Sea of Shadows
by Amy Maroney
A gifted woman artist. A ruthless Scottish privateer. And an audacious plan that throws them together—with dangerous consequences.
No one on the Greek island of Rhodes suspects Anica is responsible for her Venetian father’s exquisite portraits, least of all her wealthy fiancé. But her father’s vision is failing, and with every passing day it’s more difficult to conceal the truth.
When their secret is discovered by a powerful knight of the Order of St. John, Anica must act quickly to salvage her father’s honor and her own future. Desperate, she enlists the help of a fierce Scottish privateer named Drummond. Together, they craft a daring plan to restore her father’s sight.
There’s only one problem—she never imagined falling in love with her accomplice.
Before their plan can unfold, a shocking scandal involving the knights puts Anica’s entire family at risk. Her only hope is to turn to Drummond once again, defying her parents, her betrothed, even the Grand Master of the Knights himself. But can she survive the consequences?
With this captivating tale of passion, courage, and loyalty, Amy Maroney brings a lost, dazzling world to vivid life.
Sea of Shadows is Book 2 in a series of stand-alone historical novels packed with adventure and romance.
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Enjoy an excerpt from Sea of Shadows
Anica shifted in her seat, her gaze flicking to the painting above the altar. It was one of Papa’s most prized works: the Virgin and her child, commissioned by the archbishop of Rhodes Town for the Church of Santa Maria.
Stained-glass windows above the painting illuminated the church with a faint ruby-tinted glow. Anica glanced higher, into the nave. Long ago, someone had painted the sky up there, a wash of dark blue spangled with gold stars. But much of it had peeled off in the intervening years.
Her ears pricked back, alert to the small sounds of people breathing, coughing, adjusting their positions on the hard pews, whispering amongst themselves. Seagulls shrieked outside. The harbor was a stone’s throw away, just beyond Santa Maria’s eastern flank.
For a moment, Anica felt sorry for the priest. He had to compete with restless parishioners and the distracting sounds of the sea. She studied his face. His lips moved ceaselessly, his words vanishing into the murky upper reaches where the stars glimmered under their shroud of dust and soot.
As the mass concluded, she and Papa filed outside to the small square where worshippers gathered in the sun to exchange gossip. At the far edge of the crowd, she spotted the Salviati family. Anica positioned herself so there would be no danger of making eye contact with any of them. She dreaded another interaction with Signor Salviati or his son, especially since Papa had put off the meeting the banker had requested.
The grand master’s French falconer approached.
“Monsieur de Montavon,” Anica exclaimed, glad to see his warm smile.
“Cédric!” Papa flung his arms wide, and the two men embraced.
“I can’t stop looking around for Estelle,” Anica admitted, wishing the falconer’s daughter would appear at his side.
“You’re not alone,” the falconer replied. “We all miss her.” His wife and children stood with a group of Latin women a short distance away.
“How goes it for her in Cyprus?” Papa asked. “I imagine the prince’s death has cast a shadow over everyone there.”
Not long after her friend had sailed to Cyprus to join Princess Charlotte’s court last year, the princess’s husband had died. Rumors quickly spread that he had been murdered. Worried for her friend, Anica had written Estelle several letters—all of which had gone unanswered. Since her brother Beno’s death, though, she’d nearly forgotten about Estelle. The whole world had shrunk down to the walls of their household.
The Frenchman’s expression sobered. “You’ve not heard?” He leaned closer, lowered his voice. “Sorrow has visited Cyprus again, I regret to say. Princess Charlotte has been not only widowed but orphaned.”
“How cruel fate can be,” Anica said, stunned.
“Were the king and queen ill?” her father asked.
“That’s what they say, but . . .” The falconer’s voice faltered a moment. “When King Jean died, so did my faith in his court. I’m trying to get Estelle back to Rhodes. Unfortunately, Princess Charlotte does not respond to my entreaties to release Estelle from her service.”
“Let me know if we can help,” Papa told him, reaching out to grip his arm. “I’d no idea.”
“Grief is all-consuming,” Monsieur de Montavon said quietly. “You’re not to blame for that.” He mustered a smile and tilted his head at the church doors. “I must compliment you on your painting in there. It is splendid. You must be proud of it.”
Papa threw a sidelong glance at Anica. “Yes, I am.”
Anica stayed quiet. No one but she and Papa knew the truth. From the hidden layer of gesso under the paint, to the lapis lazuli pigment that made the Virgin’s blue gown so luminous, to the faint specks of white in the lady’s eyes that gave them the illusion of life, Anica had been responsible for it all.
Amy Maroney studied English Literature at Boston University and worked for many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an award-winning historical fiction trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Her new historical suspense/romance series, Sea and Stone Chronicles, is set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus.
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