Monday, November 13, 2017

Keepers of the Stone by Andrew Anzur Clement - Book Blast and Giveaway

Keepers of the Stone
by Andrew Anzur Clement

Today I have Andrew Anzur Clement as my guest.  See his post about where he goes for inspiration.  

GENRE:    Historical Young Adult Fantasy



Keepers of the Stone. Book One: The Outcasts

In a far corner of the British Empire, a mysterious girl gallops away on a horse, fleeing for her life.  Malka has sacrificed everything to protect an all-powerful stone from falling into the hands of the malevolent Urumi. The last in a Sect of thieves, the girl is a trained killer. But will her lethal skills be enough to defeat the Shadow Warriors and their superhuman abilities? 

The fate of the stone may depend on Stas, a courageous youth born into exile from a country that is not on any map. Nell, his friend since childhood, has been caught up in the Dark Order's evil designs. The young outcasts must confront demons, real and imagined, with the help of mystical new allies. Their journey will take them to distant lands and change their lives forever.

Keepers of the Stone. Book Two: Exile

Stranded on the American frontier, Malka must stop at nothing to safeguard the all-powerful stone. She has come under the protection of a snarky felinoid – a shape-shifting girl who traces her lineage back to the court of Vlad Dracula. They must rescue with Henry, the American orphan whose thirst for knowledge could help decipher the clues to the next
leg of their journey – if the Urumi don’t kill them first.

Alone in yet another strange land, Stas mourns the unthinkable loss of his friend, Nell.  Cryptic messages offer new hope. But the Dark Order has devised another strategy to outwit the band of misfits. Plans are betrayed and alliances are formed as history points to the final objective of their quest.

Keepers of the Stone Book Three: Homecoming

Stas and his companions have made their way to the partitioned homeland he has never visited. He dares to hope that Nell may be alive. The doomed princess Bozhena vows revenge on the Shadow Warriors, who have enlisted Malka’s most bitter enemy in their latest plot to control the powerful stone.

With the help of a streetwise gypsy girl, the unlikely travelers must outwit the Urumi and deliver the stone to its final destination. All they have to do is put aside the differences that threaten to tear them apart. The secrets of the past hold the key to the history of the future.


Excerpt: (Book One: The Outcasts)

"The firearms,” Malka whispered. “We still have them from the bank.”
“Do you even know how to fire a gun?”
The Thag shook her head.
The felinoid harrumphed. “Figures.” Then she began thinking out loud.
“So, we’re low on ammunition. Only six shots per gun, assuming they’re completely loaded. Okay. They’re in the open. We can use the wagon as cover. Target what shots we have. I’m not very good at aiming, but maybe if Mister Bunny Burglar over there takes….”
She stopped. Looking behind her, to the empty space off to the right side of the wagon’s seating area.
“Where is Henry?”
Malka and Liza looked around. Both of them spotted their erstwhile captive at the same moment.
“Ugh! He’s in front of the wagon running away with one of the cages,” Liza said, as if the situation needed any clarification. “I told you we should have killed that little….”
The gunfire ceased abruptly, replaced in short order with the quick screams of men and horses. Then silence. The escaping youth was forgotten for the moment. Liza quickly poked her head just over the stack of cages.
“Oh, no! Oh, please, no!” For the first time since Malka had known the felinoid, she seemed more genuinely worried than annoyed at their situation; she knew what Liza had seen.
“The Urumi,” she confirmed in a quiet voice.
 “All three of them. And they’re moving towards us.”
Malka untied the sash from around her waist and inserted the brass knob into one of its ends. She listened for one of the dark forms, as it approached her side of the wagon.

Where are five places you might visit for inspiration for your books?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading fantasy and traveling it’s this: It can be fun and interesting to dive deep into a world that’s totally new, alien and fraught with its own set of conflicts. Those worlds can also exist right here on our own planet. That’s why the fantasy universe of my books is set amid real locations and historical events; I get the inspiration for most of them while traveling to new places and learning myths or histories connected with them. Here are the top five places that helped to inspire the historical/fantasy world that I build in Keepers of the Stone and the sequel I’m currently writing to it: Voyages of Fortune.

