In This Kingdom by the Sea
– a Three Moon Station Prequel –
Icy Snow Blackstone
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams
Arcanis was a world set in its ways, until nine-year-old Darien-Marcus san Gene became margrave. Raised by the advising council made up of his father’s best, he’s given a mistress at age twelve, a wife when he’s thirteen, and develops a tremendous desire to rebel all on his own. When His Majesty reaches nineteen, the orphaned prince declares his independence…and there’s nothing those stuffy, old-fashioned advisers can do about it.
With the aid of his wife, his best friend, and his younger brother, Darien begins the not-so-subtle and sometimes shocking changes to his world. Against the background of the love story of a teenage groom and his child bride and their growth into passionate adults, there’s also the tale of a society in transition because its ruler considers it both constricting and out of dated…and he’s having a great time doing it!
GLORIA LAKRITZ – SHE SAID:
Toni Sweeney writing as Icy Snow Blackstone has created a world that I can open her books and sink right back into. The planet is Arcanis, and it is set in many time periods throughout. We have prequels and sequels and to date have three fabulous Fantasy/Sci fi / Romance series to chose from. The ‘beginning’ is The Chronicles Of Riven the Heretic, the second jumping many years is The kan Ingan series and the third again jumping further into the future is Three Moon Station series.
This author, by whichever name she pens by, is a wonderful talent. As I mentioned I started reading the kan Ingan’s first and truly fell in love with Aric kan Ingan. Those stories mentions Riven and his family and I have that series still on my to be readpile (to read the beginning), but I have been too busy reading the next series of Three Moon Station which shows more of Arcanis again further into the future.
The Kingdom by the Sea is a prequel to the Three Moon Station series bridging the timeline a bit. We learn about another Margrave since Aric has left power and nine-year-old Darien-Marcus san Gene became Margrave. The kan Ingan’s have lost the throne as the Heretic curse came true…See what I mean?
This is a lovely story of the growing up and thoughts in the young man’s POV. We meet him as a young orphan, his parents killed in an accident. Darien is raised by a tri-pod of three elders one being his fathers best friend and his guardian. Like all the young men of wealth on Arcanis, he is taken to the Pleasure Dome at twelve and given a mistress that he doesn’t yet know what to do with, and would rather play video games and eats sweets with.
At his next birthday, Darien is introduced to his betrothed who is a ten year old girl/child and very soon after they are married and adding to their lives he is also on that day crowned Margrave. The two are raised as siblings, but they are intelligent and well adjusted and we find as they mature, they join into a passionate and loving relationship. Life is good on Arcanis, no wars, no plagues; it is simply idyllic or is it?
Our young Margrave senses the unfairness of the caste system of his land is and at nineteen declares he is old enough to rule Arcanis alone. The Tri-pod allows this because this young man has shown his worth as a ruler for fairness and honesty. Now he sets fourth with his beautiful and smart wife, his best friend and his younger brother to shake up this planet and change some of their antiquated rules.
Icy Snow Blackstone /Toni Sweeney can take a story and rip your heart out with pain, can write scenes of horror and loss, make you laugh out loud with humor; or can write a wonderful love story of a boy and a girl forced into a marriage as babies, and who fall in love and have a sharing that I think most couples only hope to achieve. We hear the voice of this young man as he grows from a child to a ruler, sometimes very unsure of himself becoming the very formidable Margrave of Arcanis, yet surrounded by a loving family.
As I said previously, this is a bridge story. If you have already read Three Moon Station this is its prequel to meeting Sar Trant. If you are still reading the kan Ingan’s this is the bridge to the future stories. Either way its story should not be missed by any reader. Well done.
Review by Gloria Lakritz
Sr Reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild
PENELOPE ADAMS – SHE SAID:
Darien-Marcus san Gene became an orphan when he was nine years old and, along with his little brother Daneel, was placed in the household of his father’s best friend Tyron Opaxa, Lord Summerlee to be raised along with his own children. Darien-Marcus is no ordinary child though, his father was the Margrave of Arcanis, now young Darien is the future sovereign and Lord Summerlee has his hands full not only raising a child as his own but teaching him how to be Margrave. Darien will have a mistress at 12, get married at 13 and take on the true mantel of Margrave at 19. Lucky for him he has the help of his best friend Orion (one of Lord Summerlee’s children) and his wife Adriadne to help him become the leader he wishes to be, not only a wise and caring Margrave but one who brings change in his wake.
I’ve been lucky enough to read most of the books Ms. Blackstone has written about the world of Arcanis from the beginning of saga with The Chronicles of Riven the Hereticseries, to the later years with the kan Ingan Archives, to the future with the Tritomis Series, and have enjoyed them all. With her current offering she gives us what I’m going to call a bridge book, connecting the kan Ingan Archives series to the Tritomisseries, and answering some questions readers may have had as to how the latter links into the former.
Ms. Blackstone writes under Toni Sweeney for the Heretic and kan Ingan series’, and I’ve noticed a definite difference in the voice she uses as Icy Snow Blackstone. We don’t get the gut wrenching drama and action with Ms. Blackstone; she is a kinder, gentler storyteller. The fact that she uses a quieter voice shouldn’t lull one into thinking she doesn’t give us a good story, she does, it just requires less tissue.
