Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Tempests and Slaughter (Tamora Pierce)
Tamora Pierce is a bestselling author of young adult fantasy books that break past the traditions of the fantasy genre to feature teenage girls as knights, wizards, and above all: heroes. A #1 New York Times bestseller and the recipient of the 2013 Margaret A. Edwards award, Tamora has written over 30 books, including the upcoming TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE (Oct. 31, 2017) and TEMPESTS AND SLAUGHTER (Feb. 6, 2018).
Tamora was drawn to books from a young age. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, the child of a "long, proud line of hillbillies," her family never had much. "We were poor, but I didn't know it then. We had a garden where my folks grew fruit and vegetables and our water came from a well," she explains. But one thing they did have was plenty of books. So Tamora read.
A self-proclaimed "geek," she devoured fantasy and science fiction novels, and by the age of 12 was mimicking her literary idols and writing her own action-packed stories. It was thanks to her father that Tamora began writing. "He heard me telling myself stories as I did dishes, and he suggested that I try to write some of them down," Pierce says.
But Tamora's novels had one major difference: unlike the books she was reading, her stories featured teenaged girl warriors. "I couldn't understand this lapse of attention on the part of the writers I loved, so until I could talk them into correcting this small problem, I wrote about those girls, the fearless, bold, athletic creatures that I was not, but wanted so badly to be."
Seventeen years later, after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, a brief career in teen social work and some time spent writing for radio, Tamora Pierce held true to her childhood crusade, and published ALANNA: THE FIST ADVENTURE, the first in a quartet about a valiant, young, female warrior. Pierce's heroine struck a chord with readers across the country and quickly earned her a loyal following.
Now, with over 30 critically-acclaimed books to her name, Pierce lives in upstate New York with her husband Tim and their menagerie of nine cats, two birds, a flock of pigeons, various raccoons and squirrels, and one opossum.
"It's a pretty good life, if I do say so myself. Struggling along as a kid and even through my twenties, it's the kind of life I dreamed of but never believed I would get. Yet here I am, after a lot of work, a lot of worry, a lot of care for details, and a massive chunk of luck, the kind that brought me such strong friends and readers. Pretty good for a hillbilly, yes? And I never take it for granted."
Meet Tempests and Slaughter!
Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.
Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.
In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.
Act fast! The first printing of the hardcover includes a collector’s edition poster!
~ Excerpt ~
Arram was trying to think of lifesaving magic when a pair of strong, dark brown arms caught him just before he struck the arena ground. He looked into a man’s face: eyes so brown they seemed black in the bright sun, a flattened nose, a grinning mouth, and holes in both earlobes. His head was shaved.
“You don’t want to join us, lad, trust me, you don’t,” he told Arram, already walking back against the line of marching gladiators. The ones closest to them were laughing and slapping or punching the big man on the shoulder. Like him, they wore leather armor. Like him, they were oiled all over. Some were missing ears or eyes. These were the beginners, the midlevel fighters, and the old-timers, not the heroes of the arena. Some didn’t look at Arram; they were murmuring to themselves or fondling tiny god-images that hung on cords around their necks.
“Hurry, boy,” an older gladiator muttered to Arram’s rescuer. “Guards comin’.”
“You don’t want the guards catching you,” the big man explained to Arram as he quickened his pace. “They’ll whip you before they cut you loose. Is your family here?”
“Sitting in the copper section,” Arram said miserably. He had no idea how he’d get back to Papa and Grandda.
“Don’t fuss,” the big man told him. “We’ll fix it.”
Arram smelled something odd, like a barnyard thick with hay and dung. The ground under his rescuer shook. The boy looked up and cringed. Massive gray shapes approached, swaying as the sands thundered beneath their broad, flat feet. They waved huge, snake-like trunks painted in brightly colored stripes, circles, and dots.
He had never been so close to an elephant! One halted in front of them as the others followed the parade of gladiators. As the gladiator lowered Arram to the ground, the gigantic creature knelt before them.
This elephant was decorated all over in red and bronze designs, even down to its toenails. It eyed Arram with one tiny eye and then the other before it stuck out its immense trunk and snuffled the boy. Despite his lingering fear, Arram grinned—the trunk’s light touch on his face and neck tickled. Carefully he reached out and stroked it.