1.     Lahore & Karachi, Pakistan: Both times I’ve traveled to Pakistan, it’s been like stepping onto a new universe. One with a long history that’s intertwined with the region in general. This has lead to many tense situations that often remind me of feuding sects or alien races. Ones that are simply stranger than fiction and are somehow more compelling because they actually exist.
In Keepers of the Stone, the history of the Mughal emperors, who ruled over most of the Indian subcontinent and kept their capital in Lahore, figures prominently in the story of the powerful gem that my protagonists must protect. With the main part of the plot set in the late 19th century, I was also inspired by the colonial rule of the sub-continent and its eventual partition into two separate countries. The conflict-fraught, modern day mega-city of Karachi serves as a prominent location in Voyages of Fortune as well.
2.     Poland (and present-day Western Ukraine): It may not seem to be the most interesting of places now, but it’s one of my favorite countries in the world. And what a history it’s had! The ‘chess board of Europe’, at various points in time, has spanned from the Baltic to the Black Sea. or been completely wiped from the map by foreign powers -- with help of its own nobility. This background has a major role to play in Keepers, where I set the acts of real Polish aristocratic families against the machinations of the evil Order of the Urumi: a cult with mystical powers that has existed to serve the devil since shortly after the dawn of time, and partially takes its inspiration from Slavic and South Asian myths. Most of book three of Keepers of the Stone takes place in partitioned 19th century Poland. Without giving too much away, many locations, monuments and buildings turn out to have hidden meanings that point to the final destination and outcome of our heroes’ mystical quest.
3.     Târgoviște, Romania: Before I sat down to write this post, I never would have thought to include this north-eastern Wallachian town. Our characters never actually go there in Keepers. But, a trip I took to Târgoviște while living in Romania really did have an impact on one of the characters. (She’s from there -- sort of. Also, she’s the daughter of deposed nobility and can turn into a cat.)  
Târgoviște has two main claims to fame connected with this:  1. It was where Vlad the Impaler held court and 2. It was where communist Romania’s ruling family was intercepted and executed as they tried to flee to the Soviet Union during the collapse of their regime.
More generally, the time I spent in Romania, which has a large population of Roma gypsies, influenced a major plot development in book three of Keepers, and the back-story of the Roma troop we meet at its beginning.
4.     Brussels, Belgium: Ok. I’m cheating a bit on this one. I actually live in Belgium’s federal capital, where everything is a complicated compromise between two linguistic groups that don’t always get along so well. All the streets, train stations etc. have two names, one in Dutch and one in French. I’d never have thought to visit the EU’s main city for inspiration. But, the continent-wide identity politicking that the city seems to embody inspired an entire Keepers’ plot line. Conflicts over the naming of cities and national self-determination causes confusion among the main characters. Different place names are used as a sort of code that mystical beings – the leaders of the mysterious Society -- use in an attempt to guide the main characters on their journey without the knowledge of the Urumi’s Dark Order.
Celje, Slovenia: There’s not all that much (explicitly) connected with Slovenia in Keepers of the Stone. But, it’s one of my main sources of inspiration for Voyages of Fortune. I got the idea for most of the story while on a visit to Celje’s castle last year.  Voyages of Fortune is a time travel epic that spans over 120 years.  Part of it sets the adventures of a real-life writer, traveler and theosophist from Celje against my own fantasy universe. She really did embark on a solo travel journey that took her around the world during the 1920’s. But, what we never knew, it turns out, was that she was also on a secret mission. One handed down to her by that city’s medieval rulers. She’s the latest player in a mystical power struggle that spans the centuries and could 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Andrew Anzur Clement departed his native Los Angeles at the age of nineteen, with a curiosity for far-off lands. He quickly discovered an insatiable wonderlust that has led him to live, work and study in many fascinating places around the globe. Now in his late-twenties the unabashed opera fan is based in Europe. He continues to travel and read widely, finding new inspiration in the places he discovers. In his ‘other’ life Andrew is an academic researcher, focusing on  nationalism and identity formation. He enjoys including insights from his research in his books and the characters he inhabits.
On social media:
Purchase Links to book one (Books two and three already out):


Andrew Anzur Clement will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour:

September 4Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
September 11Rogue's Angels 
September 18Fabulous and Brunette
September 25Kit 'N Kabookle
September 25T's Stuff
October 2Locks, Hooks and Books - review only
October 9Straight From the Library
October 16The Avid Reader
October 23The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
October 30Two Ends of the Pen
November 6Thornton Berry Shire Press
November 6Books in the Hall
November 13Mixed Book Bag
November 20Long and Short Reviews YA


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

JC Jones said...

Loved hearing about places you would go for inspiration. Great post.

Victoria Alexander said...

Happy Monday! Thanks for sharing the great post, I enjoyed reading it :)

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Andrewanzurclement said...

Thanks to Mixed Book Bag for hosting!
You can get a FREE copy of Keepers of the Stone Book one HERE!

kim hansen said...

Sounds like a good read.