duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
The Three Lands


"Have you ever heard of a place where the custom is for friends not to touch each other?"

Adrian knows that friendship is a fundamental custom of all mankind. Or so he thinks, until his closest friend discovers a mysterious journal.

A commentfic for [personal profile] schneefink. This story can be read on its own, but it does have spoilers for the chapters of "Law Links" that I have already posted.

  • Online fiction: Famine or Feast at AO3.

  • Series: The Three Lands.

  • Series resources: The Great Peninsula: series resources for The Three Lands.



  • Law Links


    "Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

    Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

    Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




    Men and Lads


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    Sweet Blood


    "He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

    Time is running out.

    Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

    As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

    As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)


    THIS MONTH'S THEME: Middle East & North Africa

    A number of my characters come from societies that are partially based on societies in the Middle East and North Africa.

    The Koretians and Daxions of the Three Lands series are descended from a desert people who are based loosely upon the Bedouin. (Very loosely. When I started the series at age sixteen, I had a vague sense of the Koretians being connected with desert life; the rest I gradually pieced together as time went on.) Although the people of Koretia and Daxis have lost most of their desert customs over the centuries, their cultures remain strongly based on kinship; in Koretia, this often takes the form of men vowing to be blood brothers. In addition, the traditional Koretian system of justice is based partially on honor codes. By the time that the Three Lands series begins, the Koretian justice system has been tainted by such practices as blood feuds.

    An early test cover for an installment of Breached Boundaries:

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    Southern Vovimians appear in several parts of the Turn-of-the-Century Toughs cycle: Transformation 3: A Prisoner Has Need (The Eternal Dungeon), Sweet Blood 4: Checkmate (The Eternal Dungeon), Whipster (Michael's House), Mercy's Prisoner (Life Prison), and Hell's Messenger (Life Prison). Southern Vovim is what we would call a pan-African settlement in the New World, but its original founders were from the Toughs world's equivalent of the Kingdom of Kush in what is now Sudan (and also Egypt, during the century in which Kushites were pharoahs). More can be learned about the Kushites in the Wikipedia article on Meroë. (Again, it took me time to figure out this connection.)

    Turning back the Toughs cycle: In ancient times, when these people settled in what would become the southern-most province of Vovim in the New World, they brought with them a tradition of creating textiles, jewelry, and works of gold, which would help to make Vovim the most arts-oriented country of the Midcoast nations. Unfortunately, the southern Vovimians' native tradition of iron-working died out, with the result that neighboring Yclau would later pioneer the Industrial Revolution, rather than Vovim. However, southern Vovimians are one of the two "tribes" that helped to form Vovim, the largest country in the Midcoast nations. Among the Midcoast nations, Vovim is rivalled only by Mip (which Vovim helped to found) for its multicultural splendor.

    Cover for Whipster, showing a much later resident of southern Vovim, whose ancestors came from further south in the Old World:

    *


    *

    I'VE SET MY MULTIFORMAT E-BOOKS FREE

    Enjoy and enjoy. My e-books at other bookstores are available free too, except at Amazon, where they're 99c.
     

    *

    NOW AVAILABLE FREE IN MULTIFORMAT: Law Links (The Three Lands)

    Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

    Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.

    This novel on a young man's encounters with soldiers and spies can be read on its own or as part of The Three Lands, a diverse fantasy series on friendship, romantic friendship, romance, and betrayal in times of war and peace. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages.

    Available as a free multiformat e-book or as a 99c Kindle e-book: Law Links (The Three Lands).
     

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    NEW ONLINE FICTION: The Eternal Dungeon, The Three Lands, and Life Prison

    Information about my online fiction. Click on the titles for the full blurbs, tags, and stories.
     

    Ma'am (The Eternal Dungeon). The guards who serve under her are mocking her. In other words, it's an ordinary workday.

    Wildfire (The Three Lands). He was a loyal servant of the god. But even loyal servants have their limits.

    Shifts (The Eternal Dungeon). Midwinter's god is as cold as cruelty and as warm as a loving heart.

    Adversaries (The Three Lands: Breached Boundaries #1). When an endangered slave visits an imprisoned spy, she discovers that she has more options in life than she had thought.

    Open-Soul Surgery (The Eternal Dungeon). He expected death. What arrived was worse.

