Sea of Shadows

Today we’re hosting a stop on Amy Maroney’s Blog Tour for her new book Sea of Shadows

Sea of Shadows

(Sea and Stone Chronicles, Book 2)

By Amy Maroney

Publication Date: 12th April 2022

396 Pages

1459. A gifted woman artist. A ruthless Scottish privateer. And an audacious plan that throws them together—with dangerous consequences.

No one on the Greek island of Rhodes suspects Anica is responsible for her Venetian father’s exquisite portraits, least of all her wealthy fiancé. But her father’s vision is failing, and with every passing day it’s more difficult to conceal the truth.

When their secret is discovered by a powerful knight of the Order of St. John, Anica must act quickly to salvage her father’s honor and her own future. Desperate, she enlists the help of a fierce Scottish privateer named Drummond. Together, they craft a daring plan to restore her father’s sight.

There’s only one problem—she never imagined falling in love with her accomplice.

Before their plan can unfold, a shocking scandal involving the knights puts Anica’s entire family at risk. Her only hope is to turn to Drummond once again, defying her parents, her betrothed, even the Grand Master of the Knights himself. But can she survive the consequences?

With this captivating tale of passion, courage, and loyalty, Amy Maroney brings a lost, dazzling world to vivid life.

Sea of Shadows is Book 2 in a series of stand-alone historical novels packed with adventure and romance.

Buy links for Sea of Shadows

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Author Bio

Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an award-winning historical fiction trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Her new historical suspense/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.

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Here’s an excerpt from Sea of Shadows

Summer, 1459

Rhodes Town

When Anica, Papa, and Heleni arrived at the marketplace, the din was almost overwhelming. A temporary stage dominated the space. Bakers, fruit vendors, and purveyors of sweets in stalls near the stage peddled their wares to the crowd. Small groups of knights in their black tunics strolled among the townsfolk.

Amongst the gathered citizens, Anica recognized several merchants from church, some of whom had their wives and children in tow. She glanced furtively around for the Salviatis but saw no sign of them.

A wagon repurposed as a puppet theatre stood at one edge of the stage. Children screamed in delight at the antics of the colorful puppets being manipulated on its stage by unseen actors.

For a moment, Anica fought a wave of sorrow. Little Beno would have loved this scene. He’d have rushed to the front of the crowd, bubbling with laughter, his brown eyes joyous. Praise the saints, Mamá had decided not to accompany them here today. This would have rubbed her grief raw all over again.

She stole a glance at Papa. He was engrossed in conversation with the falconer and his wife, seemingly unaffected by the laughter of the children. Heleni drifted toward the puppet show, pulling Anica’s hand.

“Let’s get closer,” she urged.

At the same instant, Papa beckoned to them.

With reluctance, Heleni followed Anica to where their father stood with the French couple.

“Monsieur de Montavon has just told me the grand master may be interested in commissioning a portrait,” Papa said.

Anica’s mouth fell open. “Truly?”

The falconer nodded. “I’ve been singing your father’s praises to Lord de Milly for years now. He’s finally listened.”

She locked eyes with her father. He was beaming.

“What kind of commission, did he tell you?” she asked the falconer.

“A triptych for his private chapel in the palace.”

A three-paneled painting was a rare and lucrative job. It would do much to strengthen her father’s position as the finest artist on Rhodes. A surge of gratitude rippled through her. The falconer and her father had been friends since the Frenchman arrived here several years ago, and his loyalty had never wavered.

“We’ll go to the palace tomorrow and meet with Lord de Milly,” Papa said to her. “The two of us.”

The breath leaked from her lungs in a whoosh. “What? You mean me?”

Heleni dropped Anica’s hand. “That’s not fair! I want to go. I’ve never been in the palace.”

Anica ignored her sister. She looked at Monsieur de Montavon. “Are you sure?”

He nodded. “I told the grand master you assist your father with his work, and he had no quarrel with that.”

She felt buoyant, as weightless as a dragonfly.

Madame de Montavon ran her eyes over the long cotton headpiece covering Anica’s hair and shoulders. “You shouldn’t dress like that when you go, though.”

Anica bristled. Madame de Montavon had always harbored a superior attitude. In recent years, she had shown respect toward Mamá and other members of the Georgillas family. But her mistrust of Greeks in general was still obvious.

