Can seven women stop the most powerful army the world has seen?
It’s the 1200’s in Ilari, a small mythical realm somewhere between Europe and Asia. Peace and prosperity have reigned for generations. That doesn’t mean every citizen is happy, however.
In the outer nichna of Vinx lives the seven troublesome daughters of an intellectual farmer and his ambitious wife. Ilari has no idea how lucky it is to have this family of misfits, for the Mongols are making their way further westward every winter and this prosperous realm is a tiny plum ripe for picking. Desperate, the seven sisters will devise a way to save their realm. Can their preposterous ideas possibly work?
The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.
Which sister saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you are reading.
How do they do it? Each sister offers surprise information on why this didn’t go as anyone planned.
She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much
Ryalgar, a spinster farm girl and the oldest of the seven sisters, has always preferred her studies to flirtation. Yet even she finally meets her prince. Or so she thinks. She’s devastated to discover he’s already betrothed and was only looking for a little fun. Embarrassed, she flees her family’s farm to join the Velka, the mysterious women of the forest known for their magical powers and for living apart from men.
As a Velka, she develops her own special brand of telekinesis and learns she has a talent for analyzing and organizing information. Both are going to come in handy.
This prince has kept meeting her at the forest’s edge for more good times, and now that she’s away from her family, she’s thinking maybe being his mistress isn’t such a bad deal after all. Then she learns more about his princely assignment.
He’s tasked with training the army of Ilari to repel the feared Mongol horseman who’ve been moving westward, killing all in their path. And, her prince is willing to sacrifice the outer farmlands where she grew up to these invaders, if he has to. Ryalgar isn’t about to let that happen.
She’s got the Velka behind her, as well as a multitude of university intellectuals, a family of tough farmers, and six sisters each with her own unique personality and talents. Can Ryalgar organize all that into a resistance that will stop the invasion?
She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much is available at most retailers.
She’s the One Who Cares Too Much
Coral, the second of the sisters, has been hiding her affair with the perfect man until her older sister can get her life together. But the perfect man is getting impatient and now she’s gotten pregnant. Coral decides it’s time to consider her own happiness.
But what does she want? The perfect husband turns out to be less than ideal. She adores the small children she teaches but the idea of being a mother fills her with joy. Meanwhile, her homeland is gripped by fear of an invasion and she can’t stop crying about everything now that she’s with child.
Then a friend suggests the ever-caring Coral possesses a power well beyond what she or anyone else imagines. Does she? And why is the idea so appealing?
When Coral’s big sister loses faith in the army and decides to craft a way to use magic to save Ilari, she decides Coral’s formidable talent is what the realm needs. Can Coral raise a baby, placate an absent military husband who thinks he’s stopping the invasion, and help her sister save her homeland?
She’s the One Who Cares Too Much is available at most retailers.
She’s the One Who Gets in Fights
Sulphur, the third of seven sisters, is glad the older two have been slow to wed. It’s given her the freedom to train as a fighter, in hopes of fulfilling her lifelong dream of joining Ilari’s army. Then, within a matter of days, both sisters announce plans and now Sulphur is expected to find a man to marry.
Is it Sulphur’s good fortune her homeland is gripped by fear of a pending invasion? And the army is going door to door encouraging recruits? Sulphur thinks it is. But once she’s forced to kill in a small skirmish, she’s ready to rethink her career decision.
Too bad it’s too late. The invasion is coming, and Ilari needs every good soldier it has.
Once Sulphur learns Ilari’s army has made the strategic decision to not defend certain parts of the realm, including the one where her family lives, she has to re-evaluate her loyalty. Is it with the military she’s always admired? Or is it with her sisters, who are hatching a plan to defend their homeland with magic?
Everywhere she turns, someone is counting on her to fight for what’s right. But what is?
She’s the One Who Gets in Fights is available at most retailers.
She’s the One Who Doesn’t Say Much
Olivine, the fourth of seven sisters, has been hiding a secret as she travels to K’ba to meet her artist friends. Others assume she has fallen in love with another artist, and it’s not a match Mother would consider suitable. But it’s much worse that. For on the way to K’ba is the dirt poor nichna of Scrud, a place scorned by all other Ilarians. And in Scrud is the one man who understands her.
However, Bohdan is also is a realist, and a man who recognizes the dangers posed by an impending invasion. When he learns of Olivine’s unusual visual powers, he convinces her to pick up her bow and arrow and start practicing.