    Emancipation (Life Prison). Civil war is tearing apart the land. Again. . . . "Emancipation" is loosely inspired by events at a border-state manor during and after the American Civil War. This is a special Juneteenth holiday gift story for my readers.


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    REISSUED ONLINE FICTION: Leather in Lawnville, The Eternal Dungeon, Young Toughs, The Three Lands, and Life Prison

    Information about my online fiction. Click on the titles for the full blurbs, tags, and stories.
     

    Leatherdar (Leather in Lawnville). The narrator goes on the hunt at a college ballroom dance.

    Prison Food and Fondness (The Eternal Dungeon). "All she needed to gather were the ingredients for the meal. This she tried to explain on one summer morning, standing by the outer dungeon's exit while confronting two guards who had their daggers pointed at her."

    Far Enough Away (Young Toughs). He knew he wasn't normal. Now he must save others who have been left behind.

    Pinned (Leather in Lawnville). A rude top and an interfering family member prove to be an explosive combination at the Eagle bar.

    In Hot Water (The Eternal Dungeon). They are two of the most talented prison-workers in the world. It's a pity their skills don't extend to dishwashing.

    On Guard (The Eternal Dungeon). A bloody knife from a crime scene becomes a mystery to be solved and a foreshadow of trouble to come.

    The Whipping Post (The Eternal Dungeon). Ten minutes left to contemplate what lies ahead, before the end begins.

    Bonds (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #1). A prisoner meeting his fate. A torturer meeting his demons. And between them, a man whose bonds are on the point of shattering.

    Green Ruin (The Eternal Dungeon). Three guards and a mysterious substance provide a temptation too great to be missed . . . especially when two torturers add their skills to the mix.

    New-Fashioned (The Eternal Dungeon). The Eternal Dungeon's youngest torturer has a special talent. He's about to discover what it is, at the worst of moments.

    Searching (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #2). Walking into a trap may be the only way to create one.

    Bard of Pain (The Three Lands). In the battle-weary lands of the Great Peninsula, only one fate is worse than being taken prisoner by the Lieutenant: being taken prisoner if you are the Lieutenant. (Also available in free Braille and DAISY editions).

    Split (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #3). It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

    In the Silence (Life Prison). He can't speak. He can barely see. He experiences only fear and the faint whispers of something he had once known. But an intruder into his secure retreat from danger will pull him into awareness of what stands before him. What stands there is renewed danger . . . and the hope of something more.


    *

    CURRENT ONLINE SERIALIZATIONS: Leather in Lawnville, The Eternal Dungeon, Young Toughs, and The Three Lands

    Information about my online fiction. Click on the titles for the full blurbs, tags, and stories.
     

    Spy Hill (Commando). On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

    Survival School (Young Toughs). How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

    Checkmate (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #4). The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

    Law Links (The Three Lands). Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.



    *Certificate: 2016 Rainbow Awards. This certificies that Dusk Peterson has been awarded Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality for Risk (Dark Light #2).

    RISK IS A WINNER IN THE RAINBOW AWARDS 2016

    For the fifth time, the Rainbow Awards has honored one of my e-books. Risk (Dark Light) received the following honors:
     

    • 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.
    • Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality.
    • Finalist.
    • Honorable Mention.


    You can read the judges' comments (with an understandable but fairly serious couple of errors in the first sentence).

    In addition, you can browse through a list of my e-books that were previously honored in the Rainbow Awards on my Awards page.
     

    NEW STORY TAGS

    I've updated the story tags page with additional stories and with the following new or expanded tags:
     

    • adventure, suspense, and thrillers (which is basically what I write, yeah).
    • fantasy.
    • historical fantasy.
    • 1870s.
    • Middle Ages.
    • Renaissance.
    • physically disabled characters.
    • chauffeurs.
    • craftsfolk.
    • diplomats and peacemakers (expanded tag).
    • monolatrism (see definition).
    • pluriform monotheism (see definition).
    • arsonists.
    • assailants.
    • assassins, murderers, and terrorists (expanded tag).
    • traitors.
    • war criminals and aggressive seizure of foreign lands (expanded tag).
    • soldiers and former soldiers (expanded tag).
    • father & daughter.


