The prolific writer James Patterson (The President Is Lacking) is again with one other perilous journey, and EW has an unique first look.
Written in collaboration with Emily Raymond, Sophia: Princess Among Beasts tells the story of Princess Sophia, a beloved ruler dedicated to her individuals. Hassle arises when the princess, a voracious reader, is transported to a nightmarish realm populated by the terrifying beasts she examine as a toddler. To save lots of her kingdom, Sophia should unlock an historic secret as profound as life and demise itself.
Patterson has shared the duvet for Sophia solely with EW, in addition to an excerpt, under. Sophia: Princess Among Beasts publishes July 15 and is accessible for pre-order.
Excerpt from Sophia: Princess Among Beasts, by James Patterson, with Emily Raymond
Jeanette, my woman in ready, woke me by tickling my cheek with the feather finish of my quill pen.
“Up late writing again, Princess?” she requested. “And what was it this time? A song? A poem? Another appeal to the King about how you should be taught to joust?”
I might inform this final concept amused her; it was one other of my unladylike notions. However I didn’t reply. As an alternative I burrowed deeper into my feather bolster, pulling the ermine coverlet over my head completely. I’d give my father’s crown for a couple of extra minutes of sleep. I’d been dreaming one thing fantastic, filled with longing, and already I couldn’t recall any of it.
“Sophia,” Jeanette stated, her voice nonetheless mild however firmer now. “It’s time to dress. Your father is in the Great Hall, and he expects you to join him. You know he does not like to be kept waiting.”
And so I emerged reluctantly from my mattress and dug my naked toes into the sheepskin rug. It was a humid, chill October morning, and I shivered as a chambermaid poked the hearth into roaring life. My attendants fluttered across the room, silent as moths. One introduced recent linens, and two others have been dispatched to retrieve my robe and mantle. Jeanette herself would unlock the lacquer field to examine the mound of glittering jewels, selecting which of them ought to encircle my neck or dangle from my ears. At present, as each day, I used to be to be scrubbed and dressed and pampered and styled.
“You’d think I lacked the arms to do this myself,” I muttered as Adelie, the youngest attendant, moved to take off my nightdress.
She suppressed a giggle. These indulgences have been my royal proper and my royal obligation, and we each knew it. My father, the king, insisted on each attainable luxurious for me—besides, in fact, that of sleeping in.
I made my means towards the good picket tub of steaming water, scented with verbena, candy woodruff, and rosemary. The final rose petals of the season dotted the water’s floor, and sinking into the bathtub was like sliding again into summer time’s warmth.
I virtually might have drifted again to sleep (as Jeanette suspected, I had stayed up half the night time). However I had barely closed my eyes when the door to my chamber flung open, and a scullery maid stood gasping on the edge, her face as white as milk.
“What are you doing here, Margery?” Jeanette demanded. “This is not your place.”
“He’s coming,” the woman whispered. “What they said—it’s true. His army—”
However Jeanette didn’t let her end. She unceremoniously shoved the woman again into the corridor and shortly shut the door. Then she turned again to the room and stared in any respect of us, and eventually me, her expression now darkish with fear. My attendants stood frozen, some with their arms to their mouths, and all with terror of their eyes. My coronary heart started to pound in my chest.
Ares was advancing upon our realm.
For weeks there had been rumors: from the bitter north would come a military of ruthless knights, laying waste to all that they noticed. No village was protected, and no drive might flip them again. Ares’s males have been giants, the individuals stated, and Ares himself couldn’t be slain.
Although I didn’t consider the fevered whispers of frightened villagers, the specter of any assault unsettled me.
“Back to work,” Jeanette stated sharply. “It’s only kitchen gossip.”
Was it apparent to everybody that she was mendacity? It was to me.
Nonetheless, they obeyed her. Adelie, visibly trembling, started to pour a skinny stream of candy almond oil into the bathtub. When she splashed some onto the ground, I reached out and touched her tough hand. “You have nothing to fear from Ares’s army,” I stated.
All motion within the room stopped once more. Adelie’s older sister, Elodie, stared at me with big, anxious eyes. Faye, the chambermaid who’d been stoking the hearth, started to wail. Her cry was as sharp as a wounded animal’s. “Oh, Princess,” she sobbed, “they say Ares’s men are monsters. I don’t want to die!”
