Monday, January 15, 2018

Rhuna Series by Barbara Underwood

Rhuna – Keeper of Wisdom
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 1
by Barbara Underwood
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

In the ancient, mystical past when an idyllic Atlantis-like civilization flourished, its people with exceptional powers could build giant stone structures like the Pyramids, and transform elements such as sand to stone and metal to gold with concentrated energy of the mind. 

This utopian Atlan Empire is rocked when one of its most preeminent Masters rebels and seeks to subvert the ideals of Atlan society. Roaming the countryside in a black robe, misusing his powers on innocent people, he becomes known as the dreaded Dark Master.
On a distant and isolated island on the fringes of the Atlan Empire, a young girl named Rhuna comes of age when she meets a man from Atlán and learns that her father was an Atlan Master who was killed in his attempt to destroy the Dark Master.
Journeying across oceans and ancient worlds, Rhuna learns to master her inherent mental powers, transforming elements and summoning visions by means of the Gazing of the Waters. Unlike her peers, however, Rhuna discovers she has an extra power, namely the ability to summon visions mentally, without incantations or powders.
When the Dark Master’s activities become a threat to the peaceful Atlan Empire, the Atlan Masters come to realize that they cannot defeat him without Rhuna’s special visionary powers to observe the Dark Master’s activity and whereabouts.
The first book in this extraordinary Urban Fantasy series lays the foundations of the Atlan Empire and Rhuna’s world, and even when the Dark Master appears to have been defeated, secret and sinister powers continue to threaten the ancient Utopia.

Rhuna- Crossroads
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 2

This exciting second book in the Rhuna YA Urban Fantasy Series can also be read as a standalone novel. 
Some years have passed since Rhuna helped to defeat the Dark Master in her new home of Atlán, and now Rhuna has a teenage daughter who accompanies her on an assignment in Ancient Egypt to investigate some disturbing reports.

She soon discovers an astonishing underground network of the Dark Master's followers, along with the secret group of Atlans dedicated to stopping them. In the process of trying to carry out her assignment, Rhuna is confronted with enormous challenges that could drastically change her entire life and everything she has ever believed in!

The following morning Rhuna awoke early and prepared to attend the High Council with Tozar.  Lozira also made an early start for her new lessons, and Rhuna noticed that her daughter wore her new best dress and that she had carefully arranged her long fair hair with coloured ribbons. 
   “I hope you’ll like your first day studying the Creative Arts,” said Rhuna cautiously and with effort.
   Lozira spun around sharply and glared at Rhuna. 
   “No, you don’t!  You hope I won’t like it and will give it up!” she snapped, and with a few powerful strides she left their rooms before Rhuna was able to respond.
Rhuna felt a painful tension between them as a result of the previous day’s conflict, and she struggled to accept her daughter’s decision and to respect her freedom of choice.  Then she reminded herself that her own inner imbalance was the main problem, and that interesting distractions would help heal her.
   When Rhuna arrived at the High Council building, Guardian of Harmony and Wanderer of Plains were already waiting to greet her and Tozar.  Rhuna said she was happy to meet the dark man in exotic garments because she had also lived in other lands far from Atlán.  They continued to chat until they were seated inside a discussion room.  The morning light streamed through the large windows of colour-tinted glass, giving the atmosphere a pleasant and healing ambience.
   Tozar took on his usual official tone and manner of speech as he began asking Wanderer of Plains for details of his observations in Safu.  He recounted several other similar incidences of Safu’s Atlan Council members behaving in an unusual manner, that there exists a certain secret doorway to the pyramid, and that a considerable rift had developed between them and the general population.  Tozar asked him to describe their unusual manner further.
   “It’s like they don’t care about the people, about their Atlan responsibilities,” he answered.  “Some people who have been at the pyramid when they come out of the secret door say that there’s a certain strong scent about them as well.”
   “A strong scent?” asked Tozar sternly, and then looked sharply at Rhuna.
   Wanderer of Plains looked at both of them and then shrugged.  “I don’t know what it is.  Something not known to the general population, I suppose.”
   “It is the intoxicating substance!” exclaimed Guardian of Harmony with alarm. 
   “Quite possible,” said Tozar.

Rhuna – The Star Child
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 3

This thrilling sequel to Rhuna: Crossroads is set in mystical Ancient Egypt where Black Magic was developed by the followers of the legendary villain, The Dark Master. As strange and frightening curses plague the population, Rhuna discovers the underground organization that performs this uncanny new magic, but she can only combat it with the help of her long-lost father. Having learned from her father amazing new skills to empower her on the Astral Plane, Rhuna once again strives to preserve peace and harmony in the idyllic Atlan civilization. 

