Series Spotlight: Andul Guardians Series

Andul Guardians

Andul Guardians Series

Titles: The Phantom Nightingale, The Skyhound Master, Angel Bandit

Author: Shauna E. Black

Genre: Steampubnk, Fantasy, Advneture

Blurb for The Phantom Nightingale:

This time, a magic voice won’t be enough to save him.

Xanthe’s crew might all be kids, but that doesn’t mean he plays it safe. He saved them all once, and now they’ll go anywhere with him. But when news of a potential lost sister comes to light, Xanthe will lead them on their most dangerous mission yet – into the heart of the empire that wants him dead or alive.

Avilene’s plans after graduating from the empire’s most prestigious academy include escaping the overbearing academy director that has dictated the course of her life since childhood. They do not include being kidnapped by a renegade airship captained by the notorious Phantom Nightingale.

When their purposes clash, can Xanthe persuade Avilene to forego her duty to bring him to justice, or will he lose his crew and his freedom in a desperate attempt to heal the scars of his past?

A new swashbuckling adventure full of magic, airships, and a whole lot more. If you enjoyed Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan or Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines, you’ll love The Phantom Nightingale. Start reading today!

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Goodreads Link:

Review: Five Stars. “If you love adventures to new worlds with realistic, relatable characters, you want to read this book.

Although I’m not a steampunk or science fiction fan (and this story is something of a combination of both), I adored the cast of characters in this book. The world is well-drawn but NOT over-described.

And this cast? They are eclectic and unique. Black draws each one with individuality. Although the cover depicts a non-narrator (and this bothered me at first), by the end of the story I realized it fit. The captain is central to the character arc for our two lead characters.

What I liked best of all was the subtle way issues wove through the character development and compelled organic tension in the rising action. This story would appeal to young adult readers of fantasy, sci-if and adventure genres, but its depth spoke to my love of deeper themes.

I received an advance copy of this book from the author and chose to review it.”

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Excerpt From The Phantom Nightingale

Mucking about in barter towns was not Brayde’s favorite way to spend the afternoon. Rhoma was the worst. Squatting on a meagre peninsula at the southeast edge of the Empire, Rhoma trafficked in everything from produce, to metals, to people. The black market was especially good at finding children—the reason Brayde and Xanthe were here.

Brayde’s misgivings weren’t helped by the empty holster at his hip. He’d been obliged to hand over his stinger at the berth gate. Xanthe had relinquished his saber as well, and Brayde missed the comforting shape that usually skewed the tails of Xanthe’s long, black coat.

“Hold it.” Brayde threw out a hand to stop Xanthe from crossing a street.

A long auto driven by a man wearing goggles and a silk scarf streaming in the wind roared past. In its wake surged a bevy of bicycles, pedestrians, and motorcycles spouting black smoke, all jockeying for position.

“We don’t have time to spare.” Xanthe’s voice had al ilting accent and a mellow quality, like silk gliding over harp strings. “That child’s life could be in danger if Janko decides to sell to one of the underground factories instead of us.”

Stepping into the path of a bicycle that was forced to swerve out of their way, Xanthe forged into the melee. Brayde grumbled but did his best to follow. The child’s life might be in danger, but their entire crew would suffer the consequences if they got caught by the Rhoma guard.

Xanthe wove himself between the bodies of the crowd like an acrobat, a veritable prince striding

through the garish slums. All leather flaps and dark angles, he was thin as a whip and tall as a post. A pair of dark, crimson spectacles glinted in the sun when he turned sharply in answer to Brayde’s warning to avoid an overturned cart of potatoes.

As they advanced through the city, Brayde’s senses were assaulted with clashing colors and garish outfits pulsing in the bald sunlight. The smells of human waste mingled unpleasantly with fried food. Music and haggling voices pounded against his eardrums. It was a relief to move at last into a less crowded street.

“There it is.” Brayde had to shout over the cacophony of the hawkers and the hum of a thousand

throats. “Ten steps ahead, to the right.”

The pub was located in a ramshackle building with an upper story sagging atop the first, as though pressed on by the thumb of a distracted giant.The official logo proclaiming this a place to drown one’s sorrows hung askance on a crooked board looming over the street, ready to brain an unwary pedestrian. A child shouldn’t be in such an establishment, but Brayde had seen worse.

He followed Xanthe inside, where dodgy walkways wound between wooden panels and beams, and showgirls sat in the laps of grubby patrons. The floorboards groaned under their boots.

“The counter’s to the left,” Brayde said, as he came abreast of Xanthe. “Four paces around a table straight ahead.” He tried to ignore the couple snogging on top of the table. The bar was a standard variety, with a long counter stained by years of spilled alcohol, and dusty bottles cluttered in rows on a shelf along the far wall.

At their approach, an eager attendant with strands of greasy hair scuttled from a swinging door in the center of the shelves. “Can I help you, young sirs?” “We’re looking for Janko,” Xanthe said.

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