BLURB: Not even the gods noticed when Chariss was born with the mark of The Protector. Now she and her wizard guardian seek shelter from a mad sorcerer in a household not just full of secrets and false hope, but watched by the god who will unwittingly reveal her role in an impending war.
When an orphan sets aside a lifetime of running and fear to accept the responsibilities of guarding an arrogant deity, can she face the trials in the prophecies she uncovers? Will Nigel Taiman of her latest refuge dare to use his dragon heritage to bind her to his estate or to help her in her duty?
WHAT I THOUGHT: If you know nothing else about me by now, (unless this is your first time here, in which case I forgive you) you know I love a strong heroine. Not the kind who play the part of the victim, although I know a certain amount of vulnerability is sometimes what makes a strong heroine seem stronger...anyway...LOVE CHARISS. It's been a little while since I've read a good fantasy, so I was overdue. Who wouldn't want to be born with an amethyst set into the corner of their right eye, I ask you??...oh and I really like dragons...
We're in for a special treat today Chicks, as the Author,
Sandy Lender has joined us for a Guest Post:
Strong Chicks Rule
By Fantasy Author Sandy Lender
Amanda Chariss Derdriu is a strong chick. And I dig that. She’s not the sarcastic, scantily-clad, promiscuous heroine you see in a lot of fantasy and spec fiction novels these days, but she is intrigued by humor, romance, and scandals she can solve. She knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to speak it. (Within reason.) See, she’s a good girl, except for a propensity to stick knives and swords in people. (I think she gets that from me. Now, I’ve never actually stuck a knife in anyone, but I sure feel better having a sword under the bed and a medieval dagger on the dresser.)
Back to Chariss.
Chariss has a power known as the geasa. In my fantasy writing, this is a gift the gods breathe into a soul after his or her conception, while the person is still forming in the womb. I designed this power for the “good guys” in the fantasy world of Onweald so they wouldn’t be using sorcery. I’m a Southern Baptist and I believe that you need to be pretty darn cautious about playing around with magic and sorcery—danger, Will Robinson—so I needed something “completely different” in my story. Now, you can argue that even the geasa sounds like magic (and I’ll agree), but I had to do something. I mean, this is fantasy. So the good guys like Chariss have the geasa and the bad guys get their “gift” of sorcery from the big bad evil Julette, an ancient goddess who has gone a little nuts with wanting to usurp her husband and son’s worshippers.
What else about Chariss is cool? Well, she was born with this beautiful little amethyst on her cheekbone, high up near the corner of her right eye. I used to be married to someone who couldn’t grasp the concept when I explained it to him. He kept saying, “A stone is inorganic matter.” And I would say, “It’s fantasy.” The point is Chariss has a destiny that was set in motion prior to her birth and the amethyst is a birthmark that seals her fate. (And her eyes match the color of the amethyst, which I think makes her just gorgeous.)
Chariss saw the massacre of her family when she was four years old. The sorcerer Jamieson Drake would have killed her back then, too, if Hrazon of Mon’dore, the greatest wizard the gods created hadn’t shown up and whisked her off to safety. He’s been her guardian, mentor, teacher, and constant companion ever since. The perfect love and respect these two have for each other is amazing to me. It’s based on 1 Corinthians 13:4 and The Master Rothahn alludes to this in CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS. He seems almost jealous of it when He first mentions it, and that deadly sin of envy only grows.
As you can see, Chariss isn’t an insular character who goes through the novel on her own insular journey. She affects the people around her. One character she affects in an extreme fashion is Nigel Taiman. This poor man seems to have given up on love and the pursuit of happiness when we first meet him. He’s just going through the motions of tending to his family’s estate and school. He protects his little sister and his mother from a tyrannical father and hides among the shadows of the estate until Chariss appears and knocks the wind out of his sails. She doesn’t mean to. It just sort of happens. In fact, she’s apologetic and fretful when she finds out he’s in love with her.
There are plenty of sides and shades to Amanda Chariss. The best way to get to know her, of course, is to read about her in the trilogy, to follow her through her arc. I’ve lived with her in my head for years now so I know her like a sister. She’s a beloved friend to me. I hope that folks who come to the series as new readers will find a friend in her as well. There’s a quick little description of her in the “Character Sketches” section of the Worlds link on my new Web site at www.authorsandylender.com.
Thank you for visiting today to learn a little more about Chariss!
“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
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