I am so excited to be today’s stop on the DARK TRIUMPH Blog Tour and to have an awesome guest post on Bluebeard by author Robin LaFevers to share. As a huge fan of GRAVE MERCY, its characters and the world, I am so unbelievably thrilled that the author has stopped by to talk just a little bit about Bluebeard’s history and just how it ties in with DARK TRIUMPH.
The story of Bluebeard was one that I discovered at a very early age and found to be absolutely terrifying. Hopefully the elements of that tale that are in DARK TRIUMPH aren’t quite as chilling… though I do tend to like my stories on the dark side these days.
So, even though I might be too leery of diving into one of those suggested books on Bluebeard, I absolutely love the fact that Robin LaFevers offered recommendations for these books at the end of her post.
In addition to this amazing guest post by the author, there are two giveaways included as part of the tour – one exclusive to my stop and another that’s a shared giveaway across all the stops. So be sure to visit all the stops on the tour for more chances to win.
But before all that, here’s some information about the very recently released DARK TRIUMPH, the author, Robin LaFevers, and the first book in the series, GRAVE MERCY.
Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.
But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?
This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.
About Robin LaFevers…
Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.
Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.
While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.
In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. You can learn more about those books at www.rllafevers.com.
About Grave Mercy…
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
As I was researching the history and folklore of Brittany, I discovered that the two historical seeds of one of the most fascinating fairy tales of my childhood—Bluebeard—had their roots in ancient Breton history and I suppose it was inevitable that echoes of that tale would seep into Dark Triumph.
The tale of Bluebeard and his poor victimized wives was my earliest exposure to the horror genre. I was young when I first read it, and drawn to its darkness, the depths and shadows involved at whose meaning I could only guess at. But that depth and subtext haunted me. It smacked of the foulest of set ups, and my budding morality was offended that the heroine should bring such punishment down upon herself for the rather simple sin of curiosity, while the husband’s much greater sins of multiple murders was passed off as just desserts. And the utter horror of that bloody room!
I often found myself wondering about the first wife. What had her grievous transgression been that cost her her life? I also wondered why this poor heroine must pay for her crimes in such a horrible way.
It galled me that female curiosity should have been considered a sin. Bluebeard was inherently disturbing to me with his aggressive, bristling blue-black beard and the fleshy lips that were so often portrayed in the accompanying illustrations. I felt there was a warning there, although I was too young to grasp it. It was not until I grew older that I began to recognize the darker sexual themes that permeate the tale.
The earliest seed for the Bluebeard tales can be found in Conomor the Cursed, who had been told that he would be slain by his own son. Consequently, whenever one of his wives became pregnant, he killed her. What I especially loved about this version was that not only did the ghost of the former wives warn the heroine of this tale, but they aided her with gifts she could use to try and escape.
The second possible historical basis for Bluebeard occurred only fifty or so years prior to the events in Dark Triumph. Gilles de Reitz had been the Marshal of France and a nobleman who fought alongside Joan d’Arc in the Hundred Years War. But once the war was over and he returned to his holding, he is rumored to have been at the root of over a hundred gruesome child murders, and was tried and hung for those crimes.
So while I did not set out to write a Bluebeard retelling, I suppose it was inevitable that echoes of that earlier, dark, disturbing tale found their way into Dark Triumph. A forbidden tower. A ring of keys. The ghosts of former wives, all found their way into my story and I found I liked the faint resonance it gave the book.
While the Bluebeard tale that most of us are familiar with is Perrault’s Bluebeard, there are other versions as well such as Fitcher’s Bird by Brothers Grimm and Silver Nose by Italo Cavino. For those interested in learning more about Bluebeard tales, I highly recommend Secrets Beyond the Door by Maria Tatar. A great online resource is Terri Windling’s Bluebeard and the Bloody Chamber. (http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/forblue.html)
There are two awesome giveaways being offered on this tour!
The first giveaway, for my stop only, is for a copy of GRAVE MERCY (paperback) and a copy of DARK TRIUMPH (hardcover) – US/Canada – to ONE winner. Prize will be sent directly from the publisher.
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
The second giveaway is one that is shared across all the stops on tour for a Prize Pack consisting of two necklaces and a bottle of Poison Nail Polish. That giveaway is US only and will be sent directly from the author.
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
Be sure to visit all the stops on the tour to read the awesome interviews, guest posts and reviews and for more chances to win!
April 3 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader – Interview
April 4 – Books Over Boys – Interview
April 5 – Fiktshun – Guest Post
April 6 – Rebecca’s Book Blog – Excerpt
April 7 – A Backwards Story – Excerpt
April 8 – Making the Grade Reviews – Guest Post
April 9 – Burgandy Ice – Interview
April 10 – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post