10:00 am EDT, May 15, 2019

‘Beyond the Shadowed Earth’ exclusive: Here’s your first look at the cover and prologue!

Looking for a new YA fantasy novel to add to your to-read pile? Look no further than Joanna Ruth Meyer’s Beyond the Shadowed Earth! Check out the reveal of the book’s cover and prologue.

Whether you’re a fan of Joanna Ruth Meyer’s Beneath the Haunting Sea or are a newcomer to her fantastical world, Beyond the Shadowed Earth looks like it’s going to be a novel that all fantasy book readers will enjoy.

A strong female friendship, a life-altering bargain, and a touch of mythology. Beyond the Shadowed Earth has a little bit of everything for everyone.

While this new fantasy novel from Joanna Ruth Meyer won’t hit bookshelves until January 2020, you can take a peek at the novel’s cover as well as it’s intriguing prologue right now! All you have to do is keep scrolling…

Here’s your first look at the lush cover of ‘Beyond the Shadowed Earth’ by Joanna Ruth Meyer!

‘Beyond the Shadowed Earth’ by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Can’t wait until January to jump into the world of ‘Beyond the Shadowed Earth’? Here’s your exclusive first look at the prologue!

Prologue

Her father used to tell her the story on summer nights, the tall windows in their parlor flung wide, the air blowing tangy up from the sea:

Once there was a boy who made a deal with a god.

It was centuries ago, far away in Halda, and the boy’s name was Erris. He lived in a hut on the edge of a wood with his twin brother Cainnar and their widowed mother. Erris was fiercely devoted to the gods, and brought offerings to their altars every week; Cainnar scoffed at Erris’s beliefs, and did not bring any.

One day, an oracle came to the hut with the news that the gods had chosen Cainnar to be Halda’s first king. The boys’ mother was overjoyed, and Cainnar was quick to accept the declaration of the gods he did not believe in. He went to live in the glittering new palace on the top of a hill by a bright lake, and Erris stayed in the hut with their mother.

In the winter, their mother fell ill and died, and Erris packed his few belongings and went to the palace on the hill. He thought Cainnar would welcome him gladly, but Cainnar had grown proud. He refused to acknowledge that Erris was his brother—he refused to acknowledge him at all. So Erris became a servant in the palace, because he had nowhere else to go, and he thought in time Cainnar would accept him.

Cainnar did not. Day after day Erris saw him, dressed in silk and dripping with jewels, the gods’ chosen king. And day after day, Erris’s envy grew, until he could no longer bear it.

And so he left the palace and climbed up Tuer’s Mountain. Tuer was the first god to be formed on Endahr, and was said to be more powerful than all the other gods combined. Erris built an altar to Tuer, and waited beside it for nine scorching days and nine freezing nights.

On the tenth day, Tuer came, and he looked at Erris with deep sorrow. “What is it you wish of me, son of the dust?”

“I wish to be king in place of my brother,” Erris told him.

“And what offering do you bring to me, that I might grant your request?”

“My devotion,” said Erris.

“That is not enough,” said the god.

“My life, then.”

“What good is it to be king if you are dead?”

Erris thought. “My brother’s life,” he said.

“He was chosen by the gods already—his life is not yours to give.”

“What is mine to give?”

“Your soul,” said the god. “Your time. Your heart.”

“Take them freely,” said Erris.

Eda always interrupted the story at this point: “Why would he give those things up so quickly?”

“Because he was a fool,” her father said, “and because his hatred blinded him.”

“Very well,” said the god. “If you are certain.” And he spoke a Word of power that burned into Erris’s forehead.

And then Erris went down the mountain again.

When he returned to the palace, he was astonished to find the walls crumbled away, reduced to ancient weathered stones scattered in the grass. He wandered a while among the ruins, until he came upon a child with a shepherd’s crook.

“What happened here?” asked Erris.

“This was the palace of a mighty king, centuries ago,” said the child. “But there is no king here anymore. Oh! I see you are king.”

And Erris reached up to find a crown upon his head.

“Here,” said the child, “I shall make you a throne.” And he piled up stones and laid leaves on them for a cushion.

Erris sat. He was bewildered, but felt neither loss, nor anger, nor sorrow, for he had given away his heart, and was incapable of feeling anything.

“Long may you rule,” said the child. Then he bowed, and went away.

Erris sat on the makeshift throne as night fell and dawn came again. He sat as the seasons changed from fall, to winter, to spring. He sat as the centuries spun away and he did not age, and he did not die, for he had given away his soul and his time.

And there he sits still, the king of nothing, the ruler of emptiness.

“It doesn’t seem very fair,” Eda always said when her father finished the story. “He was only jealous of his brother.”

“But he should not have made such a reckless deal with Tuer,” her father told her gravely. “The gods are bound by the One who formed them to fulfill their oaths, and honor their promises.”

“Is there no way to free him?”

“Perhaps there is a way, and perhaps he found it, in the end.”

“I hope so,” said Eda. “I don’t like to think of him sitting there even now.”

“One must always take care when treating with gods,” said her father. “It might not be worth the risk.”

Which is why, when Eda was nine years old and made a deal of her own, she took very meticulous care. After all, her parents were dead and there was no one to look out for her but herself.

About ‘Beyond the Shadowed Earth’

It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.

Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined—he always intended for her to free him…or take his place.

Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer is set to hit shelves on January 14, 2020. You can preorder your copy now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, or Indiebound. Also, don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads “to read” shelf!

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