{Blog Tour} Excerpt + Guest Post + Giveaway: The Faith and Fate of David Ghent by Maren Dille

Monday, March 4, 2013


In the Lucen city dwell the descendants of Righteous and Fallen angels. Kept hidden from the rest of Earth and governed directly by Heaven, each descendant is given a chance to prove themself loyal to Heaven, and obtain salvation. For most, the task is encouraging and fair, but for David, it’s devastating. 

David Ghent has waited twenty-one years to fulfill a prophecy foretelling the destruction of Lucifer’s power on Earth and Heaven, saving himself and the entire world from Hell’s power. His training is complete, the city prepared. As the battle commences, the city’s most beloved daughter, Layla, suddenly appears at the Hellgate. David is then faced with an impossible choice: fulfill the prophecy, or save her life. The consequences David faces after choosing Layla force him to question his entire life, and his loyalty to Heaven. As the aftermath of failure unfolds, David discovers that the real battle against Lucifer has just begun.

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Excerpt


Chapter 1

Layla couldn’t run fast enough. Her slender legs burned as she pushed herself forward. Sweat poured from her forehead, obscuring her vision. The heat was excruciating, and she’d never had such difficulty breathing, but there was no time to stop. She had to find David.

She prayed silently she wouldn’t be too late. There was still time left—Layla would know if Lucifer had won earth—but it would take hours for her to reach the Lucen City, and by then . . .

She almost choked on the thought. What would the world be like if David tried to banish Lucifer and Hell for good and failed? Hell for all of them, no matter what good they had done in their lifetime. He didn’t know, and she had only just realized . . . David was on his way to battle Lucifer and fulfill Gabriel’s Prophecy, but he’d fail if he wasn’t stopped.

The powers Layla held as an angel was useless on the paths between cities. She came from the Purgan City, where she’d been examining a passage of scripture that had never been translated. Until now, that is. The words she’d deciphered told her only one thing for certain—David was not going to succeed.

She had so many questions; none of this made sense. Those that lived in the Lucen City were offspring of angels—exalted or fallen—and humans. Some were like Layla and born from two Heavenly parents, but most were like David and had a parent from each realm. Those citizens were Cursed. Each was given a Grace that, if completed, would reward them with admittance into Heaven. Fulfilling Gabriel’s Prophecy was David’s, but he wouldn’t be able to defeat Lucifer—not yet.

She had to stop him. He would never forgive her; he hated her so much already. Still, she had to try.

Layla closed her eyes to beam herself to the Hellgate the instant she crossed into Lucen, only to realize her powers wouldn’t work. The coming Apocalypse must have warranted a lock on her powers—for protection, surely.

She panicked and ran through the city, ignoring the people staring as she passed. If only she’d had a few hours more, she could’ve found her father. He would have taken care of everything and stopped David.

The entrance to the Academy was clear and unlocked. The mistake only added to her anxiety. She ran through the deserted halls of the school until she reached the deepest floor. At the end of the hallway was the door that opened the passageway to the Hellgate. A young man with a sword sat on the ground beside it. He jumped up when he saw her.

“Layla?”

“Will!” she cried in relief. Surely her friend would help.

“What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here. Does your father know where you are?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “There was no time. You have to let me in.”

Will eyes widened. “Let you in? I can’t do that. I’m under strict orders to make sure no one passes here except David, and he’s—”

“I have to reach David! Before it’s too late, before . . .” Layla panted heavily. There was no time to explain herself to Will. He looked curiously at her as she clutched his arm. “I will speak to my father in your defense, but you must let me in. David will die if you don’t. We’ll all die.”

Will frowned. “I don’t understand. I’ll go to prison for this, Layla.”

“Please, trust me.”

Will stared at her for a few moments, then he reluctantly unlocked the door. “I hope you know what you’re doing,” he said, holding it open for her.

Layla nodded her gratitude and pushed past him. She ran down the corridor, ignoring the darkness that pressed in on her soul. Yards ahead, she could see the faintest light of fire. David only had moments before it was too late.

Layla nodded her gratitude and pushed past him. She ran down the corridor, ignoring the darkness that pressed in on her soul. Yards ahead, she could see the faintest light of fire. David only had moments before it was too late.

***

David faced the hellhound that crouched across from him on the other side of the Hellgate. He breathed deeply as he gathered an orb into his palm and raised his hand. He’d waited twenty-one years to finally fulfill the Prophecy and banish Lucifer from Earth and Heaven. He wanted to relish the few moments of quiet before he commenced the battle by opening the seal. All it took was one orb from David’s palm, and the mutter of a quiet prayer, then perhaps David could finally go home.

