Palace of Sunderland. Paradise to the peasants. Prison to sixteen-year-old Anna, daughter of the king. She can never escape the castle’s cold walls and scorning disapproval of her father and his brute royal counsel, Seamus. She’ll always live in the shadow of her late mother, the queen. Will they ever see her for who she really is?
A riding accident lands Anna in the hands of traders who sell her as a slave in distant Kasdod to none other than her father’s enemy, Lord Anwar. After overhearing a dangerous plot to conquer Sunderland and kill the royal family, Anna must escape and warn her father, even if it means facing her greatest enemy.
With the doom looming over her, Anna is approached by a dangerous man in the dark. He claims to want to help her, but can she trust him with her secrets? The perils of the journey ahead will push Anna to the limit and answer the one question that has always plagued her…
Will she ever be enough?
“What an exciting book to read. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The characters were very well developed, and it made me cheer for them all the way through. The cover is very dramatic and fits very well with the story. Great read.” – Goodreads Reviewer
“One Tough Princess…A princess who despite great suffering never gives up. I really loved Anna’s determination and heart. You’ll find adventure, high stakes and romance in the midst of such horrible circumstances. A solid plot with a story that stayed with me.” – Amazon Reviewer
“A breathtaking journey into royal courts, slavery, escape, war, and love. This book has it all…” – Amazon Reviewer
Princess Anna is left to rule Sunderland as regent when her father, brother and her presumed fiancé Jack ride to battle devouring creatures in Jack’s home kingdom of Oclen. She must establish herself as a strong leader with the Sunderland council and a neighboring king who brings along two handsome princes to negotiate an alliance.
Trouble erupts as outlining Sunderland villages are attacked by pillaging marauders and the council loses confidence in Anna’s leadership. As Anna waits in trepidation for word from her father’s army, all she hears is silence. Her scouts never return. When the reports of a coming horror reach Anna, she forges an unlikely alliance and forgoes her father’s long-standing policies against gems of power. She trains Sunderland’s remaining soldiers to fight with gems. She’ll lead them to battle to rescue her family and the one she loves.
But first she must survive the treachery brewing in her own court.
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August 4, 2021 by Diane E. Samson
Reeling from Jack becoming king of Oclen, Princess Anna returns home as Sunderland’s Defender. Earning her title was a hard-fought honor, but Anna can’t escape the guilt of leaving Jack alone in that cursed, starving place.
When Jack comes to Sunderland seeking aid from Anna’s father, she must decide whether to return with him and help defeat the curse plaguing the cold northern land. If she remains Sunderland’s Defender, she knows her heart would never forgive her for abandoning Jack to rebuild a crushed kingdom.
Can Anna leave what she loves to become queen of a people suspicious of her and the gems? Joining Jack would mean battling an evil greater than anything she’s ever faced, for the curse’s roots grow deep. But if she doesn’t, Oclen will likely fall and Anna will lose Jack forever.
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Excerpt from Mountain of Flame
A group of soldiers on the slope ahead halted their horses, their hands flying to their swords. Anna used her last ounce of strength to stop Farley before he ran right into them, the reins tearing through her water-softened hands. He half-reared and skidded to a stop, puffing and blowing. Anna patted his foam-flecked neck. Her arms and back trembled with exhaustion, and her side screamed in pain.
Zac launched over the hill behind her. “Anna!” He pulled up next to her. “Are you all right?”
She gave him an apologetic glance. Her breath hitched in her chest.
Twelve men in Oclen uniforms shifted their horses into a tight triangle formation. Two horses stood at the point and five horses down each side. Zac’s hand twitched to his sword as he moved his horse closer to Anna. She was faintly aware that Bart and Gavriella rode up behind them.
“Greetings,” Anna called, as she let the reins slide through her fingers. Farley strode forward a few steps before she halted him again, cringing at the pain in her hands. He chomped on the bit and tossed his head. She searched for Jack’s chestnut horse to no avail. “What news do you bring from Oclen? Is your king well?” Her heart hammered against her ribs. None of the men looked familiar.
“At ease,” the one voice Anna wanted to hear most spoke from the rear. The soldiers’ formation split as Jack’s chestnut horse, Avery, moved up the center of the triangle and halted in front of her. Farley nickered. Jack looked so different—thin with deep, purple circles under his eyes and pale, sunken cheeks. “The king is alive, at least.”
Excerpted from Mountain of Flame by Diane E. Samson, Copyright © 2021 by Diane E. Samson. Published by Diane E. Samson.
About the Author
Diane E. Samson grew up on acreage just north of Kansas City, Missouri, with horses and dogs in the backyard. She later pursued her love of words and earned a degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduation she worked as a reporter, managing editor, freelance writer and in public relations. After moving around the country, she’s recently returned to the Kansas City area where she lives with her husband, children and golden retriever.
She’s written fiction off and on her whole life and is the author of the YA fantasy Gems of Fire series including Gems of Fire, Valley of Bones and Mountain of Flame. The series centers on a girl traveling a journey of self-discovery in a world of powerful gems, supernatural forces, epic battles and of course, handsome heroes.
Print copies of Gems of Fire and Valley of Bones by Diane E. Samson, a $25 Amazon gift card, three gem necklaces, and bookmarks (US only)
Ends September 19, 2021