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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jean Gill: 'Song at Dawn'

‘Song at Dawn’
Winner of the Global Ebooks Award 2012 for Best Historical Fiction (Medieval)

'Believable, page-turning and memorable' - S.P.Review 

On the run from abuse, Estela wakes in a ditch with only her lute, her amazing voice, and a dagger hidden in her petticoats. Her talent finds a patron in Aliénor of Aquitaine and more than a music tutor in the Queen's finest troubadour and Commander of the Guard, Dragonetz los Pros. Weary of war, Dragonetz uses Jewish money and Moorish expertise to build that most modern of inventions, a papermill, arousing the wrath of the Church. Their enemies gather, ready to light the political and religious powder-keg of medieval Narbonne. 

FREE FOR CHRISTMAS until 24th December  -   spread the word!
Use coupon FF49C when you checkout

If you can find the time to post a review, it would be much appreciated. Jean likes to hear from readers, so contact her with questions or comments, at jean.gill@wanadoo.fr

‘Song at Dawn’
Extract from Chapter 7

1150
Dragonetz is Commander of the Guard and Troubadour to Aliénor (Eleanor) of Aquitaine, Queen of France, and Estela is the mystery girl Aliénor has required him to tutor. 
In this part of the story he is showing her his secret building project, a paper mill. At this time in Europe, only the Moors had the skills to make paper. 

 ‘That, my sweet Estela, is the beauty of it! I shall sell paper to the Church for enormous profit and I shall be fantastically rich! As shall my workers.’
Estela chewed the side of a finger, a bad habit she had kept from childhood. ‘The Church won’t like it,’ she stated.
‘No, they won’t.’
‘That makes a dangerous enemy.’ Estela stated the fact.
‘We’ve told him,’ Raoulf was gloomy. ‘But you can see what he’s like. The future pff!’ and he spat, coarsely. ‘The future will be my Lord’s body with a bolt through it!’
‘Ever the optimist!’ Dragonetz clapped Raoulf on the back. ‘That’s what you’re here for, you and your men, to watch my mill and watch my back. Speaking of which, this should make things even.’ With which enigmatic statement, he tore off his doublet and underthings so that he too was bare to the waist, then he grabbed Arnaut’s hand and dragged his unwilling man into a run. Shouting, ‘I said I owed him a ducking,’ Dragonetz ran the two of them straight off the edge of the bank into the river.
‘You mad whore-son,’ burst from Raoulf as he rushed after them to the bank, anxiously scanning the murky water for signs of life. Estela counted to thirty before two heads burst up above the surface, gasping, spouting and followed by thrashing arms. Arnaut twisted underwater, avoiding Dragonetz’ attempt to duck him again and came up at a safe distance, both men treading water and spluttering. ‘Come and join us, Estela,’  Dragonetz called to her.
‘Can’t swim,’ she yelled back.
‘What are you thinking of, bringing a Lady here!’ Raoulf shouted, purple with annoyance.
‘A Lady! I’d forgotten!’
‘Oh my God, no,’ groaned Raoulf.
‘Estela, my sweet, Arnaut wants to do combat and regain his pride – throw us a token.’
Without thinking, Estela pulled the bangle off her arm and threw it in a high arc to land equidistant from the two men. Neither wasted words but dived underneath, rippling the surface as they carved the water underneath. Another count, thirty, forty, Estela thought that Raoulf would explode, holding his own breath to see how long it was possible, then Arnaut broke surface, gasping, followed quickly by a triumphant Dragonetz whooping and waving the bangle in the air.
‘She’s not an ordinary Lady,’ he yelled, ‘she’s a Troubairitz! Ask her!’ And then he struck out for the bank, Arnaut following at a safe distance and after some horseplay with Dragonetz trying to prevent Arnaut getting out the water, both men stood dripping and laughing, pushing each other. Dragonetz waved the bangle, taunting, and Arnaut stood, bent double, getting the words out with difficulty. ‘You always have to win, don’t you, even when you don’t want the prize!’
Dragonetz’ eyes glittered. ‘Always, Arnaut, always,’ and then he knelt in front of Estela, offering her the bangle back. She looked down on the black curly hair, bent in mock homage, the broad, wet shoulders, the long tapered fingers reaching out to her, returning her token. She felt Arnaut’s stillness, the sunshine, the moment to which this day had been leading all along. She thought of Peire, his disappointment over something so small, so easily given, so wrongly with-held. It was her moment and she could do anything she liked with it. She shut her eyes and felt for the lyric. If this were a song, how would it go? And then she knew what to do.

Want to read more ?

FREE FOR CHRISTMAS until 24th December
Use coupon FF49C when you checkout

If you can find the time to post a review, it would be much appreciated. Jean likes to hear from readers, so contact her with questions or comments, at jean.gill@wanadoo.fr

ENTER THE DRAW FOR A SIGNED PRINT BOOK VERSION
Visit http://sooozsaysstuff.blogspot.co.uk/ and get the details




About the author:

Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a big white dog, a Nikon D700 and a man. For many years, she taught English in Wales and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. She is mother or stepmother to five children.

Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.


1 comments:

Babs Morton said...

I'm currently reading Song at Dawn and thoroughly enjoying it. What a great, free promo opportunity for folk to catch up with this great story.