Jim Webster, author of The Port Naain Intelligencer series, is a recent addition to my author friends. We met on Goodreads. I'm most honored to be among the people he trust with this blog tour.
You are welcome to visit the various blogs to see what has been going on or buy the book and read on your eReader at your leisure.
Parts thus far:
1) For want of a knight
2) The eyes have it
3) The miser and the demon
4) Just one more glass
5) Occasionally one has to do the right thing
6) Consummate artistry
7) Something fishy
8)The ethical choice
9) Delicate work
Without further ado, here's the next part in the ongoing story.
10) A cup of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou?
Benor sat drinking coffee with Faldon and went through what he had learned
from the boat yard. The priest sat thoughtfully staring out of the door, his
heavily bandaged ankle propped up on a stool.
Slowly he said, “I keep going back to that note, where it says, ‘The two
lilies will die from salt water.’ Perhaps the intention is to use the boat to kill the Chevaleresse and her daughter, not just as an insurance fraud.”
“It could be. But how would they get the two women on the boat. They’re in
Partann and that boat would never survive the journey.” Benor paused, “The
same note hinted at a son being killed in an accident as well.”
“But do we know where the child is?”
“No.” Benor sighed. “I’m not sure how on earth to find him either. We know
nothing about him except for the fact we’ve deduced his existence from the
desire somebody has to kill him. And then Tallis found a patron who is sure
his mother the Chevaleresse mentioned him in passing.”
Faldon stood up. “I’ve heard nothing, but I was given this. He reached down
and picked up a bundle of old sheet that was on the floor beside him. Slowly
he unwrapped it and revealed a drinking cup. He passed it to Benor.
“Yes Benor, silver. Virtually pure.”
Benor examined the drinking cup carefully. There was no handle but it just
sat nicely in his hand, reassuringly solid without being over heavy.
“It is a nice piece.”
“Look at the engraving, Benor.”
Whilst there were the usual bands of decoration, on one side there was a
running horse. It was beautifully executed. It was so lifelike Benor
wondered if it was the image of a real horse, a much beloved companion
immortalised in silver. Then below the front feet of the horse he noticed
there was a small crouching dragon, and below the rear feet a small stylised
He reluctantly handed the cup back. “I might be able to put a name to the
person who engraved it.”
“A Partannese artist?” Faldon asked.
“Vortac Lilywhite. I’d put money on it.”
Faldon contemplated the cup he was holding. “I got it given.”
“Somebody must have been really pleased with their haircut!”
“In a way, perhaps he was. I won’t mention his name; he’s a jeweller and
‘almost a fence.’”
“I thought you were or you weren’t. Being almost a fence is like being
almost a virgin.”
“I think he mean that he did buy and resell stuff, but he always managed to
convince himself that the person selling the item did genuinely own it. In
this case he couldn’t do that. It was obviously stolen. The woman who
brought it to him merely described it as ‘an heirloom.’ So he tested her. He
offered her a third of what he’d normally offer and she took the money and
“So how is it that you’ve got it?”
“That’s my fault. He heard me talking about honesty and the advantages of a
clear conscience, and he realised that he wasn’t comfortable with what he’d
done. Up until he’d got this cup he’d always managed to convince himself he
was an honest man. Now he couldn’t, he was just another crooked jeweller. So he gave it me and asked me to find a good home for it.”
“Did he say how long he’d had it?”
“Just a couple of months.”
“So what now?”
“Well I thought you could approach your Vortac Lilywhite…..”
Benor interrupted, “It’s Vortac Saltwrack now.”
Faldon continued as if Benor hadn’t spoken, “And show him the cup, ask if he knows anything.”
Benor thought briefly. “I wonder if he knows where his son is.”
“I think you should first ask him if he has a son. After all we’re only
Benor knocked on the house door which was opened by Vortac. The tall man’s face fell. “I wondered when you’d come back for the blackmail?”
Benor held out the cup. “No, I just want to talk to you.”
Vortac took the cup, glanced at it, “Then you’d better come in.”
He led Benor through the house to his workshop and gestured for Benor to sit on the bench.
Benor asked, “So is it yours?”
“My work certainly, but not my cup.”
“So whose is it?”
Vortac seemed to take a long time to collect his thoughts and put them into
words. “I made it for my wife. I gave it to her when our daughter, Natisse,
Vortac held the cup and stared at it as if trying to see into the past. “She
loves horses, and hadn’t dared ride for months. The horse I engraved on the
cup was one of her favourites. I remember her face when I gave her it. She
burst out crying and hugged me.”
He looked up at Benor, “And now she’s given it away.”
“We don’t know that. It could have been stolen by a maid.”
