Amber Sky (C.O.I.L.S of Copper and Brass #1) by Claire Warner Genre: Dystopian Steampunk Release Date: June 2nd 2017 Summary: "You thought I did this out of the goodness of my heart?" He gave a short mirthless laugh. "Not a bit of it, this is going to be dangerous for me. What are you offering for my help?" Beneath the Amber Sky, the nobility control the food, education, and the mysterious C.O.I.L.S of Copper and Brass. To Tay, struggling to keep her siblings alive, the ideas of rebellion and freedom are distant and unreachable. But when her father is arrested, she begs Darius James, the son of the Overseer, to save his life. Darius agrees, but his help costs her a favour, one he can call in at any time. Darius' favour will bring her to the Palace, and the perfect position to help the growing rebellion. But the court has games beyond anything she has seen before, and Darius' secrets will add to the danger. Tay is now able to make a difference, to join the rebellion, find the C.O.I.L.S and discover the secrets of the Amber Sky. All she has to do is survive.
Within the coils of copper and brass, there
is a chance of freedom:
Anonymous writer (date unknown)
It was November, and soot-laden fog
obscured her progress as Tay strode along the busy street. A chill wind kept
the smog moving and nipped at her exposed skin. She was grateful for the
it kept away curious eyes, and gave her a sense of freedom. The Factory was
ahead, belching clouds of smoke and steam into the air, choking the lines of workers that queued
outside. She averted her eyes and kept going. Thoughts of the Factory led to
thoughts of the Mine,
and she could not allow that. The work site fell behind her as she began to
move uphill, away from the choking smog of the Factory District, and towards
the Mercantile District. The traffic thinned out as her feet carried her
through the cold, whispering quiet. The crowds were lighter here and better
dressed. In contrast
to their well-heeled fashions,
Tay looked like an old sack. Several threadbare garments covered her body, and
a moth-eaten, woollen hat was jammed down on her chestnut-coloured hair. Her boots were held together
with twine, and stuffed with rags to keep the cold at bay. Despite her efforts
to layer her ragged clothing, the wind still found its way to her skin, making
her shiver. As she headed into the district, the fogshielded her from prying eyes and made her
progress easier. Moving along the well-paved roads of the Merchant District with the elusiveness of a wild
thing, she avoided the few traders that braved the cold, speeding up as she approached her destination.
The house was built from white stone, now
discoloured from the ubiquitous soot. On the faded,
cherry-coloured door, a brass knocker in the shape of a lion warned her off
with what she fancied was a contemptuous gaze. For a long moment, she stared at
the wood, wondering at the wisdom of what she was attempting. Lars and Cody
could have been wrong, and this trip could easily land her in the cells. As the
ever-present wind chapped her lips, she mustered her resolve. All other options
had been exhausted, and this was all she had left. Taking a deep breath, she
grasped the knocker with one shaking hand before letting it fall. For several
moments, she waited on the doorstep, shifting uneasily from one foot to the
other, nervous beyond thought.
The door creaked open, and a maid stared
down at her with unconcealed distaste. Tay nervously wet her lips and opened
her mouth to speak.
“No beggars.” The maid spoke first, her voice shrill
with strident condemnation, as she took in Tay’s attire. Confident in her dismissal, she
moved to close the door.
“No, wait.” Tay placed her foot in the hall, and
leant forward. The maid stopped moving, distaste morphing into shock. “I need
to speak to Darius…” Despite her best efforts, Tay’s voice still shook. “Please.” The woman stared down at her with
disbelief, incredulous at her audacity to ask to see the Master’s son.
“I don’t think so.” The woman began pushing the door shut,
shoving Tay’s fragile
frame off the doorstep with its weight. Tay held her ground, trying to keep the
“Please…” She pleaded once more, her voice
echoing loudly in the hallway. Panic thrummed through her as she became aware
of the spectacle she was creating. One complaint from any of the people on the
street behind her and the guards would come. “I need to see him.” It was a desperate, yearning plea, yet
the maid was having none of it. The door jammed against her toes, and she
winced. The maid was winning the battle, her far stronger, well-fed, bulky frame inching Tay closer to the
“What’s going on?” A male voice echoed
across the hall, and the maid stopped.
