In 1321, the English town of Ulewic teeters between survival and destruction, faith and doubt, God and demons. Against this intense backdrop, a group of women have formed a beguinage, a self-sustaining community of women. Led by the strong-willed Servant Martha, these women are committed to a code of celibacy and prayer, hard work and charity that is unsanctioned by the all-powerful church. Still, the villagers have come to rely on this remarkable group of women for their very lives. And seeking shelter among them now is the youngest daughter of Ulewic’s lord, a man who holds power over them all.
But when a series of natural calamities strikes, the beguinage’s enemies make their move, stirring the superstitious villagers with dark rumors of unspeakable depravities and unleashing upon the defiant all-female community the full force of their vengeance in the terrifying form of the Owl Killers. Men cloaked in masks and secrecy, ruling with violence and intimidation—the Owl Killers draw battle lines. In this village ravaged by flood and disease, the women of the beguinage must draw upon their deepest strength if they are to overcome the raging storm of long-held secrets and shattering lies.
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|Title of Romance eBook: The Owl Killers|
|Release Date: 09-29-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||The Owl Killers|
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The Owl Killers
I thought I heard a man dying in the great forest tonight, but now I'm not so certain; maybe what I heard was a corpse rising to life. He was shrieking and pleading, but he wasn't begging for mercy. He'd challenged Death to wrestle with him. He'd thrown back his head and demanded to suffer, as if he wanted the demons to do their worst and drag him down into the pit of Hell. If he was human, then he must have been mad. Staring at the moon can make you run mad, did you know that? And tonight the moon was round as a woman's belly swollen with child. That's when men should fear it most.
I can't ever tell the other women what I saw, not even Pega. How could I explain to them what I was doing out there alone in the forest at midnight? I'm not a lunatic, if that's what you're thinking, not like that madman. I hadn't gone into the woods trying to get myself killed, though I knew the dangers only too well. God alone knows how many deadly creatures slither and prowl through those ancient groves. Venomous adders, wild boar, savaging wolves--even a stag in rut could kill you. And if the beasts are not terrible enough, there are the cutpurses and the outlaws who prey on any stranger wandering into their domain.
Pega, though she's taller than any man alive, won't set foot in the forest after dark. None of the village women will. They say the hungry ghosts, slipping like mist between the trees, will devour you if you should chance to step upon the spot where someone once died. And over the centuries, hundreds of people must have died in these forests and left no mark.
So do you really believe I wasn't afraid to go into those woods that night? I tell you I'd had to gather up every shard of cour...