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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

An excerpt from Leaders, Book Three of the Twin-Bred series -- with spoilers

Caution! Here there be spoilers!

Thursday, May 26th, is a dual release day: for Leaders, the third book in the Twin-Bred series, and for the series' virtual boxed set. I'd like bloggers to be able to include an excerpt from Leaders, but such an excerpt is almost guaranteed to include some spoilers for the first two books. Of course, if you've read those books, that's fine. So here's a short excerpt, a teaser of sorts, for those returning to the series.

[spoiler space]

[In this scene, Mara and Fel-lar, on New Landing, are discussing the possibility of an expedition to Tofarn. (Why? That'd be a spoiler for this book.) Earlier in the discussion, Fel-lar has compared Mara to the biblical Moses, who led the Hebrews out of Egypt.)]

Fel-lar twitched away as if to start pacing again. Mara held his hand firmly, and he desisted. “Returning to Moses. He grew up a prince of Egypt. And in the end, his greatest victory was to run away, with all his people. They, unlike him, had been raised as slaves. But what if all of them had shared the same princely goals and expectations?” Fel-lar was humming now, with that uniquely Tofa ability to hum and speak at the same time. “How much pride could any of them take in leaving all those dreams behind—no matter how long or short their journey to some substitute promised land, some distant Canaan?” The humming grew louder, and she had to strain to understand his words. “Would he not wonder whether he should have stayed to fight? To strike at least one blow?”

Mara searched the cliff face and found uneven stone on which she could step. She climbed up, working to maintain her balance, and reached a cautious arm around Fel-lar’s neck. He stopped humming and grabbed her arm with an upper hand to steady her and draw her close. That left her other hand free to stroke his cheek. “So recent events have jarred all these feelings loose. And that’s why you’ve been—different lately. Less calm. Less patient.”

“Less patient, and easier to anger. Which is why you should allow me, after all, to apologize for directing that anger at you, when you were hurt.”

“All right, if it’ll make you feel better. Now enough of that. Fel-lar, are you really thinking of flying back across the galaxy because you’re spoiling for a fight?”

Fel-lar unwrapped Mara’s arm from around himself, grasped her carefully under the arms, and lifted her down from the ledge. Then he moved the picnic basket aside and picked up the blanket, folding it rapidly with all four hands. “I may not have mentioned that I have been studying military history and tactics from time to time.”

Mara reached for the blanket without looking Fel-lar in the face and put the blanket in the basket. “No, you didn’t.”

“I do not want a fight to be necessary. I would prefer that all this proves to be ‘much ado about nothing.’ But if anyone must fight to protect our friends on Tofarn: well, I am no longer too young, if I was then. I am a leader, by my people’s choice. And I am ready to do battle.”

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