Friday, September 1, 2017

The Falcon Strikes

It’s always exciting to announce a new book, especially an addition to a series one loves. So it’s a special pleasure to highlight Gabrielle Mathieu’s The Falcon Strikes in this week’s post.

For those of you who missed the first book, Mathieu’s Falcon trilogy features a gifted young woman named Peppa Mueller, who has been sent to Switzerland following the death of her father, a Harvard professor whose eccentric ideas on child rearing leave his daughter precociously competent in chemistry but ill equipped for the conventional lifestyle adopted by her Swiss relatives in 1957. When we meet her, Peppa has two weeks to wait until her twentieth birthday, when she can claim the fortune left to her by her father, kiss the relatives goodbye, and take up the place at Radcliffe that her aunt and uncle view as wholly unsuitable for a proper young lady. But involuntary exposure to hallucinogens sends Peppa off on a very different journey, one that connects her with her inner protective totem—a peregrine falcon.

The consequences of that journey mean that in book 2 Peppa regards herself as contaminated, a danger to the man she loves. When she learns that one of the people behind the hallucinogen experiment has traveled to Ireland, where the conflict between the Irish Republican Army and the British forces in Ulster has entered a new phase, off Peppa goes to spike her enemy’s guns. But the Irish conflict has twists and turns not easily understood by a young woman raised in the United States and Switzerland, even one with a grandmother living in a Galway castle. Despite Peppa’s efforts to contain her totem, she discovers that she must draw on the protection offered by the falcon to survive.

Find out more and listen to/read an excerpt at the Five Directions Press website. It is not necessary to have read The Falcon Flies Alone first to understand the sequel, but if you want to avoid spoilers, I recommend it.

You can also hear an interview with the author at New Books in Historical Fiction. And don’t miss Gabrielle Mathieu’s own website and blog, where she discusses the Falcon trilogy, what lies behind it, and the other books she has underway.

And now an excerpt from chapter 1 of The Falcon Strikes, “A Cold Awakening.”
I woke up from a muddle of dreams, heart pounding. Where was I?

In Ireland. I was in Dublin—I’d just arrived that morning.

I sensed an inert heavy body on the mattress.

The familiar sense of dread erupted. What had I done this time?

But it’s not you.

That was a matter of semantics. It was something in me. Educated society had no name for my condition. A witch doctor would have understood.

I was unpredictable. When threatened, my first instinct was to kill.

And I knew how to do it fast.

No stranger looking at me, a gawky twenty-year old girl with an appetite for Latin and chemistry, would guess that I could break someone’s neck as quick as a blink. It was an instinctive reaction to danger.

I lay still, afraid to look. My heart hammered in my chest, and perspiration drenched me.

Gabrielle Mathieu lived on three continents by the age of eight. She’d experienced the bustling bazaars of Pakistan, the serenity of Swiss mountain lakes, and the chaos of the immigration desk at the JFK Airport. Perhaps that’s why she developed an appetite for the unusual and disorienting. Her fantasy books are grounded in her experience of different cultures and interest in altered states of consciousness (mostly white wine and yoga these days). Five Directions Press published the first book in the Falcon trilogy, The Falcon Flies Alone, in 2016.

She is also the host of New Books in Fantasy and Adventure, a channel in the New Books Network.

Follow her on Twitter.

Like her on Facebook.

And definitely buy and read her books. As one reviewer put it, you’ll be in for “the flight of your life.”

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