Book Title: Sea of Shadows
Series: Sea and Stone Chronicles, Book 2
Author: Amy Maroney
Publication Date: 12th April 2022
Publisher: Artelan Press
Page Length: 396 Pages
Genre: Historical suspense/romance
1459. A gifted woman artist. A ruthless Scottish privateer. And an audacious plan that throws them together—with dangerous consequences.
No one on the Greek island of Rhodes suspects Anica is responsible for her Venetian father’s exquisite portraits, least of all her wealthy fiancé. But her father’s vision is failing, and with every passing day it’s more difficult to conceal the truth.
When their secret is discovered by a powerful knight of the Order of St. John, Anica must act quickly to salvage her father’s honor and her own future. Desperate, she enlists the help of a fierce Scottish privateer named Drummond. Together, they craft a daring plan to restore her father’s sight.
There’s only one problem—she never imagined falling in love with her accomplice.
Before their plan can unfold, a shocking scandal involving the knights puts Anica’s entire family at risk. Her only hope is to turn to Drummond once again, defying her parents, her betrothed, even the Grand Master of the Knights himself. But can she survive the consequences?
With this captivating tale of passion, courage, and loyalty, Amy Maroney brings a lost, dazzling world to vivid life.
Sea of Shadows is Book 2 in a series of stand-alone historical novels packed with adventure and romance.
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Universal Link: https://mybook.to/SeaOfShadows
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Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09T3M2HM3
Aunt Rhea swiveled her gaze to Papa. “How much easier it will be for you, Paolo, once Anica’s settled into a new life with a husband, under another man’s roof. Then you can get Heleni married off, too, and your worries about these precious girls will be over.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Papa muttered.
Anica knew what he was thinking. Aunt Rhea had been blessed with sons. She would never have to amass dowries or protect the virtue of daughters.
“I know the funeral was costly,” Aunt Rhea added with a confidential air, drawing close to Papa. “You need gold, and quickly. I’ve a partnership with an Arab merchant from Alexandria whose family has been trading in spice for generations. For the last few years, I’ve helped him finance his shipping business, and he gives me a cut of his profits from pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.”
“What are you proposing?” Papa asked.
“You can join me in the endeavor,” Aunt Rhea said. “Give me whatever you’ve saved for a dowry. I’ll invest it in the spice business and triple your earnings in a few months.”
“If your trader returns from Alexandria,” Papa said. “You just told me how dangerous these seas are.”
“There’s chance in everything,” she countered. “He’s returned faithfully since we began this venture. I’d rather put my money into spice than let it molder in the knights’ treasury or the Florentines’ bank, where it will benefit foreign men instead of me. We have to be inventive these days, spread out the risk.”
“Like your trade in illicit statues?” he asked, his voice sharp.
Mamá’s family possessed a collection of marble statues from ancient times, mostly depicting pagan gods and goddesses. Such things were officially the property of the Order, of course. They were meant to be turned over to the knights upon discovery. But the Georgillas clan—along with other Greek families—kept such treasures hidden all over the island, some in caves that were accessible only at low tide.
“Can I help it if the Italians are mad for such things?” Aunt Rhea asked. “When the price is right, I’d be a fool not to part with a statue or two. But I can’t always find a trustworthy ship captain for such delicate matters. So I’m having my Dimitri apprentice in the shipyard here with a master builder. Soon he’ll go to sea under the wing of a merchant friend of mine. One day he’ll captain his own ships. Then I’ll no longer have to put my trust in strangers.”
“You truly want Dimitri to take such risks?” Anica asked, shuddering at the thought of her cousin at the mercy of privateers and pirates.
Aunt Rhea shrugged. “He’s seen twenty winters and he’s a bright, strong lad. There will always be work for shipbuilders and sea captains from Rhodes, and I want to have a way out if there’s a siege. Besides, our sword master says he’s the most skilled fighter of all our boys. With God’s grace, he’ll always be able to defend himself on land or at sea.”
They had drawn close to the Cypriot merchant ship now. Sailors unloaded wooden casks of wine onto the quay. Aunt Rhea rapped on the side of an oak barrel.
“Where’s the captain?” she demanded of a passing sailor. “Tell him his most loyal and generous customer, Rhea Georgillas, awaits.”
The man nodded. “Right away, kyria.”
Anica contemplated the perspiring face of her aunt as she inspected the wine barrels arrayed in front of them. She understood now why Mamá had sent her back to the quays with Aunt Rhea and Papa. It was her mother’s way of including Anica in a discussion of her future, of matters that until now had been kept from her. Pride unfurled in her chest at the thought.
“Aunt Rhea,” she ventured. “Do you have a suitor in mind for me?”
“It is not a matter of finding a suitor, but of fending them off. You and your sister are rare flowers on this island.” Aunt Rhea gestured at the heavens and dropped her voice. “We won’t speak of beauty because the gods are listening.”
Anica’s Greek relatives had no problem combining their respect for the old gods with their adherence to the Orthodox Christian tradition, though they knew better than to exhibit this tendency in front of the knights. “But you’ve got Latin blood and Georgillas ancestry—it’s an irresistible combination for men seeking a good match. You’re a lucky girl.”
Anica turned to her father, thinking of all the responsibility she had taken on these past six months. With her changed role within the family, she felt certain Papa would give her some authority over her own future.
A lone gull circled overhead, screeching plaintively.
“Who are these men, Papa?” she asked. “Will I get to choose among them?”
His eyes were unreadable. “When the time is right, we shall select the suitor who is the best match for you and our family.”
She looked from her father to her aunt, wrestling with an urge to protest. The pride she’d felt a moment ago vanished, replaced by a rising sense of indignation. Since Beno’s death, it had seemed as if she were the head of the household—when in reality she was being discussed behind closed doors like a sack of grain or a basket of grapes to be sold off. “Surely, this doesn’t surprise you,” Aunt Rhea said. “I didn’t choose my husband, nor did your mother.” She leaned closer, raising her voice over the gull’s screams. “And neither
About the Author:
Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an award-winning historical fiction trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Her new historical suspense/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.
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