Princess of Dorsa by Eliza Andrews

Princess of Dorsa by Eliza Andrews is featured on Book Clips, the mini podcast where authors and narrators give you a taste of a book with a short snippet. 

In this episode we hear the beginning of the audiobook of Princess Dorsa

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The fate of an empire lies in the hands of one untested princess.

Rebellious Princess Natasia has always known that her fate is to marry a man her father can shape into his heir. But everything changes after a would-be assassin nearly takes Tasia’s life. Someone with means and connections is obviously trying to destabilize the Empire, but who? No noble family is above suspicion, so the Emperor takes the extraordinary step of naming his daughter his true heir.

Tasia suddenly finds herself saddled with learning to rule an entire Empire. But there are enemies on every side, threatening to disrupt the Empire’s fragile peace — there’s the long-standing and deeply unpopular war in the East, disagreements amongst her father’s closest advisors, angry lords threatening their defiance, and rumors of a faraway kingdom trying to sow discord.

Can Tasia rise to the occasion? Will she be the leader her father believes her to be? Or is the Empire doomed to fall?

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please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect

you are listening to book clips a mini podcast in which authors and erasers do readings from novels check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book

chapter 1 the dawn light didn’t wake tasia from slumber the birds did she was accustomed to the morning song of the birds in childhood they woke her nearly every morning with their musical chittering their high voices like crystal chimes blowing in a gentle wind birdsong was followed by the matching chatter of her mother cooing to them as they coud to her while she sprinkled their breakfast of seeds and grains across the red brick of the inner courtyard tazza not quite five yet would go to the window stand on tiptoes on her trunk in order to peer through the muslin drapes and into the courtyard below even then her mother had seemed more angel than human her long blue sleeping gown hiding her feet so that she didn’t walk across the courtyard so much as she glided her little white birds were there bright yellow tails following along behind her singing out their morning joy waking the royal family one by one but the palace birds imported from her mother’s Northeastern homeland were not the birds that woke tasia now there was nothing magical or musical or joyful about this birdsong it was the rough caw-caw of City crows that roused her from sleep that reminded her she wasn’t at home she woke from the dream of her mother with a shallow gasp disoriented eyes wide and searching for light in the dark stuffy room she stifled an annoyed groan when she realized where she was disentangling herself from the heavy bear arm and heavy bear leg draped over her she hadn’t meant to fall asleep what time was it she stood from the bed nearly tripping on a sheet that had wound itself around her ankle like a directing snake then began groping blindly for her discarded clothes moonlight filtered in through the high open window which meant she had somehow managed to wake herself before dawn well the city crows had woken her actually gods be thanked for those damnable Birds she thought shaking an undergarment loose from another tangled sheet she pulled it on hastily even as the man in bed grunted and seemed to half wake where had she dropped that ugly Brown shift she’d had her hand made borrow from the cooks daughter Dejah said the man in the bed groggily he lifted himself on one elbow combing long brown hair from his face with his other hand are you leaving it’s the middle of the night Marcus tasia said close to dawn really the crows woke me Marcus’s brown eyes grew large did we fall asleep Taoiseach oh ma snapped of course we did you idiot but managed to contain our irritation it wasn’t his fault she had fallen asleep he always fell asleep after sex that was the time when she generally dressed and slipped out just as the City Guard called out eleven of the clock but last night he had begged her to stay with him a while longer aunt Asia with her thoughts drifting to other topics other worries other lovers had foolishly allowed herself to fall into the welcome oblivion of unconsciousness yes tasia said pulling on the shift she’d finally found we fell asleep Marcus sat up sheets falling away from his bare chest with moonlight glinting off the well-defined plains of his body tasia momentarily remembered why she still found herself in his apartments once or twice per week there’s no point in you leaving now he said if it’s almost dawn the card merchants will be setting up outside anyway they’ll see you you should stay shook her head it’s not that close to dawn the moon is still out I have time he reached for her wrist but she took a quick step backwards stay Markus implored no she said curtly we’ve talked about this before it is risky enough for me to be doing this as it is you know what would happen