Friday, November 4, 2016

"The Tale of Nefret" by M. L. Bullock

The Tale of Nefret
(The Desert Queen Book 1)
by M. L. Bullock

Author M. L. Bullock stops by today to share an excerpt from The Tale of Nefret, the first book in The Desert Queen series. Also available: The Falcon Rises and The Kingdom of Nefertiti. Coming December 2016: The Song of the Bee Eater.

For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Seven Sisters.

Explore the Legend of Nefertiti!
Twin daughters of an ancient Bedouin king struggle under the weight of an ominous prophecy that threatens to divide them forever. Royal sibling rivalry explodes as the young women realize that they must fight for their future and for the love of Alexio, the man they both love. The Tale of Nefret chronicles their lives as they travel in two different directions. One sister becomes the leader of the Meshwesh while the other travels to Egypt as an unwilling gift to Pharaoh.
From the desert to the throne room, The Tale of Nefret is the first book in The Desert Queen series, the fictional story of Nefertiti, Queen of Egypt.

Egypt - 18th Dynasty
Farrah stood outside the door of the tent and stared up into the night sky. No matter how heavily time etched cruel marks on her face, the view grabbed her breath as if her dark eyes were seeing it for the first time. The lines on her brown face deepened as she pursed her lips. The air around her was pregnant with the future, but her inner sight was dark and full of mystery. Her limited insight into the other world made her uncomfortable. She made the sign of peace to the Dancing Man that hung above her in purple-blackness as he rose above the tribal camp. The Cushite traders called the Dancing Man a different name—Osiris he was called in the Black Lands and beyond—but here in the Red Lands where the red sands swirled and swam about the desert people like a dead ocean, he was known as the Dancing Man.
How long will we travel this path? An endless caravan moving from one rain oasis to another? Many of the clan no longer know from whence they came or that there had once been a place for them. How many Meshwesh must die in the Red Lands before we see those white walls again?
Once the Meshwesh dwelled in a city of white stone, Zerzura. What a city it had been! Farrah could barely remember the feeling of cool stones under her feet, the tastes of orange fruit sweet on her tongue, and the many pools of clear blue water that her young body had swum in. Had it been just a dream? No, Farrah remembered the day when the cowardly old king, Onesu, had fled the city ahead of the horde of giants who rushed in to claim it. But he had not lived one day after he left Zerzura, for Farrah had cut his throat while he slept. When he awoke to see her face above him, she whispered why she had done it as she watched him bleed. He had lost the city and had abandoned Ze, his queen and Farrah’s sister, leaving her to the pleasure of the giants who no doubt raped her to death. Farrah shuddered inwardly thinking of what she had done. Nobody knew, yet it was a spot on her soul. She did not regret it, although the gods had seen fit to take her inner sight from her as punishment for her crime. That had been long, long ago. His face no longer haunted her. Yet often she imagined she heard Ze’s screams in the clear night.
Now, with a silent prayer Farrah considered again the stars above her. Regardless of the constellation’s name, this sour omen was an inauspicious sign for the birth of a royal child, but there was nothing she could do to prevent it. Even her magic could not stop a child who wanted to enter this realm.
Farrah suddenly felt old. Had she, leader of the Council of Old Ones, become too old to consider the deeper meaning of such things? Was she too old to help bring another baby into this increasingly difficult world? The sounds the mother made, the painful moaning, the calling of her name, let Farrah know that she indeed still had a purpose. She took a deep sigh, breathing in the warm desert air and shaking off the unseen trepidation. She tossed her head cloth to the ground. No heads covered this night. She smiled peacefully as she walked to the birthing bed and looked down into the face of the beautiful Kadeema.
What a beauty the young queen had been when she first arrived here as the bride to Semkah! However, the Red Lands had sapped away her pretty softness like it did to all women who were not of true Red Lands’ blood. She had become hard, hard like the clay that lay beneath the rough sand. Kadeema’s olive skin was no longer pale but red, and her hair no longer like bright copper but dark and dull. The young queen’s eyes still had their sea-green beauty, but the sparkle, the joy of love and living, had faded. A wife of a young tribal king tied to the Red Lands people only by the most tenuous of threads—love. Farrah looked into those eyes, saddened to see that where there had been hope and excitement, there was now fear and regret.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Amazing! Best book to date from Bullock book yet. You get caught up in the characters and story almost from the first page. The book stands alone but definitely begs for the next book to come soon. Every character breathes from the moment they walk into a scene, and you can't help but be invested in the outcome of their lives. The desert of Egypt is just another bonus, you can feel the heat and the sand as you read and the visits to the cool oases are just as soothing. This is worth your time, I finished it in one day." ~ Amazon Customer
"I cannot wait till book two. At first I did not think in would like it, it did not take long to love it!!!" ~ Danielle
"Ready for next book could not put down had to finish today. Kept me on edge of my seat." ~ Lula McCaa
"A very fast paced and exciting historical novel. I'm now hooked on the author. I received this book at no charge from Amazon for Kindle. I enjoyed the read, and thank the author for generously offering the work at no cost." ~ NinaS
"Loved it ... so sad the next book isn't out and I can't find when it will be. I like the time period in Egyptian History and its nice for it to be told from a different point of view." ~ Amazon Customer

About the Author
Author M. L. Bullock enjoys the laid-back atmosphere and the spooky vibe of the Gulf Coast, especially the region's historic districts and sites. When she isn't visiting her favorite haunts in New Orleans or Old Mobile, you can find her flipping through old photographs or newspaper clippings in search of new inspiration.