Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blog Tour: The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay (La Sirena #1) by A. Algeri @yaboundtourspr

The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay
(La Sirena #1)
by A. Algeri


"The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay" is the first adventure of Brinn, a young woman who had recently returned to her homeland, Nyar Kaad, after years of being away.
For her mother and sister it’s only supposed to be an episodic stay, because their intention is to return to the capital, Adaria, held by both aristocrats, by then, to be their home. Brinn, however, isn’t interested in living in the golden cage of high society and aspires to a different existence, that will push her to oppose the decisions of her family and to pursue a destiny according to her own wishes.
The accidental discovery of what looks like a map to hidden treasure, buried in Nyar Kaad, according to tradition, by pirates once dwelling in the settlement, will push her to search for the hidden riches- an undertaking that the protagonist will face courageously, at the cost of challenging her fears, the rigid social conventions, and more literal dangers to her person, venturing on a journey into the local legends and the past of her own family, until reaching an unexpected epilogue.
Set to Isara, a fantasy world inspired by the period between the seventeenth and the first decades of the nineteenth centuries, "The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay" is a journey full of mystery in the universe where real and supernatural coexist intersecting in a subtle and insidious way, a world divided between palaces and largely unexplored expanses, an opulent capital and boundless oceans.

"The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay", is the first publication of
A. Algeri, the author of the novel. He began writing while he was a teenager, setting most of his stories in the world of Isara, a fantasy universe of his own creation, where Brinn, the main character of this adventure, is often the protagonist.


