Thursday, December 9, 2010

Let's play giveaway: Test of Faith by Aleksandr Voinov and Raev Gray

Ok.  I am totally into the giveaway thing right now.  And this jewel, is a must read.  Must!

As I've said, who know's how many times over the months, this baby... one of my favorites.  So much so, I want... no... must ... sponsor another giveaway with it.  I am making it my personal duty to share this with someone who has yet to experience this bad boy.

So, here we go again.  A special Amara's Place giveaway of yet another Aleksandr Voinov/Raev Gray book of awesome.  This one... not your average romance, which you already know if you read my interview with Raev earlier this week.  And, well, truth be told, that's one of the reasons I love these guys.

As before, read the excerpt, and leave me a comment and tell me...

Where had Thierry recently arrived from?

A winner, with the correct answer, will be chosen at random to receive an ebook copy which I will gift from  Contest ends December 17th at midnight PST.  Ebook winnings means no border restrictions.  I think that covers it.  I hope.  Ok...

Ready...set... go...

heehee, giveaways are FUN!

Test of Faith Test of Faith by Aleksandr Voinov and Raev Gray

Release Date: May 2010 by eXcessica (first published 2010)
Details:  ebook
Word Count: 21,197
Firebolt Level: 4

Description: July, 1187: Saladin has defeated the Crusader army at The Horns of Hattin. While hundreds of his comrades have perished in the battle, Thierry de la Tour Rouge, a Frank and Templar Knight, has survived only to be taken prisoner by the Saracens. Stripped to his woolen leggings and linen shirt covering and tied like an animal to the pole of a tent, Thierry fears torture in the attempt to break him and his faith.

Abdul Basir is French by birth and a convert to Islam. As an advisor to Saladin, Abdul has been accepted by the Saracens and regarded with respect, but he will never be one of them. Thierry has been bought for him and while Abdul owns him, he cannot guarantee that Saladin will spare Thierry’s life.

In the spirit of acceptance and forgiveness, Thierry chastely kisses Abdul, hurtling them both into a clash of faiths and a contest of wills. One man motivated by the fulfillment of a long-lurking fantasy and the other by the need to survive and keep his faith intact. In the process, they come to show each other mercy, kindness, mutual respect and trust—enough to reveal their desire for one another.

As Saladin holds the fate of Thierry’s life in his hands, can Abdul ensure the safety of this honorable crusader who has become his brother? Or will he have to find the strength and courage to let Thierry go in peace?



The Horns of Hattin. Horns of the devil.

Thierry still felt the smoke burn his throat, and no swallowing could take the pain away. His head throbbed from the heat, here on the waterless devil’s playground where he’d lost his horse and his comrades. Where the Saracens had snatched victory from them—drawing them out between the Horns, cutting them off from water, then setting fire to the dry grass, increasing the torment of thirst and heat.

Twelve thousand men under Saladin; he had a thousand knights on horses, and there were twenty thousand Christians on foot to fight them. The Christians had charged, and the Saracens had moved out of their way, allowed them to pass—only to catch them like a stag surrounded and beset by dogs on all sides. On the hill they’d stood, but wave upon wave upon wave of Saracens charged at them, until the foot soldiers had been worn away, and only a few hundred knights remained.

They had pulled Thierry from his wounded horse, and, in the pandemonium of battle, blind with sweat and dazed by the merciless heat, strong hands took his sword and shield, almost broke his leg as his spur tangled in the stirrup. They forced him onto his belly, in the dust, coughing his heart out.

They had tied him up like a sheep, tied his arms and legs, and let him lie, helpless, breathing dust and smoke, listening to the infernal screams of the wounded, the shouts of the victors. The labored breath of his dying charger, suffering badly in the heat.

If there was hell on earth, thought Thierry, this was it.

Barely conscious, he had been manhandled onto his knees, and then he felt a great weight leaving him. A vicious-looking dagger glinted in front of his eyes. Thierry could only cough helplessly, swallow more dust through the chainmail coif’s front flap covering his chin and mouth, and be grateful for something that wasn’t kindness, when the dagger severed the leather strap that held the chin flap near his ear.

He looked into a wild, dark face, with eyes like burning coals; while another man pulled the chainmail coif down into his neck, baring his head. A rough hand grabbed his hair and pulled his head back. Thierry froze as his throat was bared—wasn’t this how they killed their animals?

The Saracen showed his teeth with what could only be described as naked hatred, when somebody else called out in their language. Thierry had only recently arrived from France—he didn’t understand a word, they spoke too fast, but the Saracen clearly disliked what he’d heard. He sheathed the dagger again and spat on the ground.

The two men who held Thierry dragged him forward before Thierry could manage to walk with the restraints—he could only take very small steps, which made him stumble more than once. Nevertheless, he would live, and he thanked God for whatever the other man had said.

They dragged him to a tent. By now he was so thirsty he could smell water, but he didn’t expect kindness. If they would ransom him, they’d have to keep him alive. If there was one thing the bloodthirsty heathens liked more than spilling Christian blood and harrowing the believers, it was good Christian silver.

They tied his hands to the tent pole, forced him to sit down, then a leather strap went across his throat and was fastened behind the pole. He was left, with a guard poking his head in at intervals.

It was dark when they returned. His captor was even more displeased now, but he carried a heavy bag of coin, while two men—who wore armor and weapons of far better quality—seized Thierry again.

He’d been bought and sold. But to what end?

They brought him to a richer tent—Thierry could only assume that some eminent personage had paid for him. The ransom would be paid one way or other; this new development would not change anything about the ransom. It made no sense.