    Just do a Find search on the story tags page to find these tags.
     

    OTHER ADDITIONS TO THE WEBSITE

    I changed my mind; I've brought back my young adult site.

    At duskpeterson.com, I've added a page listing interviews with me.
     

    Words per year

    2016 WORD COUNTS

    I've posted my word counts for 2016. I issued fifteen new stories last year, which is a number I'm pleased by. Unfortunately, my wordage continues to be so-so: 114,186 last year, which is no better than it has been every year from 2010 onwards. Granted that I had a legitimate excuse last year (I was spending a lot of time getting ready to launch my new business), but still, I could be doing a lot better than this. Fortunately, my 2017 wordage is looking good so far.

    For the first time in seven years, I've also updated the wordage charts. I use these charts to help me see work patterns I might otherwise miss noticing. One chart reveals what I never would have guessed: My words per hour keep going up.

    The last chart on that page, which shows how many stories I've published and reissued each year (with the e-books mainly showing up in red) . . . Do I get some sort of award for workaholism?
     

    2017 PLANS

    First, a bit of crowing, for I hit a personal milestone last year, without noticing it: I've issued over one hundred stories!

    I began the year by posting a lot of long works of online fiction rapidly, but because of the demands of my new day job, I've had to switch over to a chapter-a-week serialization schedule. The good news is that I'm serializing more than one story at a time.

    Here's my main serialization schedule for this year. The serializations run parallel with one another, though they don't all start on the same day (as you'll already have noted, if you've been following the updates at my blog).
     


    Because I've set my multiformat e-books free, you can read ahead in older stories if you like, but this will give folks who don't know about my e-books a chance to read my stories gradually. And if you like book-club-style read-alongs, you can join fellow readers in reading and discussing each chapter as it's posted.

    Breached Boundaries (The Three Lands) and The Awakening (Dungeon Guards) are at the editing stage. However, those two volumes collectively add up to 320,000 words, so it will take a while to finish editing them. (I'd originally hoped to issue Breached Boundaries at a rate of one installment per month, while the later installments were being edited, which was why I posted the first installment in January. But once I finished writing the remaining sections this March, it became clear that all the sections of Breached Boundaries would need to be edited at the same time, for continuity reasons.)

    A reminder that, if you want to know at any point where I am in getting a new story issued, you can check the bottom of the series pages at duskpeterson.com, where I place my progress reports. My weekly updates (including announcements not made at the online archives where I post stories) are available through my blog and my e-mail list.
     


    REVIEW: Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon)

    "Thank you. Thank you for this story, for these characters, the stealing me away from a cold Winter day and giving me a hot prison to feel like home, a little cell of my own to feel safe and Layle and Elsdon to restore my faith in humanity." —Elaine White / Divine Magazine on Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon).
     


    *

    FEATURED BACKLIST TITLE: Blood Vow (The Three Lands)

    "I had come to tell him, in the cheerful manner boys have, that our world was about to be destroyed."

    He has taken a blood vow to the Jackal God to bring freedom to his land by killing Koretia's greatest enemy. But what will he do when the enemy becomes his friend?

    Thrust into exile and pain, young Andrew has no choice but to accept the friendship of the very person he had vowed to kill. When he returns with his friend to his homeland fifteen years later, though, he finds himself in a land of conflicting loyalties . . . where a vengeful god awaits him.

    This novel on a young man's quest for true manhood can be read on its own or as part of The Three Lands, a fantasy series on friendship, romantic friendship, romance, and betrayal in times of war and peace. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages.

    Available as a free multiformat e-book or as a 99c Kindle e-book: Blood Vow (The Three Lands).


    Excerpt

    Peter turned away and carefully undid the sorting I had just made of his clothes. "I fear that I have led both of us into a pitch-black cave, without bothering to bring a light with me," he said. "Let us move on to another subject. How did you spend your day? Aside from listening to insults from Lord Carle, I mean."

    "I spent my day doing absolutely nothing."

    Peter continued to look down at the items he was aimlessly moving from one pile to another, but a smile crept up the side of his face. "That sounds glorious. Where did you do this nothing?"

    I came over beside him and took a belt out of his hands. "In the council library, to begin with; hence my embarrassing appearance at your closed meeting. I must apologize to Lord Dean tonight before he takes vengeance on the porter."

