Sadly it is the last day of the Fifty Shades of Book Boys event but we are ending things with an amazing post! Today we are featuring Lucien de Saint-Honore from The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry! Because Julie is awesome she provided exclusive content from the novel that’s not appearing anywhere else online for our post today!!! I have had a chance to read The Passion of Dolssa and it is a gorgeous, heartbreaking story that history fans will love! My full review of the book will be posting to the blog very soon so make sure to keep your eye out for it! The Passion of Dolssa will be releasing on April 12th from Viking Books for Young Readers so make sure to add it to your TBR piles and you can also pre-order a copy!
After the awesome post all about Lucien there is an amazing giveaway for an finished copy of The Passion of Dolssa so make sure to check that out at the end of the post!
***Also don’t forget to enter here for the international Fifty Shades of Book Boys giveaway***
Meet Lucien de Saint-Honore:
I’m honored to be included in Fifty Shades of Book Boys. Thanks for inviting me, Dark Faerie Tales!
The Book Boy I’ve chosen to write about in The Passion of Dolssa, my latest YA, a medieval historical fiction thriller, is Lucien de Saint-Honore. He’s young and single. Idealistic and passionate. Tall, broad-shouldered, and handsome. A Parisien with a voice that could melt your heart. He bravely suffers any hardship or danger for what what he loves most.
And he’s the villain of my story.
Or is he? It’s hard to say. You’ll have to judge for yourself.
Here are two excerpts from the novel, scenes from Lucien’s point of view. He’s a young friar in the newly-formed Dominican Order of Friars-Preachers. Fresh out of the university in Paris, he’s on a mission is to stamp out the sin of heresy in southern France. But when he meets Dolssa, his assumptions of what “heresy” looks like are turned upside-down. Will this make him pause and reconsider his ruthless quest? Or will he fight more fiercely against her?
The first scene shows one of the first times Lucien interrogates Dolssa. The second scene appears later in the novel, as the obsessive Lucien scours the countryside searching for his runaway heretic.
(Please note that both of these are uncorrected versions and that all copyrights belong to Viking Books for Young Readers)
The balding priest, Dominus Roger, ushered the young heretic a second time into the questioning cell at the cloister of the abbey church of Sant Sarnin, where Lucien sat waiting. The prior of his order, Prior Pons de Saint-Gilles, watched him from behind a table, while a notary waited nearby to copy every word. Lucien hoped his agitation didn’t show. An inquisitor must be calm, with the peaceful composure of Christ himself.
The priest’s thick hand rested heavily on Dolssa de Stigata’s shoulder. The other hand gripped the heretic’s elbow. Had she needed to be forced to come in? Lucien imagined himself performing that same task. She was slight of build; she wouldn’t weigh much. The priest met Lucien’s gaze, relinquished his captive, and sat by the wall. He looked nervous. A relapse such as this reflected badly on him as a shepherd to the fold.
The young woman stood and gazed directly at Lucien without any show of shame or embarrassment.
“Please sit down.” Lucien gestured toward a chair.
She did not sit.
Must he now stand?
“Donze?lla de Stigata,” he said, “I have asked you to sit.”
She watched him.
Prior Pons’s languid gaze upon him made Lucien squirm inwardly. This was a test, and he was failing it, beaten by this maddening young woman before he’d even had a chance to ask her his first question.
If she could ignore his requests, he could ignore her defiance. He shuffled through his papers.
“Dolssa de Stigata,” he began, “we hear reports that you’ve disobeyed our orders.”
Her long dark hair flowed out from underneath her white cap. It caught the muted light coming through the panes in the dusty chamber.
“Is it true, Donz?lla Dolssa”—Lucien winced at a catch in his voice—“that you still claim to speak with our Lord, and to receive replies from him? That you persist in claiming a special intimacy with him, such as between a bridegroom and a bride, and that, despite our express orders, you continue to teach a group of followers these unsanctioned and unholy falsehoods?”
A small smile moved the heretic femna’s wide mouth. Lucien found his gaze drawn to the small mark over her upper lip. The devil’s mark, he had more than once thought of it. Which would explain its dark fascination.
