DARK DESTINY, the third and final book in my Young Adult time travel trilogy, was released yesterday! I'm so happy that this series is now available. I really enjoyed writing about these valiant young people learning to manage their unnerving talents and growing together as they fulfill their vows to aid their country in time of war.
As I've said before, I've always been intrigued by the parallels between the Napoleonic wars and World War II because both times Britain stood alone against a Continental tyrant, protected only by the narrow strip of sea known as the English Channel.
Much of Great Britain's history is informed by its island status. Dark Mirror, first in the Lackland Abbey Chronicles, had a grand action finale involving Dunkirk as hundreds of thousands of troops were evacuated across the Channel to Britain.
Both Dark Mirror and the second book, Dark Passage, had my young Regency mages going forward in time to help Britain in the fight against Hitler. For Dark Destiny, my writer's intuition said that I needed to reverse the situation and have the 20th century friends got back to 1804 to help their country when Napoleon was building a massive fleet of ships to cross the Channel and invade Britain.
This was a very real threat. I love these two quotes from that time, which are an epigraph for Dark Destiny:
“Let us be masters of the Channel for six hours and we are masters of the world.”
Napoleon Bonaparte while contemplating an invasion of Britain
“I do not say, my Lords, that the French will not come. I say only they will not come by sea.”
Admiral Lord John Jervis, Earl of St Vincent, when he was Admiral of the Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars
The story includes Tory and Allarde and their other friends from Merlin's Irregulars, but an important new character is Rebecca Weiss, from 1940. The Irregulars rescued Rebecca and her family from Nazi imprisonment in Dark Passage, and Rebecca will risk her life by traveling back to 1804 so she can use her fledgling telepathic talents to try to turn Napoleon's ambitions away from Britain.
Here's an excerpt from the beginning of Dark Destiny:
Lackland, England, Autumn 1940
A fighter plane roared menacingly over the farmhouse just as Tory bent to blow out the candles on her birthday cake. She froze—she would never get used to destructive flying machines!
But she could pretend to be brave. She drew a deep breath and blew. The seventeen candles for her years were easily extinguished, but the one added for luck flickered persistently before guttering out. She hoped that wasn’t an omen.
Her friends around the table applauded. Those who’d come from 1804 with Tory were enjoying the twentieth century birthday customs. The five of them would return to their own time in the morning. She was glad to be heading home, but she’d miss her twentieth century friends.
“Did you make a wish?” Polly asked. The youngest Rainford, she belonged to this house and this time. Though she was still weak from a bout with blood poisoning that had almost killed her, her mischievous smile had returned.
“Indeed I did,” Tory replied. “And it was hard to decide what to wish for!”
Her life had changed so much since she turned sixteen a year ago. Then she had been the well brought up Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest child of the Earl of Mansfield. Most of her thoughts had been turned toward her upcoming presentation to society where she would look for the best possible husband.
In the year since, she’d become a mageling, an exile, and one of Merlin’s Irregulars, sworn to use her magic to protect Britain. Not to mention being a traveler through time and an unsung heroine of Britain.
Best of all, she had fallen in love. Her gaze drifted to the young man who sat at her right, looking impossibly handsome. Justin Falkirk, Marquess of Allarde and her beloved. He gave her a smile full of the warmth and intimacy that had grown between them in the last months.
“Time to cut the cake!” Lady Cynthia Stanton, who was Tory’s roommate back at the Lackland Academy, was eyeing the dessert hungrily. “Mrs. R., if I come back for my birthday, will you make me a cake like this?”
“I will,” their hostess said cheerfully. “But give me some warning, please. This cake required almost a month’s worth of our sugar rations. I’ll need to save more coupons to create another cake this size.”
“You won’t want to take another beastly trip through the mirror just for a cake, Cynthia.” Tory got to her feet so she could cut properly. “But you can have the first piece of this one.”
The round cake had a thin layer of white icing and “Happy birthday, Tory!” was spelled out in rather uneven red letters. The same red icing had been used to draw little red rockets exploding around the edges.
Tory could have done without the explosions, but Polly had been pleased with herself for coming up with the idea. After all, war had drawn together this group of magelings from two different eras, and had forged lasting friendships.
Mrs. Rainford was sitting on Tory’s left, and she held out a small plate to receive the first slice. “Here you are, Cynthia,” Tory said as she set the wedge of dark fruitcake on the plate. Mrs. Rainford handed it across the table.
“I’m going to have trouble waiting until everyone is served!” Cynthia exclaimed. “I still haven’t recovered from burning so much magic in France.”
“As the birthday girl, I give you permission to eat now rather than wait for the rest of us,” Tory said grandly. “We all need to eat to build up our strength for the return journey through the mirror.”
There's lots of action and developing romance, and of course happy endings!
All three stories are available as ebooks, audio books, and print on demand. (The PODs might take a bit of time to become available.) I had fun working on the new covers with the wondrous Kim Killion. The same young model was used for all three of the covers. The magic pizzazz was added by Kim.
I'll give a free copy of Dark Destiny, either ebook or original print, to one person who leaves a comment between now and Saturday night. US only, sorry!
You may not usually read fantasy, time travel, or young adult novels, but if you like the kinds of characters and action I write in my adult books, you may enjoy these stories as well. Start with Dark Mirror and see what you think!