    "I wouldn't bother." Peter left the sorting to my hands and sat down on the bed near me, leaning back against the wall. "I was witness to the porter's own apology, which was the most eloquent piece of poetry I've heard since I had a Daxion bard up on charges of stealing a bit of butter from the palace pantry."

    "You put a bard on trial for stealing butter?"

    "It's hard to believe, but the law classifies that as a major crime. Any use of the Chara's goods or money for forbidden purposes is considered a crime of disobedience – though you'll be relieved to hear that I let the bard go free. As for the porter, he has nothing to worry about; Lord Dean is fully occupied with planning this trip. Where did you go after you left the meeting?"

    "Out to do more nothing. I did it under a certain tree in the garden."

    Peter smiled and pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping his interlocked hands around them as he leaned further back. "I'm glad that you found a good use for my birthday present. You've no idea the trouble I had in convincing the gardener that Emor would not crumble if he planted a Koretian tree in the palace grounds."

    "Is it a Koretian tree? I didn't know."

    "It turned out to be less expensive to bring a sapling over the black border mountains than to buy one of Emor's few remaining trees. I hope you won't stop using it, now that you know its barbaric origin."

    I didn't bother to reply, but tossed a tunic at Peter. Laughing, he prevented it from landing in his face. "If you've spent an entire afternoon doing nothing, then you must have had a particularly terrible morning. I hope that our talk in the Map Room wasn't what drove you to seek pleasure ahead of duty."

    I shook my head and knelt down to pull Peter's travel pack from beneath his bed. I knew that it was there only because I had cleaned the floor around it during my time as his slave. Over ten years had passed since it was last put to use.

    As I stood up, I saw that Peter was still watching me expectantly. I said, "Lord Dean saw me in the council library before the meeting. We had a talk on marriage."

    "Ah." Peter let the word drop like a heavy pebble into water. When the ripples were beginning to fade, he added, "Well, you needn't pass on to me what he said. I'm sure it's the same that was said to me at the meeting. That was what the council spent most of its time discussing: my ill-considered decision to visit a dangerous land when I have no heir. Fortunately, the lords did not insist that I beget an heir tonight, before leaving Emor."

    I began to fold the tunics in the tidy manner which had never come naturally to me, but which pleased Peter. After a while, Peter said, "It seems a curious topic for Lord Dean to discuss with you. Did he say why he chose you as the messenger of his views?"

    I noticed that his voice had taken on a note of quiet authority, but I ignored this and said simply, "He has asked me to mediate for him in the past."

    "That isn't what I asked." He waited. When I did not reply, he said, "Andrew."

    I continued to stare down at the tunics, but my hands were checked in their motions. Peter said, "Andrew, it is my duty as Chara to know what methods my council lords are using to try to influence me. Do not make me have to command you in this matter."

    I stared at the items I was packing and took a moment to still my heart before saying, in the neutral voice that the Chara's clerk adopted when reporting the words of a witness, "Lord Dean said I would be able to demonstrate clearly to you the importance of fathering an heir. He also said he was sure that, like any other man, I understood the desire to raise a family."

    I did not look up at Peter, but I heard him slowly let out his breath, as though he himself had taken the blow. "May he die a Slave's Death," he said. "He actually told you that?"

    I did not reply. His voice dangerously low, Peter added, "High Lord or not, he can be summoned on a charge of insulting a free-man. I would request such a charge if you wished."

    "No." I reached over and picked up the dagger without thought, and then placed it hastily in the pack before reaching for the tunics from the chest. Finally I said, "He probably just forgot."

    "Lord Dean never forgets."

    The bitterness in Peter's voice made me look up. Peter was staring into the distance as though peering at an invisible scene. "When I was four years old," he said, "Lord Dean took me to see some kinsmen of his in his hometown of Busedge. It was the first time I'd ever left the palace, and it was one of the happiest periods of my life. The High Lord let me have my way in everything; he wasn't strict with me the way my father always was. Toward the end of the visit, I confided to Lord Dean that I had once tried on the Pendant of Judgment to see what it felt like. Lord Dean promised to keep my secret – and he did, for many years. Then, one day about a year before my father died, I was talking with my father and Lord Dean – you may remember, for it was on the night when we first spoke. Suddenly, to gain a trivial point in an argument with my father, Lord Dean mentioned what I'd done. I've never forgotten the look my father gave me, and I've never trusted Lord Dean since then."

