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The Purple Morrow is the first book in my adult fantasy trilogy Rise of the Papilion. I started writing Morrow when I became frustrated with my first ever book and needed a change. I was preoccupied with the theme of redemption and moving on (or not) from a place of deep pain to live again. My intent at first was exploratory, asking the questions and seeing where the answers led…and from that developed this trilogy involving Marathana, a made-up world of clans and Northmen, magic and mythology, good battling evil, spirits, gods and demons, and yes, even the power of true (not romantic!) love. Oh yes, and there’s fighting.
The Purple Morrow is the introduction to this world, and begins with Jeru’s story as he struggles to live a normal life following the harrowing death of his wife. Rovers, terrifying Northmen soldiers, drive deep into the south, revisiting old wounds, tearing open new ones while setting in motion the events that will turn Jeru’s life and Marathana upside down.
The Rovers had been sent to decimate the Southernlands. Instead, they awoke its saviour.
Ten years have passed since the Rover army tore through the Southernlands, leaving behind a trail of devastation and death. Most believed the attacks were random acts of brutality. The wise, however, knew the truth: the Rovers sought to destroy the one thing powerful enough to thwart their conquest. They were searching for the Papilion.
A new commander bent on completing the mission left unfinished by his predecessors, leads the Rovers back into the Southernlands. Fierce and determined, he comes armed with a precious artefact and a secret purpose.
While the Southernlands reel under the new terror, the Purple Morrow, a harbinger of hope, appears to Jeru, an unsuspecting and solitary clan hunter. Finding himself enmeshed in a series of incredible events beyond his control, Jeru is compelled to take the first steps towards discovering his ultimate destiny.
Some comments from readers on the book (taken from Amazon and Goodreads)…
“This review is from: The Purple Morrow (Rise of the Papilion Trilogy) The descriptive character of Jeru, the main character had me intrigued and falling in love right from the beginning…I am not a fantasy reader, but this book had a fair balance of fantasy mixed with light romance, drama, mystery and adventure which had me enjoying every bit of it. The story is so unique, I kept thinking to myself, “This has to be turned into a movie!”. I finished the book in 2 days and I am anxiously awaiting the next sequence of this trilogy.”
“Fantasies are tricky for me. I’m not one to read long sagas with epic battles and queens and kings and the like. I have read them, and every once in a while, it’s nice. The Purple Morrow was a wonderful, lighter fantasy to satisfy my craving for that genre.
Forde is a newer author, but don’t let that fool you. She’s a natural writer and has a beautiful and magical way with words, very fitting for the light-fantasy setting she’s created in this story. The language supports a great cast of characters in a world where everyone fears the Rovers, a band of wild and ruthless warriors. But all is not lost, for there lies hope in the Papilion, the one destined to bring balance and order to a seemingly hopeless time for some.
With a desperate quest, likeable characters with realistic and refreshing flaws, and the lovely writing style of the author, this was a book that I discovered I need to have a hard copy of on my shelf. I look forward to the other two books in the series!”
“….I usually don’t go buying books without knowing more about the author, or hearing rave reviews from friends, or not having pictures in it (I kid, I kid). If you’re familiar with at least any of Dyane Forde’s writing style and narrative voice with her short stories, then you’ll be in for a treat with her book.
A wonderful world that pulls you in from introduction to end—I hate to say it but it’s the characters that did it for me though, usually in fantasy I’m pulled by the intricacies of the world’s magic system or world-crafting (which is masterfully done by the author). Her characters are both memorable and easy to relate to: the loss and pain of Jeru, the secret-love that Nyssa hides and wishes for, the inner struggles of Kelen. You enter her fantasy world as a stranger, you leave it wanting more.”
Excerpt from the book: Chapter 8-Lost, yet Found (Beta version)
The bite of a parched throat along with the throbbing pain in her head drew Nyssa out of a deep swoon. She lay on the ground, her chest pressed into the dirt and her legs twisted under her. She opened her good eye. Pebbles dug into the side of her face, and slick, black mud pooled around her forehead. Her hair was thick with it. Both legs and one of her arms were asleep. She pushed herself up, but her limbs quickly gave way, and she dropped back into the dirt and grit like a stone. Exhausted and angry, she gave in to the tears waiting impatiently for release. They rolled over her forehead and dripped, one by one, into the mud.
The sun sat high in a cloudless sky. Merciless and malevolent, it beat down on her, provoking her thirst. Nyssa tilted her head, allowing her a glimpse of the stream to which she had been running before her collapse. Her feet throbbed. She hated to think of what state they must be in. When she had awoken in the clearing, alone and barely alive after the terror inflicted on her by the Rovers, fear and rage had enabled her body to push past its natural limits. At the time, she had clung to one thought and one thought only: get as far away as possible from that vile, cursed place.
She did not recognize the forest around her. Thick ferns and dense shrubbery were everywhere she looked, and the air was thick with the smell of rotting deciduous tree leaves mixed in with the scent of the looming pines. Before her, tall reeds and fat clumps of browning grass swished in the wind. The sound of the rushing water made her throat ache. She could not see them, but she heard the calls of the carrion birds that circled overhead, waiting. Patience, friends. She closed her good eye, the only part of her that did not hurt. Only a little while longer and you will have your feast.
