Thread of a Spider
by D.L. Gardner
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
TEENS ENLIST THE FAE TO WIN A WAR IN IRELAND
When all attempts to save her fiance fail, Ailis must rely on the magic of the forest folk.
Following an ambush at the Upton Rail Station in 1921 Ireland, British troops burn Ailis' home to the ground and arrest her fiancé, Liam, for murder. She and her younger brother Paddy flee to an enchanted glen. Lured by a haunting song, Paddy is abducted by forest folk. Perilous obstacles, and a questionable stranger, hinder Ailis' attempts to find her brother or free her fiance, until her only hope for survival rests on the magic of the Fae.
˃˃˃ A bitter uprising in Ireland is taking place and two siblings are tossed in the battle, facing death, believing in love, and hoping in magic.
1920 found Ireland at the peak of tensions that had been building for centuries. Famine, tyranny and strife robbed the Irish of their homes, their lives and their country. Four years after the Easter Rising, pressure became so great, that the southern Irish took up arms against the British and fought for a free nation. Thread of a Spider, a historical fantasy, weaves history and Irish myth together to tell a story about two teenage siblings caught in the war and swathed in the legends of Erie.˃˃˃ A fantasy based on history woven with rich Irish lore.
The Captain looked Ailis in the eye. “Do you have a weapon on you?”
“No,” Ailis said.
His face hardened, his eyes narrowed. “A man has lost his life because of you. Would you care to explain?”
Ailis wasn’t sure how to answer. She dared not incriminate her brother in case he found his way out of the forest and back home. They’d track him down and arrest him, perhaps hang him as a murderer like they did that 15-year-old in Dublin after the Rising. She waited too long to speak, but had no idea what to say.
“Well, maybe we can get some information out of you if we try a little harder. What do you think?”
Again, she had no answer. If they meant torture, she vowed to Saint Peter she wouldn’t talk.
“What is your name?”
“Say that again.”
“My name is Ailis.”
“Nonsense. I want your civilized name. Your English name!”
Ailis drew a breath. There was no sense resisting. “Alice Kilpatrick.”
“Your home is where?”
“Where do you live, Alice? Is that a hard question for you?” He glanced at his strongman, who reached for his pistol. Perhaps they were going to apply some sort of torture after all. Ailis didn’t know, but her heart skipped a beat, and a cold sweat formed on her brow.
“Sand Cross, sir,” she answered as she watched the bullets slip into the barrel of the revolver.
“Sand Cross? What were you doing up here in these woods?”
“Foraging. I have an ill sister at home and needed to gather bilberry.”
“Pity,” he snickered. “And who came with you?”
“No one.” Ailis bit her lip, anticipating his reaction.
“No one? Come on, little pikey. You expect me to believe that?” His voice became harsh.
Pikey? She cringed at the insult. She’d have slapped his face, if her hands were free. Instead, she clung to her lie. “No one was with me. I came alone. I saw your men and got scared, so I hid. I don’t know who fired the shot that killed your soldier.”
The two scouts who had been searching for Paddy appeared out of the forest and jogged down the hill to the lorries. Her interrogator turned to them.
“Did you find him?”
“No, sir, he disappeared. No sign of his trail, either.”
Ailis bit the inside of her mouth to keep from smirking. The officer glanced at her again.
“You don’t know who fired the shot.” What should have sounded like a question, was a spiteful remark instead. It was obvious that the Captain didn’t believe her lie. Her heart thundered and her face heated.
His nose nearly touched hers. “You’re a liar. I’ll tell you who fired and killed my soldier. Someone who cares about you. Now tell me who that might be.”
She felt a fever coming on. Panic. Her lips were chapped, her mouth dry. “I don’t know.”
“I see.” The officer stepped back.
“What do we do with her, sir?” Strong Arm asked. He held his revolver so she could see him spin the barrel, and looked hard into her eyes.
Dazed, Ailis waited. She knew some of the options they had. She’d heard what happens to prisoners of war. She was at the mercy of these men.
With a passion for a good wholesome story, Gardner dives into the adult and young adult fantasy genres. She is both a best selling author and an award winning illustrator who lives in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Dabbling in screenwriting, she's won screenings and a trophy for some of her film projects.
She loves a tale that ignites imaginations, strengthens friendships, spurs courage and applauds honor. Though she targets her stories for young adults, her books are enjoyed by all ages.
D.L. Gardner is a columnist for the science fiction and fantasy publication Amazing Stories Magazine
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