Hello, friends and fellow bibliophiles!
It is my pleasure today to debut the first War of Loyalties snippets post on My Lady Bibliophile! For a long time I've been a writer, but kept this novel fairly locked up as far as plot-line and excerpts go. Editing drafts require a lot of time and privacy to smooth out the rough edges.
But I have longed to be able to share it with you, and feel that it is in good enough state to start dropping hints about. Right now I plan to devote two posts a month to writing--one with snippets and one with character interviews, with a couple of weeks in between. Sometimes they'll be about my War of Loyalties spy novel, and sometimes about other novels that I have in the works. I do hope you all will enjoy this new focus in the coming months!
I wrote an earlier post digging into a lot of questions about the novel plotline, but as a reminder, here is a brief introduction to the plot:
Medical student Ben Dorroll has no interest in the European conflict, until his father writes pleading for him to come to England to train as a spy recruit in home front intelligence. The opportunity to continue his medical work at the same time convinces him to accept the position. Bringing his wife Charlotte and sister Pearl with him, Ben moves to Folkestone, the hub of a crumbling spy ring in need of fresh recruits. There he's placed under the mentorship of Jaeryn Graham, a young Irish doctor, with a ruthless “do-what-it-takes” mentality in his work and a compassionate generosity in his private life.
It's a whole new world of espionage with a triple twist of uncertain trust, ambitious agents, and international betrayal.
War of Loyalties October Snippets
"Going out with your young woman?" The short, balding proprietor opened the icebox and returned with two amber-colored bottles. "I saw the ring when you dropped in last week."
A warm glow rose in Ben's eyes at the mention of her, but he shook his head. "Not today." He picked up the bottles, which were cold and rather slippery from the warm air hitting them, and examined the root beer inside with satisfaction. Then, wanting someone to share his anticipation, Ben offered more conversation than usual. "My older brother's coming over this evening." The words sounded strange on his tongue. He had never said them before.
"That's nice." The man dropped the pennies in his cash register. "How long has it been since you've seen him?"
"Hello, little brother. I'm Edmond." The young man standing before him offered a firm handshake, and Ben returned it with one of his own. He had waited for weeks to hear those words, and a thrill ran through him at their sound.
There was a curse in every curve of that black ink.
"We're pleased with your work. Are you quite sure you're recovered from your last escapade?"
"Completely." The young man addressed as Graham nodded and flexed his fingers at the remembrance of what he had just finished. They were straight and unblemished, except for two--and these two, even though they were crooked, he glanced at with a proud lifting of his chin, as if he would gladly have them over the other eight, whole ones.
Ryson's pale blue eyes glared at him. "You do your ethnicity no favors with such remarks."
The well-stocked wallet in Jaeryn's coat pocket rested at his side with a reassuring solidity, and his hand snaked in to feel it. The knowledge that its ample contents enhanced his value as an agent sent a warm tingle coursing through his fingers--or perhaps that was merely the sting that still lingered from his recent injury.
A flaxen-haired young woman, clad in a linen skirt and coral shirtwaist, peeped around the doorframe, and joined the conversation. "He's going more because his father asked him to. Even if it took him three years to make up his mind." She glanced demurely at Ben, and broke into a light, sweet laugh as his mouth opened involuntarily to defend himself.
"That's sweet of you, lad," the old woman said, and the fine wrinkles around her mouth deepened in a pleased smile.
A radio droned out the latest war news to the left of the front door, and maps and propaganda posters plastered the walls with bloodthirsty red slogans.
"I only knew of one son for years; an army captain, Edmond Dorroll. He's done well for himself in the war. But this other son I had never heard of until three years ago, when Matthew Dorroll requested the position for him. Benjamin Dorroll's coming from America, and I can find no evidence that he's been in England for some time. I find it strange that Matthew Dorroll didn't want the position for the older son instead of the younger."
"Curious." The word lilted, long and drawn-out, and Jaeryn smiled again to himself.
Need help. Bit of a risk, but I'll make it worth your while. Meet me in Dover. J."
"His name is Jaeryn Graham, and he has long-time connections to the special branch. He's twenty-eight, and Irish to boot, but he's loyal for all their madcap ways."
"No, you don't." Ryson's cold grey eyes never ceased from their appraisal of him. "No one your age understands the responsibility of knowledge."
Samuel Ryson opened a drawer and took out eight sovereigns, which he gave to Ben. They felt cold and hard, and Ben rubbed his finger softly over the insignia, then looked them over until he found the discrepancy in their make. It was there, and a slight smile crossed his face at his success. A tiny hole the size of a pin-prick, which no-one would ever suspect unless they knew what they were looking for. He twisted it, and the sovereign fell apart.
"First of all, we two must place implicit trust in one another in order to work together. You can rely upon my loyalties to the Allied cause, and I'm sure I can rely on yours. For another, I gather, like he did, that you prefer to mind your own business and have others mind theirs. If you want your colleagues and your enemies to trust you, try to give them at least an impression of openness."
Pearl stood near him, gazing out over the Channel and breathing in the salty sea air while Ben paid the cab driver. Her voice, when she spoke, was so low he almost missed it. "Ben?"
"Hmm?" He looked down at her, and now that the men were gone, a touch of eagerness lit up her face.
"It feels like home--with you here."
"Does it?" Ben touched her cheek and brushed back a strand of curls from her face as if she were six instead of twenty. "Then I'm glad."
All snippets from War of Loyalties, by Schuyler M.
All snippets from War of Loyalties, by Schuyler M.