the new fantasy novel by S L Burns

What's in Festivael? Magic, mayhem, murder, mistaken identities, and an exceptionally fine tavern. Epic romances, love--and dislike--at first sight, and lust gone horribly wrong. A pirate Princess, two powerful witches, three ghosts, several mystical charlatans, one cheerful assassin, a retired Royal Headsman and his tremendous grave-digger wife, an innkeeper with a fondness for tragic songs and thin widows, and three hundred barbarian invaders.  Large and small acts of heroism, suspense and silliness and sex, and a demonic suit of armor with enough power to level a city. At the center of all these people and situations is one man: Orban of Brandylse, the Bookworm King.

A mild-mannered and retiring bachelor in his late thirties, Orban never really wanted to be King. But the sudden death a year before of his domineering mother, Queen Julianna, meant he had to ascend to the Black Granite throne whether he wanted to or not. He avoids the throne as much as possible, because mostly it makes his butt hurt.

Known to many of his subjects as the Bookworm King, Orban just wants to lead the quiet life he enjoyed before assuming rule, with most of his time spent with his nose in a book or scroll, then indulging in a few other modest diversions on the side. Instead his life keeps getting more complicated. His mother might be dead, but she is not gone, and still tries to rule his life from beyond the grave. His Chamberlain Peckinger has lost most of his mind because of the loss of his lover, the Queen; she died during a bout of geriatric mattress-jousting with him. Peckinger spends his off hours with her ghost, trying to raise her from the dead.

Orban is blissfully unaware that a Princess from a lost kingdom who has survived the last several years as leader of a pirate band is coming for him with her small, ageing army, determined to make herself Orban's Queen, and if need be, his widow. A horde of barbarian invaders have managed to sneak into the kingdom so they can mount an invasion on the capitol. The wealthy slaver Dool, outraged that Orban has ended slavery in the realm, has brought in an assassin, one supposed to help him take the throne instead. The insanely dangerous Dire Armour, the device one of Orban's ancestors used to create the kingdom, and which has been used by Kings and Queens of his line to defend it in the centuries since, has become his birthright-one that scares the hell out of him.
All of these forces and more will come together on Festivael Day, a celebration to be held to honor his mother on the one year anniversary of her death.

Festivael Day, when he has to seize his birthright and become a true king, and his dead mother gets the chance to be the kind of Queen she never was in life. A day when love dies and is reborn, and a happy ending looks as unlikely as the sun rising on the wrong side of the sky.
Sprawling, bawdy and comedic, and full of vivid and unusual characters, Festivael at times evokes and pays homage to such authors as Peter Beagle, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and  William Goldman--and Shakespeare's various comedies--as if presented by Monty Python.

The Kindle e-Book edition sells for $2.99 --one hell of a story for not a lot of coin!
Now available! Want to get it it?
Check out the S. L. Burns SF novel Zero Day Baby

Stephen L Burns is the author of the science fiction novels Flesh and Silver and Call From A Distant Shore, and has had over 40 stories published in Analog Science Fiction Magazine. His work has also appeared in various Fantasy anthologies edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley.