About the Book:
Title: AIR AND ASH
Author: Alex Lidell
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Danger Bearing Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Master and Commander meets Tamora Pierce in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms.
After a lifetime of training, seventeen-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission—and fails.
Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battleworthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over.
But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future.
AIR AND ASH is the thrilling first installment of the TIDES series. Recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Tamora Pierce, and Naomi Novik.
My breaths come quick, my side vision a blur of sand. The horses rear, showing their bellies and hooves. When Red turns to the beasts, I crash into him. The impact ricochets through me. I drop my rock.
Red staggers but remains standing.
I wrap my arms around Red and draw the other pistol from his waistline even as he throws me to the ground. I land in a heap and breathless, but my hands still clutch the gun.
Inconveniently, the bloody weapon is as much a danger to me as to the men. It bucks in my hand, yielding to the natural pulse of Clay’s uncontrolled magic. Rising to one knee, I move the barrel between Bald and Red. “Stop,” I command. “All of you.”
Three sets of eyes grip me. None give a sign of recognition. I little blame them—having spent most of my life aboard an Ashing ship, the only people who’d reliably recognize me are those I’ve served with. This Felielle trio is unlikely to recognize even Thad outside the throne room, or think twice if they heard my name absent salutation.
My palms are moist, but I know better than to let the fear slip into my voice. “I believe the man has understood your message,” I say.
Clay’s dog chooses that moment to run up beside me and bare its teeth. Its low growl leadens the air between us.
One heartbeat stretches after another, punctuated by the break of waves and the horses’ snorts. My breaths come quick and shallow. I’m unlikely to miss at this range, but the pistol is good for one shot only.
Bald squints. “What’s your stake in this?”
“A broken law and a bound man.” I shake my head. The constant foreign presence in Ashing is a necessary burden for now, but I hope to see it end after the war. “One pistol has fired already, gentlemen. I expect the Ashing patrols are en route to investigate.”
Red scowls at me, likely calculating whether he might knock me to the ground before I squeeze off the trigger or the horses scamper. He probably can.
I scowl back, hoping the thugs’ employer paid them too little to risk their hides so greatly. “I would wager you will pay with your horses and backs if the patrols come upon us now.”
Bald snorts and makes a decision. “Is the lady correct, Domenic? Has the message penetrated?” He lands a vicious knee in the man’s abdomen.
Domenic’s jaw tightens, and he has to draw a breath before he can speak. “I have a debt.” His voice is steadier than I had expected. “I will pay it.”
“Why, that is all we wished to hear in the first place.” Bald pats Domenic’s shoulder and turns away, then twists back and punches Domenic’s jaw as an afterthought. “A pinch of a memory aid.” He chuckles at his joke and, accepting the reins from Red, swings into the saddle. The horses neigh and pick up a gallop, eager to be away, and I raise my free arm to shield my eyes from the flying sand.
Alex Lidell is an avid horseback rider, paramedic and ice cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s lifelong love for YA fantasy books. Alex’s debut novel, THE CADET OF TILDOR, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards finalist. Her second book AIR AND ASH releases in May 2017.
1 winner will receive a finished copy of AIR AND ASH & a hardcover of A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas, INTERNATIONAL.