Falcon Blue, book six of The Child of the Erinyes, was the only book of the series not already drafted when I began publishing. I didn’t intend to write this story at all: my plan was to merely allude to it in other books. But after finishing The Sixth Labyrinth, I realized this story had to be told. For one thing, it’s the first reincarnation after the explosive, tragic events in the Bronze Age, as told in books 1-3, The Year-god’s Daughter, The Thinara King, and In the Moon of Asterion. That in itself makes it important—and there is more. The story of Falcon Blue as it was shared in The Sixth Labyrinth was a lie, and the record had to be set straight.
I had already written and published books detailing two of my triad’s lives, and I refused to add another unless it contributed a unique value to the series that no other book could. I’m happy to report that after much contemplation, months of research, and countless ever-changing outlines and drafts, I wrote a story that did what was needed. In fact, everything—the entire series—hinges upon the events in this book. So that’s kind of cool.
Plus, though this book turned out to be number six in the series, it can be read straightaway after the first three books without missing a beat, without any confusion, and, much like C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles, in linear fashion. His Magician’s Nephew was originally book six of that series, but it can be read as though it is book one: perhaps that’s why they started marketing it as such, although for me, it will always be book six, since that’s how I first read the Chronicles as an eleven-year-old. It’s due to Lewis that I felt comfortable leaping backward in time from The Sixth Labyrinth, set in Victorian Scotland, to the early 500s AD.
When I began researching the setting for Falcon Blue, I was surprised and rather dismayed to discover that the early medieval period (at least in Scotland) is a dark, dark place. Well, yeah, I know—I should have been prepared, since until recently, it was known as the Dark Ages. I honestly thought there would be more knowledge about this period than there was about my previous Bronze Age settings, but that was not the case. By the time I was committed, too far in to retreat, I realized this was not going to be easy or quick. Not that researching the Bronze Age Mediterranean was easy exactly, but I would argue that I had more information at my fingertips than I could find in a year of researching the early medieval period. When seeking the details I needed for this story, I came up against wall after wall, contradictory information, patchy details, and downright disagreement.
One of the first things I was sure I wanted for the story was the tower—a round tower—for the main place setting in the story, a fort I call Dunaedan, in the Cape Wrath area. I ran into problems pretty quickly. Apparently there were no towers in Scotland in this era, even though there were ruins of round towers from earlier periods—brochs—some of which can still be viewed to this day.
Thank goodness my work is historical fantasy instead of straightforward history. There may not have been any round towers in northwest Scotland in the year 502 AD, but there is in my story. More problems arose as I worked on the specifications of the tower. See, it’s kind of special. My tower has two staircases—one that leads from the feasting hall in a spiral through the center, up seven floors to various chambers, but there’s another staircase no one who lives at Dunaedan knows about. It’s hidden in the outer walls, and provides access to each level—each room—through seven disguised doorways.
There are tons of castle cutaways online. With their help I was able to imagine, form, and develop this unique structure. To see some, click here.
Of course, having secret doorways meant I had to figure out how those worked. So I put on my engineer hat and studied cantilevers and latches that would make it possible to open and close these doors soundlessly and in a small space. Typical—the Irishman named Aedan in the book got the credit for all these marvels of engineering! Here are some secret doors that inspired me.
The initial title of Falcon Blue was The Black Wolf of Dál Riata. As I always do when I am choosing a title, I went off into the mists of Google-land to see if this title was already in use. Well it wasn’t…then. It is now. That exact title appeared on another book as I was editing Falcon Blue. Whew! So glad I decided against it for other reasons. When I switched to falcon titles, I saw very quickly that this, too, was going to be a bit of a problem. There are many books—maybe hundreds—titled some form of “Blue Falcon.” But as of this moment, there are no other books called Falcon Blue.
About the cover: The warrior image was provided by the amazing artist, Eve Ventrue, whose work can be seen here. I bought the image (and two more) before I even started writing Falcon Blue, because the ideas for it were swirling around in my brain and I knew this image would meld well with the story. I don’t know if any of my readers have ever noticed, but there is a pattern to the covers. Three stories, each story part of an internal trilogy, each one leaning a little more towards one of the three characters. That character is portrayed on the cover. Book one has Aridela, book two has Chrysaleon, and book three has Menoetius on the cover. When the triad enters the middle trilogy, we see the same characters with their new faces: Aridela/Lilith on the cover of The Moon Casts a Spell, Chrysaleon/Aodhàn on the cover of The Sixth Labyrinth, and Menoetius/Cailean on the cover of Falcon Blue. We at Erinyes Press manipulated the warrior image for Falcon Blue off and on for two years while the tale grew. We added color, texture, standing stones, the glowing eyes, and the wolf as they developed. I have a comparison at my website showing Eve’s originals and how they changed.
