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Empire's Daughter by Marian L. Thorpe - Book Tour + Giveaway

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Empire’s Daughter (Empire’s Legacy, Book I)

For twenty generations, the men and women of The Empire have lived separately, the women farming and fishing, the men fighting wars. But in the spring of Lena’s seventeenth year, an officer rides into her village with an unprecedented request. The Empire is threatened by invasion, and to defend it successfully, women will need to fight.

When the village votes in favour, Lena and her partner Maya are torn apart. Maya chooses exile rather than battle, Lena chooses to fight. As Lena learns the skills of warfare and leadership, she discovers that choices have consequences that cannot be foreseen, and that her role in her country’s future is greater than she could have dreamed.

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Prior to this excerpt, Casyn a soldier of the Empire, has arrived at the women’s village of Tirvan to ask the women to learn to fight, to protect their Empire against invasion. When the village votes to accept, the protagonist Lena’s partner Maya refuses, choosing exile from Tirvan.
In this scene, the women are learning to handle weapons. Casyn is introducing them to the secca, the throwing knife.

"This is the secca, the throwing knife," he said. "You saw how it spun when I tossed it. It is balanced to do that." He threw the knife at a butt. It turned in the air, flying straight and true to the target, embedding itself to the hilt.
"You will learn to do this," he said bluntly. "The knife is the thing that can save your life, either from a distance, in the throw, or in hand to hand fighting. This is the one weapon that you all, all," he emphasised, "even Casse, even Mella and Ranni, must learn.”
I gazed at the secca with bile rising in my throat. Six inches of metal—the size of the knives we used to debone a fish or to cut line—and Maya chose exile over it. Anger rushed through me. I took a deep breath to keep myself from screaming. Tice glanced at me, raising an eyebrow in question. I shook my head, re-focusing on Casyn’s lesson.
He sheathed the secca and brought out a wooden knife, banded with metal. "Like the swords," he explained, "these are for practice. They are weighted so as to spin and fly like a secca but are less dangerous. When we learn close combat, the points will be guarded, but we will first learn to throw them.”
He divided us into groups of five. Each group had one practice knife. It was all he had time to make, Casyn explained. "Now," he said, "this is what you will do, for the rest of this hour. Hold the knife with the tip pointing into your palm, grasping the blade from the top, and flick it upward. As it tumbles back down, catch it by the hilt." He tossed the wooden secca and caught it. I saw a hint of a grin on his face. "The first group to have all its members catch the knife correctly five times in succession wins the first lesson at the target tomorrow.”
Someone whooped, and suddenly the seriousness of the afternoon disappeared. The lesson had turned into play. We spread out. Laughter and curses rang over the field as we tossed and dropped the knives, scratching ourselves before we began to catch them properly. Groups began to shout their scores. As I threw and caught the knife for the fourth time in a row, my group chanting encouragement, the pain inside me receded, just a bit.
We lost to Dessa’s group, but we threw second the next day, and I fell over my sword less. Gradually, as spring gave way to summer and we spent our afternoons with sword and bow and knife, my muscles and nerves learned the skills, and my swordplay went from clumsy to competent. I learned the guards and the strikes; I could hold my own when we moved on to practice fighting. All around me on the field, I could see similar transformations taking place. Mella, her belly huge now, could, with a bird bow, hit the red centre on the target nine times out of ten from a hundred paces. Casse learned to throw the secca with deadly precision, delighting in learning something new at her advanced age. Casyn watched, corrected, sometimes chastised, and with his grave good humour kept us working through the long summer afternoons.

Author Bio –
Writer of historical fantasy and urban fantasy for adults. The Empire's Legacy series explores gender expectations, the conflicts between personal belief and societal norms, and how, within a society where sexuality is fluid, personal definitions of love and loyalty change with growth and experience. 

The world of Empire's Legacy was inspired by my interest in the history of Britain in the years when it was a province of the Roman Empire called Britannia, and then in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire. In another life, I would have been a landscape archaeologist, and landscape is an important metaphor in the Empire's Legacy trilogy and in all my writing, fiction and non-fiction. 

I live in Canada for most of the year, England for the rest, have one cat, a husband, and when I'm not writing or editing, I'm birding.

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Giveaway to Win all 3 paperbacks of the Empire’s Legacy trilogy (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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