Cover Artist: Loretta Matson
Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon who is allied with her greatest enemy.
Will Dennah be able to gain a measure of control over her magic or will she lose everything and everyone she loves to its raging inferno?
Serpent on a Cross is Book One in a Jewish fantasy adventure series set in Medieval Eastern Europe.
The poetry (lyricism) of the Medieval Fantasy
I’m not sure what it is about combining the medieval world and fantasy that attracts other writers and readers, but for me, I think the draw is a combination of the romanticism we attach to that time period, as well as the idea that men were men, and women were women, chivalry was in bloom, and the belief in magic was a daily part of life.
Of course, I don’t like EVERYTHING about medieval times. For one, women had little to no rights, unless they were fortunate enough to have an indulgent father, husband or other male head of the family. Or unless you happened to be Jewish or Muslim. Those women enjoyed more freedom – greater education and often a choice of husband – than their Christian counterparts.
As far as magic goes, the belief, or superstition, of witchcraft wasn’t at all a romantic notion. In most cases, it was something to be feared. Even simple herbalism and midwifery were subject to suspicious scrutiny. Especially during times of plague or other endemic illness not easily curable or even contained by said herb-women, or if children were born with birthmarks, which at that time, were more often than not seen as marks of the devil, or if children died within the womb or at birth. Then midwives were under suspicion of witchcraft.
But when it comes to WRITING medieval fantasy, an author can take the norms of the medieval period and change them to suit the story, whether that means keeping true to the norms, or taking literary license with them. Like I did with Serpent on a Cross. While Jewish men who were merchants and scholars traveled a lot, their womenfolk rarely did. In a case such as Dennah’s, where someone needed to rescue her mother, it probably would have been men to take on the task. But Dennah is not just any young woman, and so with nary a thought to her own safety, forges headlong into a barely-planned rescue mission, that very quickly becomes fraught with challenges and danger.
About the author:
Wendy C. Garfinkle was born and raised in South Florida. She moved to Northwest Texas in her early 20s, but returned to South Florida eight years later. She holds five degrees, including MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She’s a poet, reading addict, and collector of interesting clothing tags, which she recycles into bookmarks.
She has served as a copy editor and reader for Hippocampus Magazine, an online nonfiction lit journal, and as a reader for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Wendy is a crime analyst for a local law enforcement agency, and lives with her teenage son.