Today I’m pleased to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The York King the second book in the House of York series.  I had too many books to read this month and so I haven’t yet had the chance to read this book, however I have a copy of both this book and the first, Son of York, which I’ll be reading and reviewing soon. 🙂  I’d like to say thank you to Random Things Tours for a copy of both books and the chance to be a part of this blog tour.  And now I am pleased to share with you an extract from The York King and I have to say it sounds very intriguing 🙂  More information about the book and author can be found below, but now let’s take a look at the start of this novel…

Night Visitors, January 1464

Something had broken the night. A new sound spread through the white softness of the forest, where snow had been falling since dusk, covering the path to the village. Here, the shadows were green, softened by the clouds that hid the stars; the tall standing trees had a martial air, as if awaiting the fated command, their branches a tangle of black hair. In a hollow, sat the grey stain of a hare against the snow, ears flat against its head, bulbous eye turned to the moon. It paused, bunched itself up on long legs, listened.

A sound was coming. A sound that had muscle, and reach. It pulsed into the tiny hearts of birds huddled overhead, breast to breast, as they shrank back into their nests. It stayed the talon of the owl, head swivelling like a globe, tearing flesh from bone. It reverberated among the leaves. Men were coming.

They rode as if the wood was theirs. As if a thousand years ago, seeds had split from buds and fallen into cracks in the soil, rooted and grown, purely for them. As if rain had massed in the heavens and wept down to quench the earth, for their convenience alone. As if generations of animals had mated, struggled to find food, or been slaughtered purely for the pleasure of being dressed with saffron or cinnamon and served at their table. And somehow, on some level, the woods knew to expect them. And the trees trembled in expectation.

They came at a gallop, five young men, strong, broad and colourful, wrapped thickly in furs. The ground thundered at their approach; the trunks of age-old trees quaked. They were absolute, defiant: the cold was nothing to men who could wield a sword and command any household fire to burn in their name. They had youth and speed on their side, the security of a warm bed and a meal barely a mile off; not even the glint of the moon on death’s scythe could daunt them, as it slipped between the trees. The heavens seemed to close in at their approach, as the sound became almost deafening.

Their leader turned and briefly looked back. They were travelling too fast for him to call to the others, but there was no need. With the rush of a storm, the rush of life, like heralds of the present moment, they sped through the clearing, hooves pounding up the snow in a cloud. The place was theirs. But already they were disappearing from sight, present for a moment alone, then vanishing through the trees. Silence descended again. The shadows folded in. As they receded, the wood closed upon itself, like so much viscous greenness, only momentarily torn.

Ahead lay the manor house with its long hall and chimneys flooding smoke out into the sky. Through the darkness, spots of gleaming light held promise, like treasure bound in red stone, hidden in a fold of countryside. Here there was a change in the road, where the thinning of the trees began, and the marks of civilisation grew prominent. The white spaces seemed to stretch for longer as they passed fields and a little stream; an upright on the horizon might have been a church steeple. Their horses’ hooves clattered over a stone bridge that spanned still black water.

A pair of strong iron gates were already standing open at their approach, although they had not been expected, and the house was half abed. They entered without surprise, or alarm, almost too easily. The horses clattered into an outer courtyard, so quiet that the sound must have woken all those inside. Before the main entrance, they dismounted, slipping to the stones, perhaps a little loose with wine, their voices touched with laughter. They walked as if they knew their way, as if these stones underfoot, these worn steps, were their old friends and the night and the snow were mere inconveniences. Hands opened doors, ushering them inside. Unseen figures hurried to light tapers and poke the cinders in the hearth back to life. Sleepy-eyed servants saw to their needs.

Like a formation of birds, the men followed their leader. Before the door, he paused and cast his eyes around the place, taking in the yard and stables, the house and road behind them. As ever, his hazel eyes were adept at seeking the shadows, the places of weakness and the distant line of the horizon, whether still, or swarming with the movement of men. Finally, satisfied, his gaze flickered up to the stars, where pinpricks of brightness were visible between the clouds. The sky hung heavy and dark overhead, full of menace, threatening to bring danger close. With a movement of his hand, he gestured for the door and the gates to be locked behind him.

About the book

The York King book cover

1464. Family conflicts, Lancaster against York, the fight for the English throne continues…

During the early years of his reign, Edward IV of York battles to bring peace and stability to the country, as Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, raises support in the north, attempting to return the Lancastrian king, Henry VI, to the throne.

With uprisings imminent, the Earl of Warwick pursues a marriage alliance with France, determined to bring about a friendship between the two countries and suppress support for Lancaster.

Unhappy with the match, Edward meets Elizabeth Woodville, daughter of a squire, and marries in a secret ceremony. With verbal agreements broken, friendships damaged and old divisions reappearing, Edward finds himself facing new enemies much closer to home.

Set during the Wars of the Roses, this is the second volume in the House of York trilogy.

Buy from Amazon UK

About the author

Amy Licence Author Pic

Amy Licence is an historian of women’s lives in the medieval and early modern period, from queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, queenship and identity, female orthodoxy and fertility and childbirth. She is also interested in modernism, specifically Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Picasso and Post-Impressionism. She has been a teach for over twenty years. Amy has written for The Guardian, The TLS, The New Statesman, BBC History, The Huffington Post and contributes regularly to BBC History Magazine.

Visit author’s website    Visit author on twitter

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Doesn’t this sound so interesting? 😀  I can’t wait to start reading this series next month!  Thank you for stopping by my blog today for this extract and please do check out the other blog tour spots in the banner below 🙂

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What do you think of this book?  Do you like historical fiction?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