Sometimes the magic inside us isn't meant to be discovered.... Orphan, exile, priest, Josan has been posted to a lighthouse on the farthest edge of the kingdom. As a member of the collegium, he once dreamed of making a real contribution to the Learned Brethren, but those dreams died after a mysterious fever shattered him, body and mind. At least that's the story he's been told to explain a past he can't remember. But that past has returned...with a vengeance. When Lady Ysobel Flordelis is shipwrecked on Josan's island, this sets in motion an explosive destiny. The Seddonian trade liaison is traveling to Ikaria on official business, but her secret purpose is to revive the revolution brutally crushed years before. Neither Ysobel nor Josan can foresee the significance of their brief meeting. But as Ysobel navigates the elaborate court intrigues in Ikaria, Josan will be forced to leave his island exile and embark on a treacherous journey to unlock the secrets that bind his past-an act that could lead him to glory...or
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May 29, 2006
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Excerpt from The First Betrayal by Patricia Bray
The lantern flickered as a gust of wind blew through the lighthouse tower. Then the flame died, plunging Josan into darkness. His right hand searched the floor beside him till he found the sparker, then he groped for the base of the lantern with his left. Using the edge of his cloak to protect his hand from the heated glass, he removed the chimney. His hand trembled so much that it took three tries before he was able to relight the wick. Finally, it caught, and with a sigh of relief he carefully replaced the glass. The soft light illuminated the small platform for a few brief moments before succumbing to another draft. This time, Josan did not bother to relight it.
He told himself that he did not need to see, but could not repress the shiver of unease as the darkness engulfed him. Before tonight this had always been a place of light, the large windows letting in the daylight, and at dusk the three great lamps would be lit, powerful beacons that filled the platform with their radiance as they guided ships far out at sea. But tonight the signal lamps were dark, for not even the most sheltered flame was proof against the howling wind. Now darkness had consumed the light, just as the sea outside threatened to devour the tower.
In the dark, every sound was magnified as the rain lashed against the wooden shutters, and the merciless wind sought the cracks in his defenses. Strange drafts swirled inside the tower and he drew his knees to his chest, pulling his coarse woolen cloak more tightly around him. The wind outside intensified, howling until he could scarcely hear himself think. From far beneath him, he heard a crash. Startled, he began to stand, then common sense reasserted itself and he resumed his seat. There was nothing he could do until the storm passed. Instead he listened intently, and underneath the sound of the wind and rain he heard the relentless crashing of the waves. It sounded as if they were breaking all around him, and he knew the lighthouse was being swallowed by the angry ocean.
He wondered if the ocean would eventually release its prize, or if the stone tower would crumble beneath the fury of the storm. He tried to view his situation dispassionately, the question of his survival as a mere intellectual exercise, but none of the tricks he had learned in his years of study could dispel his fear. He could almost taste the terror as it rose up and threatened to overwhelm him, just as the sea threatened to overtake the tower.