Far more challenging than fighting powerful Dark Forces, however, is Rhuna’s personal anguish when her daughter becomes involved with the leader of the Black Magic movement, and the once-perfect Atlan society based on utopian principles begins to crumble all around her. Shocking events escalate Rhuna’s world to a breathless climax as she and her family undergo a momentous upheaval, and she is forced to make great personal sacrifices for her loved ones.

(from Part Four)

“A private word,” she said sternly, and Rhuna stepped aside to let the other Council members pass her as they left the room.
   “Harbinger of Solace has given us specific instructions,” she began.  Rhuna noticed the many fine wrinkles around her eyes and lips which deepened when she scowled.
   “His daughter, Melody of the Dawn, is to return to Atlán at the earliest convenience! Furthermore, she is being prevented from summoning his messages, and we have been given due authority to fulfil his wishes,”
   “His daughter?  She is as much my daughter, too!” Rhuna protested angrily.  “And I am not preventing her from summoning his messages.  She is afraid to summon any messages – afraid of returning to Atlán, returning to her father!”
   “What is wrong here?” Aradin asked as he entered the Attendance Hall and stood next to Rhuna.  “I thought you might need me,” he said softly to her as he placed his arm supportively around her.
   “Harbinger of Solace has given us clear instructions to carry out,” Sun of the Morning repeated, her face showing contempt for Aradin.
   “She does not want to return to him,” Aradin said as gruffly as he could manage.
   “The High Council of Atlán has set this command!”
   “First you said it was by order of Harbinger of Solace, and now by the entire High Council,” Aradin said, tightening his grip around Rhuna.  “Which is it?  And since when does one member speak for the entire Council?”
   “You cannot force my daughter to return to Atlán!”  Rhuna stated firmly.

   “You must!  It has been deemed the only right action in view of your…status among Atlan society, and the banishment enforced against you!” spat the angry woman.

Rhuna – New Horizons
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 4

The fourth book in the series, Rhuna: New Horizons can also be read as a standalone novel. 

After sacrificing a life of comfort and security for her daughter’s sake, Rhuna and her family go into exile and start a new life in the former Atlan colony of Varappa. This faraway land is a frontier of new technology such as air travel, loops in time and a society apparently flourishing without a governing body of any kind. 

On the surface, everyone appears to thrive in this liberated society, but this kind of free thinking is fertile ground for the Dark Master and his followers. Just when Rhuna and her family settle into their beautiful new lakeside home, strange things begin to happen. Powerful conjurers cause upheaval with their sinister magic, driving people from their homes.

An isolated society claiming to adhere to the ways of the First Atlans, appear to be fighting a losing battle against these followers of the Dark Master. While attempting to find a diplomatic solution to the escalating conflict, Rhuna faces great challenges in her personal life. Aradin’s love for her has cooled off inexplicably, and Lozira’s emotional wellbeing teeters on a precarious threshold. In desperation, Rhuna combines her magical powers and Varappan technology to do the unthinkable. What she does, however, is forbidden, and brings about a rift between her and her own father. Rhuna may have headed down a path from which there is no turning back…

Barbara Underwood was born and raised in Sydney, Australia; the only child of German migrants who provided a rich and diverse childhood environment. Already in third grade she wrote a short children's book for a class project and realized that she was deeply satisfied with creating stories. In sixth grade, for another class project, her teacher was so impressed by the lengthy story she submitted, that he commented at the end "I see we are going to have another author". 

Over the years Barbara kept writing one thing or another, but only as a hobby while she pursued other interests and goals. In the 1990s, she completed a correspondence course in professional writing, doing it in her spare time after work. This led to having a few short stories published, but what she really wanted to do was write a proper novel.

At this time, Barbara had travelled extensively and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in subjects that held special appeal for her, namely ancient history, myths and legends (such as Atlantis, the builders of megaliths around the world), folklore (the belief that a god-like race gave mankind its technology), human psychology and the culture of other countries. What better subject for her first novel than to combine all these elements into one big adventure!

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Marcy Meyer said...

Enjoyed the excerpts. Sounds really interesting. Thanks for the giveaway chance.

James Robert said...

Thanks so much for the great excerpt and giveaway.