#Spotlight The Tsar’s Locket by Ken Czech

Tsars Locket by Ken CzechThe Tsars Locket by Ken Czech

Publisher: Fireship Press (April 30, 2020)
Category: Action/Adventure, Historical Romance, and Historical Thriller
Tour dates: Sept 30-Nov 25, 2020
ISBN: 978-1611792775
Available in Print and ebook, 303 pages
Tsars Locket

Description Tsars Locket by Ken Czech

When Duty, Honor, and Love Collide

Julian Blunt, a former sea captain and a despised Catholic, is stunned when Queen Elizabeth proposes that he help carry a betrothal locket to Tsar Ivan the Terrible in Moscow. It means an alliance between England and Russia is brewing, and the queen warns that should the locket fall into the hands of the Pope or his minions, it could mean war.

Julian joins the queen’s messenger, the lofty and spirited Jessandra Calcross, in a perilous voyage across the Baltic Sea and into the very heart of Russia. When a papal assassin determined to prevent the royal marriage strikes, Jess turns to Julian as the only man she can trust. Although at odds over religion and station, a slender emotional bond grows. Stalked by the relentless murderer, Julian is soon torn between abandoning his mission so he can better safeguard Jess, and fulfilling his vow to the queen. If he fails the queen he’ll never captain a ship again. But if he and Jess continue on to Moscow, they face a darker peril in the mercurial and sinister Tsar Ivan–a peril that will drive courage and dawning love to the breaking point.

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EXCERPT

Setting: Jess and Julian are about to reunite during a grand supper given by Tsar Ivan the Terrible.

The tsar bade his guests sit. Servants by the dozens scurried into the hall to lay a small pewter plate in front of each of the tsar’s guests. Each plate contained a fragment of black bread.

“As the Lord Jesus Christ broke bread for his disciples, so do I offer bread to my guests,” Ivan proclaimed loudly for all to hear. He crossed himself and bowed. He pinched a few grains of salt from a golden saltcellar and sprinkled them across the table. “May you have salt with your bread.”

After his guests had tasted the bread, the tsar clapped his hands. Menials bearing bottles of wine, enameled decanters brimming with mead, and engraved beakers filled with brandies and liquor distilled from fermented rye poured those beverages into golden bowls and bejeweled goblets. 

The rose-colored wine Julian sipped tasted of a blend of grapes, persimmons, and plums. While he tasted, others around him swilled. The merchant to his left emptied a goblet of brandy in one gulp, dribbles trickling into his beard. Still, the liquor didn’t seem to affect the man one bit. 

Platters of food began to arrive, enough to dizzy the senses. A roasted swan, its head feathered and delicately tucked under its wing, covered one huge salver. Two servants, skulls shaved and faces painted in bizarre patterns, staggered under another platter containing an enormous silvery-scaled sturgeon. The fish had been broiled in aromatic juices and garnished with raisins and pomegranates. Other platters contained venison steaks and roasted boar chops basted with an orange sauce and sprinkled with thinly sliced almonds; lamb stuffed with wedges of lemons and limes brought by caravan from Astrakhan; black breads and apple babkas; fruit pies and honey cakes; sambouk made from plums; blackcurrant jellies; and candies galore. 

Before Ivan sampled from a dish, he raised a morsel and blessed it with a few words. His court taster, a sallow-faced, middle-aged fellow, then devoured the offering. While he did so, the skomorokh, his tiny jester bells tinkling, brashly copied the actions of the taster by opening his mouth wide like a bird chick and dropping bits of food into his gaping maw. Once the tsar was satisfied the dish was free of poison, he continued to eat with gusto until his plate was empty. Juices dripped down his wrists. Gobbets of grease and slivers of food clung to his beard. Spatters of purplish-red wine stained the linen tablecloth around his trencher.

The tsar’s son, on the other hand, picked at his food, sampled small morsels, and used a damask napkin to wipe his mouth after each bite. He kept glancing toward one table crowded with diners. Julian tried to follow the line of his gaze, but there were too many men in the way.

Servants offering platters of food disturbed Julian’s search. He tasted a serving of glazed lamb but found it a trifle sweet for his palate, while the sturgeon was a bit oily. However, the venison and pork roasts basted in exotic juices melted in his mouth. He savored the buttered almonds and another concoction of sweetbread and cream smothered in frothed sugar. His stomach began to bulge. 