Vita the wolf was a later addition. Initially it was a human warrior who was being hailed as “The Black Wolf.” There was no actual wolf. When the title changed to Falcon Blue, I naturally wanted the protagonist to have a pet falcon. But falcons just aren’t the same as dog-like creatures. They’re very cool, but I wanted a companion who could have an almost spiritual bond with the warrior. At first, Vita played almost no part in the adventures. But she grew and grew and grew in the course of the evolving story until she almost stole it. I absolutely fell in love with that mystical, mythical, personable wolf!
One of the most interesting and unexpected things I discovered while researching, after I had already written scenes of convicted criminals being put to death by “cliff,” was “The Judgment Stone.” East of the town of Durness there is, or was, a place called Ceannabeinne. One of the legends attached to this place is the “Clach a Breitheanas,” or “Judgment Stone,” where ne’er-do-wells were tossed off the cliffs to their deaths. I thought I had made that idea up, but apparently not.
In Falcon Blue, the inhabitants of an isolated island refer to the lands around them as The Dominion of the Seventh Age. This title morphed through so many iterations I can hardly remember them all, as did the name of the actual island itself, which began, for convenience, as The Other Place. You know, one of those holding names you use until you can come back and give it your full attention. I wanted to use The Seven Kingdoms for the countries outside of the island, but soon realized this was pretty much copyrighted by George R. R. Martin! More ideas came and went—The Sand Kingdom, The Lost Kingdom, The Water Kingdom, the Cloud Kingdom, The Kingdom of the Seven Mountains…blah blah blah. Finally, The Dominion of the Seventh Age stuck. As explained in the book, it encompasses our seven continents and an ancient legend.
Speaking of seven, I realized while I was editing Falcon Blue that the number seven was coming up again and again and again, not only in this book but throughout the series.
Here are a few examples:
Cailean (In Falcon Blue) promises to return seven foals to the breeder who sold him horses.
Bharosa is seventeen hands high: he was the seventh foal to be born in Britain after the purchase of the stallions and mares.
The seventh and final door in Dunaedan’s tower is Eamhair’s bed chamber.
When a human girl sheds seven tears into the ocean, a seolh (selkie) will come.
Seven men, including Cailean, sail off to find the escaped criminal, Taranis.
Seven days pass before Cailean regains consciousness after being injured in the sea.
The Dominion of the Seventh Age: legend claims the world will exist for seven ages, and in Falcon Blue, the world is smack in the middle of the seventh age.
Bericus promises to spend seven days on his knees asking forgiveness for what he does to Eamhair.
Aridela is told she will live seven lives. (Or labyrinths).
On the island in Falcon Blue, once every seven years a human is offered instead of a ram.
Cailean becomes a kira at age seven.
When the Moon Whispers, the next book in the series and the climax, is book seven.
Last but not least, a quote from Robert Graves in The Greek Myths: “The number seven acquired peculiar sanctity, because the king died at the seventh full moon after the shortest day.”
This all happened organically, without any planning on my part. For that reason, I suspect these occurrences were inserted by my muse, Athene—for what reason, I don’t yet know.
She offered no help when it came to choosing the name of the new character introduced in Falcon Blue—or did she? She sure let me know when name after name, so promising at first, had to be rejected. Excitement soured into disappointment then into despair, over and over and over again, for literally years. This was one of the very last problems keeping me from publishing; the one dilemma I could not seem to solve.
Finally, it came to me, quite by accident, as I was reading about something else—the life of Kronos.
Gaia, Mother Earth, wanted her younger children to attack their father Ouranos for what he had done to their older children. With the aid of an adamant sickle she provided, Kronos and his brothers and sisters defeated Ouranos; the blood from his severed genitals created the Erinyes: Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera.
Well, something led me to that article, and when I began researching and learned more about the name that sprang out at me, I knew it was “The One.”
I’d best say no more about that.
I hope to have Falcon Blue available in paperback before the end of the year. Happy reading!
