Today we’re revealing the cover for Flamefall by Rosaria Munda AND the brand new paperback cover for Fireborne! Fireborne absolutely took our breath away last year, and we are EAGERLY anticipating book 2, Flamefall, coming March 23, 2021! But until then, we have an excerpt and an author Q&A to hold you over while you wait for book 2 and gaze at these stunning new covers!
Scroll down to see the new covers, read a Q&A with the author, and get a sneak peek of what’s to come!
Q&A with Rosaria Munda
Let’s start off with the obvious! What’s to come in Flamefall?
Oh boy! This is the book where stuff really hits the fan. War begins, the Guardians and their dragons face live battle in the air for the first time, and on the ground they start to face the injustice of the system they represent. As many readers have pointed out, Atreus and his regime are a problem in their own right—and this is the book where Lee and Annie have to reckon with their own complicity in that system, and decide what to do about it.
We are SO excited to return to the world of Fireborne in Flamefall! After the ending of Fireborne (and with a possible war on the horizon for Annie and Lee??) can we expect to explore new parts of the world?
Flamefall introduces a new setting entirely: New Pythos, the island to the north of Callipolis where Lee’s exiled family plot their return to power. I’ve always loved the aesthetic of craggy northern islands shrouded by mist, so it was a treat imagining this corner of the world, especially viewed from dragonback. Politically, New Pythos is an image of Callipolis rewound ten years—still feudal, still controlled by the dragonlords, their subjects dreaming of revolution.
We fell in love with Annie and Lee’s POV in Fireborne. Are there any new characters we can expect to meet in Flamefall?
You’ll meet my guy Griff Gareson, a servant from New Pythos. Griff is everything Lee and Annie aren’t—brash and headstrong and irreverent where they tend to be reserved. He’s got a lot of heart, a lot to be angry about, and a habit of getting into romantic relationships with people who outrank him—which proves a problem when he catches feelings for one of the lords he’s plotting to overthrow.
There were several moments in Fireborne that destroyed our emotions (*cough* Lee and Julia *cough*.) Will our emotions be spared in book 2??
Um. Well, early reports seem to suggest “No” to this. Some people *may* get killed. Other characters *may* get pretty cut up about losing them. Annie and Lee may be put through the wringer… a lot. Being a Guardian is a tough job.
What was your favorite part about writing book 2?
Flamefall deals with a lot of heavy subjects, so some of my favorite scenes to write were the romantic moments where characters got a breather. Annie and Lee are in a bit of uncharted territory in this book, exploring how they feel about each other now that they’ve cleared the air about their pasts—and they may or may not go on a sunset ride on dragonback together at one point
Griff’s scenes were always a blast to write—there’s something so satisfying about writing a character who just goes for it. Especially when the thing he’s going for is the crush he’s been in denial about.
Will there be more dragon riding in Flamefall?
Yes! There will be buckets of dragonriding, cozy moments in the stables, battles in the air, horrific scenes of fiery ruin… as well as a glimpse (shh) of a new breed of dragon. There was even a round of edits specifically dedicated to, and I quote, “dragony goodness.”
Describe Flamefall in three words?
Moar dragony goodness.
A sneak peek of Flamefall below!
Julia’s missing, and I’m in a terrible mood. Not improved by the weather, which is cold and damp, but in New Pythos, it’s always cold and damp. I’m gutting fish in a back room off the dragon lairs when Scully comes to find me.
“Dragonlord here to see you,” the lair-master says.
That’s the one way to make my day worse. Bran and Fionna, the other two squires on fish-gutting duty, exchange a look. We’re up to our arms in bits of fish bone and scales; the stink of the fish oil will follow us out of the lairs, and now I’m going to miss the one perk that comes with prepping dragon feed— sneaking the remains home. I rise, wiping my hands on the work rag.
Scully hates the sound of my perfect Dragontongue, which is why I always try to use it. “Which dragonlord”—I pause just long enough for him to wonder if I’ll add—“sir?”
Scully scowls. This is why he keeps putting me on fish gutting. Lip. Not to mention our clans hate each other. “The one you serve,” he says in Norish.
Most days, that would be good news. Today, I just wish it were Julia.
On the balustrade outside, Delo Skyfish waits for me.
I remember as a child being struck by the Callipolan exiles, when they arrived on New Pythos: at the ghostly pallor of the Stormscourge survivors, at the warm brown skin and tight curls of the Skyfish lords. Delo Skyfish no longer looks like the ragged urchin that washed ashore ten years ago, but he’s still striking, and at the sight of his fur cloak and freshly coiffed hair, I’m conscious of my own stinking state.
I bow low.
“Your presence is an unexpected honor, my lord.”
Delo mutters, “As you were.” I straighten; Delo is scowling at me, like he knows I’m trying to discomfort him. He’s my age, taller than I, but slenderer. “The Triarchy-in-Exile wants to speak with you.”
I hug my arms around my chest, shivering from the sea spray coming in off the water. We’re dwarfed by the cliffs above and the citadel atop them, and by the limestone pillars of karst that jut from the sea into the sky. “Did they tell you what for?”
I use the formal you, and when Delo answers, he uses the informal. When we were younger, and I was still figuring out Dragontongue, he tried to get me to use the informal, too, or speak to him in Norish, which he was learning at the same time, but I refused. In trials of will with Delo, I win.
“They want to question you about Julia,” he says. “She’s missing.”
As if I haven’t noticed.
“Why would I know where Julia is?” Delo hesitates. “Ixion—told them.”
From the way he says it, I don’t have to ask what.
The last time I saw Julia, her lips were on mine. In the dark I could feel, not see, her smile as she bunched my shirt to raise it. She always smiles, like what we’re doing is a game, and it amuses her to win.
Ixion told them.
I’ve stopped walking, and Delo stops, too, turning back to me. His face says everything I need to know about what’s about to happen in the Glass Hall. He doesn’t say I’m sorry, and I don’t say Ixion had no right. By now, I’m no stranger to the humiliations Ixion devises.
Like being called before the Glass Hall as Julia’s peasant lover stinking of fish.
As if he’d heard me think it, Delo reaches into his satchel. “I brought you a fresh shirt.”
Most of Delo’s clothes are blue, the color of his House, but this shirt is plain, undyed—appropriate for a peasant. Even so, it’s finer than anything I’ve ever owned, and I’m likely to ruin it with muck. I pull it over my head, and when I look up, Delo’s watching me. He looks away, down. The shirt smells like him.
I follow Delo up the winding outer stairs, carved into the side of the cliff and looking out over the North Sea, that connect the lairs where I work to the citadel at the summit. Both were built by the ha’Aurelians in the original conquering, when they invaded Norcia with their dragons, subjugated my people, and renamed our island New Pythos. The dragons’ bloodlines dried up in the cold not long after, but the lords remained.
And now, for the first time in generations, they have dragons again. Twenty-five dragons, brought as eggs by the Callipolan exiles ten years ago.
Dragons for revenge.
Dragons for the exiles’ surviving sons. Dragons for the sons of the lords on whose hospitality they imposed. Titles for their children in a future, greater Callipolis.
But there weren’t enough sons. The exiled Triarchy was forced to present the remaining hatchlings to others. Female dragonborn, like Julia. Bastards, who trickled in from Callipolis’s vassal islands, once despised for their illegitimacy but now needed.
Dragons were still unclaimed.
So, with a fleet not yet filled, the dragonborn resorted to a measure few believed would work.
They had the remaining dragons presented to the sons and daughters of their Norcian serfs.
And the dragons Chose. They call us humble-riders.