“This is Ua,” the big man told Arram. “Her name means ‘flower.’” He pointed to the rider, seated behind the creature’s large, knobbed head. “My friend’s name is—” The name he pronounced sounded to Arram like “Kipaeyoh.” “It means ‘butterfly’ in Old Thak. Kipepeo,” he called up to the armored woman, “this lad must return to the bleachers— Where?” He looked at Arram, who pointed. By now his father and grandfather had shoved up to the rail, next to the kinder burly man. The one who had dumped Arram over the wall was nowhere to be seen.
“He must be placed there,” the big man told Kipepeo. “Can you do it? Quickly?”
“For you, Musenda, my love, anything,” the woman called.
She blew the man a kiss, then sounded a series of whistles.
“Ua will get us all out of trouble,” the man called Musenda told Arram. “No yelping. Ua’s as gentle as a kitten. For now.” The elephant twined her trunk around the boy’s waist and lifted him. Arram yelped as his feet left the ground.
“Thank you—I think!” Arram called as Musenda trotted off to his place in line. The passing gladiators and elephant riders waved to Arram as they spread out in their ranks. Arram realized they were blocking the imperial soldiers who were trying to catch him. He clapped his hands over his face.
“Don’t panic,” Ua’s rider ordered. “She won’t let you come to harm.”
Arram lowered his hands and realized the elephant was too short to reach the top of the wall. “Her trunk isn’t long enough!” he cried.
Kipepeo laughed. Tapping the great animal with a long rod, she guided Ua to the wall just beneath Arram’s relatives. Frightened and excited at the same time, the boy grabbed some of the coarse hairs on Ua’s crown for balance, trying not to yank them. Then he prayed to the Graveyard Hag, Carthak’s patron goddess and, he hoped, someone who might look after elephants and boys.
Kipepeo gave three sharp whistles.
Slowly, groaning in elephant, Ua straightened and stood on her back feet. Arram gasped as she lifted him high with her trunk. Now he was within easy reach of his father and grandfather. He raised his hands. They bent down, gripped him, and hauled him up and over the arena’s rail.
On solid stone once more, Arram turned and shouted, “Thank you, Ua! Thank you, Kipepeo!”
His two adults scolded him loud and long as they dragged him up the steps to the copper seating, but they also bought him a lemon ice and grilled lamb on skewers once they got the tale of his short adventure out of him. They even helped him to stand on the seat between them as the lengthy line of warriors, animals, and chariots finished their parade around the arena.
The gladiators bowed to the emperor, thrust out their fists, and shouted, “Glory to the emperor! Glory to the empire!” The moment they finished, the elephants reared on their hind legs and trumpeted, the sound blasting against the arena walls. The crowd cheered, Arram and his family cheering with them.
Now the parade returned to the gate at the rear of the coliseum, with the exception of two groups of fighters.
“It’s a scrimmage,” Yusaf explained.
“It’s a fight between lesser fighters, like a small war,” Metan added. He was Arram’s grandfather, owner of their cloth-selling business. “The ones that need more experience. One team wears green armbands, and the other wears orange.”
“Have you a favorite?” Yusaf bellowed. The noise of the crowd was rising as people bet on Greens or Oranges.
Arram shook his head shyly. This fight was taking place right in front of the emperor’s part of the stands: he could not see much detail.
“Here,” Yusaf said, pressing a spyglass into Arram’s hand. “You ought to have a really close look at your first fight!”
Arram smiled at his father and raised the glass to his eye. Yusaf showed him how to twist the parts until he could see the emperor as if he stood only a foot or two away. Arram gasped at the flash of jewels on the great man’s robes, then swung the spyglass until he found the teams of fighters. Musenda was not among these gladiators.
A slave struck the great gong at the foot of the imperial dais, and the opposing forces charged with a roar of fury. They smashed one another without mercy, kicking and tripping when they were too close to swing their weapons. Arram stared, gape-mouthed. This was nothing like the self-defense lessons taught in the Lower Academy! One fighter, a tall, glossy-skinned black woman, was glorious, her spear darting at her enemies like lightning as she held off two attackers at once.
