Dear Reader,

At the very beginning of my writing career, I received the following advice: "Write the book you want to read." So I did.

I love a big, sweeping epic, richly drawn worlds where my imagination can soar. Some of my favorite books are The Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel (especially the early books), the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and the Game of Thrones series. I like my heroes to be true heroes, and like it even more if they're battle-seasoned warriors. And I like my heroines to be strong women, women who can survive in a world created and run by men, women who will stand up for what is right, a heroine who can tame the beast.

In The Third Scroll, Tera, a budding healer, is sold into slavery and thrust into the savage realm of barbarian warlords, the same realm which claimed her mother years ago. She must avoid the displeasure of her warrior lord and survive the cruelties of the concubines, even as war threatens on the horizon.

Yet a greater danger looms when she catches the eye of the most powerful lord of the land and he takes her for his Pleasure Hall. Tera struggles to escape, while searching for the secret behind her mother's death. But what she discovers challenges everything she believes in. A path set long ago beckons. A path that could lead to triumph, or the destruction of her world.

As a writer, I'm always asked in interviews which one of the over two dozen books I've written is my favorite. I always try to go around that question by saying that it's like asking a parent which one of their children they like the most. But this once, I'm going to make a confession. The Third Scroll is truly the book of my heart and my favorite out of everything I've written so far. I've received some very nice feedback lately that just made my heart smile.

"Marton excels at worldbuilding and character development. Readers will find it impossible not to care what happens to Tera next." Kirkus Review

"An ambitious, vividly imagined epic fantasy. Marton has created a promising and immersive world that is, at the same time, darkly brutal." RT BookReviews

Of course, I won't be able to relax until I hear from readers. So please drop me a note and let me know what you think!

Dana Marton



Excerpt from The Third Scroll

© Dana Marton


Batumar stopped and turned to me. “You should not be so ever willing to exchange your life for others.”

“I am a healer, my Lord.”

“You are—” he began in a voice loud with frustration but did not finish.

At last I lifted my gaze to his. Dark fires burned in his eyes. Blood seeped from his side. There was a wildness to him that both scared me and made it difficult to look away.

Again, part of me wanted to flee. The healer in me held me in place. I reached for my herbs. “These, at least, my Lord. If you would allow me.”

I had planned to use the herbs, having given my promise to the Guardians to be more careful with my healing spirit, but once I had touched Batumar and felt his pain, everything else had flown from my mind.

After a long moment, he sat down and lifted his arm for me again.

I cleaned the wound thoroughly, then prepared and applied the paste for infection, wishing as I often had for moonflower tears. The ruhni powder reduced some of the swelling almost instantly and also drew the edges of the wound together but not enough. The gash gaped too wide and jagged for ninga beetles, so sending for them would not be of any use, either. I had seen that from the beginning, which was why I had Leena bring the hulls.

Batumar touched his finger to some of the ruhni powder that dusted his side and lifted the finger to his nose. “Do you know poisons as well as you know healing potions?”

I nodded. Not to use, not ever, but so I would recognize the signs if anyone had taken them by accident or will, and could give the proper cure.

“You could kill me.” His voice carried neither fear nor accusation.

“I could not.” I stepped away in haste as if the High Lord had slapped me. “It is true I have the knowledge but not the spirit to accomplish such a deed.” Not for freedom, not for any other purpose, not ever, no matter what he might do to me yet.

He nodded.

I pulled my small roll of dried shlunn hulls and selected five, each the width of a finger and about the length of one as well. I had dried the flat leaflike hulls to a rich color of yellow days before and now dipped them into clean water, one after the other.

A sticky paste formed on the underside, and I pressed the strips across the wound. They would hold it together as the water dried and the strips shrank and stuck to the skin. I rolled some bandage over on top of them to make sure they stayed in place and did not get brushed off too early.

I watched Batumar’s face, for I knew the pain must be returning by now. Drawing pain gave but temporary relief if the injury was not healed completely. As I had used herbs instead of my healing powers, the infection would take time to abate, the cut days, if not more, to grow together.

“I have weathered worse,” he said as if sensing my dismay.

I nodded and moved away, skirting the tub that took up most of the room. “I will have the water removed.” Leena would call the servants back for me.

“Another moment.” He stood and drew a small blade from the table, then stepped to the tub where he shaved off his still-wet beard. The hair fell like clumps of fur and floated on the top of the water.

I held back a groan. Had he told me he was going to cut it, I would not have wasted time washing the mangy thing.

“Would you have denied me even that small pleasure?” he asked softly as he finished and turned to me.

I flushed, flustered that he should read my thoughts so easily.

He put away his blade before he walked to the bed and lay down on top of the covers. I did call for the servants then and waited until the women emptied the tub pail by pail; then two men came to carry it away. I walked behind them on their way out, but Batumar’s words stopped me at the door.

“I would have you stay.”

My body jerked as if lightning had cut through me. Help me now, blessed spirits. I turned slowly.

He slid to the middle of the great bed, looking as if he very much expected me to join him.

I clamped my hands together. Spirit, be strong. I had not thought he would want more of me than to heal his injury. He had to be too exhausted and hurt to want to… I bit my lower lip to keep it from trembling as I walked with great reluctance to lie beside him.

Heart, be brave. I chided myself for being such a coward. Whatever pain he would cause to my body, I could heal it as fast as it began. And now that I had my full healing powers, I could never lose them. I had no need to fear the loss of my maidenhead. And I was already Batumar’s concubine. I would not be given over to others like Onra had been. All these thoughts and more rushed through my mind in a jumble.

I hesitated next to the bed until he reached for my hand and pulled me to him, my back against the hot skin of his chest as I lay down, his chin resting on the top of my head. I held my body rigid in his arms, expecting him to take me at once, and braced myself for the pain.

I had grown up in many ways since I had been taken from my home, had grown in spirit and strength, but at that moment, I felt like a young girl on the brink of her womanhood, years younger than my true age.

Batumar placed a warm hand on the hollow of my waist, his touch sending a tingling sensation across my skin, despite the thick cloth barrier of my bodice.

“Do you fear me, Tera?” He pronounced my name with a deep rumbling R, differently from my people, the Shahala. The sound resonated inside my chest.

“Nay, my Lord,” I said after a moment, surprising myself.

He was the most powerful man on the great island of Dahru. He could do with me as he pleased, even take my life. He was a Kadar, and that alone should have given me reason for concern. And yet as I lay there, a new emotion spread through my limbs, one that sped my heartbeat just as fear would have, but this was something else.

I was not sure I liked it.

“Do you fear my touch?” He spoke into my hair, his breath fanning my scalp.

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Contest!


Dana is excited about her new release and to celebrate, she's giving away a book from her backlist to four lucky winners! For a chance to win, please visit Dana's website to answer this question:

What is the name of the first friend Tera makes in the inhospitable land of the Kadar after she's sold into slavery?

Then email us at staff@authorsoundrelations.com with your answer and mark the subject heading as 'Third Scroll'. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address. Please note, responses sent to any other email address will be disregarded.

Contest deadline - May 21st, 2012.

Dana also wants to reminder readers that the first 20 readers to write an online review for The Third Scroll and let her know about it will eligible to win a 'The Third Scroll Book Bag'!

Good luck!!

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