Fantasy writers are especially unique in that they imagine worlds — regalities and cultures and creatures — that never were, and then go ahead and build them, imbuing them with their own lively visions, and then spiking them with a bit of awfulness that we all recognize. Dragons? I’m not so sure they don’t exist. In the imagination of D. Wallace Peach, of course they do. And so do necromancers, but it’s a costly gift.
A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.
Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.
While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.
Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.
A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.
From Chapter 5 – An excerpt
A wave of panic stilled Barus’s hand, the needs of an infant beyond his experience. The insanity of his choice forced him back a step. For a full day, he’d suffered from fatigue and fear, his mind as muddy as a spring puddle. What was he thinking? Did he believe, for a single moment, he possessed the knowledge or skill to raise a child?
He slumped onto the one chair Graeger had left intact when he’d first barged into Barus’s life. His head hung forward into his hands, and he shivered. If the land wasn’t trapped in the grip of winter, he could bury her body under the willow beside the boy. He could lower her into the ravine beside Olma’s bones so neither would rest alone. And while the thought comforted him, it made his heart ache with grinding loneliness.
Olma hadn’t abandoned him despite the tragedy of his birth. How could he choose otherwise?
He studied the baby’s exquisite face, her repose as tranquil as sleep, fingers curled, complexion and hair as white as the asters on the summer’s lea. On her deathbed, the queen had begged for her child’s life. He possessed the power to see her will done, and in the depths of his heart, he couldn’t deny her … or the infant. Or himself. Despite his fear, he’d fallen in love.
Meet the Author
A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.
In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.
Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.
One of my favorite excerpts: “A cold bone-moon sailed across the treetops. Silvergreen leaves glimmered between the towering evergreens like fairy lanterns. For several hours, she walked beside him, and they resorted to quiet conversation. With dawn a long way off, they settled beneath a tent of bowed branches and huddled together for warmth. Aster sighed and fell asleep with renewed hope.” This is simply lovely.
Diana’s writing brings a certain elegance to all her characters, who feel lived-in and fully-realized — particularly Barus, whose kindness and simple humanity lifts this tale high. Diane’s descriptive prowess is enchanting as always, and “The Necromancer’s Daughter” is as magical and rewarding a read as you would expect from this gifted author.
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