if my father found us out I’m not afraid of your father Markus said but his eyes gave him away she let out a half laugh not bothering to humor him with a response until we meet again she said bending forward to kiss his brow she slipped her shoes on pulling the navy blue cloak with the heavy hood around herself and picked up the basket of bread she’d left next to the door her usual prop for these visits anyone on the street who saw a hunched and hooded girl with a basket of bread would just assume she was a baker’s girl finishing a late night delivery to the Ambassador quarter late-night delivery maybe but pre-dawn delivery no one with respectable business would be leaving the quarter at this hour tasia continued to chastise herself as she hastened down the back stairs from Marcus’s apartments fabricating an excuse in her head in case she had the misfortune to arrive at the palace during the changing of the guard which was why she didn’t see the shadow slip onto the street a few paces behind her as she hurried up the hill that paralleled the Royal canal she had an arrangement with the guardsmen of Sun fall gate the palace gate and most commoners referred to as Westgate two silver pennies for each man on guard when she quietly slipped away one penny on her way out the second penny on her way back in she’d bought their silence it was true and as her father was want to say loyalty paid for is no loyalty at all which was why she’d also taken care to learn each of their names their wives names their children’s names on the nights when she had the time for it she traded bawdy jokes with them shared the leftover pastries from her baker’s Girls basket the night Guardsmen of West Gate were her friends in as much as a princess can make friends with common soldiers but the morning guard that was a different story the nice belonged to Tasha the morning belonged to her father the Emperor no quantity of pennies or dirty jokes would stop the morning guard from turning her in and so she walked as fast as she could without running panting and perspiring up the hill determined to make the gates before the guard changed later it would almost amuse her that her most pressing concern that night was not getting caught by the morning guard tasia was so focused on making the Hills crest that the first touch of the hand behind her did nothing to dilute her focus it wasn’t until the same hand tightened around the arm that held her bread basket that tasia noticed it at all the man acted too quickly for the princess to call for help in one swift sweep of his arm he swung her towards him with such force that Asia lost her balance feet tangling together beneath her on instinct she opened her mouth to scream but he slapped his other hand against her mouth I will make it hurt more if you scream he hissed yellow teeth mere inches from Tasha’s face he was taller than her but not by much with black hair cut in a severe ring around his head shaved to his scalp below the black fringe he wore heavy robes gray and plain and cinched at his waist with a white rope he’s a wise man tasia thought with a shock of incredulity but that made no sense she knew every wise man in the city and she’d never seen this man’s face before he pulled an iron knife from somewhere within his ropes its blade as black as his hair not just any wise man a wise man who intended to tell her something about the realization brought the world into focus for her regaining her balance tasia struck out with one foot hard and low against his shin the first kick in a fight should always be low she’d learned that from the knight Guardsman’s bragging boisterous tales of their barroom brawls and misadventures the wise man’s grip on her arm loosened not much but just enough for tasia to take a half step backwards she drove her knee upward hard and swift she’d aimed for his groin but missed somehow and felt her knee crack against the bottom of his rib cage it was good enough he grunted and let go tasia sprinted up the hill knowing if she could just outpace him by a hundred yards she’d be able to call out for help and her friends of the west gate guard would recognize her voice in the night but she could not outpace him he was on her again in an instant before she’d managed to evade him by so much as a yard this time he grabbed the back of the cloak yanking hard so that the leather tie in the front dug into her throat you’re only making it harder on yourself princess he said as she stumbled backward into him he threw her roughly to the ground her chin smacking against the cobblestones before the rest of her he planted a knee in her back pinning her he leaned closer to roll Taoiseach over but she was ready for him grabbing the wrist that held the knife trying to wrest it from his hand no she screamed at him unable to find any other words no no no the wise man tried to extract his wrist but she had the wrist with both hands now refusing to let go he used his free hand to slap her heart against the face once then twice No tasia yelled again still stubborn and fighting despite the pain blossoming in her chin her cheeks the scraped palms and bruised where she’d hit the pavement but he was