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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Elsbeth of Olmsbury desires nothing beyond helping her father run his dukedom -- until the duke's forces are overwhelmed, his castle torched and Elsbeth seized for the invading king's personal spoil. Expecting the same abuse as the other surviving women of her house, Elsbeth instead finds the king, Leodegrance, treating her with a civility that belies his flagrant desire for her. A desire that will have her his consort in Cameliard once he can convince her rank and duty alone forced his hand against her father.

But Elsbeth is not so easily won. There is the matter of Leodegrance gifting his steward with an unwilling young handmaid from Elsbeth's household. Of his marriage of convenience to his Byzantine queen. And of his plans to subjugate more of Britain's citadels and unite the wild isle under Roman rule.

If Elsbeth can't find her tangled way to forgiveness with the king -- or escape the dark designs and perverse desires of Uther Pendragon, enemy to them both - then a legend of Camelot may never be conceived, never be born, and never change history forever ...

New York Times Bestselling and multi-award-winning romance and women's fiction author Jennifer Blake has this to say about Spoil of War, a women's historical heavy on the romantic elements:

"SPOIL OF WAR is a fascinating account of early Britain; a gripping tale of lust, love and the horrors of ancient warfare. Beautifully written, filled with myriad period details and compelling characters, it takes you deep into the heart of a brutal era -- and into the nature of feminine honor, feminine courage. I was enthralled."
Please note: This novel takes place in a harsh era when spoils were often treated as commodities. While the violence toward women and children is period-appropriate and for mature adults only, it is never gratuitous. The story focuses on adaptation, survival and, ultimately, love in the Dark Ages before Arthur was made king.

112,000 words; about 440 pages. You can read the first 10,000 words right now.

$1.99 at: Amazon US
86p at: Amazon UK
$1.99 at: B&N



Thank you for considering Spoil of War as one of your next e-reads!

All best,
Phoenix Sullivan
 

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Welcome to KindleBoards, Phoenix, and congratulations on your book! :)

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the debrief, Ann! I think I'm going to like it here. I've already been warmly welcomed in the Introductions thread, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'll be helping Jennifer Blake, renowned author of 60+ romances, launch her newest series of Tudor historicals from Mira on my blog, Tuesday, July 26. Hope you'll drop by!

http://phoenixsullivan.blogspot.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Part of a review by Chelsea P that offers a taste of what Spoil of War has to offer:

"I have waited a long time for a new Arthurian saga to grip my heart and enrapture my mind. Enchanted by tales of Guinevere and Lancelot as a child, and utterly enamored with Marion Zimmer Bradley's Morgaine in "The Mists of Avalon", I tore hungrily into Sullivan's tale of the fierce and fiery Elsbeth thinking: could this be it? Could it?

"Yes.

"Spoil of War" is breathtaking. This story contains so many things a lover of Arthurian myth desires: passion and loyalty, vengeance and betrayal, all against the backdrop of a Britain so realistically portrayed it was difficult to believe I wasn't actually there experiencing Elsbeth's emotions alongside her. I did not simply understand her emotions. I felt them; felt her rage, her disillusionment, even her conflicted passions. More than anything I felt her desire to be in control of her own life, and found myself rooting for her unabashedly as she fought to gain that control."

See the rest of the review.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Fun fact: Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of Mists of Avalon was my first editor back in the day when she published several of my stories in her multi-author collections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This book was recently given an unfavorable review at a major review site. The reviewer had complaints about how she saw the heroine reacting to having been raped. The reading experience that reviewer had is completely valid -- for her. We all read and process stories differently based on our likes, our experiences and our expectations.

That review, however, propogated some factual misconceptions about the book, the nature of its hero, and its placement in history. A number of people who have not read the book are decrying it based on some erroneous disinformation. This is not a "hero rapes heroine and heroine falls in love with him" story. It is not a story that glorifies pedophilia or where rape is dismissed as easily as one dismisses a bout of the flu.

One reviewer found nothing of redeeming value in the story itself.

Other reviewers have left detailed reviews describing what they found uplifting about the book.

All these reviews are valid in that they reflect the personal experience each reader gained from their reading.

If violence toward women in any context is not something you care to read about, then I urge you not to read this book. In fact, from the first I have included a note on the description page that points out there is violence involving women and children (a 12-year-old girl in a subplot).

If complex situations regarding what choices women who are considered chattel have when faced with violence and seeing how one woman triumphs over those constraints sounds like something you'd be interested in, check out the first 10,000 words and decide for yourself if Elsbeth is someone worth spending time with and rooting for.
 

