For millennia, the extended family of the House of the Rose has kept its secrets: their protectors, the vampires who call themselves djinni, have the ability to recognize reincarnated souls and return past-life memories. But someone has been keeping secrets from the djinni and the people of the House...
On her first solo mission, the newest Protector, a former slave, finds a key to unlock what has been hidden for so long. Her discovery sends shockwaves hurtling through the far-flung network of Houses around the Mediterranean.
To make matters worse, the Cursed One, who was exiled millennia ago for trying to destroy the world, has returned. Inanna was once the Queen of Heaven, goddess of love and war. In this life she's Blanche, newly-widowed and friendless in the disease-ridden camp of King Louis IX's final Crusade. She is unaware of her powers, her past, or her intimate connections to the most powerful Protectors: her mother, father, uncle, best friend, and worst enemy.
When her father, the vampire protector Arjumand, comes to her rescue, he runs afoul of the House's oldest rule: Whosoever aids the Cursed One will share the same damnation.
Can the House of the Rose survive these shattering betrayals, or will it perish in the flames of civil war?
An Awe-Struck ReleaseComing Soon...
Michaela August is a writing team composed of two Northern California authors, Marian Gibbons and Karin Welss. Despite living 90 miles apart, they've been collaborating for years, using telephones and the Internet.
Marian, a native of Northern California, lives in the wine country with her multi-talented husband (who after many years has gotten used to hearing, "Honey, do we have some wall space left for another bookcase?") As well as being able to make plum jam and chocolate chip cookies, she is a member of Romance Writers of America, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
Karin was born in Montreal, Canada. She grew up in California and has traveled extensively in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia (including a stint in Sydney for two-and-a-half years, first as a university exchange student and then while working for a well-known software company). Besides traveling, Karin's other great interests are anime, baking, reading, history, and archaeology. Family members accuse her of writing historical fiction as an excuse to buy books and do research! Karin currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is owned by a small but very bossy parrot. She pays for the birdseed by working as a technical writer.
"This has to best fantasy book I have read in a long time. It has lots of action, intrigue, mystery, suspense and manages to include some drama in it as well. I was hooked from just reading the background of the previous books in The House of the Rose series. Your heart just goes out to Dominic and Michael, as well as Tirgit, Mathilde and Blanche. The lives of the vampire protectors are crumbling all around them. There is suspicion and doubt among them.. anyone could be out to betray them. I can only hope that things will look better for these characters like Dominic and Michael whom I have come to love and become of my all time favorite tortured lovers.
"There is much more I can add but that would just ruin it for other readers. So go get this and the other books in THE HOUSE OF THE ROSE series."Veronica -- Strictly Romance Reviews
"...as confident in imagination and detail as Laurell K. Hamilton, and as emotionally rich as Marion Zimmer Bradley..."Contra Costa Sunday Times
The Fort of Carthage, Tuesday, August 26, AD 1270:
Blanche bowed her head, too tired to weep. She closed Evrard's eyes, and left her hand on his still-fever-hot face. He was dead. Her husband was dead. Why couldn't I protect you?
Her hand started to shake, where it rested on his cooling skin. She had failed to save him, so why did she suddenly want to slap him, to punish him for the crime of leaving her alone and undefended in this strange country?
She crossed herself, hoping to achieve some remorse or penitence for her blasphemous thoughts, but the prayer performed no magic; her disgust didn't go away. "Damn you!" The words wrenched from her tight throat. She slammed her fist down upon Evrard's chest. The movement brought the smell of voided bladder and bowels.
What should she do now? She tried to think. For the sake of Evrard's soul, she had to fetch a priest to come and say an absolution. But after that, she had to get away. Evrard's liegeman, Sir Gawaine, would be visiting in a while, as he had promised--or threatened. She shuddered at the memory of his avid eyes, counting the wealth her husband had brought with him on Crusade. She had just become the biggest prize of all--the widowed Lady of Bressoux. She suspected Gawaine would not hesitate to secure her son Pieter's inheritance for himself with a forced marriage.
With that thought, she jumped to her feet, grabbing a woolen cloak--far too warm to wear in this climate--and frantically bundling up the most items that she could easily carry. Money. Jewelry. His spurs and dagger. The promissory note from the Templars. Her spare gown--no, just her chemises. Her pen and powdered ink. She'd have to leave the paper. Damn.
She gave a last look to the tiny room above the saddlery that was all they had been able to find for lodgings apart from the other females who had been brought along as the soldiers' camp followers. She had to find that priest, and then she had to find a berth on one of the supply ships home. Her sons were awaiting her return. Pieter, her eldest, who had just become the Sieur de Bressoux, was in his Uncle Henri and Aunt Genevieve's keeping.
She had her hand on the door latch when she heard heavy footsteps and the chime of mail on the stairs below. Ah, damn.
This old Moorish fortress had the most beautiful carved window lintels Blanche had ever seen: swooping quatrefoils and graceful swirling Arabic letters. She leaned over for a moment, looking down onto a flat rooftop over a delicate colonnade. Then she climbed up onto the sill, lifted her skirts then her legs over, twisting to ease through the narrow opening. Better that she fall and break her neck now, than fall into the hands of Sir Gawaine. Hoping her slippers would keep purchase on the rooftop, she jumped.