    He pulled his gaze away from the past, reached to his tunic, and unclasped the emblem brooch in order to toss it to me. "You'd better pack this now. . . . It was perhaps unwise of Lord Dean to reveal his true nature so clearly to the Chara To Be. These days, if I were about to be cut down in battle and needed the help of either Lord Carle when he was being his most brutal or Lord Dean when he was being his most amiable, Lord Carle is the one I'd turn to."

    "It's not a choice I'd want to make," I said, wrapping the brooch carefully in a face-cloth before packing it. "At any rate, Lord Dean does have a point in what he said to me."

    "Lord Dean's points are like dagger points; they can only kill. Listen to me." Peter pulled himself forward so that he was kneeling on the bed close to me. "If I ever need advice on who to marry, it is you I will go to, not a man like Lord Dean. You know me better than anyone, better than even my father knew me, and nothing of what you are to the world changes what you are to me."

    I said nothing, did not even look his way, but let my smile be my reply. . . .
     

    Available as a free multiformat e-book or as a 99c Kindle e-book: Blood Vow (The Three Lands).


    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    In the Silence


    "Images came, like flickers of a candle: Dark stones. Dark metal. Faint fire. A spoon in his hand, as someone urged him to eat. A stinking pit that he knew he was duty-bound to fill. A loom nearby that he vaguely remembered he had once known how to work, but which now stood as silent as the rest of his world."

    He can't speak. He can barely see. He experiences only fear and the faint whispers of something he had once known.

    But an intruder into his secure retreat from danger will pull him into awareness of what stands before him. What stands there is renewed danger . . . and the hope of something more.




    Law Links


    "Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

    Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

    Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




    Checkmate


    "It's all about torture. That's what I didn't understand for a long time. The High Seeker has been seeking out and punishing those of us who wish to show greater mercy to the prisoners than the Code allows. Those of us who question whether it's right to torture prisoners."

    The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

    Split apart from their closest loves and friends, a small group of prison-workers seek to abolish the use of torture against prisoners in the queendom's royal dungeon. Time is running out, for the deadly High Seeker has already flogged and executed prison-workers who oppose his policies.

    Do the reformers have enough time and skill to bring about radical change in the dungeon? Will they be able to overcome their mistrust of one another?




    Survival School


    "This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

    How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

    Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

    Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

    And will he survive long enough to find out?

    Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




    Spy Hill


    "Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

    On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

    Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

    But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    Emancipation


    "They always held their breaths when the soldiers passed by, but so far, no battles had been held anywhere near Doughoregan Manor or any of its quarters. And sometimes a posse set out with the hounds, to hunt down the quarry."

    Civil war is tearing apart the land. Again.

    For centuries, the Kingdom Vovim to the northwest and the Queendom of Yclau to the southeast have fought each other for the border territory of Mip. Sometimes the Vovimians are lords of the land. Sometimes the people of Yclau are.

    The only Mippites whose lives don't change are the slaves. Young Sling knows that his own life's work has already been determined: he is to be a house slave, serving his master's son. But secret meetings in hidden places with his master's son make Sling uncertain of what will happen next.

    When news arrives of a proclamation that will allow Sling to leave his hated master, Sling faces a difficult choice: whether to flee to safety or to stay and face the dangers of an unknown future.

    "Emancipation" is loosely inspired by events at a border-state manor during and after the American Civil War. This is a Juneteenth holiday gift story for my readers.




    Law Links


    "Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

    Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

    Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




    Checkmate


    "It's all about torture. That's what I didn't understand for a long time. The High Seeker has been seeking out and punishing those of us who wish to show greater mercy to the prisoners than the Code allows. Those of us who question whether it's right to torture prisoners."

    The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

    Split apart from their closest loves and friends, a small group of prison-workers seek to abolish the use of torture against prisoners in the queendom's royal dungeon. Time is running out, for the deadly High Seeker has already flogged and executed prison-workers who oppose his policies.

    Do the reformers have enough time and skill to bring about radical change in the dungeon? Will they be able to overcome their mistrust of one another?




