Do you subscribe to Chapter a Week? I do. It’s a cool way to get a quick look at new books that I might want to read.
Every Friday, subscribers get an email in their inbox with the title, short blurb, and an excerpt of a recently released or soon to be released novel. (The excerpts are about 1500 words long. Not so much that you can’t read them quickly.) The link to subscribe is included at the end of this post.
Here’s a sample from this morning’s email:
The Betrayed, by Lisa T. Bergren
Book 2 in The Gifted Series
“The Betrayed [has]
all the characteristics of a best-seller—good and evil, hate and love,
politics and religion… Bergren’s masterful plot and interesting
characters hold the reader’s attention, and although it is the second
in the series, The Betrayed is entertaining as a stand-alone.” –Christian Retailing
The secret, a half a millennium old, has been revealed. An
illuminated letter, long buried by the Church—prophesying a fellowship
of men and women possessing powerful spiritual gifts—is the catalyst
for a profound war that will bring either a new age of enlightenment or
a darkness the world has never before seen. As the Gifted gather and
gain strength, and find further clues as to where God is leading, their
enemies grow more intent on controlling them…
October, the Year of Our Lord 1340
“Sir, we have brought the one you seek,” the wiry man said from a dark hallway.
“Good. Bring her in,” Vincenzo said. He glanced toward the man beside
him, Abramo Amidei, staring out the window, apparently deep in thought.
Or preparing for this . . .
A small, elderly woman arrived, flanked by two large guards.
Vincenzo descended the two steps downward and looked her over. Here was
the last one to be questioned—the last one touched by Daria d’Angelo,
healed by her. He and Abramo had wrung every detail they could from
each of those healed by the “Duchess”—a title more granted out of honor
than true. There had been far more than Vincenzo had realized, and each
gave them more insight into Lady Daria’s life with her new companions.
The city dwellers called this one Old Woman Parmo, in that there were
few who reached their gray and wrinkled years, and yet she had the
spirit of one who could still take on another in battle. Old eyes,
rimmed in wrinkles and understanding, met his own. “Baron del Buco,”
she said in greeting. She did not fear. She only waited.
As with the others they had questioned, Vincenzo recognized something
of Daria within this one. There was a common strength within them all.
Daria had healed her. Given her height and vitality again. Vincenzo had
seen this old woman himself in the marketplace, done business with her.
For decades she had sold cloth, so bent over that she could not meet
her customer’s eye. Now here she was, before him, upright. . . . What
power was that? That Daria, Daria d’Angelo, his Daria could do this?
Old Woman Parmo met his gaze unflinchingly, as if she already knew he
had turned against Daria. Suddenly, Vincenzo’s master, Lord Abramo
Amidei, turned from the window and descended the stairs. With one broad
stroke, he took the old woman by the neck, rushed her to the wall,
slammed her against it, and held her there, struggling to breathe.
“Where?” he asked between gritted teeth. “Where have they gone?”
“Who?” she said, through strangled breaths. She glanced toward
Vincenzo, as if holding hope that he might assist her, and he shifted
Amidei leaned closer. “You know well of whom I speak. Tell me.” He
leaned harder into his grip, lifting her a little higher. Her lips
became blue as she desperately clawed at his big hands.
“I . . . know . . . not.”
He stared at her for several long moments, as if she were no more than
a bug on the wall, about to be squashed. They all could hear two young
men in the streets, banging on the front door of Amidei’s home,
shouting demands, calling for the magistrate.
Abramo released Old Woman Parmo suddenly, allowing her to drop to the floor.
Vincenzo held back, although his instinct was to rush to the old woman,
assist her up. But she was not to be touched. She was not for him, not
for Amidei, therefore. . . . Still, he was moved to speak. “We ought to
release her. She knows nothing, Abramo.”
Abramo turned upon her, writhing on the cold stone floor, still trying
to catch her breath. He saw what Vincenzo saw—knees, hips, back that
moved like a young woman’s, not like the woman who had long suffered
from rheumatism. Looking away as if in disgust for a moment, Abramo
turned, bent, and grabbed her arm, hauling her upward and forward.
“Very well, then, old woman. You cannot tell us where they went. But
you shall tell us everything you’ve learned.”
(Continuing with a later scene in Chapter One…)
Abramo fingered the tapestry and lifted it closer, observing the
delicate weave and detail. An old altar cloth, and at the lower right
corner, a woman who bore an uncanny resemblance to Daria d’Angelo.
“Fascinating, this trail of clues they have discovered,” he mused.
He pulled the large tapestry loose from the wall and flipped it, laying
it upon a stack of linens nearby. He backed up several paces, arms
crossed, and studied the image, visible among the crossed threads of
the backside—a peacock, in the lower left corner. Above it, spreading
across the wide expanse, towered a threatening dragon. Abramo let loose
a deep, guttural laugh, arms spread wide. “Yes, yes, so my little
peacock knew that I was coming.”
He whirled and paced back and forth. “The Gifted are a worthy and
entertaining conquest.” He turned bright eyes upon Vincenzo. “This is
good,” he said, clapping him on the shoulder. “Good!”
“I confess it is difficult for me to see it that way,” Vincenzo said.
“Finding these clues only strengthens their thought that they are on
some divine path. It gives them power. How is it good for us?”
Abramo waved his head back and forth. “Well, I admit, it does
complicate things. But do you know how long, how long, Vincenzo, it has
been since I have had a true challenge? I still consider your little
Daria my greatest conquest. We must bring her and hers to our side.
Many a soldier has lost a battle, but gone on to see a war won. The key
is to change tactics, now. You tried to woo her, bring her along
through friendly tactics, reason. You can see for yourself,” he said,
gesturing toward Old Woman Parmo, cradling her grandson in her arms,
who still labored to breathe, “that sometimes alternate methods are
He leaned closer, speaking across Vincenzo’s shoulder now. “You
appealed to the Duchess out of love, out of loyalty, friendship, and
familial ties, good God man, even as her co-consul of the guild, and
she denied you. But mark my words: We shall see your Daria, Sir
Gianni, even the priest, submit.”
“How? How do you intend to do that?” Vincenzo whispered, still staring
at the old woman, rocking her grandson back and forth, willing him to
“The same way I forced the old woman to talk to me,” Abramo said, a
smile curving his lips. “We shall make them suffer—and exploit their
“Come now, Vincenzo. You are quicker than that. Where is each of us the
weakest? Where we are most tender, of course. The things, the people we
hold most dear. Our values. Or mayhap,” he said, pausing to stare out a
high, narrow window, “through what they perceive is their divine call.
Yes,” he said with a pleased grin. “Yes. We shall find their
weaknesses, every one of them. And through those slices in their armor
we shall worry a hole that becomes a gap that becomes a chasm. And
then, there, Vincenzo, we shall have them.”
* * * * * * *
Praise for Book 1 in The Gifted Series, The Begotten:
“[A] classic battle between good and evil. Disregard Da Vinci Code comparisons and think Lord of the Rings.” –Publishers Weekly
“An exhilarating religious historical thriller…delightful…action-packed…superb.” –Midwest Book Review
The Betrayed is published by Berkley Praise
It is immediately available through your local Christian
bookstores, Amazon.com, and for a limited time, at Target stores on the
Breakout Books display. Also available at ChristianBook.com.
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