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The Crystal Crux series continues to grow!

Now that I’ve completed Books One and Two, Betrayal and Blue Grotto, as well as the YA edition combining the first two books in one volume, The First Three Days, it is on to writing the third, as yet unnamed, book.

I have the whole structure laid out and started working on the first six chapters.

Is Pero de Alava dead?
Will Francis Whitehall find his old squire before running into more trouble?
Can Gherardus, Rugerius, Talento and Sinibaldus trust one another after all the lying and backstabbing?
What will Anthea do while she waits for her upcoming wedding to the Castellan?
And what will Viridian find when she follows Didian, the black imp’s advice, and heads for Port Hell and a meeting Lord Ophis?

The Crystal Crux series is a ten day adventure.  Book Three should cover days Four and Five.  We should be halfway done with the journey by the end of the year.  Excited?  I am.

Click Here to purchase the YA edition – The First Three Days

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Click Here to purchase the First Book – Betrayal

BETRAYAL

Click Here to purchase Book Two – Blue Grotto

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Good And Evil

One of the core challenges I faced when I started writing The Crystal Crux series is how I would define good and evil.

When you look at life, really look at it, the definition of both can be rather murky.  Good people do evil things and evil people do good things.  So where is the line that defines a good person and an evil person.  How much evil finally makes a good person no longer good?

In The Crystal Crux-Betrayal, we see Pero de Alava professing to be tired of being good.  He doesn’t want to be a good person anymore.  But what does that mean?  He declares it but he himself is not sure what it all entails or if he’s even capable of being it.

His best friend, Francis Whitehall, seems to most to be the epitome of a good knight, a good man.  He seems to bear the burden of goodness differently than Pero.  He seems rather at peace with it despite all the problems he has faced in life, including a father who ruined the family name murdering innocent people and a shrewish wife, not to mention a spirit-crushing poverty forcing him to live day by day, fighting in tournaments to make a living.

The bond between these two is important to the story.  Francis sees the burdens crushing Pero and doesn’t know how to help him, or even if he can help him.  In the end, it seems that only thing he can offer is advice.

Francis wishes Pero to see that good must have its own merit and can’t simply be whatever is reactionary to evil.  If it is, then evil dictates life.  Our emotions and behaviors are only our responses to threats and fears.

Pero rides out on a quest to Eagles Pass to learn for himself what motivates him, truly motivates him.  Is it goodness?  Evil?  Hate?  Anger?  Or is it love?

Pero de Alava decided to throw all his cards on the table.  He cursed God and dared him to show His face, try to kill him.  Was this pride?  Was it suicidal?  There are a lot of things going on in Pero’s head and the emergence of supernatural activities around him is not helping.  He feels he is losing his mind.

The Crystal Crux- Betrayal is available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook!
Be sure also to catch the 2nd book in The Crystal Crux series, Blue Grotto.

Click Here to check out The Crystal Crux-Betrayal

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Learn More About Book Two

The fifty-year-old former Provost of Parthenope had been nothing short of knightly.  Francis commended the statesman for that.  It was not to be expected.  But Guidus did it.  He had battled bravely alongside the Griffin, cutting down mercenaries with impassioned strokes.

‘Poor Guidus,’ Francis thought empathetically.  ‘I’m sure he has never endured a night such as this.’  Francis felt his compassion for Guidus wane.  ‘Who has endured a night like this?  This has been the worst night of my life.’

“Damn it,” Francis softly grumbled.  He pounded his fist against his thigh again.  The palms and fingers were roped burned and stung but he didn’t care.  He wanted to feel something, anything. – EXCERPT FROM : THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BLUE GROTTO

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The Crystal Crux series is a ten day adventure through Medieval Italy.  The first book in the series, BETRAYAL, began with just that – a betrayal.  The people of Capua were stunned when military forces from their allies in Parthenope suddenly laid siege to the keep, killing nearly everyone.

Francis Whitehall, the Griffin, escaped down a privy pipe with Guidus Salvatore, the former Provost of Parthenope and the courier who brought the orders sending Pero de Alava on a suicidal quest to The Eagles Forest.

Pero, by the grace of God, survived the Pass but is injured and holed up in a sanctuary prison.  He has no idea the calamity that befell his home and friends, including his fiance, Anthea Manikos.

Meanwhile, in Parthenope, the giant Sinibaldus, the wielder of a Bellerophon Crystal, agonizing over his failure to kill Pero with his enchanted creatures.  He lies to his comrades while conspiring to complete his mission.

Dressed from head to toe in a black wool cape, Sinibaldus glided silently through the already open door into Gherardus Fabbro’s study.  The giant’s movements were so fluid, so stealthy and cloaked, the two guards posted at the door to protect the Lord Commander hardly noticed the magician come down the long hall before he was right on top of them, crossing over the threshold.  They couldn’t have warned their lord if they wanted to. – EXCERPT FROM : THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BLUE GROTTO

Book Two – Blue Grotto, takes us into Days Two and Three while exploring more background of the main characters.  It is a deep and enthralling epic fantasy tale, often dark but hopeful.  Join us on the journey.

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Be sure to purchase the new book at Amazon – Paperback and Kindle – write a review!
CLICK HERE to purchase BLUE GROTTO
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Books, both Paperback and Kindle also make great stocking stuffers for readers in your family.