From the author of The Child of the Erinyes series:
To celebrate the release of Book Six, Falcon Blue,
The Boxed Set Bundle: Books One, Two, and Three
99 cents July 19 – July 22
Crete: where magic & mystery meet courage and hope. Aridela: an extraordinary princess who dances with bulls. Two brothers plot Crete’s overthrow, but desire for this woman will propel all three into an unimaginable future, and spark the immortal rage of the Erinyes.
“Atmospheric, lyrical, and inspired. I envy readers newly discovering this riveting epic.” Lucinda Elliot, author of award-winning That Scoundrel Emile Dubois, Ravensdale, and The Villainous Viscount, Or The Curse Of The Venns.
The set also includes an excerpt from Book Five, The Sixth Labyrinth, and teasers from Falcon Blue and Swimming in the Rainbow.
Step into the Bronze Age….
For time beyond memory, Crete has sacrificed its king to ensure good harvests, ward off earthquakes, and please the Goddess. Men compete in brutal trials to win the title of Zagreus, the sacred bull-king, even though winning means they’ll die in a year.
Two brothers from Mycenae set out to trick the competition and its formidable reckoning as they search for weaknesses in this rich, coveted society.
Hindering their goal is the seductive and fearless Cretan princess, Aridela, an uncommon woman neither brother can resist, and ancient prophecies that promise terrible retribution to any who threaten Goddess Athene’s people.
A woman of keen instinct and unshakeable loyalty. A proud warrior prince and his wounded half-brother. Glory, passion, treachery and conspiracy on the grandest scale.
What seems the end is only the beginning.
The Year-god’s Daughter and The Thinara King are both award winners: a B.R.A.G. medallion and a Chaucer First Place Award for Ancient Historical Fiction.
DON’T FORGET FALCON BLUE!
Its special preorder price is also 99 cents!
but just until August 4!
the first reincarnation
Falcon Blue is LIVE!
Find it worldwide at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo: it’s also in stock at Indigo and Angus & Robertson. The paperback will come forthwith.
I know… it’s a little unusual, making the first awakening of my triad after Crete, number SIX in the series. But early in life I was inspired and influenced by C.S. Lewis, who did something similar with his Narnia Chronicles. Did you know that originally, The Magician’s Nephew was Book Six of that series? For those who haven’t read them, The Magician’s Nephew was a prequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
So here I go, emulating a great writer in my own little way. And yes, all of the above is a load of doo-doo.
Truth is, I didn’t intend to make Falcon Blue part of my series. I was going to go along in linear fashion, 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7. But as I kept on writing, developing the story and the goal, I realized it had to be included. Interested readers had to see the beginning–the beginning after the beginning, I should say.
So, TA-DA, Falcon Blue was germinated, watered, nurtured, and has now been birthed.
Aodhàn Mackinnon told the story of Eamhair, Cailean, and Taranis in The Sixth Labyrinth.
Here is the truth.
Seeking escape from the brutality of war, Cailean journeys to the wilderness at land’s end, but instead of peace and solitude he finds conspiracy, evil, and a love that makes any sacrifice worthwhile.
When Eamhair was young, her sibylline mother predicted a king would rise out of the sea and take her away from her father and brothers. She walks the cliffs, dreaming of a new life and the lord of the seolhs.
Taranis succumbs to the relentless lure of a vision, chasing it all the way to his destiny at the outer boundaries of the earth.
Cape Wrath, Scotland. The first reincarnation.
Mist shrouds our eyes and stoppers our tongues, a grey, damp silence broken only by the softest sigh, like a dawn breeze. We know not how many centuries pass: we feel not the flow of time, until She turns her far-seeing gaze to us.
When we gasp and draw our first breath, we are newborns who never fought great wars, or loved deeply, or brought harm upon one another.
So the journey begins.
we are become Athene’s wanderers…
Hey everyone, here’s wishing you all, wherever you may live in the world, a happy and peaceful winter season.
Recently I discounted the first book of my series, The Year-god’s Daughter, to a hard-to-beat ZERO. I figured everyone across the globe who wanted it probably had it already, but I was wrong, and surprised at the response. Without any advertising or social media mentions, hundreds of copies have been downloaded, along with hundreds of The Thinara King, book 2 in the series, which is running at 99 cents.