“It’s this beggar, Sir.” The woman held the door steady as she
turned to face the speaker. “She wishes to talk to you.” Her voice was sneering, only slightly
mollified by deference to her master.
“Let me see.” The man walked forward, and the maid
reluctantly released her hold on the door. Tay's eyes roved across the man
before her as he came into view,
starting at his well-shod feet, and travelling upward. A well-tailored, dark
blue suit framed a lean body, and a cane of some dark wood lay carelessly in
his hands. Casting her gaze upwards, she stared directly into a pair of deep-blue eyes, which were alight with interest.
“I need to see you, Darius,” She appealed
directly to him, holding his gaze with silent entreaty. She ignored the
scandalised tut of the maid as she took a step forward. “It’s important.”
Darius thought for a moment before he
nodded. “Let her in,” He
said to the maid, stepping back along the hall. With a look of shock on her
features, the woman stepped away from the door and let Tay into the house.
Heat enveloped her as she stepped off the
street, and followed Darius’ beckoning finger. The maid closed the door behind
her as she slowly crossed the hall towards a door on the left. Her eyes drifted
across the panelled space, awed by the luxury she saw. Dominated by a sweeping
staircase, the hallway was decorated in shades of gold and blue. A heavy
chandelier, festooned with lights, swung from the ceiling, and it was
blissfully, wonderfully warm.
“Come on girl,” Tay's head snapped back to the doorway, and
she almost tripped over her own feet, as she hastened towards the sitting room.
A fire blazed in a large hearth, filling the room with a cosy light. Above the
mantel, a gilt-framed mirror reflected her scared and lost face. Several
couches lay about the room, and a variety of expensive knick-knacks were
arranged on a wooden
cabinet against the left wall. Intimidated, she looked around at the luxuriant
surroundings and swallowed nervously.
“Warm yourself up.” Darius indicated the roaring fire, and she stepped before it gratefully,
feeling the heat radiate across her cold skin. “Emma.” He turned to the maid. “Can you find me
some old clothes?” With a sour look on her face, Emma nodded. As soon as she
had left, Darius turned back to the room. “Now that she’s gone,” He said as he
walked forward. “Why don’t you tell me what you want?”
Taya bit her lip and fidgeted. What had
seemed like a good idea in the safety of her home, now felt like insanity. She
glanced at him, noticing the arrogant cast to his features and the surety of
his gaze. He was handsome, she realised with a jolt. Beneath a shock of black
hair, deep blue eyes stared out at her with disconcerting directness.
“My name’s Taya, and…” She stopped, wondering how she could
continue with her request.
“And?” He encouraged, noticing her
hesitation. “I can’t help you if you don’t ask.”
“My father has just been sent to the
mines,” She said quickly, watching the realisation cross his face.
“I see,” He noted softly, staring at her
with interest. “And?”
“He already has a weak heart,” She found
herself saying. “The mines will kill him.”
“I fancy that’s the
idea,” He uttered,
reaching for a glass of amber liquid that lay on the mantel, and took a sip. “What do you expect me to
do about it?”
About the Author When I was a child, I made up games and characters when my sister and I played with dolls. As I grew older, I would make up scenarios and scenes, fully intending to write them down but never finding the time. In my late teens, I discovered the world of role playing and settled into an avid ‘geeky’ life of D&D, comics, sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Years passed and I finally gave voice to the stories in my head. I write romance, fantasy, action and adventure. I love tales of steampunk and history, tales of magical powers and dark curses lurking in the shadows. Though The Black Lotus is not my first attempt at a novel, it is the first I have finished.
And some fun facts about me: I sew. My favourite Disney film is Atlantis. I’ve been a film extra and stood 5 feet away from Sam Rockwell. Babylon 5 is my fave sci-fi show. I cried at the end of Toy Story 3.