Usually I can demonstrate some self-control with wanting to buy all the books.
Confession: Today’s book is very much different.
I’ve had the hardest time in wanting to snatch this book up and do nothing but literally read all day (okay, maybe have some lunch and dinner, but it’s right back to reading afterwards!).
I mean, have you see the beaming reviews?
Although Alara’s Call fits into the fantasy category of speculative fiction as a “sword opera” set in a fictional world, there is no magic. Alara’s visions, and other characters’ supernatural abilities are more like enhanced spiritual gifts. Because of this, Alara’s Call reads like a suspense novel set in a quasi-Victorian world.
Then author Kate G Jameson said, “So if you like stories of daring adventure, conflicts of faith, and grand worlds to explore, give Alara’s Call a shot.”
YES, I WANT TO TAKE A SHOT AT THIS SWORD OPERA, KATE!
*clears throat* Sorry for all the yelling. I might just be a little bit excited. *winks*
Hopefully I have you just as excited about reading this story as I am, especially since the author, Kristen Stieffel, is stopping by to talk about her favorite character from Alara’s Call (who she says looks like Harrison Ford!!!!)
So, without further interruption of squeals and fangirlness, here is the very beautiful cover of Alara’s Call and the stage for Kristen (otherwise I’ll keep rambling about how I want it right now)!
About the Book
Tales are often told of heroes who fulfill ancient prophecies. Alara’s Call is the tale of a woman who gives new ones.
Alara sees visions of other’s futures, but never her own.
A young clergywoman with a fiery passion for her Telshan faith, she has been assigned to a mission abroad but longs to lead a congregation in her homeland. Her father, the prime minister, jeopardizes her dream and her safety when he coerces her into what he calls a diplomatic mission.
But it’s a ruse.
The trip is meant to end with her marriage to the crown prince of a foreign nation, where members of Alara’s faith are persecuted and women oppressed. All for a trade agreement her father is desperate to enact.
But her mentor intervenes and takes Alara to Dorrel, the suitor she left behind. They believe they are safe, but foreign soldiers are under orders to bring Alara to the king’s palace…by any means necessary.
My Favorite Character: General Rariden
“Alara,” the general said, “you must decide whom you trust more—me, or your father.”
The breath shuddered out of her. “You, sir.”
“Then do as I say.”
Alara shivered and pinched her lips between her teeth. They rode in the general’s curricle, drawn by a pair of black horses. He drove the cart himself, presumably to avoid having a driver present to overhear. The clopping of hooves on paving stones echoed down a dark, empty street shrouded in morning mist.
Defying her father was bad enough. Defying the prime minister could be seen as treason. Unfortunately for her, they were the same man.
She clenched her hands to stop their trembling. It didn’t work.
General Rariden grasped her fingers in one of his brawny, weathered hands. “Listen. If I can convince the foreign minister to suspend your father’s treaty for review, we can prevent Ambassador Pavud from taking you to Makut. But if I can’t, we’ll do what we must to get you to safety.”
General Noryom Rariden is one of Alara’s mentors, and he’s absolutely my favorite character in the Prophet’s Chronicle series. He’s loosely based on Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower. If Alara’s Call were a film, I would cast Harrison Ford as Rariden.
Rariden retired from the army long ago, but everyone still calls him “General.” Part of the backstory to Alara’s Call is a war between her homeland, Glynrell, and the neighboring nation of Makut. Rariden was a hero in that war. He was later elected prime minister and served in that role two terms. Choosing not to stand for re-election—though he could have—he instead became chancellor of the university in the capital city.
He’s a lifelong friend of Alara’s family, and he occasionally, as a favor, teaches martial arts to his friends’ children, which is how he came to know Alara and her friend Palon, who also figures in the opening scenes of the novel.
My favorite scene with Rariden is when … I think I can share this without being too spoiler-y … Alara’s father scoffs at one of her prophetic messages, and Rariden grabs him and says, “Don’t. Argue. With her.”
Yeah, her father backs down. He not foolish enough to disobey the general.
Isn’t it funny how often writers’ favorites are the secondary characters? I guess that’s because we don’t have to give them as many flaws, and we don’t have to put them through so much hardship.
About the Author
Kristen Stieffel is a freelance editor and writer who specializes in speculative fiction. Although she edits projects in varied genres for both the general market and the Christian submarket, she is a novelist at heart. Member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and Christian Editor Connection, mentor with Word Weavers International, and on the planning committee for Realm Makers, Kristen stays busy doing what she loves most. She is also the associate editor of Havok, a flash-fiction magazine focused on science fiction and fantasy. Visit www.KristenStieffel.com to learn more about this many-faceted author.
Stay tuned for more stops on the blog tour by seeing the schedule on L2L2’s website!
Wait, Don’t Forget About the FB Party!
We are thrilled to celebrate Kristen’s latest release, Alara’s Call, with you! Join us right here on this Facebook page to win prizes, get to know the author, and play release-party games on Thursday, September 21st. Your hosts are Kristen Stieffel, Laura A. Grace, and Michele Israel Harper. Cannot wait to see you there!