Fighting for Home
Descendants of the Amazoi
Genre: fantasy/historical fantasy
Publisher: Kim Gilchrist
Date of Publication: July 2020
Print ISBN: 978-1-952564-00-0
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952564-02-4
Number of pages: 241
Word Count: 87,616
Cover Artist: Dawné Dominique DusktilDawn Designs
In 300 B.C.—the Greco-Roman Age—tribes of warrior women thrived near the Black Sea. The area is now modern-day Turkey. The Greeks called them Amazoi (meaning Mankiller).
Inspired by their story, Fighting for Home sings the tale of one tribe as they battle to save their way of life. Healing magic is real! Ilenea and Saphira, the wolf sisters, battle close to home with others of their generation. A healer priestess named Essla travels to a temple of Artemis at Anthela with her male slave, bringing a call to arms for the pending war. She meets and falls in love with a Roman General.
Whatever the outcome, this war changes everyone.
Thup. Thup. The second archer cried out as two of Xanthi’s arrows buried themselves into his thigh and hip. He let his own arrow fly. Leaves rustled where his arrows disappeared among the tree branches. He fumbled with an arrow, trying to notch it quickly when he heard the rustle again.
The archer looked up as Xanthi leaped from the bushes with her spear in hand. There was no time for him to raise his bow before the bronze point burrowed its way through his leather cuirass, seeking the tender flesh beneath.
At his wretched cry, the shield man to the left took a wild swing with his sword. He caught Xanthi just below the left collarbone. It sliced through her leather jerkin, taking breast flesh with it.
Crying out from the pain, she fell to her knees as blood poured from the gash. One hand pressed against the wound as her other fumbled for her knife.
Xanthi’s man turned his attention from her. He should’ve advanced. Celete used it to her advantage and swung her axe up the inside of his shield. It’s blade cleaved his stomach wide open. His guts spilled out over her hand—hot and sticky. He toppled sideways, landing in the dirt before Xanthi. With a roar befitting any lioness, she clawed at his face for what he did to her.
Fighting for Home is a book that wastes no time getting started and making it very clear what the stakes are in this ancient society. We not only watch a group of Amazoi warriors stalking a tiger, we are force to bear witness to the slaughter of one of them, in part prompted by the distraction of a young Amazoi who is neither coddled nor soothed for her actions, but coldly called out by the Mothers of the tribe. Three chapters in and I was hooked.
Kim Richards has a style to her writing that’s perfectly suited to the tale. It’s simple and direct, but also very visual, with straightforward dialogue that fits these wild women of two millennia ago. Through her eyes we watch as Saphira and Ilenea form a bond of adopted sisterhood, growing into their roles as wolf sisters together. Although they are of a warrior tribe in a wild era of history, much of the story is simply about what it means for them to be Amazoi. As one of the tribe’s slave remarks:
Tamir held no doubts these women could hold their own. Slaves were a luxury. The women were strong but not gristly; hard, yet compassionate. They were not as intimidating as legends made them out to be. He found most of the women fair and honest. He admired them and quickly found his place among them, subservient though it was.
The relationship between the Amazoi and the men of the word is a complex one, and Richards doesn’t shy away from the highs or the lows. She captures the thrill of killing male brigands and capturing slaves, the joy of taking a virile male slave to bed and becoming with child, the horrors of being taken captive by men, and (most interestingly) the disappointment of bearing a male child. In one of the most chilling scenes of the novel, simply because it’s so calm and deliberate, and full of such loathing for men, we witness the price of being so unlucky as to sire a male child:
“Show him your displeasure. He gave you a son.” The way she spat out the word, “son” made it sound worse than a demon from hell.
It is in the second half of Fighting for Home where the story opens up and the Amazoi become embroiled in the larger conflicts of the world, but as thrilling as that is, and as satisfying as it is likely to be for fans of the genre, it’s the first half of the book, the story of the Amazoi themselves, that lingers most vividly with me. A fantastic book no matter which half captures your attention, it finally feels like someone has treated such women with honesty and respect, never shying away from the darker implications of their culture, but also never glorifying them as some fetishized ideal. Definitely recommended.
About the Author
Kim Richards lives in Northern California with her husband and pets. She loves the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Her hobbies include reading, writing, sewing, LARPing, and listening to music.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00APPEHK4
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