Her panic was contagious. Elodie and Adelie, too, started to weep. However historic Ana, who had been making my mattress, hauled the sobbing Faye upright, slapped a hand over her mouth, and hurried her out of the room. Then she poked her head again via the doorway andthreatened everybody else with the change in the event that they didn’t calm themselves instantly.
I seemed then at sensible, sturdy Jeanette. I had recognized her my entire life, and she or he was the closest factor I needed to a mom. I needed desperately for her to reassure us. However that wasn’t her process. It was mine.
I drew myself up from the bathtub. Adelie, remembering her place, hurried to wrap my shoulders in a smooth material. “There’s no such thing as monsters,” I stated. “Our enemy may be preparing his attack, but our armies will meet in the field. You are safe inside the castle, which is an unassailable weapon in itself.”
“Go on,” Jeanette urged. “Tell them.”
I made positive my voice didn’t betray my very own worry. “The moat that surrounds Bandon Castle is our first defense,” I defined. “Men cannot swim with swords and shields, and any of Ares’s soldiers who attempt to cross the bridge will be shot by our marksmen.”
“Suppose some arrows miss?” Adelie whispered.
“Then the enemy comes to the gatehouse’s iron-plated door. Should they get through this—which they won’t—they find themselves in a narrow, winding passageway, where they will be pierced by arrows shot through slits in the walls.” I gave every of my attendants what I hoped was a comforting look. “And don’t forget the murder holes,” I added, “which allow our guards to pour torrents of boiling water down from the ceiling!”
“Excuse me, Your Highness,” Jeanette stated, “perhaps before you go on.…” She held out a chemise of white linen, so high-quality spun it was virtually clear.
I appeared down at my physique: my breasts goose-fleshed, my legs slender and dripping moist. I had been giving a speech standing half bare in a bathtub!
I flushed. Propriety had by no means come naturally to me. “Forgive me,” I stated, and have been it not for Ares, I might have laughed outright. Because it was, I stepped from the bathtub, holding up my arms so Jeanette might slip the chemise over my head.
“Now that you’re properly covered,” she stated quietly, “you can continue to soothe their fears.”
“Suppose they survive the gatehouse’s murder holes,” I went on, as two attendants introduced forth a high-waisted robe with trailing sleeves, reduce from blue silk shot by means of with silver thread, and edged with lace as pale and delicate as spiderwebs. “They come to the outer castle wall, where more marksmen wait on the battlements above.”
The rustling silk pulled tighter towards my ribs as Jeanette set to work on the buttons. It felt fallacious to decorate so exquisitely on a day akin to this, however I knew my father’s guidelines. It didn’t matter what forces could be amassing towards us; my obligation was to look as pleasing as a portray.
Adelie introduced me burgundy slippers embroidered with violets, and her sister waited with a velvet surcoat in a wealthy midnight blue—the shade my father favored for me to put on. Then Jeanette led me to little stool earlier than a tall mirror. I sat down rigorously, readying myself for what got here subsequent: 5 hundred strokes of a boar’s bristle brush via my lengthy, darkish hair. After that, Jeanette would organize the shining waves into clever clusters, coils, and ringlets. I’ll admit, I did all the time like this half.
Elodie appeared to have gained a few of her colour again, because of my reassurances.
Adelie, then again, stated, “However what if—
Jeanette glanced up from her brushing to silence her with a glance.
“There’s another thick wall beyond that,” I reminded them. I gestured to the traditional, leather-bound tome I stored on my bedside desk, Myths: Demons and Monsters. “You are no more in danger from Ares than you are from the imaginary monsters in this book. You have my word.”
Elodie, smiling shyly now, got here ahead with an ornately etched tray of glittering bottles, every crammed with the distilled essence of a flower. I pointed to the eau de rose in its ruby glass vial. I shivered as she touched the dropper to my neck, and the scent of roses—my mom’s favourite flower—crammed the room.
As Jeanette completed plaiting my hair and fixed a necklace of pearls and sapphires round my throat, I considered what lay inside that second wall, ought to it’s breached: the broad citadel yard, the gardens, the Nice Corridor.
However I didn’t point out this to the ladies and women in my bedchamber.
I stood regal in my robe, armored by the splendor of silk and jewel. “Ares’s men are soldiers like ours,” I stated. “They do not have the strength to breach Bandon’s walls, and they will not mount a siege with winter fast approaching. They will soon seek easier conquest elsewhere. We should not look upon the coming days as different from any other.”
Solely Jeanette nonetheless appeared uncomforted. She bowed her head. “May what you say be true, Princess,” she stated quietly.
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