In “Blood Soup,” Kelly Harmon ladles out a story of a fantasy kingdom beginning at the moment of a fateful decision. That decision, warned about in a prophesy, carries consequences that ripple across decades in an inevitable and destructive chain of cause and effect. The characters are complex, vivid, and compelling, with motives both understandable and entangling. The aroma of “Blood Soup” carries the tang of universal themes such as wise and unwise leadership, the long-term effects of bad decisions, birth, death, and the wisdom that comes with reflection in old age. Kelly Harmon writes with a flowing style that draws you right in to her swirling mix. Read it at a bus stop and you’ll miss three buses before you even look up. It’s hot. It’s tasty. Take one spoonful of “Blood Soup” and you’ll finish the bowl!
With the scary title Blood Soup by Kelly A. Harmon, it even has a cover that immediately catches your eye and makes you shiver. This is a medieval tale about a kingdom destined for certain dire ruin if the King’s heir isn’t a girl.
The characters in the story work together AND against each other as they secretly manipulate, scheme, hope, and react to the surprising birth of the King’s heir.
Filled with murder, mystery, and very dire consequences, this is a fast paced Novella with vivid portrayal of events and characters, pulling you into this harsh world the author has created and no doubt leaving her with new fans eagerly awaiting her next book.
Theodicar looked down at the mewling infant in his arms, and felt the anger rise up. Even in death his wife defied him, the nurse ensuring her success. Women did not rule. He would not allow it. They had created a male child, and that child would take the throne upon his death. “You can save the boy,” he said to Salvagia.
She slitted her eyes at him, her stare mutinous. Her words were loud and hard in the wake of Pia’s death. “I have the power to save one at the expense of the other, Sire. The girl is stronger. And eldest. She was born to rule.”
Theodicar watched the girl curl up in his arms, her birth fluids staining a brown patch on the dyed-yellow wool of his tunic. She burrowed into the crook of his elbow, trying to achieve the comfort of the womb.
“I will not hear those words again,” he said. “That absurd idea died with my wife. My son will rule.” He reached for the boy, thrusting the girl child back into the nurse’s hands. “There’s no need for a daughter. And no need for anyone to know of her.”
“So be it,” Salvagia said, wrapping the weary girl in a square of wool, covering her face. She reached for her basket.
“Kill her now,” said Theodicar.
Salvagia looked stricken.
“Sire, if we kill her now, she will be of no use to her brother. Once dead, the blood won’t flow, and we need her blood to strengthen his.
“Then drain her now,” he snapped. “I will not have her crying out when we call the witnesses back to cut the boy’s cord.”
She paled, but nodded, and grabbed the necessary implements from her basket. She did the job quickly, tears streaming down her face. To keep it warm, Salvagia set the flask of blood in the ashes at the edge of the hearth. Then she wrapped the tiny body in linen and shoved it deep into her basket.
“Your life is forfeit if you speak a word of this to anyone,” Theodicar said. “Do you understand?” She nodded, pushing the basket out of view.
He sat down in his chair. “Call the witnesses back. We’ll sever the cord in their presence to prove the succession. Wipe those tears,” he said.