The river Irenicon is a feat of Concordian engineering. Blasted through the middle of Rasenna in 1347 using Wave technology, it divided the only city strong enough to defeat the Concordian Empire. But no one could have predicted it would become sentient, and hostile.
Sofia Scaligeri, the soon-to-be Contessa of Rasenna, is inheriting a city tearing itself apart from the inside. She can see no way of stopping Rasenna's culture of vendetta . . . until a Concordian engineer arrives to build a bridge over the Irenicon. He shows her that the feuding factions of Rasenna can continue to fight each other, or they can unite against Concord.
And they will need to stand together - for Concord is about to unleash the Wave again . . .
Set in a darkly original alternative Renaissance Italy, Irenicon is a gripping adventure, a tragic love story and a very modern tale of redemption.
Drought, plague, and war have left the Isle of the Mighty battered and its heart, the beloved Arthur, grievously injured—until a secret relic is brought before the dying King; a Holy Grail that heals his wounds and restores his vigor.
But soon evil enters the royal court in the guise of a beautiful maiden; a soulless, malevolent force capable of seducing the King’s loyal champion, confounding the sage whom some call Merlin, and carrying the sacred Grail—and Arthur’s adored Queen—off into the dark unknown.
“Suspenseful . . . soulful, philosophical . . . engagingly drawn . . . Arthurian Britain is invoked with robust verisimilitude.” –Publishers Weekly
What Susan Shwartz has done is to take a well-loved tale and it in an unconventional setting. Second Chances is nothing less than an homage to Joseph Conrad-think of Lord Jim in space. Just as Conrad explored in great depth the perplexing, ambiguous problem of lost honor and guilt, expiation and heroism, Shwartz has created in her Jim a man haunted by guilt over an act of supposed cowardice and his lifelong efforts to somehow atone for that action-whether or not he merited the disgrace.
As Conrad's Jim was a tragic and ultimately noble hero, so too is Shwartz's Jim. A professional soldier whose time has passed, Jim is stationed about the corporate BioShip Irian Jaya security for a commercial venture critical to humanity's continued survival. The war that sundered whole worlds is over and now he's just another "tin soldier," a prop for the military to look good to war-weary civilians. But he's never stopped caring about those who scorn him and the ideals that he still clings to. That caring is tested, however, when he is thrust into a scandal not of his making. He chooses to carry the burden of guilt, no matter what. Because of his pride . . . . and maybe because that's the one thing he has left. Out of this madness will come the biggest battle for his honor and his soul.
And perhaps, a promise of a second chance.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.