It’s been so much fun seeing new readers pick up copies of the first two books, and an impressive number of the subsequent books as well. I even received a new 5 star review already! My thanks to all who decided to take the leap, though the series is not yet fully published.
The Powers that Be thought it might be nice to expand this sale and make it very easy for readers to collect all the books available thus far.
So, beginning the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, (Friday, November 25), Erinyes Press will discount every book in the series to 99 cents, except for The Year-god’s Daughter, which will continue at its current price of FREE.
We don’t run sales like this very often, so take advantage! First and foremost, I hope you ENJOY!
Hopefully, reading the first five books will whet your appetite for the next: Falcon Blue.
And let me know if you shed a tear here and there, for as we all know, there is no light without the dark.
To celebrate a consequential birthday and the release of this book that has taken so many years to complete, I’m discounting The Sixth Labyrinth for the last week of its pre-order period and a week after. It will go live on April 8, 2016: now through April 15, you can get it for $2.99 (regularly $4.99). Links to pre-order are below the graphic.
Worry not: all of you who have already pre-ordered it will get it for this special price!
Barnes & Noble won’t allow us to set up a pre-order, but Nook readers will still get The Sixth Labyrinth at its sale price after it goes live, through April 15th. HERE is my author page, which will have The Sixth Labyrinth as soon as it’s released. Mark your calendars!
Thank you to my readers!
Priestesses and Prostitutes
Have you read The Sekhmet Bed, by Libbie Hawker?
The Whore, by Stephanie Dray?
Artemis Rising, by Cheri Lasota?
What about The Year-god’s Daughter, by yours truly?
If you’ve missed any of these great stories, then I encourage you to pick them ALL up together in the four-novel bundle, Priestesses and Prostitutes, which can be had for the amazing price of 99 cents, right now, through Thursday, March 31, at the following places:
“Duh,” you might be thinking. “Why did she never do this before?” Good question. A light bulb finally went off in my brain and I have rectified my lapse, which means that a digital box set of the first three books in The Child of the Erinyes series is available at Amazon!
Honestly, the Bronze Age segment of the series was always meant to be ONE book. That’s how it was written. But it was just too big. Put all together, it runs nearly 900 pages. As a new author, I didn’t think anyone would be willing to take a chance on such an enormous story, especially in print form, (so heavy!) and those with far more experience advised me to split it up. But my heart always wanted it to be one, so I am thrilled to announce this new release. The entire Bronze Age portion can now be read in one fell swoop, and priced at $7.99, that makes one of the books FREE when compared to buying each separately.
The ebook boxed set includes the following full-length novels: The Year-god’s Daughter, The Thinara King, and In the Moon of Asterion. There is also a preview to Book Four, The Sixth Labyrinth, at the end, and NEW CONTENT, never before posted anywhere, from Book Five, When the Moon Whispers, and Book Six, Swimming in the Rainbow.
As you may or may not know, the first three books encompass the “beginning,” of The Child of the Erinyes series. All three are set in the Bronze Age–1600s BCE Crete, (and Mycenae)–to be exact, during the era of the cataclysmal volcanic eruption on the island north of Crete, nowadays called Santorini. (In my books, it’s called Callisti, one of its ancient names.) It’s a coming of age tale, a mythic saga, a story of love, hate, lies, subterfuge, the struggle for power, and the hope of redemption.
For ninety days, I’ll be pulling the books from other retailers in order to comply with Amazon’s requirements so that I can run a few handy-dandy promotions. Which means two things: if you read books on a Kindle, keep an eye on Amazon for upcoming special deals on the individual books, and, if you’re a member of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program, you can read each book for free.
Once the box set is up and running, I’ll be able to get back to work on The Sixth Labyrinth. It, too, is a colossal book: nevertheless, I’m hoping to publish it in one volume, and the one after that, as well, if possible. The last book of the series (Swimming in the Rainbow) is currently a mere 70,000 words–hardly bigger than a novella!
For those of you who have already read the Bronze Age portion of the series, I hope to whet your appetites for what is still to come.
A silenced but enduring Goddess has seen her place in the souls of humans systematically destroyed, but she bides her time. For Athene, thousands of years mean nothing.
