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Monday, March 11, 2013

And Blue Skies from Pain by Stina Leicht: Read, Part 11

Welcome back to our read of Stina Leicht’s and Blue Skies from Pain. If you’re looking for the winners of last week’s giveaway, click here, then return for Leicht’s awesome adventure with Liam Kelly, half-fey ex-IRA wheelman, currently haunted by the ghost of his dead wife and the key to securing peace between the Fey and the Catholic Church.

To review or catch up on this read, click here.



Chapter 20

After speaking with Mary Kate, his wife’s shade, Liam escapes to the abandoned house in Belfast and drinks himself into unconsciousness. HIs father Bran wakes him and demands to know why Liam no longer wears his protective charm against ghosts and what the problem is. After much frustration, Liam finally confesses a fraction, at least enough to assure Bran that, this time, it isn’t he who Liam is upset at. Bran then informs Liam that Father Murray wishes to speak with him.

Reader Comments: I love seeing these deeper layers to Bran. In Of Blood and Honey, he was certainly cool, but glimpsing the pain he’s carried through the centuries of all the children he has lost makes him far more compelling.

Writer Comments: Every hero needs moments of growth, often small but sometimes large epiphanies that alter their character in ways that make them interesting and compelling. In this scene, Liam starts to see his value in his father’s eyes. Until this moment, Bran and Liam’s relationship is fairly surface. Bran will clearly risk a great deal for Liam and truly loves him, but that does not translate into a dynamic or necessarily healthy relationship between them. But sometimes, it only takes a small thing to shift a character. In this instance, it merely takes Liam glimpsing how much the death of his children has wounded his father and that Liam, in part because he is the last of Bran’s children, is thus so very precious. It is enough, at least, for Liam to begin making a connection.

As the buses aren’t working that day due to bomb scares, Liam is forced to take a taxi to meet Father Murray. Unfortunately, the taxi driver, who likely works for the IRA, appears to recognize him. He tries to get away before the man summons anyone, but Father Murray insists on eating at a spot just down the street. There the Grand Inquisitor, Monsieur Paul, comes in and demands to speak with Liam. He then threatens Liam, his family, and the peace treaty to force Liam to return to the testing center and allow him to acquire samples his way. Father Murray challenges the inquisitor then and there to protect Liam, but before the issue can be resolved, Seamus, who has been pressuring Liam to rejoin the IRA, and his thugs kidnap Liam and Father Murray.

Reader Comments: I really hope Monsieur Paul is a villain. I want to see him go down hard. However, I have a suspicion that he’s going to recur in later books. A character like him is just too evil and fun to eliminate in one book.

Writer Comments: There is a moment in this scene that demonstrates subtly how much Liam is maturing. When he first tries to leave Monsieur Paul, the inquisitor grabs his wrist. The Liam of previous chapters and the previous book would probably quickly attempt to thrash the man until he had a clear escape route. Instead, Liam uses words alone, demanding to be released until Father Murray and their surroundings at last persuade the inquisitor to relent his grip. Simple things like that can be huge indicators of a character’s growth.

Chapter 21

Seamus and his IRA thugs, Frankie among them, take Father Murray and Liam to an old warehouse with an undertone of rotting flesh and blood, scents Liam has learned to associate with the Fallen. Liam is given a choice, join back up or he and Father Murray don’t make it to Christmas three days hence. Given no other alternative, Liam agrees. At least it buys him a little time to figure out where the Fallen is and why the IRA would dare kidnap then threaten to murder a priest.

Reader Comments: I love the humor at the end of this chapter. Frankie pressures Liam into playing cards to pass the time, but Frankie is notorious for winning. Liam agrees to play as long as he gets to pick the game. Naturally, Frankie agrees. What game does Liam pick? Go Fish.

Writer Comments: All elements of a story must be woven together in a neat tapestry. In and Blue Skies from Pain, Leicht has a great many potentially disparate elements from the fey to the church to the IRA. However, aside from the fact that Liam is involved in some manner with each, she connects them with the Fallen. Make sure all aspects of your story hang together from multiple threads.

Thank you for joining me today for Stina Leicht’s and Blue Skies from Pain. We’ll find out next Monday what awaits Liam and Father Murray. Until then, make sure to return for Friday’s post, and remember to check out my March Giveaway celebrating the release of my debut novel, Red and the Wolf.

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