Genres: Prehistoric Fiction
Daughter of the Goddess Lands is the unforgettable saga of Kalie, a courageous young heroine born into the untamed beauty of prehistoric Europe.
Kalie’s peaceful life is shattered when a brutal attack by horsemen from the east leave her scarred in body and soul. As the sole survivor of the assault, Kalie makes her way home, and warns her people to prepare for the invasion that she knows is coming. But the goddess-worshiping farmers of her home have no concept of battle, and dismiss Kalie’s warning.
When the marauders strike again, they cut a swath of destruction and death that prove too late the truth of Kalie’s words. Then Haraak, the leader of the invaders, demands a tribute of gold, grain and women in exchange for sparing her village. Yet it is in Harak’s cruel show of power that Kalie sees a chance to save her people–and gain revenge for herself.
Kalie leads a group of volunteers to infiltrate the horseman’s society, and then destroy them from within. Once she is among them, Kalie uses her skill as a storyteller, and her knowledge of healing to penetrate the horsemen’s inner circle and to discover the secrets that could lead to their destruction.
But Kalie discovers that price of revenge is high, and that a quest for vengeance can become a journey of healing and redemption.
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Excerpt (from Ch. 12):
“But what does he mean?” asked a young woman, whose plaintive tone reminded Kalie of a sheep. “People cannot be owned! Women or men, it makes no difference. Can’t you just explain that to him?”
Kalie sighed, tired of answering the same question, no matter how many different ways it was phrased.
“Well?” demanded the man seated next to the speaker, his arm around her. The meeting was being held in the largest shrine in Riverford, much larger than the one Kalie had met them in the night before. Perhaps eight hands of people were crowded inside, with several times that number waiting anxiously in the courtyard outside.
Kalie looked at the young couple, afraid that if she tried to explain yet again, she would say something that she would regret.
She was spared having to answer by Maris. “Whether we like it or not,” the ancient healer said in a voice that belied her age, “we have been called to deal with people who are entirely different from any we have ever encountered. Or imagined. Kalie has explained this notion of ‘slavery’ to us. Refusing to believe it will not change the fact that it is.”
“I will gladly hand over the gold and cloth,” said Yelene. “Even weapons of copper, though I shudder to think of those tools in the hands of such creatures. And as for food, I say give them our honey and wine and every bit of seed grain we have. All of that can be replaced! But I cannot give them human beings! I cannot ask any one of us to even consider such a sacrifice.”
A heavy silence settled over the room. Kalie knew it was now or never.
“There may be a way,” she began. “Yelene is right when she said that material wealth can be replaced. But now that these beastmen know of us—of great wealth in the west, held by people who know nothing of war—they will return, and in greater numbers. If the lands of the Goddess are to survive, I believe that the answer lies within Haraak’s demand for slaves.”
There was a roar of protest, but Yelene silenced it with a glance. “How?”
“What I am going to suggest will sound like madness—and it may very well be.” She faltered, suddenly unsure of how to continue.
“It’s all right, child,” said Maris. “The words are in you. Just let them out.” She whispered to the apprentice beside her, and the young woman brought Kalie a cup of something steaming. Kalie thanked her and sipped carefully. A rich, flowery tea greeted her tongue, and while she was trying to guess the ingredients, inspiration struck.
“There is a story I learned while I lived with the healers at Hot Springs.” Kalie’s voice took on the cadence of a storyteller. “Far in the north, where the snow never melts, there lives a bear that is pure white. When it stands on two legs, it is the height of three men, and no spear or arrow made by the hand of man can kill it. But the people who share this bear’s domain have developed an unusual weapon, for such times as when a bear ravages a village, or when hunger makes the people desperate.
“They take a ball of fat, softened by fire, and into it they slide a double bladed knife, folded together, and held in place by the fat as it hardens. They then leave the ball by whatever water source the bear drinks from. The bear usually swallows the ball whole, and goes on his way.”
“And when the fat melts inside his stomach…” Maris took up the story. “The knife springs open and kills the bear—from the inside.”
“A rather cruel way to hunt,” said Yelene.
“Killing is often cruel,” said a man across the room. “As much as we might seek to make it otherwise. But when threatened, all creatures will use whatever means are available to be the one who survives, even if another must die.”
Yelene fixed Kalie with a piercing gaze. “What do you have in mind, child?”
“Haraak has demanded slaves. I say we should give him slaves. Women, willing to sacrifice their lives to save our world from his. We will be the knife swallowed by the bear. We will destroy their world—from within.”
About the Author:
Sandra Saidak is a high school English teacher by day, author by night. Her hobbies include reading, dancing, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing). Sandra lives in San Jose with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and two cats.
Sandra’s prehistoric fiction series, Kalie’s Journey began with the novel, Daughter of theGoddess Lands, an epic set in the late Neolithic Age, and published in November 2011 by Uffington Horse Press. Book 2 of the series, Shadow of the Horsemen, was released in July of 2012. Book 3, Keepers of theAncient Wisdom will be released later this year. Stories set in the Kalie universe can be found in Sandra’s short story collection, In the Balance and inthe stand alone novella, Oathbreaker’s Daughter.
Sandra loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to post a comment on her Author’s Page, or her website at http://www.sandrasaidak.com/.