A Ransom of Flames is my first novel and was one of those stories that kept jangling around in my thoughts off and on throughout the years. Life kept happening but it never drifted far. The event that galvanized me to finally get it all down was my father’s death and the subsequent discovery that his life-long battle with heart disease was the result of his exposure to Agent Orange in the Vietnam war. (I’ve written at length about this here). In trying to cope with his passing and to find some outlet to express the outrage and anguish in my heart, maybe it was inevitable that my grief returned me to my writing.
The story is a dark one–unsurprising given how my spirit felt at the time–but it’s also one of healing and redemption, of hope and the courage to persevere. If my dad had been around to see its publication, he probably would’ve told me to spend more time in the sun than growing roots in front of the computer. Then he would’ve bent everybody’s ear bragging about it.
A mysterious blight devastates the world of Aeden. The Vehlek–dark, immortal guardians of Aeden–have used their power to combat it through a blood sacrifice, one given every season from each of the four peoples. For generations, this has diminished the Blight’s destructive force. Now their power wanes and the sickness worsens. Their scripture speaks of Providence, of mortals whose blood, combined with their power, can end it. But as yet, there has been no sign of them.
On the secluded islands of Malua, the Blight rots the land and destroys the harvests. The change of the tide marks the new season, and with it, the need for a blood sacrifice. For Maleia, daughter of a murdered king, wife to a usurper’s son, her hopes to reclaim her father’s throne are dashed when her child is stillborn. When the usurper king intends to use her daughter’s remains as the blood offering, she commits a desperate act to take her daughter’s place, an act which binds her to one of the Vehlek and reveals her to be an integral part of Providence.
The Vehlek will guide her on her journey to the mainland to fulfill her destiny. The road is perilous, not least because her father’s murderer travels with her, and the Blight haunts their steps at every turn. With the lives of all hanging in the balance, and time running out, they will either cure their failing world through blood and flame or see it fall to ruin.