In February, io9 shared an excerpt from That Self-Similar Metallic, the debut fantasy novel from Brittany N. Williams—who drew upon her background as a classically skilled actor to weave its Shakespearean story. Issues are much more perilous for her uniquely gifted metal-working heroine within the sequel, as this unique peek at Saint-Seducing Gold will reveal.
Right here’s a abstract of Saint-Seducing Gold:
There’s hazard within the court docket of James I. Magical metal-worker Joan Sands should reforge the Pact between humanity and the Fae to cease the looming struggle. As violence erupts throughout London and the murderous spymaster Robert Cecil closes in, the Fae queen Titanea coerces Joan into becoming a member of the royal court docket whereas holding her godfather prisoner within the notorious Tower of London. Now Joan must survive lethal machinations each magical and mortal all whereas balancing the magnetic pull of her two loves—Rose and Nick—earlier than the world as she is aware of it’s destroyed endlessly.
“It’s extremely troublesome to put in writing a second novel as a result of the stakes escalate when it’s a sequel,” writer Williams defined in a press release supplied to io9. “You’ve gotten a crew of readers who you like and also you wish to exceed their expectations. I’m a stronger author now than once I labored on That Self-Similar Metallic so assembly that problem has been extra enjoyable than daunting. Joan’s struggles are worse on this e-book, so I believe she’d disagree. You’ll see on this excerpt that she’s not finished combating for her life and the techniques she used to outlive Auberon gained’t essentially assist her right here. Thrilling information for readers, horrible occasions for Joan.”
Williams continued. “Engaged on this e-book was such an journey. I spent nearly all of my work time immersed in Shakespeare. I used to be enjoying Hotspur in Henry IV, Half 1 whereas I used to be writing the primary draft then I used to be modifying as I directed A Midsummer Evening’s Dream then performing as Olivia in Twelfth Evening. It was trippy and overwhelming to be surrounded by the bard from so many angles nevertheless it was additionally excellent timing. There’s a selected scene that was completely impressed—and written throughout—my rehearsal. I’m wondering if readers will spot it.”
Try the complete cowl—the e-book design is by Chelsea Hunter—adopted by an thrilling excerpt (two phrases: goblin battle!) from Saint-Seducing Gold.
Chapter 9: Choke Their Artwork
Joan’s father ultimately joined them within the sitting room, the shadow of guilt surrounding him a palpable factor. She’d seen James clasp his hand as they appeared over a web page collectively.
She hated for her father accountable himself when she’d been the rationale Robert Cecil had invaded their residence twice now. She wished she might repay the insults and threats he’d lobbed at her household however she doubted even one of many queen’s women might wield such energy.
Her mom flitted between all of them, noting who amongst their listing was additionally a baby of Elegua.
She paused, palms crinkling the paper she held. “We should always have shared this with everybody in November,” she mentioned abruptly.
“Mom.” Joan touched her mom’s wrists. “We thought there was no want as a result of the risk was gone. However we are able to inform them now.”
Her mom nodded and unclenched her fists. Her expression remained tense however Joan accepted her small victory.
Regardless of the darkish clouds of concern and disgrace that loomed over them, the household’s plan got here collectively quickly after the secretary of state’s departure. Avalee, James, and her dad and mom would warn their neighborhood of each Cecil’s stolen data and the escalating Fae risk utilizing her mom’s doorways. In contrast to Ogun, Elegua had unfold his blessings to many inside the metropolis. As soon as phrase reached his youngsters, they’d be capable of move it alongside utilizing their doorway magic to maneuver extra swiftly than the wind.
Joan’s function was to retrieve her godfather’s Ogun pot from his workshop. She’d shortly supplied to stroll as a way to reserve her mom’s skills for his or her messages—although her suggestion held one other goal.
