Daughter of Aithne
The Silver Web
Karin Rita Gastreich
Genre: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Orb Weaver Press
Date of Publication: May 2017
Number of pages: 386
Word Count: 119,000
Cover Artist: Thomas Vandenberg
Betrayed by her own prodigy and accused of treason, Eolyn forges a risky alliance with the ruthless and cunning Mage Corey. As enemies old and new rise to arms, the beleaguered queen of magic prepares for a final, desperate battle to secure her son’s throne.
Across the Furma River, Taesara of Roenfyn is drawn out of seclusion and into an ever-more vicious game of intrigue and war. Subject to the schemes of her uncle and the mysterious ambitions of the wizards of Galia, she fights to assert her will while defending her daughter’s inheritance.
In the climactic finale to The Silver Web trilogy, threads of love, honor, betrayal, and vengeance culminate in a violent conflict between powerful women, opposed to each other yet destined to shatter a thousand-year cycle of war.
“Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes…with a romantic thread.” -Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn, Book One of the Silver Web
“Lush, evocative descriptions carry readers through an unforgettable journey.” –Kirkus Reviews review of Sword of Shadows, Book Two of the Silver Web.
Anger flared in Eolyn’s veins. She stood. Akmael rose with her.
“Speak plainly, my Lord King. I will not be subject to this cat-and-mouse game. If you do not trust me, if you do not believe me, then say so.”
“I trust your heart, Eolyn, but your heart has led you to ill-advised decisions in the past. For this reason, I am not always inclined to trust your judgment.”
“For the love of the Gods! I am not the confused and frightened girl I was when my brother took up arms against you.”
“No, but you must understand the dilemma you have put me in.”
“The dilemma I have put you in?”
“If you knew of Ghemena’s plan and did not inform me, you were party to treason. If you did not know, then your authority over the magas is uncertain. Either way, the magas must remain bound and imprisoned until this conflict is resolved.”
Eolyn blinked and stepped away.
Not even Thelyn had put it so bluntly.
“The magas have lived in peace in Moisehén for more than a decade.” Her voice shook, and her hands were clenched at her sides. “You cannot let the action of one woman—”
“Three women. The blatantly treasonous act of three women, all devoted students of yours. They have brought war upon us, Eolyn. Who knows how many others among your followers support them?”
“The magas who remain in my service have done nothing to merit suspicion.”
“All magas merit suspicion.” Akmael hesitated at her stricken look. He let go a slow breath and softened his tone. “There is a history here that we have not yet overcome, Eolyn. You, of all people, must understand that. Too many of our subjects still remember the war against my father.”
“And the purges that followed?” she shot back.
“The violence that tore this kingdom apart,” he conceded. “Right or wrong, the magas were left with the blame. There are many who fear your power, Eolyn. They fear the ambitions of all women of magic. We must manage this situation carefully, to protect you and your daughters. To see that justice is done.”
“What Thelyn did to my magas on your orders was not just.”
“A precautionary measure. Nothing more.”
“You must give me your word—” Eolyn’s voice broke. She sensed doors closing all around her. Was there nothing he would allow? No small concession she could demand? “At least promise me that none of my daughters will be mistreated during their confinement.”
“That they will not be…That they will not be subject to the techniques once used by Tzeremond and his mages.”
Realization washed over Akmael’s features. He smiled and shook his head. “Come, Eolyn. The situation is not that grim. I assure you the days of Tzeremond will not return. We are at a momentary impasse to be endured until we determine whether this web of treachery ends with Ghemena or begins with her. If found innocent, your magas will be restored to their former positions. If any of them harbor treasonous hearts, it is better we find out now before further damage is done.”
Eolyn nodded, though she found little comfort in his reassurance.
“I have had the rooms of the East Tower prepared for you,” Akmael said.
“I knew you would not be pleased,” he hastened to add, “but I do this for your own protection.”
“There are no wards more powerful than those of the East Tower. You will stay there and the children with you.”
“You would imprison me? The woman you love, your Queen?”
“Your magic will not be bound. You will be permitted visitors, and you will be allowed to leave the confines of the tower during daylight hours, but always in my company or in the company of guards appointed by me.”
“You cannot ask this of me.”
“Eolyn.” He took her gently by the shoulders. “Do not close your eyes to the delicacy of our position. Half the court speculates it was your command that led Ghemena to deliver Eliasara to Roenfyn.”
“You know I would never—”
“And I, seeing that my daughter has been stolen from me, wonder what is next in the minds of those who plot to bring down my house and reign. Will they attempt to kill my son? Will they try to take away my Queen? Because those two things would destroy me, Eolyn. Me and all the futures I have imagined.”
Eolyn stared at Akmael in disbelief. A ghostly cry echoed through her heart, the forgotten lament of a woman betrayed.
“This is how it began, isn’t it?” she whispered. “The confinement of your mother began just like this.”
“Your father wanted only to protect her, but he never allowed her to leave. In the end it made no difference. Kaie penetrated the wards and slew her. You remember, Akmael. You were there.”
“You cannot lock me up in that place!”
“You will not be left alone as my mother was. Not tonight, not in any night to come.”
Akmael pressed his lips to her forehead. He took the chain that suspended the Silver Web and lifted the jewel gently over Eolyn’s head. As he held the amulet in the palm of his hand, its delicate crystals glittered in the afternoon light.
“This magic can be used to penetrate the wards,” he said.
“That is for me to know.” He set the silver chain around his own neck, slipping the amulet beneath his tunic. “I promise you, Eolyn, I will be with you in every moment I can.”
“You secure your way into the East Tower while leaving me with no way out. At night you would use your mother’s magic to come as a thief, a surreptitious lover, not openly as my king and husband. Why?”
Akmael nodded to the door that separated them from the courtiers outside. “Because they must believe that my judgment is free from the influence of desire and love, free from any spells a High Maga might cast.”
“They are fools if they believe a maga can control the decisions of men! If we had such power, I assure you this world would be a very different sort of place.”
About the Author:
Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands all her life. Her pastimes include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.