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The Equen Queen - Alyssa Brugman

A lot of the problems of being a teenager involve getting people take you seriously, even when you are good at something or have something important to say. I thought a lot of readers would sympathise with someone getting this sort of treatment, so I put Corran together. He is fourteen, scrawny, and fences with an iron pipe because he can’t afford a sword, but he is really dedicated, rather like a teenage hacker trying to crack some important system. Even though people do not realise it, he is already very good.

His sister, the student Zelder, has very different problems. She is very bright, but is only seventeen, and did not realise how nasty upper class boyfriends could be until her first sweetheart got her thrown into jail just so his parents would not think he was dating the wrong sorts of girls. Now her worst nightmare has happened, because she is in the care of her little brother. Her parents have sent Corran to Quentaris “look after her and keep her out of trouble”.

The challenge was now to get a happy ending for both Corran and Zelder. There was no challenge at all getting comedy out of their situation, that part wrote itself. Most of the book revolves around the idea that appearances are not always what they seem, and that even infuriating people can help to save the day. Corran’s over-enthusiastic, unstoppable bravery keeps Zelder alive through some very bad situations, while Zelder’s scholarship and incredible memory are what finally saves everyone.

The fencing and martial arts are all fairly accurate, as I tried out most of the moves at the karate and fencing clubs before writing them into the story. Years ago I did actually know a young fencer who could not afford a competition sabre, so he practised with an iron pipe. The story also helped Quentaris develop, as well, because I needed to develop details of parts of the city that were not yet laid out clearly.
All that glitters is not gold!

While moored to a new world Quentaris is approached by another sky-city. The traders on board seem friendly and generous, offering the Quentarans food and gems, but are they setting a trap for Quentaris?

What are the equens. Can they really heal the sick? Why can’t Tab Vidler use her special powers any more? How do the screeching Loraskians so easily defeat Quentaris? And what is that trickster Fontagu hiding in the slaughterhouse?
Gewgaws, Ornaments and Hooey

Tab Vidler stared out over the Quentaris battlements towards the new sky-city hanging in the air, half-shrouded in cloud. It had appeared with the dawn on Quentaris’s port side three days before. Tab could make out guards patrolling the parapets and sailors scurrying over its burgundy sails like insects. They were so close that Tab felt sure if she threw a stone she could hit one of them, but so far nobody on either side had thrown anything — not even words.

Verris’s marines stood watch at the City Wall, while in the Archon’s Palace the Grand Council squabbled over what to do. The new sky-city was smaller than Quentaris, but more nimble. It was a joy to watch how it moved. But still reeling from the assault by Tolrush, Quentaris was too weak to defend herself against further attack, let alone start one. Meanwhile, Quentaris, moored to the world below by a great anchor, drifted gently on the tide of the wind, and its people held their breath.

‘If they were going to attack they would have done it by now,’ Tab’s friend Philmon muttered under his breath.

Tab could hear the long groans of the masts and the flapping of the vast sails above her. Somewhere in the city behind her a blacksmith hammered with the rhythmic clank of metal on metal. Merchants murmured as they traded with one another. Even the children played hooey in the squares in hushed tones.

‘Why are you whispering? It’s not as though they can hear you,’ Tab snapped.

Philmon stared at her, surprised. ‘I have to get back to work, anyway,’ he mumbled, and slouched away with his hands in his pockets.

Tab rubbed her forehead. She was ashamed of being peevish with Philmon, but her head hurt. She had been casting about for an animal to mind-meld with for days, but all she was getting was a crackling noise. The fuzz inside her head made her irritable. She was also plagued with the fear that her skill had only been temporary — that she might never be able to do it again. What would that make her? Just an ordinary rift orphan. What would she be good for?

‘Philmon!’ she called after her friend. ‘I just wish something would happen.’

‘Hear, hear!’ called one of the marines. A rumble of chuckles rolled along the wall.

‘Look!’ growled another of the marines, Vrod the troll — pointing with a clawed finger adorned with brass rings. ‘You is getting your wish, little one.’

Vrod made Tab nervous. Sometimes he looked at her as though she were a snack.

Tab shaded her eyes with her hand. Vrod was right. A small vessel was setting sail from the sky-city and heading for Quentaris. She traded a glance with Philmon and they both broke into a run, heading to the old throne room in the Archon’s Palace where the Grand Council met.

bullet The Gimlet Eye
Equen Queen
Battle for Quentaris
The Spell of Undoing
Vampires of Quentaris
The Skyflower
The Prisoner of Quentaris
Pirates of Quentaris
The Forgotten Prince
Stars of Quentaris
Stolen Children of Quentaris
Nightmare in Quentaris
The Murderers’ Apprentice
The Cat Dreamer
Princess of Shadows
Rifts Through Quentaris
The Plague of Quentaris
The Mind Master
Treasure Hunters of Q.
The Ancient Hero
Angel Fever
Stones of Quentaris
Dragonlords of Quentaris
Quentaris in Flames
Swords of Quentaris
The Revognase
The Perfect Princess
Slaves of Quentaris
Beneath Quentaris

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