The guards dropped him to the ground then roughly opened his belt with the leather scabbard and pulled it away. The white cappa was next, and they cursed him, impatient when the tight sleeves did not come off from the chainmail shirt immediately. Then the long chainmail shirt and the chainmail gloves, baring him to the padded jerkin. They threw his armor to the ground, where it gathered in a small heap. They even took his spurs, the chainmail shoes, and the chainmail leggings, relieving him of every piece of metal he wore.

They exchanged a few words that Thierry did not understand, and they proceeded to undress him, claiming the padded knee-length jerkin next. All this was no kindness, not meant to give him relief from the weight or the heat, even if Thierry felt his spirits return somewhat. They might sell it, or prepare him for torture, he realized with sudden terror. Maybe he would not be ransomed before he’d given up whatever secrets they thought he possessed. Fear made his skin crawl; he could glean nothing from the hateful faces of his captors. He hoped against hope that they wouldn’t mistreat him; that their end was silver, not secrets.

When he wore only his woolen leggings and breeches, with the white linen shirt covering his chest and half of his thighs, girded with a red wool belt, the Saracens then tied his legs again and made him stand against the pole, where they tied his wrists over his head.

Thierry closed his eyes with relief when they left him. No torture—or, not yet. He had time to make his peace with God and remember the lessons he’d learnt about captivity during the initiation. They’d try and break his faith. His own officers in the order had forced him to spit on the cross, to deny God, and while his soul had been consumed with terror at the blasphemy, it had been nothing but a test. A test to prepare him for this. This, the real thing: the ire of the heathens.


  1. This is one I have been wanting to read. So..

    Thierry recently arrived from France.

    Luv ya,
    mean it.

  2. Aw, I wanted to give an off-the-wall answer but me is not allowed *pout*

    Okay, Thierry had recently arrived from France.

    This me being sensible and complying with the rules for once. THIS is how much I want a copy! LOL ;p

    Chris (Pristine on FB)

  3. Poor Thierry, only recently arrived from France and in such trouble already.

  4. @Artemis: This one is awesome! So glad you came to play my dear. :)

    @Chris: LOL, you make me laugh, figured that was you at line one babe. Look at you all following the rules, you really do want this one don't you! Thanks for coming by to play :))

    @Lily: So very good to see you :) Thanks for coming by :))

  5. Wow this book sounds amazing!!

    Thierry had recently arrived from France.

    Thanks Amara for the chance to win this story:)
    Carmel (GRs)

  6. France, according to the text.

    But a snarky answer could be The Horns of Hattin battleground, since they seem to have moved off it a little. But this story looks really good, so I won't be snarky.

    Thanks for the chance to win this!

  7. He recently arrived from France. I love the excerpt! A friend told me about this contest since she knows I enjoy historicals. I am glad I know about your site now, you have a new lurker moving in! Now to find the interview from earlier that you were talking about. This book is so going on my wishlist @ Allromance until I find out if I win (I hope, I hope), so if I don't I can hurry up & buy a copy. Thanks for the chance to win!


  8. @Carmel: It is amazing. Like non other for sure. I'm so glad you came to play, thank you thank you :)

    Alex: lol, Love the snarky answer, that's great. Thanks so much for coming by to play :)

    @Brandi: I'm so glad you like it all! Welcome to my blog :) Darn, I must have forgtten to link those interviews, that's no good, I'd best fix that. Thanks for coming to play :))

  9. Aww, poor Thierry. He just arrived from France and he's already captured.. but I do love a good hostage story so count me in. Lol.


  10. Ok, so after reading this post yesterday (& the one on Transit) I came home from work and put both books on my wish list. Then said screw it & moved Transit to my cart & also grabbed Blood Ran Cold. Yeah, I know I'm a dork & didn't even wait to see if I won a copy of Transit (hehe good call there since I didn't) or see if I won this contest before hurrying "out" to grab up a book & try out some new authors! As soon as I take care of some things, then I'm gunna curl up in bed and start reading. Have a great weekend!


  11. Gawd, either I can't type or my phone changed how I spelled a word 'cuz it knows what I want to say better than I do aparrently, yet again. Damn iPhones, lol. The second book I bought was Blood Run Cold not Ran. I'm probably going to read that one first too.


  12. @Brandi: LOL, you totally just made me laugh. I've totally done that. I haven't read either one yet, I've started Blood Run Cold, but haven't had a chance to finish it. But I'm very much liking what I've read so far. I do know... they are TOTALLY different types of books.

    I hear WONDERFUL things about Transit... I can't wait to dive into it!

    So many books... so little time. =D

  13. Okay, just finished Blood Run Cold. Wow! This took me a lot longer to read than normal, but again, wow!

  14. @Brandi: lol, wow is exactly what I hear about it.

    I say wow over every one of Aleksandr Voinov's books I've read so far. Guy is my favorite hands down, no matter who he writes with. Each book is different, each one full of wow.

  15. I am definitely going to be buying more books by them both! I can see why he is a favorite author of yours. Thanks for sharing with us all! I probably never found this book if not for you posts.

  16. @Brandi: Awesome! You just totally made my night. :))

  17. @Brandi: Oh, meant to tell you, Raev and Aleks have a short thats really really good too, called Spoils of War. That was the first Gray/Voinov I read, totally check that one out. :)

  18. Ohh, thanks, I will check it out. Is it available at ARe? If not, where can I pick up a copy?



  19. @Brandi: No, ARe doesn't have it. But you can pick it up at Smashwords here :)

  20. Thanks! I will go check it out!




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