Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Entrusted by Allegra Gray (September 8, 2015, Silverthorne Entertainment). Today, I have an awesome excerpt and a fun guest post to share with you, plus a giveaway! First, here’s more about the book:
To protect her country’s future, she’ll have to commit treason… ENTRUSTED by Allegra Gray is a stunning historical Young Adult masterpiece of suspense, hope, and determination. This story follows orphaned Audrey as she’s tasked with keeping ancient relics safe from tyrannical hands and their unholy deeds. With the help of a charming adventurer, Tobias, Aubrey must do all she can to protect the relics she’s been entrusted to guard…even if it costs her life. ~*~*~*~
Orphan Audrey Thorndale longs for the peaceful life of a convent, but with a younger brother to care for and England’s religious houses falling one by one to Henry VIII’s Reformation, she’ll have to find another way to serve God and country. The Abbot of Glastonbury, aware of Audrey’s dilemma and loathe to see the great treasures of his abbey looted and destroyed, suggests a plan that could save Audrey, the relics, and even the future of Britain…but if she agrees to it, she’ll have to commit treason.
Second son and sometime adventurer, Tobias Seybourne has never left an opportunity unexplored. He’s won the favor of the king, and is aiming for knighthood, when Abbot Whiting offers him the chance of a lifetime—partner with Audrey, and protect England’s greatest legend. Most importantly? Do it without ever giving the king a reason to suspect more devious purposes simmer beneath Tobias’s charming façade.
With help from the abbot, Audrey and Tobias set in motion a plan to ensure that when the abbey walls crumble, one particular treasure will be safely hidden elsewhere.
But as the abbot points out, the king’s minions keep close account of their plunder, and the contents of Glastonbury’s repository are well documented.
With the king’s men bearing down fast, someone must take the fall…
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And now for the excerpt! Enjoy!
“You are worried that Glastonbury is in peril, and the treasures it holds will end up in the king’s coffers.”
“Yes—and no.” He eyes me. “It’s more complicated than that. You must not repeat anything you are hearing right now.”
“No, Father Abbot. Never.” If there is one thing I am, it is loyal.
“When I combine what I know—what I, myself have seen and heard—with what the monks who have already lost their homes tell me, I see a future in which certain relics of Glastonbury never make it to the king’s coffers, but are destroyed instead.” He shakes his head sadly. “The idea that the holy relics would go into the king’s hands was disturbing enough, but to destroy them? Sacrilege.
“Again, I must emphasize the importance of not repeating this conversation—to anyone. Not even Sam. The Treason Act is too loosely interpreted these days to take chances.”
I gulp, cursing myself for giving in to curiosity. Now it is my hands that tremble. I should tell him to stop, that I don’t want to hear any more, but my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth. I should never have asked what was troubling him. And yet, I have the sense we have set on an irrevocable course, and I must see it through.
Finally, I pry my tongue loose. “I appreciate your honesty, Father Abbot.”
“Should Glastonbury fall, the treasures that can be measured in gold and silver will most certainly find a new home—whether it be the royal treasury or a pilferer’s stash. It is the others that trouble me.”
He rubs his temples, as though even thinking hurts. I begin moving about the room again, straightening things, dusting surfaces…the little, normal, everyday movements that I know, somehow, provide the backdrop of comfort that Abbot Whiting needs right now.
“You remember those visitors from Walsingham? They informed me that the shrine there, the shrine to the Virgin, which the king himself has visited, has been destroyed. The statue of the Virgin removed, the shrine itself despoiled, and the buildings looted. The same happened at Roche Abbey this summer.”
Finally, it sinks in, and I know exactly which of Glastonbury’s relics—one with no value in gold, but still of immeasurable worth—is troubling him so.
I stop dusting. My tongue, now loosened, does not have the sense to stop.
“If Glastonbury falls, what will become of King Arthur?”
Fiction, History, and the Tower of London
Warning / (*minor spoiler alert*): The post below does contain some references to events that happen in Entrusted, Book 1 of the Relic Guardians series. There are NO major plot reveals, but I do talk a little bit about what I envisioned was going on “behind the scenes” when I was researching and writing the book.
In Entrusted, the main character, Audrey, is held prisoner for a few weeks in the Tower of London. This is, of course, the same place where many of England’s most notable prisoners have been held—often because they posed a threat to the ruler at the time, regardless of whether proof existed that they’d committed any crime.