The Bronze Age prophecy:
I have lived many lives since the beginning, and so shalt thou. I have been given many names and many faces. So shalt thou, and thou wilt follow me from reverence and worship into obscurity. In an unbroken line wilt thou return, my daughter. Thou shalt be called Eamhair of the sea, who brings them closer, and Shashi, sacrificed to deify man. Thy names are Caparina, Lilith, and the sorrowful Morrigan, who drives them far apart. Thou wilt step upon the earth seven times, far into the veiled future. Seven labyrinths shalt thou wander, lost, and thou too wilt forget me. Suffering and despair shall be thy nourishment. Misery shall poison thy blood. Thou wilt breathe the air of slavery for as long as thou art blinded. For thou art the earth, blessed and eternal, yet thou shalt be pierced, defiled, broken and wounded, even as I have been. Thou wilt generate inexhaustible adoration and contempt. Until these opposites are united, all will strangle within the void.
She vowed to bring back her daughter and “an immortal corps” of followers, and she does. Aridela and her companions experience history first hand, living it as it unfolds, not as royalty any longer but as ordinary human beings with extraordinary psyches.
The Sixth Labyrinth: nineteen-year-old Morrigan Lawton knows she is different–fears she could be a changeling, or even mad. She tries to hide her oddities, because this era in history is quite fond of their insane asylums–especially for women. She is plagued by nightmares, sacrilegious thoughts, an intense imagination, and an indomitable nature that just doesn’t fit in straitlaced, conservative Stranraer, Scotland, during a very tightly corseted and patriarchal Victorian era.
Her wild, high-flying spirit is nearly crushed beneath the expectations and mores of the time, not to mention her father’s iron fist. Thankfully, change arrives in the form of one Curran Ramsay, a young landowner from the Highlands. Is their meeting chance, or was it designed? Where is the third point of the triad…and the rest of the immortal corps promised by Athene? All are brought together again, to live and learn in a place very far removed from the palace and labyrinth on Crete so long ago.
The setting has a big role to play in this sweeping tale, from sleepy Stranraer on the shores of Loch Ryan to the remote, enchanted village of Glenelg, tucked beneath the imposing summits of the Five Sisters of Kintail. Here, in a spot still utterly devoted to the mystical beliefs of a rich Celtic past, Morrigan comes face to face with destiny. The story stays on the move, to moody Loch Torridon, to the thundering 900 foot cliffs at Cape Wrath, to cosmopolitan London, and finally, to the awe-inspiring, sea-scoured Hebrides islands.
Why Scotland? I needed a change of scene, a completely different culture, new research challenges. So did my protagonists! Scotland is a magical place, where the veil between ancient myth and mortals is thin. I spent a month in Scotland visiting these settings while researching the book, and believe me, there is something about it that I have never sensed anywhere else–especially at the haunting ruins of Castle Kennedy, not far from Stranraer.
The Sixth Labyrinth will be accompanied by two companion novellas: these can be read before, after, during the main story, or not at all. If you read The Sixth Labyrinth and find yourself wondering more about Morrigan’s father and mother, or what sparked the instant, incomprehensible attraction between Morrigan and a certain poor fisherman, all is revealed in the novellas. There are hints of future events as well.
I was raised on huge books. I like feeling immersed in a big, encompassing tale. I hope there are others who feel the same way, and if A Game of Thrones is any indication, there remains a healthy contingent of long-story lovers out there. So I offer my usual disclaimer: it’s not for everyone, but if you enjoy disappearing into a long, complex saga with sequels, what I like to call a myth with meat, I hope you’ll give The Child of the Erinyes a try.
Bibliographies, myths, history, links to excerpts, and more can be found at my website: Rebecca Lochlann
The Thinara King, multi-region link: Amazon
In the Moon of Asterion, multi-region link: Amazon
Most of the readers who have communicated with me about my books have a soft spot for Menoetius. (As do I.)
Well, one day, out of the blue, Melissa Conway, best-selling author, (HERE is her author page at Amazon), artist extraordinaire, photoshop and DAZ guru, (HERE is her YouTube video page), surprised me with this, her AMAZING execution of Menoetius transforming from stone into a flesh and blood guy.
It brought back one of my favorite scenes, where the sound of grating stone wakes Aridela on the mountain and she sees the nearby statue of the god step off his pedestal and cross to her, turning from stone to man as he comes.
There are a lot of characters in my books and I’ve tried to do them all justice. I confess that of all of them, I was very happy to see it was Menoetius who made enough of an impression on her that she spent who knows how many hours creating this.
Thank you, Melissa! SO COOL!