“Why is that, madame?” Anica asked.

“The Order will treat you respectfully if you appear to be Latin because they are Latins, and they prefer to do business with their own kind. In my fabric enterprise, I’ve seen it play out every day.”

The Frenchwoman ran a business exporting fine fabrics from Cyprus and Syria to France, so Anica had to admit she possessed knowledge of such things.

Madame de Montavon threw her another appraising stare. “I had a dress of brocaded silk and sleeves to match made for Estelle, but who knows when she’ll return? She would want you to wear them.” She reached out and fingered Anica’s headpiece. “I’ve a silk head wrap in the French style that will suit you, too.”

Anica swallowed, surprised by the kindness. “You are certain?”

Madame de Montavon gave an emphatic nod. “Yes. Come to our house tomorrow to fetch it all. This meeting with the grand master is important. A detail like clothing mustn’t mar his impression of you.”

Heleni let out an indignant sigh. “She gets a silk dress and sleeves, too?” Turning to Papa, she pulled the corners of her mouth down in a pout. “What about me? What do I get?”

Papa considered her words. “You get an iced-sugar bun,” he said in a measured tone. Fishing a few silver asper coins from his purse, he handed them to Anica. “Both of you, go get a treat.”

When they returned with their buns in hand, the de Montavons had moved along, but the Genoese merchant had taken the couple’s place alongside Papa.

“A beautiful day for a bit of amusement,” Signor Lomellini said, nodding at Anica and Heleni.

Anica greeted him warmly while Heleni dipped her head in a careless nod, her eyes wandering to a group of knights a little distance away.

“How does your new experiment progress?” he asked Anica. At her bewildered look, he added, “The oils? I’ve been wondering ever since your visit to my home.”

“I’ve bought enough linseed oil to get started,” she said, flattered by his interest. “We may have to experiment with brushes a bit. In your painting, I noticed the brushstrokes are quite small. I can’t be certain if that’s due to the artist’s own preference or if small, fine-haired brushes are better for oils. It will be a matter of experimentation, I suppose.”

He cocked his head to one side, an eyebrow raised. “You know much about this work. Your father is lucky to have such a diligent assistant.”

Heat flooded her neck. Why had she divulged so much? It felt easy sharing information with this man. He had such a warm, attentive manner.

“But surely you will put down your palette and brushes one day soon and marry,” he said.

“Yes, one day soon,” she agreed, glancing at Papa.

Her father’s gaze was fixed on the players dispersing across the stage. The crowd pushed closer, buzzing with anticipation, and a drummer sounded out a low, persistent beat.

“I hope your future husband allows you to continue painting,” he said. “It would be a shame to cease an activity which you so clearly enjoy.”

Anica smiled. “Thank you, signor. I hope so, too.”

“I would like very much to purchase some of your small icons,” the man went on, raising his voice over the sound of the drum. “I saw your father’s work in a ship captain’s home a few days ago. My entry hall needs just such adornment.”

Hearing this, Papa turned his head. “As it happens, we have a series of icons in progress. You must come visit our studio, signor,” he invited the Genoese. “You would be very welcome in our home.”

Another male voice rang out behind Anica. “What is this, signor? You told me patrons were not allowed in your studio the day we met.”

She spun around to confront the young French knight who had engaged them in conversation at the harbor not long ago. His expression held a trace of amusement, but his tone had been indignant. Beside her, Heleni drew in a quick breath, her lips parting in a radiant smile. The knight’s gaze traveled from Anica to Heleni, then settled on Papa.

She watched her father trying to sort out what to say. The drumbeats came faster now, thickening the air with their sonorous rhythm.

Thankfully, Signor Lomellini spoke up first. “But I am not a patron, monsieur,” he said. “I am a friend.”

Papa’s shoulders relaxed, and he tossed the Genoese a look of gratitude.

The knight frowned. Before he could speak again, a troupe of musicians launched into a raucous tune, signaling the start of the performance.

Hope you’ve had a wonderful Blog Tour, Amy.

@wilaroney @maryanneyarde @amymaroneywrites @coffeepotbookclub #HistoricalSuspense #HistoricalRomance #Renaissance #Knights #GreekIslands #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

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