It still amazes me to consider my ninth book releases today. I vividly remember the trembling finger that uploaded the rough draft manuscript of Dragon’s Future to a small publishing house that was accepting submissions. So much has happened since that President’s Day weekend three years ago. The family has grown from the original five books in the Dragon Courage series to now six in that set, a middle grade fantasy, and now two Biblical retellings.
The New Book:
To Save a Race tells an age-old story of persecution, love, racial hatred, and tremendous courage. The original story is beloved by both Jews and Christians. Although it’s been told in various formats throughout the years, I decided to go with a steampunk style inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle. My fascination with the Esther story goes back to first or second grade. The private school I attended celebrated Reformation Day by having students dress up as Biblical characters or heroes of the faith. The one year, I chose Esther. I felt so aristocratic in the green satin. This picture doesn’t do the outfit justice. Can you guess who my brother was?
Since I wanted to shine a new light on an old favorite, that meant I needed new characters. With that in mind, the Rector family came into existence. Lord Praus and Lady Hemma welcomed Arianna into their family with open arms. Pasha and Arianna had been friends since they were little, but now they’re foster sisters. With a relationship much like Anne Shirley and Diana Barry of Anne of Green Gables, Arianna pulls Pasha into her antics. However, the duke’s edict changes all of that. Pasha gets married, and Arianna heads to the castle to comply with the decree.
The first person Arianna meets is Ayudal, the man in charge of the girls coming to the castle. In the book of Esther, there are several men who are mentioned, but I took the liberty to combine them all into one trusted advisor to the duke. This man sees the potential in Arianna and singles her out for special training. Nevertheless, Arianna has one trait that Ayudal worries about–her temper blended with her spontaneity. If she can curb her impulses, she just may have a chance at becoming the next duchess.
Arianna’s lack of holding her tongue is evident in this first meeting with the duke during Pasha’s wedding. She comes upon the duke and Lord Praus talking and is invited to join them to gain some refreshments. This scene begins right after they’ve finished eating.
The duke bowed, and Arianna curtsied. He offered her his arm, and led her to the area where the rest of the dancers swirled. Duke Callan was a confident leader and Arianna’s feet found the pace easily as they moved through the steps. Her nervousness must have been noticeable, though, for the duke’s eyes found hers.
“Relax,” he commanded. “I won’t bite. I’ve held many a young woman safely in my arms.”
His words, meant to comfort, had the opposite effect as Arianna envisioned the other women who were now the subject of gossip and disdain.
“I’m sure you have,” she said, a coldness edging her voice.
He raised an eyebrow and then laughed, a clear joyous sound. “I don’t believe any of my counselors would have had the candor to say that.”
“Maybe someone should have!”
The thought of his edict irked Arianna. No one should be able to command girls to leave their homes or rush into marriages. She didn’t care what it did to her chances at the castle—she was going to tell him what she thought.
“Even a duke shouldn’t be allowed complete reign. There’s One above all men who watches, and to whom all men will give an account.”
“May I ask what I’ve done?” The duke didn’t miss a step in the dance as he twirled Arianna out away from him and then brought her back.
“What?” Arianna stared. “You don’t even realize that what you’ve done is wrong?”
“Pray tell, maiden. How have I offended you?” the duke replied without a hint of mocking in his voice.
Arianna realized he honestly didn’t know. A deep sigh calmed her down and helped her remember who she was with. “Your Grace, maybe I shouldn’t have spoken so harshly.” They spun to the music and when Arianna returned to the duke’s arms, he looked expectantly for her to continue. Arianna sighed. “I’ve heard you’ve made an edict that all young maidens are to come for consideration as your new bride.”
Understanding dawned in the brown-flecked eyes. “Ah, and you think I should just ask the girl I wish to marry me in a traditional form, is that it?”
You can find the first review of To Save a Race on The Musings of a Book Addict which states, “She creates characters that you love to hate.” This seems to be the reaction to Duke Callon.
When Duke Callon divorces his wife and decides on an uncanny way of choosing his next duchess, Arianna’s left with little choice. Faced with the intricacies of politics, Arianna struggles to find her place. Just as she thinks she has her footing, a decree, issued with the blessing of her husband, calls for the extermination of her entire race.
A young innocent girl, a capricious duke, and a decree that will change everything. What will it take to save a race?
Follow along in this one of a kind Steampunk Biblical retelling of an Old Testament classic by Kandi J Wyatt.
The book is available on all major outlets; however, if you can’t find your favorite retailer, please let me know.