Sunday, January 5, 2014

"Iron Bloom (Legend of the Iron Flower)" by Billy Wong

FREE
Iron Bloom
(Legend of the Iron Flower)
by Billy Wong



Iron Bloom, the first book in the Legend of the Iron Flower series, is currently FREE. If it's not free for you on Amazon, please try one of the other book retailers below.


Description
The tale of an epic warrior torn between the power of the sword and her longing for a peaceful life.
A young woman with a kind heart and extraordinary constitution, Rose becomes a warrior to better the world. Despite the wealth and fame she wins as one of the greatest champions of her time, the bloody reality of her new life is nothing like her ideal dream. She yearns for a chance to escape the violence.
She finds that chance in Ethan, the leader of an altruistic pacifist group. But when a barbarian horde invades their kingdom, Rose knows that she can make a difference by taking up her sword again. Will her need to protect her homeland cost her the man she loves?
Iron Bloom is a full length novel intended for both adults and older teens. It is the first in the Iron Flower series.

Excerpt
It was the glint of sun off steel that caught her eye.  Rose stopped, basket of freshly picked herbs in hand, and stared into the Whit family's barn door through which she had seen that misplaced sliver of light.  While metal was common enough on a farm, most farming tools were made of dull iron, and Rose had only seen light reflected so sharply off honed steel—like a sword blade.  Inside the barn, she thought she glimpsed a bulky shape, moving with stealth and speed.  A thief?
Her first thought was to run for help.  But how long would it take to get back?  Likely too long, for the Whits.  She should go warn them, she thought.  Yet she worried to let the burglar out of sight, and perhaps give him a chance to catch her off guard later.  What if the Whits weren't home?  If so, she would have to confront him alone anyway.  She would not escape herself only to leave him here, free to ambush her neighbors. 
Rose set her basket down in the grass and crept towards the barn, knowing now what she meant to do.  It wasn't that she wasn't scared; her heart pounded in her chest, and sweat moistened her scalp and tunic.  Though she had long played at being a warrior with her friends, to confront real danger was an altogether different matter.  But she would do all she could to protect the Whits and their innocent child.  So she entered the barn, carefully picking up the hoe just inside the door.
The man's broad back came into view to her left, and Rose raised her hoe to strike.  Then she hesitated.  What if this was no thief, after all?  Despite his armament, he could be a family friend, or even an agent of the crown on legitimate business.  She could not just attack, with no knowledge of his intentions. 
"You!" she said in what she hoped was a commanding voice.  "What are you doing here?"
He turned, and immediately she realized her mistake.  The feral gleam in his eyes, the smirk that pulled at his thick lips—he could be nothing else but the kind of villain she had suspected and feared.  "Are you the daughter, then?  A big one you are, but I don't mind.  All women scream the same."  His huge sword came up, gleaming like flame.
On the verge of panic, Rose swung at his face.  He parried easily, and countered with a slash she barely managed to deflect.  The hoe was poorly balanced for use as a weapon, and she was hardly an experienced warrior in the first place.  The robber pressed his assault, battering relentlessly at her, and she found herself retreating across the hay-strewn floor.  She felt her back bump up against the far wall, and in desperation tried to force him back with a sudden burst of offense. 
For a moment, he seemed to falter against her flurry of quick pokes, and she thought she had a chance.  But then he cut through the hoe's shaft with a well-placed blow, and the next thing she knew an impact like a heavy punch slammed into her middle.  She felt herself shoved back, driven against the wood behind her.  Then the pain hit, a world-shattering explosion tearing through her body.  For a moment she was blind, but stubbornly she blinked her vision back.  Slowly, her attacker came into view.
Rose stared at the man as he loosened his belt, his wide, greasy face split with a lusty grin.  His breath reeked of rotting meat, and she ached to run screaming out of his reach.  But she couldn't scream because her mouth had filled with blood.  And she couldn't run because his sword impaled her just below the ribcage, nailing her to the wall.

Review
Young Rose only sixteen years old, longs to escape her violent world. She also yearns to become a warrior, even though a woman especially as young as her, is unheard of. The bloody reality of her new life is not quite what she thought it would be. Then she meets Ethan.
When Barbarians invade her Kingdom she knows exactly what she must do. She fights with a vengeance to save her homeland, but at what cost?
Fast paced, a lot of action and graphic fights. If you love a strong female lead with many bloody fights, then this is the book for you. I intend to check out more or Billy Wong's work.

About the Author
Billy Wong is an avid fan of heroic fantasy, with a special love for strong female warriors. He draws inspiration from the epic legends of old, and is on a quest to bring over the top deeds and larger than life heroes back to prominence in today's literary world.
Billy lives in Coney Island, Brooklyn. He has written numerous fantasy books, including the Legend of the Iron Flower series and the Tales of the Gothic Warrior series

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