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A Harvest of Dreams and Embers By Belinda Burke

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At this time of year, when warm days are a hope (not a dream) and the shift from winter to spring is underway, it’s a good time to reflect on the passing of all cold things. Of course, Valentine’s day is also coming closer, and that means hearts are warming, not just the air.

Spring is my second favorite season (it can’t compete with autumn for sheer brilliance), and I have to admit to a fascination for these months full of so many new beginnings. We have the general New Year celebrations, and then those for anyone who celebrates according to the lunar calendar. There are resolutions everywhere, and all of that is immediately followed by red hearts and greeting cards and (hopefully) chocolate…and that’s before things really kick into gear!

We aren’t the only ones celebrating, of course. The world is a riot as January fades into February – it seems to be mating season for everything, and I dare you to find one wood where the birds aren’t apparently involved in an orchestral competition. Even the flowers seem to be overexcited. But there’s something to be said for the old cliché that spring is the season of love, and it is love, above all things, that links the subtleties of the natural world, the open celebration of the human world, and the mysteries of the Eight Kingdoms.

It’s probably for that reason that A Harvest of Dreams and Embers, and thus the second half of the Eight Kingdoms’ series, starts in the spring. The first half of the series focuses on winter, and there’s importance in the shift, and the duality it represents. Winter is the sleeping season, the season nearest to death. Spring is when the world comes awake.

I had a great deal of fun with Myrddin’s mischief (that’s Merlin, for those less familiar with Arthurian mythology), and with tangling his roots, such as they are, deeper into the roots of Celtic mythology that move throughout the series. It was also this mingling that allowed me to understand how emotion would move the story, despite it’s strong mythological context.

It is through the pursuit of love that Myrddin is willing to bridge all three worlds – what is natural, what is human, and what is sidhe. In the world of the Eight Kingdoms, it’s the pursuit of love that sets the entire Arthurian saga in motion. Only love is enough to make Myrddin promise help to Uther Pendragon.

As the son of the Wood God, Myrddin’s connection to the spring is immediate and profound, but Kas, his lover, is an earthly manifestation of Death. Their own essences are, by nature, in conflict, and tides of change and destruction are at work in their world. Myrddin is tied to the source of life; Kas is the open door through which life passes on its way out of the world. Despite this, love drives them together instead of apart – a magnetism as subtle as the change from winter into spring.

What the fire has learned, the ashes will remember…forever.

For the first time in ten thousand years, Myrddin has what he wants—Kas for his lover again. Now that the Black King is his once more, Myrddin is desperate to make sure he keeps him. The vision that came to him in the Spring madness is beginning to come true, and the terrifying loss at the blank end of that vision drives Myrddin to do anything that might prevent it.

He will even live among mortals for a while. Even help the High King of Britain, Uther Pendragon, win the woman he wants.

While Myrddin plots and Kas worries over him, Macsen and Bran have decided to put their own concerns to rest. Macsen is hungry for Dealla’s life and Bran will no longer deny his lover what he wants. Only Dealla herself still stands in their way. To save herself, and make one last attempt on the Red King’s life, she has forged stolen Summer weapons into golden chains.

With Macsen captive, this time it is Bran who must rescue his lover…but the cost may be too much for him to bear.

Is love really worth any price?

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Meet Belinda Burke

Belinda is an author, storyteller, and poet, the property of one cat, a perpetual insomniac, and resident of the New England coast of the United States. In her spare time, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and spends far too much time writing smut!

She is currently writing for Pride Publishing, fulfilling her primary dream of authoring her own books after many years of reading. Belinda welcomes reviews, comments, critique, suggestions and even just friendly messages with no purpose, so don’t be shy! You can find a guide to her series’, new releases, and upcoming works at

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