Lucien retreated to his papers. “We warned you,” he said. “We attempted to correct you through merciful instruction. And yet you persist. Why such rebellion?”
The priest, Dominus Roger, mopped his brow. The damned girl—for she was surely that—only blinked lazily at Lucien. Brazen. Insufferable.
“Donze?lla,” came Prior Pons’s crackling voice. “It would fare better for you if you answered.”
“Would it, then?”
He spread his hands upon the table. “Naturally.”
She seemed mildly amused. “I have never spoken anything other than the truth. And I speak the truth now when I say that whether I answer you oc or non, you will burn me either way. So I see no reason to speak to you any more words than I wish to.”
“And yet you have plenty of words to use elsewhere,” said Lucien. It was peevish of him, and realizing so infuriated him.
“I speak more elsewhere,” she said, “when I have the ears of people capable of listening.”
All the while this damnable heretic’s lips smiled inwardly, as though she alone were in possession of a delightful joke. As if she and someone else behind where Lucien sat conspired together in some droll jest.
Lucien rose. “It rests with the Holy Church to obtain audience with the Most High, and with him who holds Sant Peter’s keys, to receive divine revelation for the Church. It is not and has never been the province of childish, silly femnas to speak in the name of the Lord.”
“I will notify him, when next we speak, that he is in violation of your rules.”
“Insolent creature!” Lucien turned to the prior to seek his outrage. But his spiritual superior’s eyes were full of silent warning. Control yourself.
Lucien regulated his breathing and turned back to the heretic.
“We have shown you mercy,” said he. “We spared you with a warning. I pleaded for you myself, in consideration of your youth. And this is how you reward our charity?”
“Donze?lla,” said Prior Pons, “I beg of you not to force our hands. We have fought a painful war over just such threats to the faithful as you. You are a poisonous flower in the Lord’s vineyard. Some find your youthful bloom attractive. Protecting the innocent and the gullible from such venom is our mission. We find no pleasure in your destruction, but we will do what we must.”
A strange light burned in Dolssa de Stigata’s eyes. “You must do what you must,” she told him, “and I must speak the words my beloved bids me speak. He is more than recompense for whatever you may do to me.”
“Your defiance,” answered Prior Pons, “by its very nature, is sin. It is heresy. ”
“If you choose to, you may label me a heretic,” said Dolssa. “But God in heaven is the judge of such things, and to him I plead my case.”
“You will be excommunicated.” Lucien’s voice rose. “Your soul will burn in hell, and your body will burn in a heretic’s pyre.”
But still the infuriating, devilish girl only watched him. She was well practiced at prying her fingernails into the cracks in his composure.
He’d lost. But so had she. “You cannot win,” he told her.
“I have already won,” she said. “I dwell with my beloved, and when you slay me, I will dwell in his arms forever.”
“Then before they spread your influence further,” said Lucien, “we will make sure that those already infected with your poison will also be cut off.”
Dolssa pulled in an anxious breath. At last. Lucien could almost feel the rise of her chest as her heartbeat registered his meaning.
“My words are my own,” said she. “I claim their punishment, also, as my own. Surely, not even you can construct a crime from merely associating with me.”
Triumph was sweet upon Lucien’s lips. What her stubborn pride would not yield for her own sake, it would surrender for her affection for others. He selected his next words carefully.
“As our inquiries into the faith of the your countrymen has demonstrated clearly, association is how the devil impregnates the weak with his damnable fallacies. Association is life, and death—eternal life, and eternal death.”
Her eyes smoldered. But there was fear in them now. Not even her beloved could banish it.
“Your mother, your kinsmen, your maid, your cook . . . your devoted followers . . . One can never be too careful, Donze?lla, in choosing one’s associations. Not in Provensa.”
Lucien pressed through a dark and clawing wood, fleeing a voice that called his name. Fear filled his veins. His breath, too loud in his throat, would surely betray him.
She came to him tonight, not as the hunted one but as the hunter. He quickened his steps, yet on she came, finding him by scent and not sight.