After three hours of gluttony the meal drew to a close. Tsar Ivan pushed back his chair and rose. All heads swiveled toward him, and so quiet had it become that one could have heard a sail maker’s needle drop. Julian washed down his last bite with a draft of chilled mead.

Gospodi Pomily, Lord have mercy,” he said firmly, his iron gaze sweeping the room, his fist closing around the golden pendant hanging from his neck. “Mother Russia is beset by enemies. There are those among us who have only their own interests at heart.” 

The prince squirmed, his gaze again flitting to one of the tables. 

The tsar paused for an instant before continuing. “Fra Possevino, the papal nuncio from Rome, has indicated to me that King Stefan of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth has decreed the terms of a proposed treaty to end the war.” His jaw jutted fiercely. “He demands we give up all of Livonia. Impossible! He demands we cede to him certain important fortresses. Preposterous! He suggests a one-for-one prisoner exchange, that is, a soldier for a soldier, an officer for an officer. I want all prisoners released. We do not have to bow to King Stefan and his Poles, not if we have the help of my fellow prince in England, the great Queen Elizabeth.”

His words stunned his guests. A clamor of voices filled the hall. Fra Possevino’s mouth formed an astonished O. 

“Bring me the queen’s envoy,” Ivan ordered above the din.

Julian gulped wine to get rid of the sudden pastiness clogging his throat. 

The dining hall again grew silent. The guards’ boots thumped loudly on the stairs. A door opened. One soldier marched first, his broad-bladed axe held stiff-armed before him. Next came Jess looking straight ahead and ignoring the boyars, priests, and other dignitaries who gaped at her as though she had descended from the moon. The second soldier followed her.

Boris Godunov thumped his staff. “We welcome you to Moscow, Lady of Queen Elizabeth’s Court,” he proclaimed in a sonorous tone.

Praise Tsars Locket by Ken Czech

“The vivid descriptions of the European cities, including Moscow and the Tsar’s palace, transport us to that era. An exciting and informative novel. Highly recommended.”–Waheed Rabbani, Historical Novel Society

“There were twists and turns throughout, but the climactic twist at the end really caught me off guard. If you love a really good story with action, suspense and romance, then I recommend this novel.” —Lesley Jones for Reades’ Favorite

“The historical backdrop to the tale is … fleshed out with gorgeous details and cinematic style descriptive work, enabling author Ken Czech to show off some real knowledge and a true sense of atmosphere about the period. Add to this the real excitement of a perilous journey across the sea, well-developed villains, a political versus religious thematic arc and some authentic yet accessible dialogue, and you have a truly excellent novel that readers will simply devour.” —K. C. Finn, author of the Caecilius Rex series

“I enjoyed the setting, the play-by-play of action, and the chemistry between Jess and Julian was off the charts. This is an astonishing story that had me hooked from the beginning …” —Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

About Ken CzechTsars Locket by Ken Czech

History has been his passion since award winning author, Ken Czech was a wee lad. After retiring from a career of teaching history at both secondary and higher education levels, He turned that passion to writing historical novels. His stories combine fiction with actual events and actors taken from the past. He lives with his wife Mary on an abandoned granite quarry in Minnesota where they enjoy the wildlife and the changing seasons. That’s where his writing happens.

His latest book THE TSAR’S LOCKET has received Five Stars from Reader’s Favorite. His previous novels BEYOND THE RIVER OF SHAME and LAST DANCE IN KABUL have also received very favorable reviews.

Website: https://www.kennethczech.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100019397558582

 

Giveaway Tsars Locket by Ken Czech

This giveaway is for 1 print copy for 2 winners, open to the U.S. only.
This giveaway ends November 14, 2020,midnight pacific time.

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Tsars Locket by Ken Czech

Fiona

I am Fee, a 30 -something SAHM bookworm! I love to read, and will read almost anything and everything. I am not afraid to try new genres of books and my main genre is horror, thriller.

3 thoughts on “#Spotlight The Tsar’s Locket by Ken Czech

  • November 16, 2020 at 8:08 pm
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    Thank you for hosting an excerpt from my book The Tsar’s Locket.

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