The crowd gasped. A gladiator wearing a green armband sprawled in the sands. A long cut stretched from the downed man’s left eyebrow across his nose; it bled freely. A pair of slaves raced forward to drag the fallen man from the arena, as his opponent turned to fight someone else. The crowd booed their disapproval.
“Why are they angry?” Arram shouted in his father’s ear.
“They prefer more serious injuries,” Yusaf replied.
“But he couldn’t see!” Arram protested. “How can he fight if he can’t—”
Metan patted his arm, a signal for him to be quiet. Arram sighed. He was glad the slaves had taken the man away.
He looked for the woman and saw her knock a man down. She was raising her spear for a killing stab when one of his comrades swung at her, knocking her weapon from her grip. She lunged forward and grabbed his spear.
Suddenly a fellow Green stumbled into her, shoving her forward. Down onto her knees she went, clinging to her opponent’s weapon. The crowd was on its feet, screaming.
The female gladiator still gripped the spear, but one of the two men fighting her had cut her deeply from her ribs to her hip bones. She knelt in the sand, fumbling with crimson-black ropes that spilled over her loincloth. Arram opened his mouth and swiftly clapped his hands over it: the gladiator was clutching her intestines. He shoved the spyglass into his grandfather’s hold, and, praying that he would make it to the privies, forced his way through the crowd, praying that he would make it to the privies.
He didn’t. Arram threw up in the tunnel, in the gutter off to the side. Even when he was being sick, he wondered if the trench was there to carry away vomit or water from the winter storms. He was able to save the rest of his stomach’s contents for the privy. The immense stone room with its long line of stalls was empty, for which he was deeply grateful. He spewed everything in his belly. Finally he was able to rinse his face at one of the privy’s fountains. Weak and disgusted with himself, he staggered outside to rest on a convenient bench. His father found him there.
“I thought you would like the games,” Yusaf said, beckoning to a water seller. He purchased two bamboo cups full and handed one to Arram. The boy drank slowly; his stomach heaved a little, then settled. “Haven’t you gone with your school friends?” His father sat next to him.
Arram shook his head. “I don’t have any friends,” he admitted softly. Would his father be ashamed of him? Quickly, he added, “Well, I have some to talk to, but they’re two or three years older than me. And my old friends say I’m too good for them now that I’m two terms ahead,” he said. “But everyone talks about the games. I was sure I’d like them.” He hung his head. “You should go back. I’m ruining this for you and Grandda.”
Yusaf rubbed his shoulder. “Don’t be foolish. We see you once a year, if we’re lucky. It will be even longer if I get this new contract. Today we would far rather spend time with you. Wait here, and I’ll get him.”
Arram sat in the shade and gazed at the buzzards overhead. He had spotted a golden hawk when he heard his grandfather’s voice.
Metan purchased his own throwaway cup of water and came over to stand next to the bench. Arram put the spyglass in his lap and stared nervously at the old man. Metan’s bite was worse than his bark, but even his bark drew blood sometimes.
Finally the old man said, “What will you do when you must learn healing? Didn’t you say you’ll be cutting entire bodies open?”
Arram gulped. “Maybe I’ll get used to it,” he said. “They have us doing worms and fishes now. It’ll be years before I must work on big animals, or people. If I even get to do people. I’ll be taught to make medicines first—herbalists are well paid, too,” he pointed out. He didn’t tell them of the time he had been told to add an herb to repel snakes to a teacher’s potion and, thinking of something else, had brought the man an herb that would attract poisonous spiders instead.
Yusaf nudged him. “Arram!”
The boy twitched. “Oh—I’m sorry, Father, Grandfather. I was thinking.”
“You are always thinking, youngster,” Metan said. “Come—let’s rent one of these carts. If your belly’s up to it, we’ll take an early supper in Thak City.” He walked toward the lines of carts for rent, calling back to Arram, “You can tell me what you mean to study this year.” He chuckled. “I daresay I will like that as much as you enjoyed the games.”
Tempests and Slaughter
By: Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Random House BYR
Release Date: February 6th, 2018
Three winners will receive a copy of Tempests and Slaughter (Tamora Pierce) ~ US Only ~
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I read my first novel by Tamora Pierce last year, and I'm very eager to try more! Thanks for the opportunity to win! --Kara S