In between our new Patreon sponsored awards we’re keeping things alive with serial fiction awards. Let’s recap and find out who won first place.
1332 BC | Mhairi Campbell
Mhairi Campbell lends her speedy pen and quick wit to ancient history with 1332 AD, a tale that takes place in ancient Amarna:
“You have to get out!”
I looked up at the woman who had burst into my room. Her dark eyes jumped from left to right, as she took in my silence.
“Why? Is there an army at the gates?” I laughed. Aneksi was dramatic, and half Babylonian to boot. You could tell looking at her. The beads wound up her arms and her eyes were always overdone, a mesh of kohl and dark green sweeps of malachite. Today, however, those very same beads were tangles.
A love story set amidst fire and revolution, Campbell eschews attempts at ancient language, modernising the narrative so the story moves with modern beats.
Don’t go to him. Aneksi had been the only one to ever say those words. Everyone else had pushed me forward, so far forward, until there was no going back. And now I would not go back even if I could.
It’s a whirlwind of a story that has us hungry for more.
The Glass Key | Liam Pender
A rolling introduction sets the stage for part 1 of Liam Pender’s 5th Century clash of faiths. A familial drama centers the action, as Junia desperately tries to convince her brother to return home:
“When will you come home?”
“So, you will sit here through the winter and the rain?” Junia said, her voice raw with pain.
“We must all submit to God’s will,” her brother pronounced. “My place is here, and your place is at home.”
But as the tension mounts, Liam broadens the scope to show age old conflicts of gender, role and society:
Junia felt her hand move towards him almost without her own permission. Regaining her composure, she quickly withdrew it. “I’m sorry sir but I cannot accept.”
“Why on earth not?”
“Well sir, if you must ask, I am a Christian. And my father says god gave men the talent to perform their craft and women responsibility of children.”
“I’m afraid your father is mistaken, God has bequeathed many women these talents.”
We’re looking forward to part 2, to see how these swirling dramas come to a head.
Widow’s Weeds | ReLynn Vaughn
Like Liam, ReLynn Vaughn is new to NiTH, but that hasn’t stopped the author from kicking off their first serial award with something special. Widow’s Weeds also takes us to Rome, where in the first three paragraphs Vaughn schools us in how to do a quality info dump. In moments, Shakespearian, the scene is set:
Cornelia perched still as marble on the chair in her cubiculum. Livia carefully wrapped her hair around the tube of the calamistrum. The reek of burning animal fur made Cornelia gag, but movement might be disastrous while the hot metal hovered close to her scalp. On the dressing table lay the bone needles and wool thread needed to secure the hairstyle.
Such effort seemed pointless without Publius. Cornelia yearned for her husband. She’d never expected to. They’d married for their families. But in Publius, she found a gentle lover and a friend. He share every aspect of his life with her, respecting her opinion.
When Publius had been called to attend to his father’s war on the Parthians, Cornelia grew distraught. She’d adored their short time together. And as yet, her monthly courses came with regular disappointment. Her longing to have a child-his child-kept her awake and tossing in her bed at night.
By the title of this tale, you can probably guess what comes next.
2017 has been a year of close fought victories, and the trend continues. Please congratulate Liam Pender, who’s excellent The Glass Key secured first place, if only by a sliver of margin!
Well done Liam, you’ve won feedback on 5000 words worth of original fiction from the NiTH editorial team 🙂
Up now we have the shortlist for our second Patreon sponsored award, Hotel Diaspora. Check out the shortlist and let us know who you think should be winner in the comments!