She feared what she’d discover at Baba’s workshop since he had been arrested two months in the past. She wasn’t ready to move immediately into the wreckage of his life. The lengthy stroll would enable her to brace for no matter she discovered. She rounded the nook of his road. His mixed residence and tailor’s store got here into view. An open signal hung within the door’s window and a heat mild spilled out from behind the curtains. One thing in her chest unclenched on the sight. Worry had saved her from coming to this place. The considered the house her godfather maintained with such a fastidious eye for element and cleanliness being left deserted and in disarray had crammed her with dread. Seeing it broken would have made his absence a lot extra actual. That chance had dogged her steps even now, and she or he’d hesitated as she’d turned onto his road.
However every thing was as it might have been if Baba had been there, and she or he knew she had Pearl to thank for that. Joan cautiously opened the entrance door, the bell above it cheerily asserting her arrival with a jangle.
“One second, please,” a husky voice referred to as out from behind a curtain that Joan knew led again into Baba Ben’s most important workspace. Quickly after, a lady, hunched with age, stepped into the primary room. She had deep brown pores and skin and stark white hair neatly braided and pinned round her head, and her total being shone with the glow that marked her as one of many Fae.
“Ah, Joan.” Her eyes softened. “I’ve been hoping you’d come go to.” She held her arms out, and Joan leaned into her heat embrace.
Joan let herself get pleasure from Pearl’s hug for an extended second earlier than pulling away. “They haven’t tried to arrest you too, have they?”
“Oh, they’ve, little one, however each time they’re right here, I get them so rotated they overlook what they’ve come to do.” Pearl snorted out fun.
Joan grinned again at her. She ought to’ve recognized Pearl would use each little bit of Fae magic she knew to maintain Baba’s residence protected in his absence. The love these two shared was as deep as any bond between mom and son. Joan puzzled if this was the primary time they’d ever been aside. The thought broke her coronary heart much more.
“I must retrieve Baba’s . . .” Joan paused, reconsidering her phrases.
She knew Pearl would by no means deliberately betray Baba however Titanea won’t give the previous Fae girl a selection.
“I must retrieve one thing,” she mentioned merely.
Pearl nodded, her gaze conveying her understanding. She glanced on the door to the workshop earlier than waving Joan again towards it. “Go discover what you’re on the lookout for.”
Joan heard the creak of the knob behind her and rushed by means of the curtain into the again room simply because the bell introduced a buyer.
“Good day, ma’am,” Pearl mentioned. “How can I assist?”
Joan misplaced the remainder of the dialog as she moved by means of her godfather’s workshop. Candles illuminated the massive house brightly, a necessity for the fragile artwork stitching, slicing, and embroidering. That Pearl saved it so effectively lit in Baba’s absence warmed Joan’s coronary heart and pained her in equal measure. An enormous mirror trimmed in intricate swirls and twists of silver and gold leaned in opposition to one wall. Joan ran her fingers throughout the metallic as she handed it and felt it sing to her softly. The Sandses had gifted the piece to Baba Ben two years in the past; Joan’s father had even let her do a lot of the metallic detailing alongside it. She’d usual and refashioned the swirl of Ben’s title that ran alongside its high about seven occasions earlier than she was even mildly happy.
However the work had been value it for the joyful look on Ben’s face once they’d delivered it. Her chest felt tight, and she or he compelled herself to maintain shifting.
She wanted to be fast together with her job. She shifted round his lengthy worktables, lined in cloth and unfinished clothes and arranged in a free H form. Her skirts, too huge to move simply, knocked a bolt of gold velvet to the ground. Joan cursed and knelt to select it up.
“You’ll discover nothing right here! Depart this place.” Pearl’s offended voice carried into the workshop.
Joan felt the warmth of Ogun’s presence blaze to life in her chest as Pearl’s physique got here flying by means of the curtain. She slammed into one of many tables, rolling throughout its high and dropping to the ground with a grunt. Her kind shimmered and shrank, her face turning into wider and rounder as the guidelines of her ears elongated into sharp factors. She locked abruptly emerald eyes—their true shade—with Joan, who nonetheless crouched behind one other worktable.
