Listen to the Wind: The Orphans of Tolosa
Epic historical adventure at its best! "Complex, engrossing, and dramatic"--Kirkus Reviews
Sent away for their own protection when they were very young, Azemar and Azalaïs become separated when they flee from the band of outlaws who served as their supposed protectors. Armed only with fleeting memories, their names, and the wits and intelligence that have helped them survive brutal conditions, they struggle to find each other again and discover the mysterious past that links them across distance and time.
Who are they? And do they hold the secret of the legendary Cathar treasure? All they know is that knights and priests spell danger, and they must survive at all costs if they are to fulfill their destiny. Readers who love Game of Thrones and the medieval epics of Ken Follett will love being immersed in this first volume of the Orphans of Tolosa trilogy.
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About the Author
"Susanne Dunlap's sweeping saga captivates readers' imaginations from the first page, plunging them back into the Languedoc region of France in the 13th Century. Her impeccable research allows her three spirited protagonists to live, love, fight and breathe life into the dangerous period of rebellion and inquisition. . . A compelling read for lovers of adventure and romance." --Anne Easter Smith, author of A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, Royal Mistress
"Dunlap (The Academie, 2012, etc.) breathes life into the distant 13th-century setting by providing many everyday, textural details, such as the uncomfortable realities of wearing jousting armor. Poetry and music are as essential to the plot as warfare, with engaging glimpses of trobairitz (female troubadours). . . . A complex, absorbing, and dramatic start to a planned series." - Kirkus Reviews
". . . an absolutely fascinating adventure of two orphans, born of the heretical Cathar faith in the rugged land of the Languedoc in 13th century France, who are separated suddenly when young. . . . The author is both a superb story teller and a rich historian of the period. Its customs and language, castles, troubadours, mountains, thick forests, villages, monasteries, and vineyards come vividly to life as Azemar and Azalaïs find themselves drawn into a path that will shape history." - Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille: a novel of Monet.
"This novel casts a spell with its rich setting of 13th century France, and I was immediately caught up in the lives of the main characters, particularly Azalais, an orphan struggling to survive in the Languedoc countryside who uses her intelligence to reach for a potentially dazzling future. Readers who love history will be fascinated by the context of the period's dangerous conflicts in religion and secular power. And those who enjoy suspense will be riveted by the mystery contained in a parchment. In its mix of page-turning thriller with well researched historical novel, it draws comparison to the finely crafted work of Kate Mosse and Ariana Franklin." - Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Blue and the Joanna Stafford trilogy
"Susanne Dunlap's Listen to the Wind is an engaging work of historical fiction replete with sympathetic characters. The novel is set in thirteenth-century Languedoc, a time when families are torn apart by religious persecution....The fortitude and ingenuity of her characters helps them adapt to all manner of circumstances, and the result is an engaging tale of escape, secrets, and mental toughness. For those looking for a smartly written captivating read, I highly recommend this first book in the Orphans of Tolosa trilogy." - Amy M. Hawes, Book Club Babble
"This book was very powerful, and one that was hard to put down. The story of Azalais, as she navigates a world that she does not fully understand, will leave the reader wishing for more, yet content." - The International Review of Books
"Populated by characters worth rooting for, both the nefarious and the outspoken heroes, this novel is packed with heart, imagination, and incredible testament to the human spirit." - The BookLife Prize