When we meet young Darien he is a precocious child, our introduction is Darien being called into his Uncle’s (as he calls Lord Summerlee) office and he thinks it’s about throwing his aunt’s cat into the pond. When he is told that is not reason for the meeting he ponders “Then what is it? I haven’t done anything else naughty lately.” This sets the tone for Darien’s childhood and his life in fact; he likes to push the boundaries to see just how far he can go. We watch as he grows into a young man, marries and becomes a leader. At 13 we see him marry his 10 year old bride, Ariadne and we witness them grow up together and fall in love with each other. We meet his best friend Orion, raised as brothers they are loyal to each other and as they grow, Orion will become Darien’s trusted advisor.
This is a nice story with the moments of sadness, tension and humor we’ve come to expect from this author. I have to say I found myself worrying since a good portion of the beginning of the story tells of Darien’s growing up, that I was reading a YA book, but as soon as he reached his later teens the story started to pick up for me. If you’ve read the kan Ingan series and the Tritomis series this book will be just what you need to connect the two. If you haven’t read any of the other books in the series this one stands on its own and just a plain ole good story.
Review by Penelope Adams
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
Good Morning Penny, I am so excited to have another story originating from the Planet Arcanis. Icy Snow Blackstone nee Toni V Sweeney has again given us another look into the lives at the Palace of the Margrave. We have talked and read about the various series that this planet inspired. The Riven the Heretic was the first, the Kan Ingan series fostered a myriad of books with its focus on Aric’s reign in Sinner, Exile, Return, Retribution, Downfall andSpace Studs. This is an ‘in between’ spanning a time prior to the Three Moon Station series with Sar Trant and family. You nailed it Penny in your review talking about the different voice this author uses being tough Toni Sweeney and the gentle voice of the romantic Icy Snow Blackstone.
I have been a fan of this series from the very first book I read, which happened to have been Sinner, out of order since the Heretic series came first but no problems there. It is interesting to see how Ms. Blackstone/Sweeney changes her voice with her name. Gotta wonder how many people live inside her head and if they all get along. It was nice to have that bridge between the kan Inganseries and the Tritomis series. I often get lost in my head trying to keep up how everyone is related and it was especially difficult for me when Sar and family went to Arcanis to claim his birthright to figure out exactly how he fit in. This book explained that and since we got a very small glimpse of Darien in the second book of the Tritomis series, it was nice to hear his story.
Very true Penny. When Sar mets the Margrave for the first time, the man was surrounded by many children, a very happy family and court. Now this story puts that into perspective and we now have other fish to fry. We here meet the evil cousin as a child who grows even more evil as she matures. Look at the havoc she plays with Sar and his family. I especially liked this story after Aric’s tales as it was such a growing up of two young people who adore each other, respect each other and was unmatched in the angst we had previously read with Aric. I still look forward to the final final final Ms Sweeney is working on for Aric and Miles.
I agree, it was fun to see another viewpoint on Aric’s tales from years later, I will admit it confused me at times the way they referred to him but I’m guessing that will all be explained in the next book. I know this series has to be wrapped up soon and I will miss all the people we’ve met. Knowing our author though, I’m sure she has something else up her sleeve to keep us on our toes and invested in tissues.
Good Night Gracie.
You are right …Night Georgie
Q&A with author Icy Snow Blackstone
First I must preface this Q/&A by saying…..Linda Tonis, Chinyere Etufugh, Penny Nichols and I have been privileged in reading and reviewing your world. Thank you for sharing this with us!
You’re welcome and I’m glad you liked them. Icy Snow and I both thank you.
This story links thekan Ingansagas to the Three Moon Station series. Did you already have it in mind when you wrote the first series or did it develop somewhere along the line?
I originally just planned to have Sar tell Katy where his father was from, establishing that neither he nor Hatch were convicts but were native-born Tritomitians. When I got the yen to write the second book, I wanted it to be different and not just a rehash of Sar being a station owner and chasing rustlers away from his elos or protecting his family. So…I decided to have him go “home” and learn exactly why his father had been exiled, and have his own problems, of course.
I noticed in an article recently that you had a WIP called Space Dogs….Will this have anything to do withSpace Studs?
Sorry…it has absolutely NOTHING to do with Space Studs. It’s a bit of whimsy I wrote, fashioned on the stories I used to tell my son about the adventures our four poodles had when out of our sight.
Spacedogs was the first book I had published back in 1989. I wrote it as a satire on the beautiful heroine shipwrecked with a handsome hero theme but the publisher chose to classify it as a YA story, if you can imagine me writing such (ha-ha). There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor in it but a fairytale-like quality, too, so perhaps it IS YA.
I know you are finishing up Aric’s story, where are you be heading next with this family?
Nowhere. When the story ends, Aric is 77 and Miles is 62. I’ll give a little spoiler here…one is a grandfather and the other is welcoming new arrivals into his family and watching his older children go through their own first romances. While Aric hasn’t even reached middle age for an Arcanian, I think we should let the two old guys retire with their respective families and walk into their Golden Ages privately.
Penny has read the Riven the Hereticseries as well as the kan Ingan’s, and now the Trants. Will the Trants be the next family that will spread that family tree???
I’ve got some stories buzzing around, a possible triangle with Hatch, Tris and Crissa, and a story for Meva du Thane and Theron and what happens while they work out their sentences on prostie, Dendra. If you remember, two of Sar’s hired hands asked him to bring them back wives from Arcanis and Sterri and Dendra might or might not be those women. And then there’s Pit… I could write so adventures for that anal-retentive young man! There are probably 3 or 4 books right there. All I can say is…who can say? Only Time will tell.
Thank you again for your time