In the days before forensics and paper trails (or digital trails), a few whispers and rumors could constitute treason, if the monarch had reason to suspect. Prisoners could also be used as leverage…e.g., by holding an innocent wife or child, they might eke a confession out of the husband, in exchange for the promised release of his loved ones. Although it’s not explicitly used as a plot device in Entrusted, I kind of envisioned that this would be one reason they would hold Audrey—in the hopes that one of the other key characters would be arm-twisted into saying something they otherwise wouldn’t.
If you’ve had the good fortune to visit the Tower of London, you might think of creepy stone passages and torture devices. I first visited at the age of 13, and that is definitely what made an impression on me—not the crown jewels, or the impressive suits of armor (well, those were pretty cool, too). I’m not the only one… see the still below from the movie “The Tower of London” from 1962, in which “The twisted Richard III is haunted by the ghosts of those he has murdered in his attempt to become the King of England.” (https://mubi.com/films/tower-of-london)
However, the reality is that the Tower of London was not originally built to be a prison, and not all of its “prisoners” were treated equally. In fact, it was a royal residence for many years, and had buildings for a number of administrative functions. Thus, when it was used as a prison, the prisoners were accommodated wherever it was convenient to put them at the time, and also befitting their station. There was a certain prestige that came with nobility, and some prisoners had suites of rooms, family members, and even servants to join them. For these “lucky” ones, their stay was like being under a modern-day house arrest.
Of course, being of noble blood was no guarantee you wouldn’t eventually lose your head on the executioner’s block. But some, such as Henry VIII’s first wife, were eventually released and allowed to retire in the countryside. As for torture, the Privy Council had to sanction the use of torture, so it was not used indiscriminately; between 1540 and 1640, the peak of imprisonment at the Tower, there were 48 recorded cases of the use of torture. That’s not to say there weren’t some unrecorded cases…
One the most infamous and chilling tales of the Tower of London is that of the two young princes who “went missing” while there. (If you are a fan of Philippa Gregory’s books, you’ll recognize this event in The White Queen).
Shortly after the death of Edward IV in 1483, the notorious murder of the Princes in the Tower is believed to have taken place. Edward V’s uncle, Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, was declared Lord Protector because Edward was too young to rule. Traditional accounts have held that the 12-year-old Edward was confined to the Tower of London along with his younger brother Richard. The princes were last seen in public in June 1483, and many historians suspect they were murdered later that summer. At any rate, they were never seen again, and the Duke of Gloucester was proclaimed King Richard III in July. Bones thought to belong to the two princes were discovered in 1674 when the 12th-century forebuilding at the entrance to the White Tower was demolished; however, the reputed level at which the bones were found (ten feet) would put the bones at a depth similar to that of the recently discovered Roman graveyard found a few hundred yards to the north. No one can say for certain what happened. (You can find more detail at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_London)
A blog post is not the place for a full accounting of all the interesting historical events that occurred at the Tower of London, but there are many books and websites devoted to the topic for those who wish to know more. (And if you’re in the area, by all means, take a tour!).
I’ll conclude by saying that when I sat down (okay, flopped down on my office rug) to research the Tower of London for the scene(s) in Entrusted, I definitely got sucked in to the vivid history and speculation surrounding this famous landmark.
The more I read, the more I was reminded of the phrases “truth is stranger than fiction” and “you can’t make this stuff up.” Of course, being a fiction writer, I have to try… :)
Join the Entrusted Blog Tour September 7th to 18th! One grand prize winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Enter HERE or through the form below! Visit any or all of the following blogs for your chance to win! 9/7/2015
Coffee Books & Art
Reviews by Crystal
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! 9/8/2015
Fresh Fiction Blog
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews
Hope to Read 9/9/2015
Avid Reader Musings
My Reading Reality
Mommabears Book Blog 9/10/2015
Becky on Books 9/11/2015
Juicy Tidbits 9/14/2015
Delilah Devlin’s Blog 9/15/2015
The Paperback Princesses 9/16/2015
Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions 9/17/2015
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps
T&L Book Reviews
About the Author:
Allegra Gray grew up with her nose in a book and her head in the clouds—that is, when she wasn’t focused on more practical things like, say, learning calculus. Perhaps all those stories inspired a spirit of adventure, because at the age of seventeen she embarked on a career journey that has (so far) included serving as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, grad school at Virginia Tech, teaching English, and managing defense contracts in the Middle East. The best thing about this breadth of experience? When she tried her hand at writing novels like the ones she’d always loved, she recognized at once that she’d found a true passion. Her forthcoming series, The Relic Guardians, is genre-bending mainstream/historical suspense, inspired by her long-held desire to unveil things obscured by the mists of time. Allegra is also the author of four historical romances, including the “Daring Damsels” trilogy of Nothing But Scandal, Nothing But Deception, and Nothing But Trouble.
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