In a world where seventh born sons are valued for their strength and power, she is born a daughter.
Zezilia Ilar is the disappointment. Born after six brothers, she was supposed to be the son to restore her family’s prestige. She intends to remedy her shortcomings by being a dutiful daughter, marrying well and producing children, preferably a set of seven sons. But when someone offers her an alternative, she begins to dream of more.
In a society that worships a goddess, he follows the Almighty.
Hadrian Aleron, as a seventh son of a seventh son, stands to take up the second highest position in government, Sept Son. His main qualification for office is his birth. Despite preparing for this role from childhood, he does not desire what is to come. As a follower of the Almighty, he knows he will be the target of many, and his faith might eventually lead to death.
Rachel Rossano lives with her husband and three children in the northeastern part of the United States. Homeschooled through high school, she began writing her early teens. She didn’t become serious about pursuing a career as an author until after she had graduated from college and happily married. Then the children came.
Now she spends her days being a wife, mother, teacher, and household manager. Her evenings and free moments are devoted to her other loves, writing and book cover design. Drawing on a lifelong fascination with reading and history, she spends hours creating historical feeling fantasy worlds and populating them with characters who live and breathe on the page.
Top Ten List
10 Interesting Things about Rachel Rossano
1 – I have three children that equally challenge, frustrate, and delight me every day.
2 – Almost twenty years ago, I married my best friend, and I have never regretted the decision for a moment.
3 – My parents are exactly a foot apart in height, and my husband and I are exactly a foot apart in height.
4 – I have no lenses in my eyes. I developed cataracts when I was very young and had the lenses in my eyes removed so I could see.
5 – Since childhood, I have not liked the texture of meat. Because of this, I have been a vegetarian since I was allowed to prepare my own food.
6 – I started publishing my books because I feared I would never have children. Now, I am homeschooling three children and fitting my writing and publishing around their educational needs. I’ve wondered more than once if the Lord did that so that I would continue to write. Otherwise, I might’ve waited until they were all raised and grown.
7 – I have naturally curly hair that refuses to stay straight or in place.
8 – My kids are some of my biggest fans despite the fact they have read none of my books.
9 – I post silly stories on FB about the things my kids say and do, not because I want everyone to be impressed with them, but so I will remember them later.
10 – My first crush was on Spock from Star Trek. So, when my husband comments that I am part Vulcan (meaning highly analytical and logical), I consider it quite the complement.
I took the opportunity to step out into the sunlit balcony. The heavy scent of zezelia blooms filled the air tinged with the lighter smells of kalyee roses and jurnar. Tall trees, great green expanses of grass, organza ferns, and plants I had never seen before called to me. I lay my hands on the sun-warmed iron railing and looked down on them all.
“Is your bedchamber satisfactory, Donellea?”
Startled away from my thoughts of cool green glades, I turned to find the Housemistress regarding me seriously. Her slightly flushed countenance indicated Mother had found something wrong with her rooms.
“Yes, thank you. I am sure it is fine.”
She bowed and turned to leave. Though I didn’t mind her haste, I did have one question.
“Are the gardens open to guests?”
“Yes, they are for your enjoyment.”
“Thank you.” I turned back to survey the greenery. I was going to soak in as much as I could now before I was ushered into the dim audience chamber for my presentation. However, my quiet revelry was cut short.
“Zezilia Calypso,” Mother called.
I reluctantly turned away and entered the cooler confines of the building. “Yes, Mother.”
“It is time we went. The presentations begin shortly and we don’t want to be late. Now turn around so that I can see you.”
Obediently, I submitted to a last minute poking and prodding. I can endure this, I told myself, promising myself I would wander away and explore the green and fragrant wonderland as often as possible before we left. If I had known the extent of the High King’s gardens, I wouldn’t have been dreading this trip quite as much.
A long convoluted journey through the passages and down and up staircases ended in the two of us pausing before a set of great carved doors. The guard standing outside moved to open them for us, but mother tutted him into waiting. Turning to me, she smoothed my clothing once more before adjusting her own.
“Remember your role.”
“Yes, mother, silence, grace, duty, and reserve will impress her most.” I arranged my hands as I had been taught, fingers lightly splayed one hand over the back of the other. Composing my features into a serene mask, I lifted them for her inspection.
Apparently they were satisfactory. She motioned for the guard to announce us.
He flung open the door and announced, “Queen Ilar and Princess Zezilia beg audience with the High Queen.”
“Come,” an answering herald immediately responded.
Mother preceded me into a long narrow room. White ornately carved walls rose to meet an airily high ceiling. A single array of column guarded windows lined the far end of the room, lighting the whole in bright daylight. At the far end of long ranks of similarly bedecked mothers and daughters both slightly older and younger than I, the queen and her attendants sat with their backs to the windows. The shadows on their faces left us in the dark as to their expressions.
Mother proceeded forward as though nothing was amiss, so I followed her example. Slow and gliding, she paced the length without hurry or apparent worry. When we reached about ten feet away from the Queen and her cohort, my mother curtsied and I did likewise.
“So this is your seventh born?” The Queen’s voice sounded tired, but the women around her stirred with interest.
“Yes, Majesty,” Mother replied. “Zezilia is our youngest.”
“No use trying after a girl messing up the works,” someone to the left hissed in a false whisper.
Mother didn’t flinch. I tensed, but held my expression of calm. It didn’t help to react.
The queen didn’t appear affected in the least. “It is a pleasure to see you, Nascio, and to meet you, Zezilia. Come and sit by me. I would love to hear about your plans for the next year.”
Mother accepted the invitation with her usual grace. I followed out of duty. The following hour filled with polite talk of people I barely knew. My eyes kept straying to the glimpses of green I could see through the Queen’s reception room window and my mind to the freedom it promised.