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Phoenix, I trust you to get historical facts right and am looking forward to reading your novel. I bought it, now I just need to find the time to sit undisturbed and dive into Arthurian legend.  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Whether you love it or hate it (and if you go by the reviews, there's no inbetween ;)), you'll be sure to be talking about it.

I do urge you to choose something else to read if a bit of grit and realism isn't your cuppa and if you're disturbed by women acting within the constraints of their time to achieve what level of happiness is afforded them. That certainly doesn't mean this novel contains scene after scene of unrelenting violence and despair; the novel is, ultimately, about love and hope. Simply, the sharper the contrast between despair and hope, the sweeter the value of hope in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
While the reviews on Amazon continue to be pretty divisive, the ever-popular Mrs. Giggles gave the book a 76 and had this, in part, to say:

"Spoil Of War is, at the end of the day, an intriguing read. It's a big and ambitious epic historical tale, a down-to-earth reinterpretation of the myth behind Uther Pendragon, and I think I actually like this book for the risks it attempts to pull off and the occasional brilliance here and there."

Check out the full review at http://mrsgiggles.com/books/sullivan_spoil.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Limited time only! Just 99 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The FREE offer will end very soon! (Likely by this weekend.)

Please do read the cautions in the description about strong content. While the violence toward women and children is situation-appropriate and never gratuitous nor graphic, some readers have responded negatively to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Free Promotion continues (although a price change has been submitted)!

Strong caution: The subject matter is not to everyone's taste. If a book that has rape and child molestation - even sensitively and non-gratuitously portrayed - troubles you, this book isn't for you. 

Do note that the ratings at Apple iBooks are much more generous than those on Amazon - 30 reviews at Apple average 4.5 stars (no 1-star reviews at all), with a 5-star text review. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Apple iTunes seems to want to make this a permanent promotion :D. Until they remove it off the free shelf, Amazon will continue to offer it for free as well.

After a little over 3 weeks of being free at the Apple iTunes store, Spoil of War continues to be the #1 free download in Historical Fantasy and on the What's Hot list for all of Fantasy as well as Historical Romance.

In the Amazon free store after 2.5 weeks of being free, it's still:
#1 Historical Fantasy
#8 All Fantasy
#12 Historical Romance
#61 All Romance

Let me once again stress that the subject matter will not be to everyone's taste as the reviews on Amazon clearly demonstrate, but that the content is handled sensitively.

Please do note that 30 of 52 ratings at Apple are 5 stars, with another 13 being 4 stars for an overall average of 4.5 stars.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
While Apple iBooks continues to keep Spoil of War free, Amazon will continue to price match ;)

In the Apple store, after 1 month, Spoil of War is still the #1 free book in Historical Fantasy and continues to be featured in the What's Hot sections for all of Fantasy and Historical Romance.

Out of 63 ratings on Apple, Spoil of War now has 38 5-stars and 16 4-stars. And of the 3 text reviews that have been left, all are 5-star.

Amazon review ratings continue to be mixed, yet after 3.5 weeks of being free, Spoil of War continues to rank quite favorably in the free store, at #3 in Historical Fantasy, #20 in all of Fantasy, #14 in Historical Romance and #86 in all of Romance (although not a conventional romance, it does have romantic elements).

Over 20,000 readers have now downloaded Spoil of War.

Please do be aware that rape and child abuse (of a secondary character) are part of this story, although they are handled sensitively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The free promotion has ended in the US. UK readers, though, can still snag a copy for free for a limited time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Despite what some of the Amazon reviews may imply, Spoil of War is not erotica. I have no prejudice against erotic fiction, but someone who buys Spoil thinking it is erotica will be disappointed. I'd rank it about a 3 out of 5 on the steam scale. Sensual, yes, but not even spicy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The free promo in the UK has ended, but UK readers can still get a copy for only 86p for a limited time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
iBook readers have embraced this book: #1 in historical fantasy in the Canadian iTunes store for over a week, and now #1 in Australia, too. Still in the Top 10 in historical fantasy in the US.

Over 22,000 Kindle readers downloaded Spoil of War when it was free. Still just $1.99 in the US. Do read the content warnings before buying. The subject matter is sensitively portrayed (as the iBook readers seem to agree), but some folk will find it objectionable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Spoil of War also became the #1 bestseller in historical fantasy in the UK iTunes store this past week. 93 ratings in the US store average 4.5 stars, and it's currently the #4 historical fantasy there.

Amazon reviews are correct in that some of the subject matter is controversial. Apple ratings indicate that many readers don't find the subject matter to be quite so flagrant as others have found it. Still, if matters of rape or child molestation concern you, even if they are not vividly or gratuitously presented, this book is not for you. For all others, this story is ultimately about love and preservation of self and honor in a brutal world.
 
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