~ About the Book ~
In the Lands Within, history does not rest. Each archaeological layer communicates with the living generation, choosing its friends and enemies—and its kings. But an alliance has been struck no one could have anticipated, and an ancient evil is soaking into the soil. History is being erased, purchased and re-written at a terrible price. And a kingdom that shouldn’t have been forgotten is fading from memory.
In the Lands Without, archaeologist Lori Brickland has found a pottery shard with a heartbeat. The pulse might be a trick of the mind, or it might be the first sign of life in a world of ruin. An exiled traveler will say she shouldn’t search for the truth, a calculating ruler will say she’s the one he’s looking for. And the kingdom? The kingdom will need her before the end. It’s time to accept what she’s always known…
This isn’t archaeology.
This is war.
Release date: 27 July 2018
Publisher: Celebrate Lit Publishing
~ Excerpt ~
The afternoon brought with it the same predictable conversation and inattention from the visitors. Lori frequently indulged in the habit of judging them silently, making assumptions regarding their lack of observation in other aspects of their life. She tried to feel guilty about this, but not very hard. The visitors rolled by with the same comments and synchronized movements: shock, wagging, leaving. Face after face.
Then his face.
He moved toward the potsherd reluctantly. He didn’t hunch over, or rock his head to see it do its magic. Awe didn’t flood his eyes, only confirmation—painful confirmation, like his worst fears had come to life. People flowed around him in an undulating hum. He didn’t notice. Nothing existed for him except the small broken piece of pottery.
He held something—a rolled piece of paper. It was long and yellowed, and he clenched it at his side. And he wore traveling clothes. Lori wasn’t sure why she thought this. There was nothing extraordinary about them, but they were thick and dark, blending with his large boots. He moved closer to the case. She put a hand on her stomach and studied him like a suspect: tall, early thirties, maybe, with hair the color of the desert. His gaze focused intensely on the potsherd, he raised a fist and placed it over his heart, then bowed his head.
Lori’s lips parted. Did anyone else see that? Maybe not. The gesture was intimate, and the visitors were too busy ogling a magic trick under glass to notice so small a movement.
The man backed away and the crowd concaved into the spot where he had stood, as if he had been a mist that appeared for a moment and then dissipated back into the ocean.
He knew the potsherd.
~ Review ~
Fantasy isn’t my go-to genre, but this story hooked me from the first page. Not only is the writing style engaging—by turns descriptive, lyrical, and even drily humorous—but I loved the idea of an archaeologist with a phobia of ruins. And then I discovered the Lands Within…
This is a world that truly felt alive—and unique! Water, wind, soil, trees—all these elements have a living presence in the Lands Within, as do the ruins… Then there are the characters like the ever-chatty Meridian and the austere and serious Thane, each of whom I couldn’t help but be drawn to from the moment I met them. The world-building is so complete that the characters from the Lands Within even have their own exclamations and expressions! By the Epochs!
But back to the archaeologist afraid of ruins. Atephobia is the technical name for a fear of ruins, and I was surprised to discover that it’s a real condition. For Lori, artefacts have stories—heartbeats—that are lost to time. She can sense them calling to her from beneath the ground, but once they’re dug up? Silence. Death. When she finds herself in the Lands Within, however, she’s overwhelmed by the stories she can sense in everything from an old Mapmaker’s cottage to the very soil itself. Such a vibrant history, and yet the people are not only ignorant of their past, but living in denial of it.
For a history-lover like myself, it was thoroughly enjoyable to read about a world where history is alive, and where uncovering its secrets is the key to survival. Is it every atephobic’s nightmare, or is it exactly what Lori needs to help her overcome her ‘illness’?
Best of all, the end leaves me in hope that we haven’t seen the last of the Lands Within. I will definitely be keeping my eye on this author!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Guest Post from D.C. Marino ~
I’m so excited to share Kingdom of Ruins with you! This story has been on my heart and mind for over ten years now, so this feels a bit surreal. I’d love to tell you a bit about why I wrote this book. But in order to do that, I need to tell you why I almost didn’t.
Fantasy. It isn’t real. Why should I spend time writing a story that doesn’t grapple with the actual issues of the day? Why not speak plainly, instead of inventing another world to explore the real one? These were the questions I asked myself every night before I fell asleep. I adored fiction that transported me to factual events, or introduced me to historical figures, but every time I picked up a pen, the fantastical wiggled out of it.
I was afraid I was writing the wrong story.
This story oddly (or not so oddly) enough began with Lori, an atephobic archaeologist. Meaning she had a passion for archaeology, but a phobic fear of ruins. Why would she shrink back from the work she loved? Because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t make whole the broken. Life ends in dust, and that’s all there is to it. I felt the same way. Not only was I writing something I wasn’t sure would be relevant, but could it mend anything? Make a difference? Or was it futile, like trying to resurrect the past?
What I found was exactly what Lori begins to find in Kingdom of Ruins. That even though things seem unfixable, it isn’t the end. The world Lori enters is full of darkness and peril, but it also holds a chance for her to heal from more than just her fear. While I wrote, and especially as I neared the last chapter, I realized she and I had both overcome a great challenge. I won’t tell you her conclusion, but I will tell you mine:
I wrote the right story.
I hope you enjoy every bit of the journey as I did, dear reader.
~ About the Author ~
D.C. Marino is a dedicated reader of history books and fantasy novels, both of which occupy an equal amount of space on her bookshelves. But it wasn’t until she realized how one breathed life into the other that she became addicted to finding the intersections of the real world and the fairy story. Still more: what those intersections about us as a creative, curious people. Kingdom of Ruins is her debut novel.
~ Giveaway ~
To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!https://promosimple.com/ps/ced0/kingdom-of-ruins-celebration-tour-giveaway
~ Blog Stops ~
1 August ~ Inklings and notions
2 August ~ Fiction Aficionado
5 August ~ Bibliophile Reviews
6 August ~ A Reader’s Brain
7 August ~ Just the Write Escape
9 August ~ Simple Harvest Reads (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
11 August ~ Texas Book-aholic
13 August ~ A Baker’s Perspective