The world was no longer safe for her; all her havens were gone, destroyed by the Rovers. In their quest for dominion over the Southernlands, they had erased her people’s existence from the face of the earth. She would never again stroll through the glittering Celebration Hall or laugh with Ada at the beach while the gulls screeched overhead. Never again would she feel her mother’s comforting arms around her or see her father’s eyes light up when she ran along the docks to meet him. Gone. Everyone and everything she knew, gone.
But not only had she become a Rover casualty, nature itself seemed to have turned against her. Even now, the smouldering sun sought to take her life. And the forest, filled with the trees and creatures she loved so much, had betrayed her. How long had it been since it had sabotaged her, leaving her at the mercy of those Rover dogs? Hours? Days? Her skin burned. Mercy? The beast-men had shown her none. They had broken and crushed her, ground her, body and soul, into the dust. A wry smile flickered across her lips. Wasn’t that what the legends had taught her? That the Spirit had formed men and women from the dust of the earth? It was only fitting then that soon, thirst and dehydration would squeeze the breath of life from her body and that she would return to the very dust from which she had come.
She had one true regret. Only one. After all her prodigious waiting, she would never again look into the eyes of the man she loved. Her sole consolation was that Jeru would never know the truth of what had happened to her. He would think she had perished with the rest of her people at the hand of the Rovers. This belief gave her the strength to die. Quickly, Nyssa pleaded.
She coughed and pain tore through her body. Darkness edged her vision. Death, show me mercy and come quickly.
The sun continued to burn overhead. Its heat was unbearable.
“Blast it, Samson! There goes my breakfast!”
As usual, the dog had barked at the wrong time. The startled hare dashed away in the opposite direction of the snare Jeru had set earlier that morning. Exasperated, he crossed his arms and glared at the heavy-set, shaggy dog. Samson appeared unconcerned. He turned his back to the starving hunter, his tail wagging excitedly while he sniffed at the ground with his snout. His head virtually disappeared behind a tall clump of grass. Despite the grumbling in his stomach, Jeru felt himself smiling at the sound of Samson’s snuffling and sneezing. “I should have known I’d never get a good breakfast with you around. I need to get myself a real hunting dog.”
Samson was Deni’s herding dog. He was excellent at his job, and goats and sheep alike never dared stray when he was around. His master was proud of him and boasted to anyone who would listen that his was the best shepherding dog in the Southernlands. However, for a reason no one could understand, the canine began to quit his post at the animal pens to follow Jeru into the woods whenever he left the village to hunt. At first, Jeru was surprised when Samson had exited the woods, entered his camp, and plopped himself down beside him. The dog refused to be shooed away, regardless of how much Jeru hollered at him. Samson just heaved a great sigh, blinked his bushy eyelids, and lay his great head down over his paws. After a few weeks of this, the two had become friends. Jeru would leave the village without a word, his bow and gear strapped to his back, and within hours, he would hear the canine crashing through the underbrush to meet him.
Deni always complained that without Samson, his goats ran amok and got into all sorts of trouble in the village, and when Jeru returned with Samson following diligently behind, Deni made sure to greet both of them with a few choice words. But Jeru didn’t care. Samson was even-tempered and loyal, but most of all, he was quiet. When it was time to rest, the shaggy beast lay at his feet, panting and blinking contentedly. When Jeru went to set his snares, Samson followed dutifully beside him, watching. Samson didn’t judge. He never questioned what Jeru did or why. The dog just existed, and he did it peaceably.
At the moment, however, Samson was very excited. Jeru clicked his tongue at him, and Samson loped over and touched his wet nose to his hand. He sniffed the air, the ground, and the grass and then started to move away, deeper into the trees. Then he started to whine.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
A sound came from their right. Instantly, Samson’s pointed ears twitched, and Jeru’s knife was in his hand.
“There’s something out there, isn’t there? Let’s go see what it is.”
As though he had been waiting for permission, Samson sped away, jumping over a toppled trunk that had fallen across the trail before veering in the direction of the sound. Jeru jogged after him, easily picking up his trail. Just as he caught up, Samson yelped and darted through a knot of trees. Jeru lifted his foot to follow, hesitated, and then put it back down. It sank down into a pool of mud. Jeru stared at the trees, which swayed, innocent and benign, in the wind. But the wind suddenly changed, whipping through the wood, rattling the branches, and hitting him full in the chest.
His heartbeat quickened. He gripped the knife handle until his knuckles turned white.
Something waited for him on the other side of those trees. And somehow, Jeru knew that whatever it was would change him.
The blast of wind died down and the usual hazy warmth that abided in the forest returned. Jeru hefted his pack higher on his back. He hesitated a second longer, but another whine from Samson drew him on.
A woman lay crumpled in the dirt. Samson was nudging her shoulder with his nose and licking her back and shoulder which were covered in filth. What was left of her clothing was torn, and her body was a mess of bruises and cuts. Though mostly shredded rags, he could tell that the cloth and the way it wound around her body was that of a Water Clan woman. Her face was turned away from him, but Jeru sensed there was something strangely familiar about her. He looked closer and saw that barely visible in the tangle of dark hair were blue ribbons.
Jeru stopped breathing. Ribbons were rare in this part of the Southernlands. Water Clan women often used them to adorn their dresses or around their necks to hold pretty pieces of shell. And the blue dye they used in honour of their clan heritage was particular to them, as it was made from the seaweed that grew plentifully by the cliffs. Jeru only knew of one Water Clan woman who wore them twisted in her hair as this one did, but she should not be here. She should be two weeks’ walk away, at least, in the cliffs of Erne’s Drop. Not lying in his woods.
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