She does, though she’s more concerned with producing enough art to raise the funds to run away from home and live in K’ba, where she can paint all day and see Bohdan as often as she wants. If only her sister Ryalgar hadn’t learned of what she can do and decided Olivine and her fellow long-eyes held one of the keys to defending the realm.
Then, as if life wasn’t complicated enough, Olivine learns the artist community she yearns to be part of has developed a different take on the invasion. They feel certain the only way to survive is to capitulate completely to the Mongols’ demands. Artists who feel otherwise are no longer welcome.
Where does her future lie? The supposed invasion is coming soon and Olivine doesn’t have much time to decide.
She’s the One Who Doesn’t Say Much is available at most retailers.
She’s the One Who Can’t Keep Quiet
Celestine, the fifth of seven sisters, is the most social daughter in the family. Father thinks she’s frivolous because she loves pretty clothes and caters to the crowds in the taverns who adore her music. Mother thinks she can’t keep quiet about anything.
They’re both wrong. Celestine has hid a secret for most of her life.
As the family beauty and a talented musician with a lyrical voice, she is Mother’s best hope for a son-in-law prince. When a liaison with a prince never happens, everyone assumes Celestine is too picky. But even in somewhat tolerant Ilari, a daughter hates to disappoint those she loves. How can she possibly tell her family she’s fallen in love with a princess instead?
Lucky for Celestine, all six sisters have become obsessed with an invading army headed to their realm. Celestine would rather ignore the threat, and enjoy the freedom their lack of attention gives her.
But, her voice can unlock a power that may help save Ilari. And the woman she adores is determined to fight these invaders. And her family, for all their talents, seem clueless about how to motivate the masses.
Celestine knows she can inspire the citizens of Ilari to do what needs to be done. Perhaps it’s time to put her inhibitions aside and use her voice to save those she loves.
She’s the One Who Can’t Keep Quiet was released on January 14, 2022. Find it almost everywhere.
She’s the One Who Won’t Behave
Gypsum, the sixth of seven sisters, has always been a rebel. Yet no one thought she would go so far as to join the reczavy, a group living in tents on the edge of the desert and known for their sexual promiscuity and playful ways.
But as the date of the Mongols’ return draws near, Ilarians of all types must work together if they are to have any hope of surviving. And the reczavy, for all of their odd habits, do have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Well, up their sleeves whenever they are bothering to wear clothes, that is.
Gypsum is touched when her oldest sister Ryalgar comes to call, and brings an olive branch with her. Ryalgar recognizes that the reczavy have as much to lose as anyone, and as much to contribute. Will Gypsum accept a key role in the plan to stop the invasion? Of course she will.
Unfortunately, her playmates don’t all feel the same sense of urgency. Many would rather simply enjoy the time they have left. A few claim to be allergic to long term planning. And some are too busy with their own poorly-timed plans to overthrow the government Ilari already has.
Good thing needlepoint is the one traditional skill at which Gypsum has always excelled. She will need to thread a fine needle in order to coax this recalcitrant group into becoming life-saving warriors of a very different kind.
She’s the One Who Won’t Behave will be released July 8, 2022 and is available for pre-order now at most retailers.
She’s the One Who Scares Us All
Iolite, the youngest of seven sisters, was born a frundle, a rare condition that makes her both shunned and feared in Ilari. This has made her family doubly protective of her, even though she only wants to live a normal life and have the sorts of adventures her sisters do.
Although frundles suffer from some physical and emotional challenges, they also have valuable powers that no one discusses. Iolite learns more when she forges a connection with a roving army on horseback from far away Mongolia. She soon learns that the adventure-loving men she enjoys riding with in her visions are planning to invade her homeland.
When the Mongols send envoys to discuss terms of surrender, Iolite goes into a trance and serves as a translator. Her family fears for her, knowing such trances can damage a frundle’s health. But her own people become a more serious threat to her when a secret cabal inside of Ilari’s army contrives to imprison Iolite and force her to become an ongoing source of information.
How much does a daughter of the realm owe her country? Iolite has plenty of time to ponder the question trapped in her cold dark cell.
What she does once she is freed will determine the fate of her people.
She’s the One Who Scares Us All will be released Dec. 3, 2022 and is available for pre-order now at most retailers.