Posted at Aug 9, 2016 9:26 am
Brooke Johnson’s THE GUILD CONSPIRACY releases this week! Deets and an excerpt are below!
THE GUILD CONSPIRACY:
In the face of impossible odds, can one girl stem the tides of war?
It has been six months since clockwork engineer Petra Wade destroyed an automaton designed for battle, narrowly escaping with her life. But her troubles are far from over. Her partner on the project, Emmerich Goss, has been sent away to France, and his father, Julian, is still determined that a war machine will be built. Forced to create a new device, Petra subtly sabotages the design in the hopes of delaying the war, but sabotage like this isn’t just risky: it’s treason. And with a soldier, Braith, assigned to watch her every move, it may not be long before Julian finds out what she’s done.
Now she just has to survive long enough to find another way to stop the war before her sabotage is discovered and she’s sentenced to hang for crimes against the empire. But Julian’s plans go far deeper than she ever realized … war is on the horizon, and it will take everything Petra has to stop it in this fast-paced, thrilling sequel to The Brass Giant.
Release Date: August 9, 2016.
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EXCERPT from Chapter 1 of THE GUILD CONSPIRACY:
“What do you want?” she spat.
Mr. Goss arched an eyebrow. “You would do well to show a little respect, Miss Wade,” he said, his usual honeyed voice carrying a hint of impatience. He gestured down the hall, away from the council chamber. “A quick word, if you please.”
She didn’t move. “I know what you’re going to say. You’re asking me to start a war.”
“No,” he said, forcibly taking her arm and leading her away from the council chambers. She tried to resist, but his fingers tightened like a vice. “I am asking you to keep your word. We had an agreement.”
He stopped at the end of the hall, far from the council chambers, and glared at her, his grip still tight on her arm. “I grow tired of this game of yours. This war will happen, and it will go far better for you if you cooperate.”
Petra raised her chin. “I will not.”
“You will,” he said, lowering his voice to a whisper. “I have been patient with you, Miss Wade. I have allowed you to study here, to inconvenience the council with your banal proposals and Guild applications. I have even allowed you to continue communications with my son . . . but my generosity is now at an end.”
He released her arm and gathered to his full height. “Understand me, Miss Wade. If your next project is not in line with our agreement, not only will I revoke your studentship and prevent further association with my son, I will repeal the council’s pardon of your crimes and deliver you to the Royal Forces as a traitor and a spy. You will be conscripted into the military as a prisoner of war, forced to build my war machines—or else hang for your crimes.”
She swallowed, her mouth dry. “You can’t.”
“I can, and I will.” Footsteps sounded down the hall, and Julian leaned close. “You will build a war machine for me. By choice or by force, I will have what I want. Make no mistake.”
One of the redcoats from the council meeting rounded the corner and spotted them. “Pardon the interruption, Minister,” he said crisply, “but you are needed back in the council chambers.”
Julian glared at the junior officer. “Very well. Inform them that I will return shortly.”
But the soldier made no motion to leave. “The vice-chancellor is expecting you now, sir.”
“Well, as you can see, I am presently occupied,” he said sharply. “The vice-chancellor can wait. I have important matters to discuss with Miss Wade, and I require a measure of privacy. Now go.”
The soldier hesitated, his gaze lingering a moment on Petra. “Of course, sir,” he said with a stiff bow. Then he strode away.
Julian waited until the officer was well out of earshot before turning back to Petra. “I leave the decision to you, Miss Wade,” he said. “You know the consequences should you refuse my request. However, if you cooperate, I give you my word that I will not question your studentship, I will continue to allow your relations with my son, and I will even offer you my recommendation for Guild placement. Help me, and I will help you. Do you understand?”
Petra glared at him. “Yes, sir,” she hissed.
“Good,” he said, his charismatic smile brightening his face with the same easy handsomeness as his son. “Then I expect your next proposal will be most satisfactory. Good day, Miss Wade.” With that, he turned on his heel and left.
His footsteps faded into silence, and Petra pressed against the wall with a shaky sigh, hands trembling. Damn him! Damn the Guild for giving him such power over her. He could do it. He could take away her freedoms and hand her over to the Royal Forces with a single order. He would, if given the chance.
If she defied him again, he would end her.
Slow footsteps approached, and Petra started, but it was only the Royal Forces officer again.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his voice kinder than she expected.
“I’m fine,” she said automatically.
“Are you sure?” he asked. “The minister seemed angry with you.”
A bitter laugh escaped her throat, Julian’s threats still fresh in her mind.
That was her punishment for her disobedience if she defied Julian again. She had delayed and resisted as long as she could, had pushed his patience to the brink, and now her choice was made for her—choose to build his war machine or lose everything she had left.
“For what it’s worth, I thought your project had merit,” he said. “Assuming you could achieve what you proposed.”
“Of course I could,” she snapped. She peered down the hall toward the council chambers. “Not that it matters to them.”
“Why do you think? They want a war machine. Anything less isn’t worth their time.”
“Then why don’t you build one?”
She glanced sharply at the soldier.
“That’s what they want from you, isn’t it?” he went on. “Why the minister is so angry with you, why the council keeps rejecting your projects. I overheard them talking. You’ve applied to the Guild five times in the last six months, but none of your proposals were for war technology. Why not? If you built what they wanted, they’d accept you into the Guild, wouldn’t they?”
“Then why don’t you?”
“Because becoming a Guild engineer isn’t worth that,” she said. “If I earn my certification, I want it to be on my own terms, not theirs.”
Not that she had a choice. Julian had made that very clear.
“Could you, though?” he asked, a hesitancy to his voice. “If you wanted to? Could you build a war machine?”
She dropped her gaze to the floor, thinking of the automaton she and Emmerich had built together the previous summer, how brilliant it had been when Emmerich powered it up for the first time, all its gears exposed, whirring and ticking with musical synchronicity. It had been a terrible, wonderful thing to behold, a beautiful monstrosity . . . capable of so much destruction.
Yes, she could build a war machine. She already had.
But she never wanted to build another like it, not for the rest of her life.
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