Poison Study 10th Anniversary Blog Tour & Giveaway
We’re huge fans of Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study, so we’re thrilled to be part of Rock Star Book Tours‘ fun 10th anniversary blog tour! Today we have a fun excerpt to share with you, and another piece of the blog tour scavenger hunt puzzle. You’ll find today’s scavenger hunt word in red below.
“You’ll get a room in the castle to sleep, but most of the day you’ll be with the Commander. No days off. No husband or children. Some prisoners have chosen execution instead. At least then they know exactly when they’re going to die, rather then guessing if it’s going to come with the next bite.” He clicked his teeth together, a feral grin on his face.
He was serious. My whole body shook. A chance to live! Service to the Commander was better than the dungeon and infinitely better than the noose. Questions raced through my mind: I’m a convicted killer, how can they trust me? What would prevent me from killing the Commander or escaping?
“Who tastes the Commander’s food now?” I asked instead, afraid if I asked the other questions he’d realize his mistake and send me to the gallows.
“I am. So I’m anxious to find a replacement. Also the Code of Behavior states that someone whose life is forfeit must be offered the job.”
No longer able to sit still, I stood and paced around the room, dragging my chains with me. The maps on the walls showed strategic military positions. Book titles dealt with security and spying techniques. The condition and amount of candles suggested someone who worked late into the night.
I looked back at the man in the advisor’s uniform. He had to be Valek, the Commander’s personal security chief and leader of the vast intelligence network for the Territory of Ixia.
“What shall I tell the executioner?” Valek asked.
“I am not a fool.”
Valek snapped the folder closed. He walked to the door, his stride as graceful and light as a snow cat traversing thin ice. The guards waiting in the hall straightened when the door opened. Valek spoke briefly to them. They nodded. One guard came toward me, ordering me to stand up. I stared at him. Going back to the dungeon had not been part of Valek’s offer. Could I escape? I scanned the room. The guard yanked me to my feet and removed the manacles and chains that had been draped around me since I’d been arrested.
Raw bands of flesh circled my bloody wrists. I touched my neck, feeling skin where there used to be metal. My fingers came away sticky with blood. I groped for the chair. Being freed of the weight of the chains caused a strange sensation to sweep over me; I felt like I was either going to float away or pass out. I inhaled deeply until the faintness passed.
When I regained my composure, Valek was standing beside his desk pouring two drinks. An opened wooden cabinet revealed rows of odd-shaped bottles and multi-colored jars neatly stacked inside. Valek placed the bottle he was holding in the cabinet and locked the door.
“While we’re waiting for Margg, I thought maybe you could use a drink.” He handed me a tall pewter goblet filled with an amber liquid. Raising his own goblet, he made a toast. “To Yelena, our newest food taster. May you last longer than your predecessor.”
My goblet stopped short of my lips.
“Relax,” he said, “it’s a standard toast.”
I took a long swig. The smooth liquid burned slightly as it slid down my throat. For a moment, I thought my stomach was going to rebel. This was the first time I had had something other than water. Then it settled.
Before I could question him as to what exactly had happened to the previous food taster, Valek asked me to identify the ingredients of the drink. Taking a smaller portion, I replied, “Peaches sweetened with honey.”
“Good. Now take another sip. This time roll the liquid around your tongue before swallowing.”
I complied and was surprised to taste a faint citrus flavor. “Orange?”
“That’s right. Now gargle it.”
“Gargle?” I asked. He nodded. Feeling foolish, I gargled the rest of my drink and almost spat it out. “Rotten oranges!”
The skin around Valek’s eyes crinkled as he laughed. He had a strong, angular face, as if someone had stamped it from a sheet of metal, but it softened considerably when he smiled. Handing me his drink, he asked me to repeat the experiment.
About Poison Study:
Title: POISON STUDY
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: October 1, 2005
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…
Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.
Maria’s research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.
Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.
Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.
Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address:email@example.com.
Where you can find Maria:
10 winners to match 10 years!
Grand Prize is a signed hardcover first edition of Poison Study and Magic Study (both books).
First Place a signed hardcover first edition of Poison Study
5 winners will get a signed cover flat of the original cover of Poison Study
3 winners will get a signed original bookmark for Poison Study
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