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The Orb & Ward Asper

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348 pages5 hours

Summary

The Orb & Ward Asper (1st book of series) combines reality, delightful fantasy, and childhood mayhem. It is the compelling story of Asper, a child made parentless by the cruel act of a prison wagon’s guard, annoyed by the child’s crying. His parents, known as the Falconers, watch the guard hurl their swaddling bundle toward a raging river with no apparent chance of rescue and for their king has forever relegated them to the prison colony as Indentured Slaves.
Unknown to them, a mighty Saker falcon plucks the bundle from the river’s rocky shore and flies away to lay the infant in her nest. Attended by pixie women, the baby sleeps until the free-spirited Lady Gadabout retrieves the child. She delivers him to the less-than-pious nuns of the abbey, ruled by the self-coronated Priest King Trapunto and Queen Nunsin, formerly the village’s teenage tramp.
The infant lives, and grows up as ward of King Trapunto and Queen Nunsin. Early on, Asper is aware that he can change his face at will. One day, the seven-year-old boy astonishes the women of the royal household by contorting his face to appear identical to their precious Princess Giddy, who is five and in puppy love with the ward Asper.
Grasping the potential of Asper’s unique talent, Queen Nunsin formally adopts him, so that at critical events she can order him to alter his face and stand in for her two-years-older son Prince Dullard, whom all judge to be stupid, rash and cruel, thereby advancing her precious Dullard as the ideal heir to the throne.
Lucid dreams plague Asper, telling of his ‘real parents’ in the penal colony. He resolves to seek them when mature, and so grows up driven to explore. This lures him to travel widely with a Gypsy caravan, to living among the feared swamp people, to learning to sail and to navigate. The mayhem of his return inspires the eleven-year old Princess Giddy to shout her welcome, telling all that one day she will snare the Abbey’s ward as ‘her man.’

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