Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Katey Hatwhorne for stopping by today.
Title: Blood and Clockwork
Author: Katey Hatwhorne
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow Designs
Alistair Click set out to lay to rest the superstitious fears about the Mad Prince’s clockwork tower. If that meant he might bring the ghost city of Avalonia back to economic life, connecting the western kingdoms once again, so much the better. So what if no adventurer who’d entered the tower in the last century of desolation had ever re-emerged? They didn’t have his skill and wit. He could do better.
The tower turns out to be far more than Alistair expected, however. Not only are there clockwork puzzles to open every door, but one of them drops a boy from a strange world into his lap—figuratively speaking, if only just. Marco Murphy was just gaming in his New Jersey apartment, and now he’s stuck in what feels like a never ending LARP nightmare.
The deeper they delve into the Mad Prince’s tower, the darker the secrets they uncover. They’re not entirely sure they’ll ever be able to get out again, either. It’ll take all Marco’s charm and Alistair’s cleverness, plus the strange bond growing between them, to get them out together… and alive.
“This Prince was a serious genius. And definitely bat-shit insane,” Marco said.
Leading the way into this new chamber, I could only nod in agreement. The space was small compared to the last we’d been let into. It had, however, the most spectacular crystalline walls—it wasn’t transparent glass so much as translucent stone. The dying rays of light from the storm outside bled through, making the chamber feel open compared even to the huge main chamber we’d come from. Shapes were visible outside—the landscape beyond the Tower itself—but impossible to make out.
On the far wall was the most elegant clockwork movement I’d ever seen: thin, almost fragile, and gilded. Elaborate, yes, but my eyes had no difficulty following its pathways even with it sitting dormant. I approached it almost in a daze, one hand outstretched.
“Well, doesn’t look like there’s any kind of weird… trans-dimensional teleporter pad in this room, at least,” Marco said.
I glanced over my shoulder at him, brow furrowed.
“Forget it,” he said.
I turned back to the clockwork. The method of activation was perfectly clear, but this time I noticed the thin, gleaming steel blade above it. Precisely like the one that had cut me in the first chamber, just before Marco had appeared. “Look at this,” I said.
Marco approached. “Even the floor is crazy.”
I glanced down; the tile was marble inlaid with steel-colored metal in a huge central cog. “It’s beautiful. When the suns are high outdoors, it must glint.”
“Suns? As in multiple?” His eyes widened.
“You… only have one?” I guessed.
His mouth hung slightly open for a silent moment. Then he finally said, “Tell you one thing, when I get back home—if I get back home—I’m never gonna run out of stuff to paint again.”
I smiled, amazed at how easily he could say such a thing—if I ever get back home. “You’re inspired?”
I nodded, truly pleased, and gestured towards the blade. “I thought it incidental, in the other room, but to see it two times, in precisely the same configuration…”
“They say two times is a coincidence and three times is a pattern, but I think this time we can jump right to pattern,” he agreed, eying the configuration. “It looks like it’d break. The other clockwork was so tough.”
“I have a mind to activate it,” I admitted.
“Go for it, man,” he said.
I turned the winding key, at first avoiding the blade to test the theory, then threw the pearl-inlaid lever. Nothing happened. I wound the key a few more times, now careful to scrape my finger across the blade so blood welled up and smeared it. Then threw the lever again.
As the wheels and cogs began to turn, a smaller, daintier clicking overlaid the Tower’s never-ending heartbeat. “Well, that answers that; we’re dealing with clockwork and blood mag—”
I never did get to finish the sentence, however, since the entire room began to move. I grabbed for Marco’s arm to keep my balance as the floor shook beneath us; he tangled his fingers in my sleeve, as off-guard as I in the face of this new development. “What the shit!” he yelled.
I couldn’t begin to answer, but it seemed rhetorical, anyhow. The door slammed shut behind us and there was a sudden, distinct feeling of motion, of the floor rising up and taking us with it—except the ceiling, the entire chamber rose, all at once. The fading shapes beyond the thick, quartz-like walls changed as if to prove it, as if we were gaining a higher vantage point.
“It’s an elevator!” Marco let go of me and went to peer at the far wall, as if trying to see outside more clearly.
I shifted uneasily on my feet, feeling unanchored, and decided to follow his example. I leaned against the nearest wall that was sans-clockwork. My heart lodged inconveniently in my throat—the sensation of moving without moving was most unpleasant—but his excitement was catching. “This is common, in your home country? Chambers that move?”
“Yeah, mostly up or down.” He turned, now leaning against the wall with only one hand, looking perfectly comfortable. “We’re going to the next level, I guess? Any stories about what’s up there?”
I shook my head dumbly. I attempted to feel indignant, that he should know what we were experiencing when I didn’t, but I was too flabbergasted to muster anything but awe.
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About the Author
Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly,because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys comic books, B-movies, loud music, Epiphones, and Bushmills.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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