far stronger than she far heavier and she knew she would lose this battle and that was the worst part about it knowing that she would lose before the end actually came chapter 2 he pulled his wrist loose at last and the knife arced up its black blade refusing to reflect the moonlight Taoiseach closed her eyes on instinct body tightening in anticipation of the final blow but then there was a series of shouts a muffled cry and the weight pressing her into the cobblestones mercifully disappeared tasia opened her eyes and time to see two men in City Guard uniforms sling the wise man face-first into the middle of the street one guard yelled obscenities his short swords blade pressed to the wise man’s throat the other guard busied himself tying the would-be assassins hands behind his back with a length of twine dazed tasia made her way to her knees gathering the scattered contents of her bread basket from the pavement on instinct she picked up the wise man’s black iron knife as well dropping it into the basket with the bread fortunately the ring with the royal crest of the house of dorsa was still in its hiding place inside a loaf of bread she pulled it out hastily and put it on her finger rotating it so that the crest faced down instead of up she would only reveal her identity if she had to one of the guards looked over at her Gill you’re right yes thank you she talked her hood down a little lower avoided his gaze and went back to gathering her fallen bread but she could feel the guards eyes on her awfully late for a bread delivery he said with obvious skepticism he took a few steps closer to her tasia decided the best course of action was to not respond that was what a humble lowly baker’s girl would do if approached by the City Guard wasn’t it so she only nodded and brushed dirt from a loaf where are you going ask the guard through the shadows cast by her cloaks hood she glanced at the guard then her attacker the wise man on the ground appeared to be unconscious now a star bursts of blood painted his temple red and trickled down his cheek like it or not tasia had the full attention of both guards one of them was huge with wiry black hair and a black beard that protruded out from beneath his leather cap and spilled halfway down his chest like a plant that had overgrown its pot the other the one who’d suggested it was too late for a bread delivery was average-sized but looked puny next to the big man he wore no leather cap and he wore his oiled hair slicked back behind his ears both guards inspected her with open curiosity it was indeed the wrong time and the wrong place to find a baker’s girl alone on the street I’m going home Taoiseach replied she made her voice soft timid the way a baker’s girls would be she looked away from the guards keeping her face hidden within the hood Willis Garcia said the guard with the slicked-back hair no tasia said it too firmly too quickly realizing as soon as the word escaped her lips that a baker’s girl wouldn’t speak in such a contrarian tone to a member of the City Guard especially not a frightened baker’s girl who’d just been attacked she tried to correct herself but instead made a second blunder I’m close to home I know the way the big guard with the wild black hair stood up straddling the fallen wise man he was even bigger on his feet looming over the unconscious man close to home said the bear sized man you’re in the Ambassador quarter the shorter guard took another step closer he cocked his head like a cat narrowing his eyes at Asia feign confusion instinct told aysia she straightened turned her gaze away from the guards rubbed the tender spot on the back of her head with imagined absent-mindedness as she rotated in a slow circle behind her dark water gently lapped at the Bank of the Royal Canal but isn’t that the canal she asked it is she paused the merchant canal no said the big guard the Royal canal she spun on her heel back towards the guards the Royal canal huh where am I do you say this was the Ambassador quarter the guards exchanged a glance and the one with the slicked-back hair chuckled I think you musta hit your head harder than you thought girl you’d better let us walk you home Teja didn’t respond what wait back said the big bearded one how we gonna walk her home eh what are we gonna do with him he towed the body of the unconscious wise man the slick-haired guard Mac considered this for a second take him to the guard station and wait for the shift change you can handle them on your own as long as he’s tied up Concha I can walk around the big guard grinned sure Mac you get the girl to yourself I get stuck with the murderous wise man just take him I’ll be back soon enough the big guard grumbled but he bent down anyway hefting the wise man and slinging him over one huge shoulder like an over large sack of potatoes you’re only making me carry him because you don’t have the strength to do it yourself the guard told Mac you have been listening to book clips check out the show notes for the synopsis and buy links for this book if you are interested in showcasing your novel then check out the show notes for more 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