And now the next book in the His Fair Assassins series is coming out, Dark Triumph, and I can't wait until April 2nd to start reading. When one of my favorite book bloggers, Shelver of Shelvers Anonymous, asked me to join in a blog tour for Dark Triumph, I jumped at the chance. At the end of my musings here on the heart of a female assassin, there's a rafflecopter for a giveaway of the new book Dark Triumph (and an extra goody, too).
So why am I so excited about another dark book about assassins, when dark and vengeful is really not my cup of tea? Is there something twisted in my psyche I've been hiding from myself? So I took this opportunity to dig a little deeper about this whole idea of female assassins.
First of all, a few facts you might not know: there were attempted assassinations of both Stalin and Mussolini by women. Both succeeded in shooting, but not killing, these infamous dictators from the 1930's and 40's. With just a little googling I found quite a few other historical female assassins, including one from the Bible, honored by God: Yael (or Jael), an Israelite woman who lured an enemy leader into her tent with the promise of food and rest, and then drove a tent peg through his head while he slept. Yikes!
But the female assassin that is most memorable in my mind is a fictional one, from the 1990 foreign film Nikita, also known as La Femme Nikita. (More about the Fair Assassins series in a moment, I promise. You gotta hear about Nikita first).
Nikita is a young, out-of-control drug addict who kills a disarmed police officer, and as a result is sentenced to life in prison, and then given a lethal injection (or so she thinks) in secret. She awakes believing she is dead (wow I remember that scene so well, it's so powerful). Instead she learns she will pay her debt to society by becoming a government assassin. She's extremely talented at her job, with one exception: she hates it. Every time she has to kill someone, you see how it kills her a little bit, too. (Warning, this film is very graphic, much more so than the young adult His Fair Assassin books).
Okay, back to Grave Mercy. Stop thinking sharp-shooter guns, and start picturing swords, daggers, and poisons. And knights in armor (sorry, couldn't help myself)
In Grave Mercy, set in the 1400's in Brittany when women had almost no rights, Ismae isn't given much more of a choice than Nikita: become an assassin or be married off (after she's just escaped a brutally abusive marriage, who can blame her choice?) But here's the difference, Ismae discovers she loves her job. Her convent serves St. Mortain - the saint of death. She's death's handmaiden, serving her master by taking lives for the greater good. Then something happens with one of her assignments that changes her perspective - and it's not what you'd expect, so I can't give it away.
There's also a talent that Ismae has, that goes far beyond making her a great assassin - something she doesn't discover until near the end. It also relates to the "I love you but I might have to kill you" relationship she has with Gavriel Duval... which is also another reason why kept turning pages very late into the night. Hoping to discover another surprising secret and dangerous relationship in Dark Triumph.
Dark Triumph is about another girl from St Mortain's convent, Sybella, brought to the convent in chains, insane from some horrible thing done to her - we can only guess. I'll be reading the book because I want to see, like with Nikita and Ismae, how this tortured soul finds her heart again, after insanity and revenge. The attraction of the darkness (at least for me) is how its shadows make the light of hope even brighter.
Here's your chance to win a copy of Dark Triumph along with a nice set of essential
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here's some other bloggers participating in the Dark Triumph release party, with more thoughts on assassins and more to give away, too:
Tuesday, March 26: Robin LaFever's Top Five Heroines of All Time at Bookshelvers Anonymous
Wednesday, March 27: Why I love the His Fair Assassin series at In Which Ems Reviews Books; Fairy Tale Influences of Dark Triumph at Bookshelvers Anonymous
Thursday, March 28: True Love = A Maggoty Carcass (A Dark Triumph post) + giveaway at Mary Gray Books; Cover Love #25 (The HFA edition) at Bookshelvers Anonymous
Friday, March 29: Review of Dark Triumph at Girls in the Stacks; Interview with Robin LaFevers at Bookshelvers Anonymous
Saturday, March 30: An Assassin In Love (The Unlikely Romance in Grave Mercy) at Bookshelvers Anonymous (a guest post from Molli at Once Upon a Prologue)
Sunday, March 31: Review: Dark Triumph at Bookshelvers Anonymous
Monday, April 1: Review: Dark Triumph + giveaway at In Which Ems Reviews Books;The Mythology of the Nine at Bookshelvers Anonymous
Tuesday, April 2: Author Interview with Robin LaFevers (+Giveaway!) at Blue Sky Bookshelf; A Special Message from St. Mortain at Bookshelvers Anonymous
Wednesday, April 3: Interview with a fellow fan at Burgundy Ice; Giveaway! at In Which Ems Reviews Books; Tour Wrap-up at Bookshelvers Anonymous
So, what's your preferred poison? - a medieval assassin like Ismae or Sybella, or a modern day one like Nikita?