Under These Restless Skies will be released on February 20, and every day until then, I'll be posting a small excerpt. You can check out the book's blog here, including more excerpts and information on the Tudor historical characters in the story, and the legend of the selkies on which the story is based.
The applause died away and the hush was so profound, it seemed to echo from the tapestried walls. The king was giving Emma the Mirror of Naples. The diamond was so famous, Will recognized it instantly. It was one of those stolen from the French crown jewels by the king’s sister, Mary, to try to soothe Henry’s anger after she eloped with Charles Brandon. King Francis had offered thirty thousand crowns to have it returned, but Henry had scoffed at the offer.
And now he was handing it to Emma. To his fool. Will knew that when Francis heard of it, he would be incensed. But Henry never could avoid provoking Francis, even when he was preparing to try to forge a new alliance with him. But perhaps Henry didn’t see giving it to his fool’s wife as giving it away. After all, he was merely adorning one piece of property with another.
“Come, Mistress Somers, come and claim your reward.”
Emma glanced over at him for guidance. For a moment, Will considered refusing it. Surely, once the spell Emma’s song had woven had broken, the king would regret giving her one of the most valuable gems in Christendom. But now, he held it out to her with a coaxing smile, before the astounded eyes of his courtiers.
“Take it,” Will whispered.