Happy Reading!

Recalcitrant

“The Griffin was alone.  He had no labors to perform for his lord.  He had no men-at-arms to command.  There was not a single ritter in his retinue.  His overlord, Sir Geoffrey Clayton Wolfe, would be completely ruined had he not been afforded the protection of the throne of England, a remuneration of sorts for his charitable efforts in better times, as well as his unstinting support for the Crown during the last baron’s rebellion.  Several of the Wolfes ambitious neighbors still guarded their intent to plunder him, but none were so bold as to challenge the legal shield placed around his estates by King Henry II, not yet anyway.”
– Excerpt from THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL by AM WERNER

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A person who is recalcitrant resists authority.  They are disobedient and refuse to conform or submit.

A recalcitrant knight during the Middle Ages was a knight who had sworn an oath to a Lord, Duke, Baron, Prince or King, and breaks that oath.

In The Crystal Crux series, Francis Whitehall is a honorable knight who refuses to break his oath to his lord, although his lord is nearly destitute and his other knights have abandoned him.

“Francis Whitehall was not one of the fallen for he refused to evolve.  His was a steadfast faith that rebuffed the privileged ranks of the unrighteous overlords.  The allure of their despotism failed to entice him.  Those who had prospered by compromising with their courtliness found his presence at knightly functions a baneful inclusion.  Francis was ostracized for he had become an unwelcomed reminder of antiquated gallantry.  And it was a gallantry and integrity that left him nearly friendless and rather penniless.”
– Excerpt from THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL by AM WERNER

You can learn more about Francis Whitehall by clicking on this link
FRANCIS WHITEHALL – THE GRIFFIN

You can purchase the book of the series, THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL, on Amazon as a Paperback, Kindle or Ebook.  There is also a YA version for those who prefer less graphic violence and sex.
PURCHASE THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL

YA EDITION of THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL

“My gage to Lord Geoff is irrevocable.  No one, not even you and your serpents tongue can poison it.  It is final.  I am a knight of Christ and I will not share with you this sinful fruit.  I will not reward an eye for an eye.  I will not strike you down though you be the devil himself.”
– Excerpt from THE CRYSTAL CRUX-BETRAYAL by AM WERNER

Francis Whitehall

I give the readers of The Crystal Crux-Betrayal a pretty good look at Pero de Alava’s best friend and estate steward at Capua, Francis Whitehall.

Francis is the quintessential, God-fearing, Christian knight of legend.  He swings his blade like he quotes verse, gracefully, artfully and deadly.  In a fallen world populated by sinners and recalcitrance, he exemplifies true devotion to integrity and faith.  And he has honed these virtues to an unexpected point of alienation and self-destruction.

“There was a time when the Whitehall family name stood for something, something honored and celebrated.  It was respected and had great prestige.”
– Excerpt from The Crystal Crux-Betrayal

The Whitehall family crest is a snarling, orange crouchant griffin.  Francis wears it proudly now, but it was he that restored the prestige.  Francis father, William, had been a knight as well, serving notably for King Baldwin III in Jerusalem.  He returned home from the wars, wed Constance, and settled down to have a domestic life of farming.

When Francis turned seven, William was struck down by a cruel fever that stole his wits.  The poor man went mad, mumbling incessantly about wickedness all around them, the horrors of what he had done in the war coming back to punish him.  William donned his armor one last time and murdered a dozen people in Warwick.  He was subdued and taken.  Constance lost everything.  It was all forfeited to the crown and William was hung.

Impoverished, Constance and Francis would have been left to the streets if it had not been for the kindly considerations of Lord Geoffrey Clayton Wolfe, a devout Templar and long time friend of the family.  He took them in and raised Francis.  The young Griffin was instilled with a devotion for the Wolfe unlike anything he could ever explain to anyone.

When the Wolfe fell on hard times, lost more of his fortune, his castle at Warwick crumbling, around him, his knightly forces recanted and left him for more prosperous lords.  Only Francis, who had recently wed Midonia, stayed loyal.

Midonia was an ogress but Francis had a misguided belief that the cruelest women hid the greatest cache of virtue and love deep in her heart.  After siring Anne, Francis learned that there was no cache beneath it all and life with Midonia would forever be a test of wills.

While the descending Wolfe struggled, Francis led his family on the road, living for months on end in an enormous canvas pavilion, entering every tournament and melee on the continent.

“For Francis Whitehall, these tournaments were not games.  Every waking moment had become a question of life and death.”
– Excerpt from The Crystal Crux – Betrayal

During the Grand Melee in Germany on Whitsuntide, when Emperor Barbarossa brought his sons into knighthood, Francis rode to the rescue of a Spanish caballero he had just met.  Pero de Alava was battling assassins and more than grateful to the Griffin.  He went to England and negotiated with the Wolfe for Francis’ service.

Spending all their time together thereafter, they became fast friends and when Pero received his Imperial commission at Capua, Francis and his family followed.

Francis Whitehall is one of the more stirring characters in the series and I believe many will who read it will feel emotionally attached to him, rooting for him at every turn.

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Also available on other literary sites including iBook.

If you want to read about more characters in The Crystal Crux-Betrayal, check out some of the other postings on this site and my authors page – AM WERNER