THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS (ISBN-10: 0765335654; ISBN-13: 978-0765335654), my “other” book, will be an August 5, 2014 Tor Books release. It is even now being turned into an audiobook by Brilliance Audio, the same people who will be bringing you the audiobook of CROWN OF VENGEANCE.
THE HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS is something of a departure for me, being a contrahistorical set in the Age of Piracy with a strong romantic subplot (though the romance isn’t furthered much by the fact that the hero thinks the heroine is a boy right up until the next to last minute).
The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.
Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.
Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.
Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm, The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers.
This is, ah, reasonably accurate. Clarice disguises herself as a boy when she leaves home, meaning to make her fortune as a swordsmaster. She travels to the New World on a whim (also on a ship), only to discover that Captain Sprunt (aka the cruel captain) is a very bad man who does not intend that she -- or most of the crew -- survive the voyage. Without food or water, and weeks from land, the mutineers' only haven is the destination Sprunt had been making for: a secret landfall where admission is gained only by a mystic talisman.
The good news? Clarice and Dominick have Sprunt's talisman. The bad news? The House of the Four Winds is a pirate haven. The good news? Dominick and his crew can pass for pirates. The bad news? Shamal, sorcerous queen of the pirates, doesn't care whether Dominick is a pirate or not...
And pirate or not, he's likely to have a very short life.
Each book in the series is intended to be a standalone following a different daughter of the Ducal family of Swansgaard as they find their own places in the world. They’re much shorter than the World of Obsidian novels, and certainly less epic in scope. My overall inspiration for the series is the pulp adventure fiction of the 1930s: there will be lost cities, mystic princes, wicked sorceresses, foreign legions, swordplay, and probably a few dirigibles.
I admit it’s something of a struggle finding room for the romance when I’m more interested in the swordplay, but I rely on my lovely and talented co-author to help me deliver a rousing and satisfying tale (as it says on the label). I had a lot of fun writing HOUSE OF THE FOUR WINDS, but I promise you: that is the very last time I set something on a ship! In the first place, all your characters are stuck together in a very small space, which presents certain problems. In the second place, I am no Patrick O'Brian, and the amount of research I had to do to bring the brig Asesino to life was more than a little daunting, and I am sure I will be hearing from fans of Fighting Sail about everywhere I put a foot wrong.
Still, it was a lot of fun to write, and I hope it’s a lot of fun to read.