Now she was behind him, in a clearing. Her gaze prickled on his skin while the moon pulsed overhead.
He turned and saw her slowly approach him, step after step.
She had come to him in a soft robe of black and red. It fell open, and he gazed unwillingly, then willingly, into the whiteness of her breast. Her hair slipped from its confinements and blossomed over her shoulders, her hips, sliding over her face like clouds obscuring the moon.
As her face drew nearer to his, her hair parted, and her red lips opened and reached for his.
She stripped him of whatever possession he could once claim over his own flesh. She robbed him of his vows, his very will. She compelled him to reach forward and kiss and touch.
And in the taste of her kiss was a sweet liqueur. The wine of desire, the elixir of falsehood. This was the spreading of untruth, from lip to loins to heart. A warning.
The devil laughed, but Lucien—the flesh—succumbed.
Lucien woke in the dark on his mat of straw in the monks’ dormitory at the Convent of the Brotherhood of Sant Esteve, drowning. He feared for his soul. He felt he might vomit. What he’d done could never be undone. Once lost, his innocence was lost forever. The shame, the stain—how could he ever look Prior Pons in the face? And what of his holy calling? He’d betrayed Christ’s love for him—Christ, whose all-seeing eye penetrated the heart.
Around him the brothers of the convent of St. Stephen slumbered, some noisily.
Sleep. Oh, praise the bon Dieu. He’d been asleep. None of it had happened.
It was only a dream.
Sweet relief flooded his limbs. He was as pure as ever. No stain could be affixed to him by the phantasms of sleep. He clutched his innocence about him as a cloak.
But that girl, that unholy femna, that cursed heretic who kept slipping through his clutches! Even now, wide awake, he felt her slim, carnal fingers unbutton his cloak of innocence and worm their way inside to the unruly flesh beneath. Their touch burned his skin.
Stop it, he told himself. The dream is only metaphor.
She symbolized all that would ruin Christendom. Ruin him. Consume him. Devour him with her blood-red mouth of lies and lusts and burnings.
He would be clean, even if the struggle killed him. So she must be the one to die.
He breathed deeply to calm his mind. He would remain with the Brotherhood of Sant Esteve until Prior Pons’s letter arrived. Though the trail had all but gone cold—though he’d lost days when that lying Jew had sent him south along the Aude, instead of east—though Satan’s servants thwarted him at every turn—the sea, he felt sure, would lead him to the heretic. But he’d been gone so long, perhaps too long, chasing a bird on the wing, and he needed approval from his prior to continue his search for Dolssa de Stigata. He would wait for it more vigilantly now.
More awake to danger.
I grew up on a 50-acre farm in Western New York as the youngest of seven children. We grew much of our own food and harvested eggs from our chickens. We also kept turkeys, pigs, rabbits, and oodles of dogs and cats. I was free to ramble around our pond full of frogs and turtles, and wade in our crick full of minnows and crawdads. I was lucky to be the caboose kid in a big family full of avid readers, with a mother who loved poetry.
I had a perfect little library of children’s classics to reread to my heart’s content. I think I came close to memorizingCharlotte’s Web, the Little House books, the Great Brain series,Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, The Secret Garden, Just So Stories, Heidi, Alice in Wonderland, and A Little Princess.
Want to read more from Julie Berry?
This contest is provided by Penguin!
One lucky winner will win a finished copy of The Passion of Dolssa!!
Available April 12, 2016 from Viking Books for Young Readers
About this Book:
I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it.
Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France is an untold story of love, loss, and wonder and the two girls at the heart of it all.
Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with a secret lover and an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she’s on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire, and wants Dolssa executed, too.
Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town of Bajas.
When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by her sisters and Symo, her surly but loyal neighbor, Botille nurses Dolssa back to health and hides her from her pursuers. But all of Botille’s tricks, tales, and cleverness can’t protect them forever, and when the full wrath of the Church bears down upon Bajas, Dolssa’s passion and Botille’s good intentions could destroy the entire village.
From the author of the award-winning All the Truth That’s in Mecomes a spellbinding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page and make you wonder if miracles really are possible.