Tangle of Thornes by Lorel Clayton
Tangle of Thornes is the first book of the Eva Thorne series by Lorel Clayton
When Eva’s brother is murdered in a city of rude elves and matriarchal dwarves where humans have no rights, she is forced to investigate the crime herself. What she discovers brings her up against a powerful slave-trading cartel, dark gods, and—worst of all—her twin sister. Both her family and the elven authorities want her hushed. She has no money and no magic of her own with which to combat them, but she does have an illegally-freed slave, a senile nanny, and an ex-almost-boyfriend on her side. Even when she nearly loses her job and almost loses her head in a sword fight on the same night, she isn’t deterred. It’s when the nanny goes missing that she really starts to worry.
Femme fatale turns hard-boiled investigator in this first Eva Thorne novel. Set in a fantasy world where magic and machines can’t stand against the God of Death, humans are on the run from the god’s invasion. Highcrowne is the only refuge, but that means living in the Outskirts of an ancient city ruled by Avian mages, indifferent dwarves, and elves who’d prefer to see humans as their slaves. It’s worst for Eva’s people, Solhans, because they were the ones who summoned the Dead God into the world. No one wants her kind in Highcrowne and there are plenty who would be happy to see her brother dead. There are too many motives and not enough time to unravel them, because other people are dying … and Eva is fast running out of vacation time.
A Word from the Author
We never thought this would be our first published book. Dark epic fantasy, a science fiction, perhaps, but at this time in our lives it was the right book for us. What do I mean by that? We had four other unpublished manuscripts under our belt and were looking at a massive re-write to get any one of them into a fit state. Eva was ready to go almost from the moment she was conceived. We love Terry Pratchett’s humor and wacky fantasy world, and we equally loved kick-ass heroines like you find in paranormal books these days. Only those always take place in our world or a slightly alternative version of it. We decided to combine the two: a pure fantasy, albeit funny, world with a tough female character. We wanted more than tough, we wanted scary. Someone who was on the edge of the dark. Blend in our love of Glen Cook’s Garret PI series, which takes place in a fantasy setting, and then the original hook was born: femme fatale turned private detective. We love Steampunk (way back from before it was a trend in the Arcanum series of video games era), plus I (the Lorel half of our writing duo) am obsessed with 30s and 40s film noir and inhaled Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes and the Nancy Drew mysteries in my formative years, so we had all the components we needed. Tangle of Thornes practically wrote itself. After some beta reader feedback, we decided to tweak a few characters and scenes, but that was it. Easiest book I ever wrote. So when our son was born with no family around to help, we hit a turning point. We had no sleep and no lives, tag-teaming the care so we were always exhausted. We’d been writing and learning, blogging and querying before that, but it all stopped. We needed something to fulfill ‘us’, so we decided ‘screw it’, let’s self-publish before we’re dead. Which felt like could be any day at that point. We dusted off Eva Thorne book 1 and went for it. Thank goodness other people like the same things we do! I feared reviews, but have been so happy with the reception so far. It gave us confidence to write more.
(Lorel Clayton, 29th April 2016)
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Check out the other books in the series
Eva Thorne book 2 – A Thorne for a Crown