    Survival School


    "This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

    How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

    Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

    Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

    And will he survive long enough to find out?

    Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




    Spy Hill


    "Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

    On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

    Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

    But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    *


    "This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

    How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

    Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He knows that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

    Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

    And will he survive long enough to find out?

    Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.

    This story will be serialized online weekly.

    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    Map of Fort Frederick (Compassion Life Prison) and countryside


    "Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

    On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

    Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

    But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

    This story will be serialized online weekly.

    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    *


    "The beginning of the end for him (or so it seemed at the time) came in the moment that he stepped into the shadow of Capital Mountain and was assaulted by a stranger."

    In the battle-weary lands of the Great Peninsula, only one fate is worse than being taken prisoner by the Lieutenant: being taken prisoner if you are the Lieutenant.

    As the world's most skilled torturer struggles with his change of fortune, he finds that his fate is intertwined with the destinies of an idealistic army commander, an affectionate prisoner, and a protégé who reveres the Lieutenant's art . . . but is on the wrong side of the conflict.


    Read online or download as a free e-book: Bard of Pain (The Three Lands).
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    A dried wreath of flowers


    "Vito was beginning to wonder whether this dungeon's prisoners were questioned in pitch darkness. That was a matter of some personal concern to him."

    Walking into a trap may be the only way to create one.

    Danger runs high for Vito when he arrives at the Eternal Dungeon, escorted by guards. In this royal dungeon, prisoners are "searched" for their crimes, by torture and by more subtle means.

    Vito knows that he will be searched. But he has his own searching to accomplish, and to do so he must undergo the scrutiny of the queendom's most accomplished torturer.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: Searching (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood #2).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    A dried wreath of flowers


    "Layle had spent most of the afternoon attempting to figure out how to revise the Code in a manner that was unlikely to draw the wrong sort of attention from the High Torturer."

    The Eternal Dungeon's youngest torturer has a special talent. He's about to discover what it is, at the worst of moments.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: New-Fashioned (The Eternal Dungeon:).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    A dried wreath of flowers


    "During the dawn hours at the Eternal Dungeon, as the day shift yawned itself awake and the night shift yawned itself to bed, the talk turned, as it always did, to the injustices of being a guard."

    Three guards and a mysterious substance provide a temptation too great to be missed . . . especially when two torturers add their skills to the mix.

    Soon three very different men – a married man who is committed to respect and honor, a bachelor harboring secret desires, and a soldier with an unfulfilled ambition – will find themselves caught in a trap. Their rescue will come from an unexpected quarter.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: Green Ruin (The Eternal Dungeon).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    A wrench holding a dried wreath of flowers


    NEW SERIALIZATION:

    "In the past, he would gladly have accepted the death sentence for his crimes – indeed, he had pled for it then, in the name of justice. But now he had another person in his life to consider."

    A prisoner meeting his fate. A torturer meeting his demons. And between them, a man whose bonds are on the point of shattering.

    As the head torturer of the Eternal Dungeon sets out to terrify his subordinates in a horrific manner, his junior guard seeks a way to rebel against orders. But deep within the drama lies another man, and the fate of the dungeon may be determined by whether that other man steps forward.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: Bonds (The Eternal Dungeon: Sweet Blood 1).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    The Eternal Dungeon


    "The trouble was, he could still think."

    He expected death. What arrived was worse.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: Open-Soul Surgery (The Eternal Dungeon).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    The Eternal Dungeon


    After his love-mate had been escorted weeping from the great entry hall, nothing was left to distract his mind from what was to come.

    Ten minutes left to contemplate what lies ahead, before the end begins.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: The Whipping Post (The Eternal Dungeon).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    On Guard


    New serialization:

    "'Shall we allow criminals to roam the streets at will because we're afraid to take the chance of harming an innocent prisoner?'"

    A bloody knife from a crime scene becomes a mystery to be solved and a foreshadow of trouble to come.

    The ties forged between the noble-minded Eternal Dungeon and an abusive foreign dungeon have set off an unpredictable chain of horrific events, in which the love between two of the Eternal Dungeon's Seekers (torturers) will be tested to the straining point. Caught in the middle of the struggle are Barrett Boyd and Seward Sobel, loyal guards who will find themselves questioning their most fundamental beliefs about the royal prison's ideals.

