Oubliette: The Poisoned Past Book One
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Lord Jester Lark
President Rohn Evan’s term is in its summer hours, and the war seems far away. Lord Jester Lark’s greatest concern involves finding more time to spend with his lover and their adopted daughter.
Then the ships come. A massive fleet opens fire on Perida Bay, and an ambush lies in wait as Lark races home by starlight.
He’s a long way from jeweled, cultured Saphir, among scarred soldiers and rough-handed fishermen who mutter about him being a jester’s plaything. But he loves Mark, perhaps too much to leave.
Then the ships come. Verai gathers up little Ellen and rushes to meet his beloved in the safety of the court’s protective custody cells.
Mark never arrives.
The Church must uphold the law. The nobility must be honorable, fair, virtuous. The jesters help nobles survive a dangerous and duplicitous world by dealing with problems in ways that their masters can’t – at least, not in good conscience. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, anyway. But the longer Mark wears a jester’s mask, the less he trusts the nobility and the Church. Perhaps rightfully so, because when he’s ambushed, it’s not a jester that wants to take his freedom. It’s a creature of royal blood, bred into something inhuman, and it wants his loyalty, his voice, and his soul. As for the Church: It intends to cage him forever.
In addition to reviewing books professionally, I've read well over 3,000 novels just for fun. The sad part is that I can't remember most of them, not because I have a lousy memory but rather because the plots are so similar and the characters so mundane that they all blur together. Fortunately there are a few standout stories that remain unforgettable. This is one of them! Well, to be honest, just about anything from E.M. Prazeman falls into that stellar category. Her world-building, characterization, plots, and pacing are first rate, original, and categorically well worth reading. Enough said; ignore my blatherings and buy the book. You won't be disappointed. — Lawrence Kane, ForeWord Magazine