20 February 2014

Excerpt Thursday: Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale by Tracy Falbe

This week, we're pleased to welcome author Tracy Falbe with her latest novel, WERELORD THAL: A RENAISSANCE WEREWOLF TALE. Join us again on Sunday for an author interview, with more details about the story behind the story. The author will offer a free paperback copy of Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale to a lucky blog visitor.  This giveaway is restricted to the United States. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's post or Sunday's author interview for a chance to win. Here's the blurb.

Thal is wanted for Devil worship and shape shifting but still boldly walks the streets of 16th century Prague. Jesuits hunt him. Mercenaries fear him. Musicians sing his praise, and women are captivated by his alpha swagger.

Born of a witch and a sorcerer, he is summoned when his desperate mother casts the werewolf spell before facing torture and execution. Burdened with her magical call for vengeance Thal seeks the men that killed her. His hunt is complicated when the Magistrate’s stepdaughter Altea Kardas crosses his path. Horrified that her community is burning women to death, she can confide her doubt and fear only to Thal.

He desires her greatly but knows he will bring ruin upon her. Across Bohemia and beyond people who are different are labeled heretics in a restless world hobbled by tyrannical ignorance. The Renaissance has thrown the Holy Roman Empire into turmoil. Printed books are spreading radical ideas. Firearms are triggering a new age of warfare. And the human spirit is shaking off obedience.

Thal embodies the ancient magic of the pagan past. He challenges a world conquered by a spiritual system that denies the flesh and forgets the Earth. And he awakens within Altea recognition of these truths. She believes any risk is worth loving him until she becomes the bait in a trap set by Thal’s enemies.

** An Excerpt from Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale**

From the Author: I selected this scene from Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale to share because it shows the importance of the print revolution in that era and introduces readers to the paranormal powers of the hero Thal. The scene is at the Vyssi Brod monastery in southern Bohemia, a historic community of Cistercian monks. The year is 1561.

 Ondrej sat on his stool. His prodigious ass overhung the edges and the situation did not look too comfortable. Andreli grabbed the other stool.
He leaned over the desk and peeked at what Ondrej had been writing. “Copying some holy scripture?” he inquired.
“Copying? Get thee with the times. Scripture is done with the printing machine these days. These are of more important matters,” Ondrej said and patted the paper. “I’m recording my latest beer recipes.”
“Oh, a very sacred subject,” Andreli agreed. “And then you will get it printed?”
“Yes,” Ondrej said, rather looking forward to it. Then he scowled. “Now how did you bring up the subject of beer so quickly?” he complained.
“You brought it up,” Andreli said.
The monk chuckled. “You are such a tricky Gypsy,” he said.
“He’s very much hoping to get some of your beer. He praised it much while we walked up here,” Thal said.
Andreli gave him a startled look. Thal’s forthright approach seemed to be spoiling his game. Thal ignored the look. He was curious about beer, recalling that it was a pleasant thing.
“Ah, Thal the wanderer, you do know that people typically pay for our beer,” Ondrej said.
“But not always,” Thal hinted.
“We could help your brewers sample the latest batch and offer opinions,” Andreli put in.
Ondrej sighed. “There’s no shortage of volunteers for that duty. Now what about this letter you need read? Or was that just a pretense to gain my audience?” he demanded good naturedly.
“It’s not a letter,” Thal said. He drew the fur off his shoulders.
Andreli said, “There is writing on the skin.”
Turning over the lustrous fur, Thal proffered it to the monk.
“Oh,” Ondrej breathed, immediately entranced. He leaned over the artifact and scanned the brick red lettering. Gently he took the fur and spread it on his desk.
“These are Latin letters,” he said confidently. “But…”
He trailed off and Thal and Andreli looked on impatiently. Ondrej turned the fur around and looked at the letters and then turned it back the other way.
“What is it?” Andreli asked.
Ondrej patted his round cheek thoughtfully, obviously a little confounded. Finally, he explained, “The characters are Latin but they do not make Latin words. I can sound things out, but I don’t recognize the words.” He ran a finger along the words and read, “Bin rum aptudarn. Cass lupu trinostulio. It’s just nonsense. I’ve never laid eyes upon this language. Where did you get this?”
“From my father,” Thal said.
“And where was he from?” Ondrej pressed.
Thal did not answer.
“He has trouble remembering his past,” Andreli put in. “He wandered out of the Sumava with only this fur. He told me he’s from Prague.”
“My mother is from Prague but not my father. I can’t think of where he was from,” Thal said.
Assuming Thal was the bastard of some harlot, Ondrej returned his attention to the intriguing lettering. “Is this written in blood?” he asked, suddenly uncomfortable.
“It looks like it is,” Thal said. “Can you read it all to me? If you teach me all the sounds of the letters I think that will help me remember what it is. I recognized my name at the bottom.” He pointed to the word and Ondrej saw that it definitely said Thal.
“But these words are just nonsense,” Ondrej protested, beginning to suspect that Thal was crazy and had probably been wondering the land suffering from fits. Perhaps he had even scrawled the nonsense in his own blood, driven by some strange delusion. Yet Ondrej could not entirely accept his logical guesses about the stranger. Thal looked healthy and lucid. He had no outward traits of a madman, and Ondrej had seen more than a few of those lost souls over the years.
Thal wanted to overcome the monk’s reluctance and suggested, “The words might be a code. If I hear them all, it will help me remember.”
“A code?” Ondrej whispered. He had heard of such things. Some scholars liked to correspond in codes, but it seemed a bit devious and un-Christian. And the blood ink was certainly unholy.
The monk glanced at Andreli a bit reproachfully and then leaned toward Thal. “Young man, I fear this might be the work of some devilry,” he said.
Thal did not doubt it but said nothing.
Ondrej continued, obviously wishing to show off his knowledge on the subject. “There’s much devilry afoot these days. A group of Jesuits just passed through here, heading north. They told me how heresy and witchcraft are getting out of hand. Mother Church needs her faithful to set things right. The door to the Devil’s barn has been left open since Luther tricked people with all his lunacy.”
“Yes, the northern lands have all gone over to Luther’s ways I hear,” Andreli commented.
“Not all of them,” Ondrej said pointedly.
“Tell me about this devilry,” Thal said, impatient to get to the heart of the matter.
The gravity of the subject did not suit Ondrej, but he was honestly concerned about the wanderer.
“Young man, I fear that you were taken captive by warlocks or witches and who knows what happened to you in the forest. They left this strangely lettered fur as some spell upon you. It’s probably why you can’t remember much. I suggest we burn it right away,” Ondrej said.
Aghast, Thal snatched the fur off the desk. “It’s from my father,” he insisted. “And I was not attacked by anyone.”

Learn more about author Tracy Falbe's newest novel:

4-Chapter Preview of Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale from Tracy Falbe

$3.99 (kindle, epub, or pdf) Available worldwide from Brave Luck Books
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$12.99 (6x9 trade paperback 356 pages)
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