“Run—that goblin doesn’t know you’re again right here,” Pearl whispered because the curtain was ripped away from the doorway.
Joan glanced up as one other brief kind stepped into the doorway, the highest of its head barely clearing the peak of the tables.
The creature shifted into the sunshine, revealing pale blue pores and skin stretched over a wiry body and a head like a big toad with bulbous eyes perched on high. “Your misplaced loyalty is disgusting,” it sneered in a flutelike voice.
“Depart this place,” Pearl mentioned, pushing herself as much as her toes. “You’ll discover nothing you search right here.” She gave Joan a pointed look earlier than she moved out of sight.
The creature laughed just like the clanging of bells. “I adopted the woman right here. You’d die to guard a mortal?”
There was the skittering of toes on the rush-strewn ground and Pearl disappeared fully from Joan’s sight. Pearl shrieked. Cloth tumbled to the ground because the goblin slammed her down on one of many tables. One thing squelched and Pearl cried out once more.
Joan flicked her wrist. Bia launched from her arm, enlarging to full dimension. She snatched the sword from the air as she leapt to her toes. “Get out of my godfather’s store.”
The goblin appeared up from the place it crouched half atop Pearl and sneered at Joan.
“Launch Pearl and go away this place, as she mentioned.” Joan despatched iron flowing from her fingertips and down alongside the sword. She stepped nearer, touching the sharp edge in opposition to the creature’s neck. “The following level I press gained’t be with phrases.”
She doubted this Fae would nonetheless wish to battle when Joan already held it at such an obstacle. If the creature surrendered and allow them to be, Joan wouldn’t observe after it.
The goblin’s gaze shifted alongside the blade then then locked on Joan. A protracted tongue shot out, tasting the air as the remainder of its head turned to observe. It was a lot smaller than Joan, its body lean and wiry, however one thing concerning the creature—
It batted Joan’s sword away and dove for her. Joan stumbled again because the impossibly heavy weight of the creature rammed into her chest. The goblin’s lengthy fingers stretched towards Joan’s throat. Joan blocked them, flipping Bia to slice throughout its arms. It leaned again and Bia lower by means of empty air. The creature wrapped its legs round Joan’s waist, throwing its weight backward and flinging her throughout the room.
Joan slammed in opposition to the alternative wall. One thing popped in her shoulder, the sudden ache shattering her focus.
“Joan!” Pearl referred to as.
She appeared up and raised her forearm, coating it in iron simply because the goblin clawed at her face. Its hand caught Joan’s metal-covered wrist. The scent of burnt flesh crammed the air. She ducked her head to the facet because the goblin’s different claw scratched alongside her temple. Joan flinched however despatched iron over her palm. She grabbed the creature’s wrist, its pores and skin scorching beneath her contact. The horrid stench intensified, however Joan tightened her grip because the goblin screeched and thrashed. Grunting, she hurled it throughout the room with all her power.
Joan pushed herself upright, panting and gasping, however the goblin was on her once more. They each tumbled backward and slammed in opposition to Baba Ben’s huge mirror. The glass shattered. Shards rained down over them as they grappled. Joan misplaced her grip on Bia and the sword clattered throughout the ground.
The goblin’s palms appeared to be in every single place directly, its pace unbelievable. It was all Joan might do to bat every strike away and hold her wounds shallow. Bia was too far-off to seize, but when she might get a hand in opposition to the mirror’s metallic body, she might run this beast by means of. She stretched her fingers towards one facet, barely reaching the cool metal earlier than she needed to block one other hit. She stretched for it once more and felt the slightest chill as she got here nearer the sting of the body.
She couldn’t hope to control the metallic with out touching it, however she nonetheless strained for it. Joan felt one thing inside her snap taut then stretch simply that little bit farther. Her head ached with the strain of it, however she felt if she simply pushed slightly tougher, one thing would occur.
Immediately, a tiny sliver of the metallic mirror wavered and reached again towards her. It wrapped round her fingertip as warmth inbuilt Joan’s chest.
