In a world where kindness is for the weak, can a boy find a way to be a hero?
Born in the Commonwealth of Ashes, where citizens live and die by the tenets of the Seven Deadly Sins, teenager Ari Westergaard has known little but violence and deprivation. Though attachment to others is forbidden, he’s struggled all his life with the desire for connection—and the sin of pride—only to be rebuffed and punished repeatedly. Then, one day, during a routine execution of a sinner, he sees a girl dare to defy one of the Commonwealth’s High Priests…and falls hopelessly in love.
Lust is one of the Seven Sins, and love is seen as the first step down the road to dissolution. Ari’s feelings for Eva Marteinn are forbidden—a temptation and a secret, a virtue and a sin. Though Ari and Eva have never spoken, his thoughts of her sustain him as he battles his instincts in order to survive in a world where cruelty is the norm and kindness is for the weak. But when Ari is faced with a fellow citizen in need of protection, he must make a difficult choice: Stand up for what he believes in—or pay the ultimate price.
Emily Colin writes love stories with supernatural twists for adults and teens. Her debut novel, THE MEMORY THIEF, was a New York Times bestseller and a Target Emerging Authors Pick; she followed it up with THE DREAM KEEPER’S DAUGHTER.
Emily is also the author of the Gold Moonbeam Award-winning, young adult romantic dystopian fantasy series, The Seven Sins. SWORD OF THE SEVEN SINS, the first book, was a Foreword INDIES Award finalist, won the YA fiction award of the North Carolina Indie Author Project, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy. The second novel of the series, SIEGE OF THE SEVEN SINS, is a 2021 silver IPPY Award winner and Foreword INDIES finalist.
Emily co-edited and contributed to the young adult anthologies WICKED SOUTH: SECRETS AND LIES and UNBOUND: STORIES OF TRANSFORMATION, LOVE, AND MONSTERS, which was a SUSPENSE MAGAZINE “Best of” 2021 pick as well as a 2021 Foreword INDIES Award finalist. DISSENT, the 2022 romance anthology to which she contributed a short story, was a #1 Amazon category bestseller in over eight countries.
Emily's diverse life experience includes organizing a Coney Island tattoo and piercing show, hauling fish at a dolphin research center, roaming New York City as an itinerant teenage violinist, helping launch two small publishing companies, and working to facilitate community engagement in the arts. A former Pitch Wars mentor and KissPitch mentor, Emily is a writing instructor, freelance editor, and book coach. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. You can find her at www.emilycolin.com and on IG at @emilycolin.books.
This is the prequel novella to the first book in my Seven Sins series, SWORD OF THE SEVEN SINS. It's free on Amazon and iBooks!
An excerpt from the novella...
Stay awake, I admonished myself, but hours of kneeling on that sin-forsaken floor were taking their toll. High Priest Erlich had stood over me while the sun sank below the horizon and shadows collected in the corners of the temple’s sacristy. He’d lit a candle and waited in the pews as darkness crawled from the edges of the room across the floor. The stones had been freezing, my head throbbing, and still he’d made me kneel, poking me every so often to make sure I hadn’t fallen asleep.
No way was I going to give that carrion-eater of a man the satisfaction of punishing me further—so I’d knelt there, hands locked behind my head and my eyes fixed on the stones, until my body had ached and I’d shivered from the cold. I hadn’t dozed off once…but now I was paying the price.
Stay awake stay awake stay awake.
These virtueless executions. Always the same. Only the faces changed.
I blinked, digging my fingernails into my palms in an effort not to nod off.
i gotta figure out if i have read anything from Emily before ... trying to review on Amazon ...but it is acting funny??! novellas are always fun in my humble opinion ... easy to jump into and just fun to see where the author takes ya ... personally ... i think that it really give u a better idea of what an author can do??! so cool. i wanna read more. i will read more from Emily Colin soon enough. love her style.