into
him, wrapping his arms around me, and I closed my eyes,
the pain in my arm so great now that I could hardly feel my
hand.
I blinked, trying to understand. I had seen him. He was
there.
“We will make a sacrifice tonight.” He let me go before he
pressed his hands to my face again. “I don’t think I’ve ever
heard you scream for me like that. You scared me, sváss.” A
laugh was buried deep in his chest.
“I’m sorry,” I murmured. “I just . . . I thought . . .”
He waited for me to meet his eyes again. “His soul is at
peace. Your brother saved your life today. Be happy.” He
clapped a hand against my good arm, nearly knocking me
down.

I wiped at my wet cheeks with the palm of my hand, turn-
ing from the faces that were still watching me. There were
very few times I’d cried in front of my clansmen. It made me
feel small. Weak, like the early winter grass beneath our
boots.

I sniffed back the tears, piecing my face back together as
my father nodded in approval. It was what he had taught
me—to be strong. To steel myself. He turned back to the
field, getting to work, and I followed with Mýra, trying to
smooth my ragged breath. To hush the waves crashing in my
head. We walked toward our camp, collecting the weapons of
fallen Aska warriors along the way. I watched my father
from the corner of my eye, still unable to shake Iri’s face from
my mind.

My feet stopped at the edge of a puddle and I looked at
my reflection. Dirt spattered across my angled face and neck.
Blood dried in long, golden braids. Eyes a frozen blue, like
Iri’s. I sucked in a breath, looking up to the thin white clouds
brushed across the sky to keep another tear from falling.
“Here,” Mýra called to me from where she was crouched
over an Aska woman. She was lying on her side, eyes open
and arms extended like she was reaching for us.
I carefully unbuckled her belt and scabbard, piling them
with the others before I started on the armor vest. “Did you
know her?”
“A little.” Mýra reached down to close the woman’s eyes
with her fingertips. She gently brushed the hair back from
her face before she began, the words coming softly. “Aska,
you have reached your journey’s end.”

In the next breath, I joined with her, saying the ritual
words we knew by heart. “We ask Sigr to accept your soul
into Sólbjǫrg, where the long line of our people hold torches
on the shadowed path.”
My voice faded, letting Mýra speak first. “Take my love to
my father and my sister. Ask them to keep watch for me. Tell
them my soul follows behind you.”
I closed my eyes as the prayer found a familiar place on
my tongue. “Take my love to my mother and my brother. Ask
them to keep watch for me. Tell them my soul follows behind
you.”

I swallowed down the lump in my throat before I opened
my eyes and looked down into the woman’s peaceful face one
more time. I hadn’t been able to say the words over Iri’s body
the way I had when my mother died, but Sigr had taken him
anyway.
“Have you ever seen something like that before?” I whis-
pered. “Something that wasn’t real?”
Mýra blinked. “It was real. Iri’s soul is real.”
“But he was older—a man. He spoke to me. He touched
me, Mýra.”
She stood, shifting an armful of axes up onto her shoul-
der. “I was there that day, Eelyn. Iri died. I saw it with my
own eyes. That was real.” It was the same battle that took
Mýra’s sister. We’d been friends before that day, but we hadn’t
really needed each other until then.
I remembered it so clearly—the picture of him like a re-
flection on ice. Iri’s lifeless body at the bottom of the trench.
Lying across the perfect white snow, blood seeping out
around him in a melted pool. I could still see his blond hair
fanned out around his head, his empty eyes wide open and
staring into nothing.
“I know.”
Mýra reached up, squeezing my shoulder. “Then you
know it wasn’t Iri—not his flesh.”
I nodded, swallowing hard. I prayed for Iri’s soul every
day. If Sigr had sent him to protect me, he really was in
Sólbjǫrg—our people’s final sunset. “I knew he would make
it.” I breathed through the tightness in my throat.

“We all did.” A small smile lifted on her lips.
I looked back down to the woman lying between us. We
would leave her as she was—as she died—with honor. Like
we did with all our fallen warriors.
Like we’d left Iri.
“Was he as handsome as he was before?” Mýra’s smile
turned wry as her eyes flickered back up to meet mine.
“He was beautiful,” I whispered.


About the Author:
Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun. Instagram |Twitter| Website


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