Title: As Cold As Thorns
Author: Isis Sousa
Series: Duology Book 1 of 2
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Gothic/Paranormal/Dark Fairytale
Publisher: Tragic Books
Release Date: Nov 28 2016
Edition/Formats: eBook & Print
When lust and vanity consume a humble young soul, nothing is left but a faint flame in the darkness of the void.
The solace and contentment of Henrique’s simple life as a small-town tailor’s apprentice vanish when his ambitions turn him overnight into one of the most powerful and influential personalities in early-1800s Europe. His quick ascension to the upper echelons of the leading Iberian Empire reveals a man torn between the pure heart he once was, and the grim shade of what he has now become: a spirit obsessed with expensive material possessions and the urge to acquire the unattainable.
Henrique succumbs to the ever-growing desires and beguiling passions tormenting his mind, causing a rupture between reason and a desolate world of ice and snow where pain is the key to salvation. Will he survive his encounter with the colossal emptiness and find the righteous path to lead him out of his agony?
Come and indulge yourself in this startling tale of coldness and wonder.
Amélia had just finished the last touches in preparing the room when the door knocked three times. She rushed to attend it. When she opened it, a familiar face met her with a warming smile. A man about Tito’s age but more robust and shorter than her friend, he had gray-white hair tied back and wore a pair of glasses. His dress jacket and trousers had a warm brown tone and his socks, reaching to under his knees, were knitted in white. In one hand he had a huge leather bag; in the other he held his hat as he nodded to the servant.
“Me encantas como siempre, Amélia!”
The lady blushed and bowed to Professor Miguel. “And you’re most kind, como siempre, Professor!” She gestured for the man to come in. “Make yourself comfortable. Señor Henrique will be here any moment.” The servant left, heading for the kitchen.
Professor Miguel put his bag near an armchair by the table, which was set with porcelain and finely carved wooden cups, and then he went around the room, admiring the pieces of art Henrique had collected. There were small ornamented items, sculptures and paintings. His eyes lingered on a couple of black-and-white illustrations displayed side by side. One of them was of a couple of naked witches flying on a broomstick, one old and the other young. The other image was of a woman holding a dying man, their faces close and with the same desperate expression.
Henrique’s voice called for the Professor’s attention. “Ah, Professor Miguel! I see you admire my exquisite collection! Those two you’re devouring with your eyes were a gift from that sick painter – one more sick painter, by the way – by the name Francisco Goya. Pretty Teacher and Love and Death are my two favourites from that series.”
“A peculiar taste for dark and imaginative subjects, I must say. I do not believe in witches, or at least not like those, the classics. But I do believe in the power of love and death, the true rulers of our insignificant lives.”
“Professor, do you truly acknowledge your life as insignificant?” Henrique inquired with a peculiar smirk.
The Professor raised an eyebrow and touched his beard. “Hmm, no! In fact, not at all! It is an incontestable truth that we are insignificant compared to the grandeur of the universe, but my life… is a life of significance through the pursuit of knowledge, let that be said.”
“Ah! Now, I agree with you! As for my life, at the moment let’s say chaos is steering the winds. But sim, a life of significance and the pursuit of knowledge, and of making my craft the finest that has ever been. Oh! And let’s not forget the quest for the un-unattainable.” He gestured for his friend to take a seat.
Miguel sat in the armchair, following Henrique with his eyes. “We ought to toast to that!”
“But we will! With hibiscus and spices!” He took the kettle and poured the red, aromatic, steamy liquid into the Professor’s cup and then into his own.