The goblin clawed at Joan’s throat. She grabbed its wrist once more to cease the creature from ripping her entire neck open. The heat disappeared as Joan misplaced her focus and the mirror went again to regular. Unexpectedly she felt the recent trickle of blood alongside her neck, her face, and her arms, in every single place the goblin had attacked her.
She glimpsed Bia on the ground and effectively out of her attain earlier than she needed to bat away one other assault. Regardless of. She solely wanted sufficient of a gap to kind her machete and she or he might finish this.
Joan coated her fist in iron and struck the goblin throughout the face. She let the metallic circulation down alongside the identical hand to kind a blade and flip it in her grip to stab into the creature’s facet. The goblin caught Joan’s wrist mid-swing and, wanting immediately into her eyes, wrenched her arm ahead with one hand.
Joan screamed as her shoulder was jerked out of the socket. The ache shoved every thing else from her thoughts and the iron slipped again into her palm. The creature lifted Joan’s arm, sending searing bolts by means of her entire physique. The goblin’s huge mouth unfold right into a smile. It drew its different hand again, claws prolonged. It gasped, eyes going huge, as Bia’s iron-coated blade jabbed by means of its abdomen.
Joan appeared as much as see Pearl standing behind the goblin, face twisted in ache as she held the sword in each palms. This was simply the distraction Joan wanted.
She slapped her different hand in opposition to the mirror’s metallic body and felt it leap ahead at her contact. The metal and gold flowed down round them in slithering tendrils that wrapped across the goblin, tying it and ripping the creature up and away from Joan. She leaned again because the goblin’s thrashing physique was dragged over her head and certain tightly in opposition to the mirror’s empty picket again.
Gasping, Joan scrambled to her toes. Bia’s hilt caught out from the place it had been stabbed by means of the goblin’s again. She grabbed it and felt the sword hiss in rage. An identical emotion welled up inside her, the throbbing ache in her shoulder feeding the flame.
How dare this creature destroy her godfather’s store? How dare it assault them so? How dare it make her bleed?
Joan grunted and used all her power to drive the sword upward, rending flesh and bone and dense muscle as she break up the goblin in half.
She stepped again, taking within the bloody, bisceted corpse suspended in opposition to the warped and ruined mirror that she’d as soon as put a lot love into creating.
“Nicely, I doubt I might polish that out,” Pearl mentioned as she stepped up beside Joan. She was wrapping clear muslin round her palms, which appeared crimson and uncooked as her kind shifted again to that of a glowing previous girl. “Get what you’ve come for, little one, and be in your manner. I’ll care for issues right here, as I all the time have.”
Joan glanced on the girl, the Fae, and felt absolutely the fact in her phrases. “Thanks.” She appeared on the mirror once more, an ache filling her coronary heart at having to desecrate one thing so lovely and made with such love. “However I need to ask you one favor earlier than I am going.”
“In fact, little one. What’s it?”
Joan gestured to the arm hanging limp and too lengthy at her facet. “May you assist me set my shoulder?”
Brittany N. Williams is a classically skilled actress who studied musical theater at Howard College and Shakespearean efficiency on the Royal Central Faculty of Speech & Drama in London. Beforehand she’s been a principal vocalist at Hong Kong Disneyland, a theater professor at Coppin State College, and made appearances in Queen Sugar and Leverage: Redemption. Her brief tales have been printed within the Gambit Weekly, Fireplace Journal, and the Star Wars anthology From a Sure Level of View: The Empire Strikes Again.
Excerpt from Saint-Seducing Gold by Brittany N. Williams reprinted by permission of Amulet Books.
Saint-Seducing Gold by Brittany N. Williams will likely be launched April 23, 2024; you’ll be able to pre-order a duplicate here or right here.
Need extra io9 information? Try when to count on the most recent Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on movie and TV, and every thing you’ll want to learn about the way forward for Physician Who.