A scream sounded behind him as he was about to throw the orb. “David!” a voice shrieked.

He whirled around as a glowing figure of white and gold approached from the dark corridor. In the moment he realized Layla was coming toward him, he lost control of the orb. It flew upward and burst open, shattering the darkness with light and a deafening rush of energy. David saw the scream pass Layla’s lips but couldn’t hear it as they were both lifted off the ground. David fell against the side of the cavern, mostly unharmed, but Layla ricocheted off the wall and crashed into the ground. She did not move.

The hound snarled as it placed a tentative paw over the boundary. In a few steps, it leaned over Layla’s stilled body.

David froze with horror, his hand motionless on the hilt of his sword. He watched the hellhound tentatively sniff the golden waves of Layla’s hair. Behind the hound glowed the red eyes of dozens more, dozens that were no longer bound by the seal of the Hellgate. He was supposed to have been alone.

Even if David could get to Layla in time, there was nowhere to take her that would be safe—not until the seal was closed again.

The hound locked eyes with David and bared his teeth, his snout inches from Layla’s throat. David’s heart sunk. He would never make it to Lucifer if he saved Layla’s soul.

The night was not glorious, it was not triumphant, and it was not what he had prepared for his entire life.

It would be death, pain, and the utmost feeling of failure to watch Gabriel’s Prophecy dissipate into nothing when it had been his one chance of redemption and admittance into Heaven.

Now Layla had come, and David couldn’t save her from the abyss of Hell and banish Lucifer at the same time. No, he could not do both.

David picked himself up from the floor, unsheathed his sword, and pounced.

Guest Post


Maren’s Take on Angels

A book about angels . . . honestly, I hardly remember that aspect of it. The Faith and Fate of David Ghent is categorized as many things, but I think of it foremost as a coming-of-age novel, where the fantasy aspects serve to complement David’s world.

The early David doesn’t seem very angelic, though he’s technically half-angel. His quest is to prove himself worthy of Heaven, getting rid of his status as a “Cursed,” bumping him up to a full-fledged angel. Oh, and the only way he can do that is by conquering Lucifer. An easy task, right?

In David’s world, even angels struggle with hard decisions. I’ve been asked what sets my book apart from conventional stories involving angels. I believe the concept that angels aren’t perfect is at the core. You won’t find wings anywhere in the novel. When I first penned David, it never occurred to me to use “wings.” They didn’t feel right to me. In my mind, they’re somewhat fluffy, used as symbols for status. In our world, can another person really ever be aware of the state of another’s heart? I don’t think so. We can guess, judge, or theorize based on their actions. But a person’s heart is more complex than a carefully calculated formula, more intricate than receiving a pair of wings.

If it were up to us, the early David would probably have been written off for Hell. In fact, my original working title was “Hellbound.” With a title like that, I’m not sure David ever had a chance to go to Heaven. I stayed away from delving into the fantasy aspects of angels, choosing instead to focus almost all the attention on the characters as people. Though some of the angels in this novel are technically immortal, all of the Righteous share one very important trait: their humanity.

Humanity is what made them angels, and it’s also what keeps them angels. David’s journey is rooted in his personal quest to find his own humanity. You thought it was to conquer Lucifer? Are those two quests separate, or are they really the same?

Read the book, and you tell me.



About the Author

           Maren grew up in Rochester, NY, which is why much of her work is set in the East. She moved to Provo, UT to attend Brigham Young University in 2004. Meanwhile, she received a license in cosmetology in 2006, and graduated with a B.S. in Home and Family Living-Clothing and Textiles in 2009. After graduation, Maren worked as a cosmetologist/barber, while her husband finished his own degree in Special Education. After he graduated, they settled in Spanish Fork, UT, where they plan on staying for a long time.

Now Maren is a stay-at-home mom, part-time piano teacher, cosmetologist, and writer. Amidst the buisiness of being a housewife, she loves reading, writing and playing music, vacationing, going on dates with her hubby and friends, throwing dinner parties, and sewing. She enjoys collecting books, and hopes someday to have a library big enough to fit all of them. Currently, her two pretty-enough-to-be-displayed-bookshelves are overflowing, and she's got books stashed all around her house. Open a random drawer, you'll probably find one.
Maren's previous work includes a short comedy, "A Tale of Two Cemeteries," and a middle-grade reader, The Treehouse. The Faith and Fate of David Ghent is her first published novel. Find out more about Maren at www.marendille.com, or on FacebookGoodreads, and Amazon.



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