    Barrett must help his Seeker determine whether their mild-mannered prisoner is an attempted murderer. His friend Seward has pledged to guard his own Seeker against an assassin . . . or should Seward be protecting the dungeon inhabitants against his Seeker? But when the guards' two Seekers fall into a lovers' quarrel, that is when the real danger begins.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: On Guard (The Eternal Dungeon, Vol. 4). Bookstore version: On Guard.


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    "Lying on my stomach in the passage, I held my breath. Knowing the man who spoke, I had no doubts as to what he was suggesting."

    When an endangered slave visits an imprisoned spy, she discovers that she has more options in life than she had thought.

    Life is not easy for Serva, the bastard daughter of the King of Daxis. Alternately treated as a slave and as a princess, she is distrusted on all sides . . . especially by her old rival from the nursery, her cousin the Prince.

    When the Prince begins to hint that she is a threat to his ambitions, Serva must make a decision that will determine the course of her life. And that decision will determine the fate of a spy who is due to be hanged. . . .

    Read online or download as a free e-book: Adversaries (The Three Lands: Breached Boundaries #1).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: (tree)
    "There was trouble here. He was determined to find and break the troublemaker."

    Midwinter's god is as cold as cruelty and as warm as a loving heart.

    Winter solstice begins the sacred season of Hell's Fast, when Hell's worshippers sacrifice food for the sake of the underworld god. But the High Seeker of the Eternal Dungeon is in no fit mood for holy rituals; duty has deprived him of the presence of his new love-mate.

    Then comes trouble, in the form of an invader to the High Seeker's privacy and comfort. . . .

    This story is a 2016 holiday gift fic for Dusk Peterson's readers.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: Shifts (The Eternal Dungeon).

    My bio )
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    "He had acquired a reputation in this part of Koretia, early on, of being more wild, more daring, more of a trickster than any other boy, save his blood brother, his co-conspirator in all mischief and pranks. When had that wild boy died?"

    He was a loyal servant of the god. But even loyal servants have their limits.

    When Griffith is cast into the role of leading a deadly blood feud against a rival village, he must decide how strong his faith is in the religion that decrees such feuds must occur. Griffith has always been a prankster . . . but can he trick his way out of this dilemma?

    Read online or download as a free e-book: Wildfire (The Three Lands).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
    "He was the flame, and his love-mate was the kindling. To say they were mismatched was an understatement. He knew that it was only a matter of time before their relationship was tested. . . . Layle had simply not expected the test to be a pile of dirty dishes."

    They are two of the most talented prison-workers in the world. It's a pity their skills don't extend to dishwashing.

    When the kitchen laborers of the queendom's royal prison refuse to clean dishes until their demands are met, the High Seeker and his love-mate must figure out how to accomplish simple housework that elite men such as themselves never condescend to do. It seems an easy enough task. But hidden between the two men lie memories and secrets that will turn a simple task into something much more.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: In Hot Water (The Eternal Dungeon).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    "I was off the bootblack stand in an instant, my shout absorbed by the pounding music. I no longer had any thoughts for the top. My only thoughts were reserved for a frail old woman with a peacock-feathered hat, a polka-dotted robin's-egg-blue dress with matching purse, and an umbrella with a duck's head as its handle."

    A rude top and an interfering family member prove to be an explosive combination at the Eagle bar.

    Read online or download as a free e-book: Pinned (Leather in Lawnville).


    My bio )
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    "A lone woman in a man's world, attempting to survive by men's rules, without in any way discarding her womanly nature. It was a paradox she had lived with for years."

    The guards who serve under her are mocking her. In other words, it's an ordinary workday.

    After seven years of enduring trouble from the guards of the Eternal Dungeon, the royal prison's only female Seeker is determined to bring matters under her control. But how can Birdesmond Manx Chapman do so when nearly every man in the dungeon thinks she shouldn't work there?

    It will take wisdom and wit and not a little slyness for her to see her way through this test of her courage. And she mustn't forget that the man who most resents her presence is the dangerous High Seeker. . . .

    Read online or download as a free e-book: Ma'am (The Eternal Dungeon).


    My bio )

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