“That’s as might be.” Vortac seemed to have sagged into himself. Somehow he didn’t seem as tall as he had done. His face looked older.
“Well I could write to her, tell her I’ve found a cup, describe it for her
and ask her if she wants to buy it off the current owner.” Improvising as he
went along Benor added, “I’ll ask her how much I should offer for it?”
Vortac still looked almost grief stricken. Benor added, “If she wants it
back enough to pay for it, then the cup must still mean something to her.”
Vortac sat the cup on the bench next to Benor. “Do it, we’ll see.”
“Do you want to keep the cup safe while I do it?”
“No!” Vortac almost shouted the word. Then softly he said, “I do, but not if
she doesn’t want it.”
Benor carefully put the cup back in his bag. “Another thing, do you have a
“Yes.” Vortac seemed surprised. “Young Vortac.” He looked a little
embarrassed. “We’re short of imagination in our family. Every generation a
son is called Vortac.”
Cautiously Benor said, “There might be a conspiracy afoot to kill him. Is
“He’s the heir to a Partannese keep, of course it’s possible.”
“Do you know where he is?”
“Katin and I were going to have him educated in Port Naain. We’d reached an
agreement with a school master up here. Garrent Woolmin. He was going to
attend his school and live in.”
“If I can find him we might have to get him to a place of safety. Could he
“Of course!” There was no hesitation in Vortac’s voice.
“Can you let me have a token from you so he knows he can trust me?”
Vortac slipped off a ring. “It’s not my seal; I left that for Katin when I
disappeared. It’s a ring of mine he loved. He used to sit in my lap and play
with it on my finger. He loved tracing the engraving with his little
Benor produced a piece of cord and hung the ring round his neck. “Right, now we’ll try to find him.”
A Message From The Author Regarding This Blog Tour
I’ve thought long and hard about blog tours. I often wonder how much
somebody reading a book wants to know about the author. After all, I as a
writer have gone to a lot of trouble to produce an interesting world for my
characters to frolic in. Hopefully the characters and their story pull the
reader into the world with them. So does the reader really want me tampering
with the fourth wall to tell them how wonderful I am? Indeed given the
number of film stars and writers who have fallen from grace over the years,
perhaps the less you know about me the better?
Still, ignoring me, you might want to know a bit about the world. Over the
years I’ve written four novels and numerous novellas set in the Land of the
Three Seas, and a lot of the action has happened in the city of Port Naain.
They’re not a series, they’re written to be a collection, so you can read
them in any order, a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories in that regard.
So I had a new novella I wanted to release. ‘Swimming for profit and
pleasure.’ It’s one of the ‘Port Naain Intelligencer’ collection and I
decided I’d like to put together a blog tour to promote it. But what sort of
tour? Then I had a brainwave. I’d get bloggers who know Port Naain to send
me suitable pictures and I’d do a short story about that picture. It would
be an incident in the life of Benor as he gets to know Port Naain.
Except that when the pictures came in it was obvious that they linked
together to form a story in their own right, which is how I ended up writing
one novella to promote another! In simple terms it’s a chapter with each
picture. So you can read the novella by following the blogs in order. There
is an afterword which does appear in the novella that isn’t on the blogs,
but it’s more rounding things off and tying up the lose ends.
Given that the largest number of pictures was provided by a lady of my
acquaintance, I felt I had to credit her in some way.
So the second novella I’m releasing is ‘The plight of the Lady Gingerlily.’
It too is part of the Port Naain Intelligencer collection.
So we have Swimming for profit and pleasure
Benor learns a new craft, joins the second hand book trade, attempts to
rescue a friend and awakens a terror from the deep. Meddling in the affairs
of mages is unwise, even if they have been assumed to be dead for centuries.
And we have The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily
No good deed goes unpunished. To help make ends meet, Benor takes on a few small jobs, to find a lost husband, to vet potential suitors for two young
ladies, and to find a tenant for an empty house. He began to feel that
things were getting out of hand when somebody attempted to drown him.
If you’d like to learn more about Jim Webster and his characters, simply visit his Tallis Steelyard blog.
If you've been following the blog tour, here's what's next.
11) An appropriate boy
13) Everything going swimmingly
Polite comments are always welcomed. Many thanks, Jim Webster and fellow bloggers, for allowing me to participate in this event. I hope you've been enjoying the story as much as I have.
Don't forget you can always pick up your copies of Swimming for profit and pleasure as well as The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily whenever you're online.
Founder of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC
I am Lynn Hallbrooks. I am an author, blogger, cheerleader, founder, reader, and reviewer. I have read and reviewed books for Masquerade Crew, NetGalley, and Reading Deals, to name a few. I enjoy reading books by new-to-me authors as well as sharing my love of books with others.
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