Fire along the Sky

Booklist likes Queen of Swords

Yiiiippppppeeeeee! A really good review from Booklist:

Donati, Sara. Queen of Swords. Oct. 2006. 564p. Bantam, $27 (0-533-80149-X).

In the fifth volume of her popular Wilderness series after Fire Along the Sky (2004), Donati sweeps readers into two strong women’s personal journeys of rescue and redemption. It is 1814 in the French Antilles, where Scots noblewoman Jennet Scott Huntar is being held captive. But when her future husband, Luke, and his half-sister, Hannah, finally locate and free her, their troubles have just begun. To ensure the safety of her son, born during her imprisonment, Jennet had made a devil’s bargain with a dissolute, untrustworthy man. As the trio travels from Pensacola to New Orleans in their attempts to learn the child’s whereabouts, Jennet struggles to heal herself and her marriage, while Hannah, half-Mohawk, uses her medical training to help the city’s Indian populace and faces deadly illness herself. It’s both a smoothly written, engrossing adventure about an early American family and a vivid depiction of the little-explored War of 1812, yet it’s more than that. Donati also delves into much deeper realities, such as race and prejudice in one of America’s famously multicultural cities, the complex patterns of revenge, the price of loyalty during wartime, and the transformative power of love. Avid historical fiction and romance readers will devour it. —Sarah Johnson

edited to add this link to Sarah Johnson’s weblog

news-like items

Things are unsettled here still, and I’m often disoriented and distracted. But I wanted to get a few things down before I forgot.

1. Lots of people signed up on the forum, posting away madly in the hope of winning the Queen of Swords ARC. I’ll be drawing the name on Friday, so get over there and say something if you’re interested. Even if you don’t care about the ARC, you might find something to interest you on the forum. There are lots of interesting conversations going on. I’m also thinking of posting the original, longer first chapter of Fire Along the Sky over there.

2. So far I’ve had about twenty-five letters (or postcards) from people who would like a page from the Queen of Swords galley proofs. I sent out a pile on Saturday and I’ll send out another pile tomorrow. I’ll open a thread on the forum where you can, if you like, indicate if you’ve received one of the pages and which page it is. It would be fun to see how much of the galley proof we can reconstruct. In a quirky, I’m the only one laughing way. If there’s interest, I’ll open another spoilerish thread for people to talk about the pages they’ve got and what they think is going on.

3. Still time to send me a SASE or postcard (I got a Farscape postcard today, now there’s somebody who knows what makes me happy), and I’ll send you a signed, dated page in return.

favorite posts?

If you have a favorite post or posts, could you comment and say which one(s)? I could make a list based on hits, but that doesn’t feel quite right.

It has been a hectic weekend, but I hope to have more to post about tomorrow.

Oh and: a few people have posted general comments about the Wilderness books in the comments recently. Which is fine; I like to hear from readers, in whatever format. Bruce (or maybe his wife; it was unclear) just posted that s/he was disconcerted by the lack of a clear antagonist in Fire Along the Sky. It’s an interesting observation, and makes me wonder if other people had this same feeling.

new improved Strikes-the-Sky question… and an almost answer

Sara has more questions regarding Strikes-the-Sky:

So now I’m going to do the bold and unthinkable and ask you a question, which as author you aren’t obligated to address (though I surely hope you will). Why — when his character was so immediately interesting, endearing and obviously significant — did you have Strikes-the-Sky die? I simply sensed such potential had he lived — in whatever circumstance. I humbly admit, however, that I have secretly hoped he still did live, and I know that however the story ends up it will be right.

It’s an interesting question, but not easy to answer. Why does any character die? Why does Strikes-the-Sky die? Was that a cold blooded, cold hearted decision on my part?

To be truthful, I don’t even remember when I knew that Strikes-the-Sky wouldn’t be around for Fire Along the Sky. What I knew, before I started writing, was very little beyond a basic fact: Hannah needed to be in the Ohio territory during the time Tecumseh was trying to unite the tribes. She had to be a part of that, and to experience first hand what was coming for all the first peoples. Strikes-the-Sky took her there, and made it possible for her to have those experiences.

The loss of her husband and son is mirrored and made more intense by a larger loss of what was widely believed to be the last real chance for the native peoples to resist European encroachment. But I never sat down and reckoned this all out for myself. It happened behind the door of my subconscious, and then appeared one day as a done deal.

I don’t know if that is an answer that will help anybody understand the process, but it’s as close as I can get to describing how things came to pass for Strikes-the-Sky.