Do you know what your problem is?
Olivine knows hers. This quiet thirteen century artist has been hiding a secret as she travels to K'ba to meet her friends. Others assume she's fallen in love with another artist, but it's much worse than that. For on the way to K'ba is the dirt poor nichna of Scrud, a place scorned by other Ilarians. And in Scrud is the one man who understands her.
However, Bohdan recognizes the dangers posed by an impending Mongol invasion. When he learns of Olivine's unusual visual powers, he convinces her to pick up her bow and start practicing.
She does, though she's more concerned with moving to K'ba where she can paint all day and see Bohdan whenever she wants. If only her sister hadn't decided Olivine and her fellow long eyes held one key to defending the realm.
Then, as if life wasn't complicated enough, Olivine learns the artist community she yearns to be part of has developed a different take on the invasion. They're certain the only way to survive is to capitulate completely to the Mongols’ demands. Artists who feel otherwise are no longer welcome.
Where does her future lie? The invasion is coming soon and Olivine doesn't have much time to decide.
I settled onto the front porch of our farmhouse early one morning, hoping to sketch before the day got too hot. I knew of a bird’s nest in a tree a hundred paces away, tilted so I could see the eggs from the porch.
I enjoyed the morning breeze on my face as the world blurred around the edges as my eyes focused on the tree in the distance. I turned the force of my stare onto its branches as the small nest filled my field of vision and the leaves around it smeared into an indistinguishable green haze. I stared harder as I studied how the light reflected off of the tiny eggs, preparing to draw.
“Put that sketchbook down and do something useful.” My mother's voice pulled me back with words she’d said a thousand times before. “You’re wasting your life with those drawings. How will you find a husband if you never get out there and talk to anyone?”READ MORE
I don’t want a husband. He’ll expect me to cook and clean instead of draw and paint. Why would I want that?
But I knew to keep such an answer to myself.
“Just let me finish this one thing,” I replied for the thousandth time. Then I picked up my charcoal as she shook her head and walked back into the house.COLLAPSE
The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.
Which sister do you think saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you are reading.