Arc Review & Giveaway: Queen of Eventide by Matthew Ward

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Maddie Lincoln returns home to Nottingham, struggling to get to grips with a life that’s falling apart. However, her workaday problems quickly fall away when she’s caught up in a war between the malevolent Dark Lady and her enemies.

As the Dark Lady’s influence grows, Maddie is pursued across the city, and the mysterious realm of Eventide, by a sinister Huntsman and his monstrous pack of hollows. Aided by her friend Inga, eccentric fortune teller Charles King, and the enigmatic William, she manages to stay one step ahead of her pursuers. Even with their help, neither world is safe for her; Eventide is full of hidden dangers, and vicious riots are breaking out in Nottingham as the Dark Lady’s power rises. Worse, none of Maddie’s companions are exactly as they appear, and nor, Maddie learns, is she.

Can Maddie discover the truth about the Queen of Eventide before it’s too late…?

Queen of Eventide is now available for pre-order at Amazon. You can find it here

Jan Review

4 stars

At first i was not quite sure what to make of this story, i was guessing it was about robin hood with the name of the city being nottingham where it all goes down.  As the clues are unraveled in this wonderful retelling you are sunk into Maddie world and you really want to know all about Eventide and what is really happening between all these characters. Who real, who a ghost, who can you trust be cautious i say in who you put your faith in cause the one you think you should trust may not really be who you think they are.  Thanks for the great honor of reading your story i throughly enjoyed it.  You can pre order now or it will be released March 2nd 2015.

 
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Queen of Eventide, excerpt one

January 21, 2015

The sky was dark above the treetops, the night’s veil pierced only by stars. The air held the freshness peculiar to the aftermath of rain, but also the heaviness of an oncoming storm. William paid it no heed, but pressed on, threading his way through the forest. In the middle distance lay a clearing, a campfire at its heart. Smoke spiralled upwards from the flames, twitching and shifting as the fitful wind gusted between the trees. No, thought William, not just trees. There were shadows all around him. His watchers. His jailers. They were following, as always.

     A rumbling sigh echoed through the darkness. William felt a chill pass through his bones. For a moment, he was tempted to look back over his shoulder, to catch a glimpse of his pursuers. Instead, he held his course. He knew there was no point turning. They’d reveal themselves only in anger, or if they thought he was about to attempt an escape.

     Snatches of pipe music drifted upon the breeze, carried from the shores of Lakmorr by the same errant wind that stirred the campfire’s smoke. The music was as crude and wild as those who played it. William sneered. In another life, another place, he’d have soon silenced that din – at sword point if necessary. But he no longer had armed soldiers at his beck and call. Nor was he in many ways even the same man. So much time had been wasted beneath this unchanging sky, but perhaps that was at last coming to an end.

     Reaching the clearing’s edge, William paused for a moment, then stepped across the threshold of mist-shrouded brambles. The circle of oaks looked the same as they ever had, their trunks almost invisible in the darkness, their boughs reaching into the sky like arms raised in prayer. In the centre of the clearing, the campfire crackled in a pit of stones, its light struggling to penetrate the gloom. Iridescent wings fluttered above the flames as tiny creatures swooped and dived upon the thermals, singing wildly as they risked the fire’s heartless embrace for a momentary thrill.

     Beside the campfire, a large column of rough stone lay half-concealed amongst the undergrowth. Once an upright of a long-vanished dolmen, it still bore the marks of entreaty graven by supplicants and dreamers. A man sat halfway along the toppled stone, leather hood pulled low, his eyes fixed upon the dancing flames.

     “She has returned,” William said quietly.

     The hooded man made no reply. William gave a slight sigh of irritation. When they had first met, he’d hated this hooded man. Later, when he’d learned the truth, he’d feared him. Now, William realised with sudden clarity, he knew only pity for him.

     “She has returned,” he said again, a touch more insistent this time. “If you want to stop her, we must act now.”

     “This is not your fight,” the hooded man replied, raising his eyes from the fire.

     William stepped forward. “I can end this. I can stop the cycle, but you have to trust me. You have to release me.”

     The hooded man gave a bitter laugh. “Trust you? Do you really suppose I’m that desperate?”

     Without taking his eyes off William, the hooded man dipped a hand into his belt-pouch. He withdrew a length of notched bone and toyed with it absently. The bone gleamed as it wove through the fingers of one hand to the next, at times reflecting the warm radiance of the fire, at others glowing with the chill light that hung about the hooded man’s fingers like icy vapour.

     “I know you are,” William said bluntly. “You’re as tired of all this as I. But she does not tire, does she?” He took another step forward, his voice growing more insistent. “You’ve tried running, you’ve tried fighting. You’ve even tried to reason with her. Every failure costs lives. How many more are you prepared to sacrifice before you realise that you cannot prevail?”

     “But you can?” The hooded man made no attempt to hide his scorn.

     “I think I can end it, yes. But I make no promises.”

     “I don’t think I’d believe them if you did,” the hooded man allowed tiredly.

     Neither man said anything for a moment. Snatches of pipe music drifted across their silence. William fought to keep a grimace from his face. Time was already against him. If his captor deliberated too long, the moment would be lost, and his long-desired freedom would count for little.

     “Very well. I grant you freedom from Eventide,” the hooded man said at last. “The mortal world is no longer closed to you.”

     All at once, the bone ceased its dance as the hooded man clasped it tight at either end. There was a sudden snap, and the bone’s splintered remains tumbled to the ground in a shimmer of cold blue light. William heard a crackle of undergrowth behind him as his jailers, loosed from their vigil, retreated into the depths of the forest.

     “Thank you,” William said, with a slight nod.

     “I will be watching,” the hooded man cautioned, getting to his feet and walking over to William. He was close now, near enough that William could see green eyes glinting in the hood’s shadow. “Do not give me cause to regret this.”

     Without another word, William turned his back and left the clearing the way he’d come. As he walked, he allowed himself a thin smile. Freedom, of a sort, was his once more. Now the real work could begin.

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