My return to the ocean shores was a wish that remained unchanged in me despite the natural succession of the years: I always refused to bury my dreams underneath my immediate needs, believed by other necessary or set them aside after giving up, coming to consider them impossible. I would never have accepted discovering one day that all my aspirations had been extinguished by an existence lost in a myriad of empty mundane gestures after being forced to turn down a path able to deaden forever the light that had illuminated my heart and to be destined to a dusty series of days one identical to the other. At that point I would have only been able to realize how much time had passed and what I had given up; I would have only been aware of an unfulfilled happiness in a past relegated to a far off time.
I wasn't willing to accept a similar future: returning to Nyar Kaad had always been my dream, jealously hidden in me, that I could see every time I closed my eyes- immobile and perfect, a moment frozen in the eternal and inconstant waves of time; the house on the sea, the very white sand, the waves that died on the shoreline, the breeze blowing off the sea every morning. And yet, as with every wish no matter how much I wished to go back to the bay and the ocean and hear its voice again with all my heart, this dream seemed to me, or least I believed so, destined to never happen.
With the passing of time my life changed. I grew up and my childhood, as with all things, came to an end. It was a slow and gradual transition marked by many little details: mom became progressively much stricter regarding the way I could behave, both at home and on the occasions in which I found myself in public. Not that my mother had even been tolerant, but it became practically an obligation to be unimpeachable in every moment. It became an obligation to follow her, growing up, to every socialite event which she believed appropriate to participate in, without mentioning the receptions from which being absent from would have been, at least according to my mother, a true crime.
Initially the occasions in which I would have been able to meet, even casually, a boy of the same age disappeared completely. Then after I turned sixteen my life became a continuous attendance of balls and receptions organized by our family and by those in the circle of people we knew.
My mother saw to it that I received appropriate instruction in dance, governing the servants and organizing the daily life in a manor, dinners and receptions in addition to the inevitable lessons in etiquette. Mom regularly gave Jennifer and me a list of rules and little rules, for the most part not written, that made any situation in which a noblewoman could find herself in the course of her public life a complex and particularly tedious social ritual. Because in Adaria any lady wishing to attend court more than a few times a year, the entire day was directed towards preparing herself for the inevitable appearances in the aristocratic world. It was a matter of an endless series of ceremonies and celebrations on a stage that deliberately ignored the daily reality lived in the rest of the Empire and the conditions of the majority of the subjects of the crown, even those only a few steps from the palace gates.
Most of the books I considered interesting from the history of Isara to its thinkers, from its sovereigns to its statesmen, from the cultures in the various imperial provinces to the nations beyond the boundaries, from sacred and profane art to the novels and poetry considered the classics of the national literature, I owed to my father who was convinced that I had all the right to be cultured, even if my mother, like most women with the means necessary to dedicate themselves to literature or study, believed without any doubts that a young lady shouldn't be too educated. And possibly not at all.
It was in fact a common opinion that excessively dedicating one's self to intellectual activities would cause a young lady to lose her sense of reality and would tend to forget as a consequence her proper position, inevitably ending up lost in some silly dream or desire for some adventure that would only compromise, generally irremediably, her reputation. Reputation, as if that word ever meant anything to me. It was only a gracious and deceptive term to describe what was no more or less than an eternal prison: unfortunately it was also the only criteria according by which a woman of the Empire was usually judged.
Even though my father, the Baron Aidan Fairland, generally agreed with my mother, he was convinced that the position of the wife ought to be slightly mitigated. He agreed with her about the unseemliness of a girl of marrying age undertaking a "serious" conversation at a reception, but in his opinion it didn't mean that a girl couldn't read as much as she wanted in private.
As one would expect, the majority of the writings regarding the history and society of Isara were thoroughly examined by the censors, most of all if it had to do with far away countries out of the sphere of influence of the Empire; moreover whatever philosophical or even narrative text that contested, even covertly, the Church of the One God not only couldn't be published but could even cause the author to be condemned to burn at the stake by the ecclesiastical courts in the case that their writings contained particularly radical ideas.
Until my father was with us, I enjoyed some freedoms, maybe illusionary, but still important to me since, if not anything else, my imagination and my desire to learn was never forced to be suffocated for convention.
My life was far from perfect, I had an unusual character and my nature wasn't easily adaptable to the life that ought to have been lead by someone of our status that was forced to aspire to court, but for years I had been able to carve out my happiness. Even though I wasn't particularly interested in the girls my age that talked about future boyfriends, parties and dresses, I could always close my eyes and imagine that I was in one of those far away places that I was so fascinated by and that I had read about so often in books.
Despite the many remote places that I had learned about the existence of by reading, the most precious continued always to be Nyar Kaad. My thoughts inevitably went to the aquamarine ocean waves on the shores where I was born.
Nevertheless nothing could remain static and unchanging in time, not even my little island of happiness that I had tried so hard to build. With the passing of time, day by day, unavoidably, it became eroded. If at first the society commitments were only something for which it was necessary to educate me, with the passing of years and the progressive insertion of our family into the aristocracy of the capital, all the preparatory frame that they anticipated became the main reason for my mom's life and as a result, for me and my sister. My father was however increasingly more often away for months, sometimes years having started to navigate for the Crown towards the still unexplored regions of the known world put on the edges of the map.
By then both my sister and I were young women and while I became bit by bit considered increasingly stranger and more eccentric as the other girls learned how to behave appropriately in society, she was assimilating perfectly into the circle of friends and acquaintances needed for a young lady of a noble family.
That life made of false courtesy and unending protocol, cornerstone of court and of whoever wished to be admitted to it, had become for me increasingly less tolerable. It simply wasn't an existence I intended to conduct. In reality not even all the imperial aristocracy equaled out the rank of nobles admitted to the palace and I simply wanted that which for generations had been the life of my ancestors. Maybe my ancestors never had more than a title and the estate of the Dawn's Light in Nyar Kaad but for me it would've been enough.
Not that a title alone was strictly necessary to take on an elevated social position: for several centuries the aristocracy, while still conserving notable ancestral privileges, didn't govern the Empire for the Crown anymore, substituting this role were the functionaries nominated by the chancellor's office or locally by the provincial government. Numerous imperial dignitaries obviously continued to belong to the nobility and often after a prestigious career they were given a title if they weren't the first born or if they already had a title they were elevated to a superior rank but only for a question of census and political status the public magistrates appeared often in an ancient lineage: just as many functionaries came from bourgeois families and if believed to be worthy enough, they generally became part of the aristocracy in virtue of service to the crown.
Even if duels were still relatively frequent for futile reasons and being that a great part of gentlemen, as in the past millennium, have been always ready to get themselves killed for absolutely frivolous reasons, like honor and the prestige of one's house or getting one's self involved in some questionable power game, the politics of the Empire, during my time, was in fact regulated by economic interests and by the most pragmatic reasons of state. There were in fact more than a few families of antique nobility, both in the capital and the provinces that had more prestige than wealth and whose means had been sensibly reduced in respect to a good part of the well to do merchant class.

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