In the Shadow of Lions: A Novel of Anne Boleyn (Chronicles of the Scribe #1)

In the Shadow of Lions: A Novel of Anne Boleyn (Chronicles of the Scribe #1) by Ginger Garrett

And Job answered God …

“I admit I once lived by rumors of you;

now I have it all firsthand …   

I’ll never again live

on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”

Job 42 MSG


For the Scribe: When we meet someday, and you finish your book on my life, please be gentle. I tried to make you quite dashing. If you want to do the same for me, that would be appreciated.

For my friends at Cook, including Andrea Christian, Terry Behimer, Dan Rich, Don Pape, Jaci Schneider, Ingrid Beck, and Melanie Larson: Thank you for believing in me. Working with you is such an honor and I look forward to many years together. And for John and Nannette Hamilton, who designed the cover, thank you for your incredible artistry!

Chip MacGregor, my fearless literary agent: Thank you a million times over for your wise advice and reality checks. I’ve seen incredible growth in my career since you began to shape my decisions. I am really thankful God connected us … and I hope Patti likes this one!

Don Maass, Lisa Rector-Maass, and the team at Free Expressions: Lorin, Jason, and Brenda. I am forever indebted to each of you. Thank you for your passion for words and your willingness to walk authors through lonely passages. If any author is looking for a way to invest in their gifts, I would highly recommend a workshop offered through Free Expressions, as well as any of Don Maass’s books.

My editor, Ramona Tucker, gently held my hand and helped me see the weaknesses in the manuscript. Working with you, Ramona, was a gift!

My friends, both in the writing community and in my everyday life: Thanks for always asking about the book, even if you couldn’t remember which one I was working on. (I rarely could either.) For Siri, who makes trade shows memorable and shares my oddball sense of humor, thanks for praying me through another one and sharing your research. For the “Cat Pack” of women in publishing that meets for girls’ night out once a year, and keeps my secrets. For Courtney, Riki, Stephanie, Alecia, Dani, Niki, Kris, Louise, Carolynn, Tina, DeDe, Karetha, Allison, Amy, Shannon, Tinsley, Laura, Sherrill, Jennifer and Judy: One of my life goals is to love my friends well. You make it easy.

Finally, my husband and family sacrificed more for this book than for any other. Whether I needed to travel to London to walk through the events in the novel or go away for a long week to write, they supported me, keeping the family running smoothly. Mitch, your quiet strength gave me courage. My parents did without sleep to watch the kids and made endless stacks of Saturday-morning pancakes. My in-laws, Andi and Chris, made their house available for ransacking too. My daughters drew me pictures and insisted that I take breaks to snuggle on the couch. They have an uncanny sense of when my writing day should end, which often corresponds to their hunger level. My son, the coolest defensive tackle football has ever known, is always fighting to knock players on their rears. He told me to work hard so I could knock readers on their rears too. I tried, baby.

Chapter One

Tomorrow, someone else will die in my bed.

Someone died in it last month, which is how it came to be called mine.

The infernal clock moved confidently toward 1 a.m., and I turned my head to look at the window. The window of this room is a miserly gesture from the contractors, producing more fog than visage. I watched the gold orbs—the lamps on the lawn of the hospice sputtering off and on in the darkness—that dotted the fogged glass.

That was the last moment I lived as an iver, one whose eyes are veiled.

One orb did not sputter but moved, gliding between the others, moving closer to the window, growing larger and brighter until the light consumed the entire view. I winced from the searing glare and tried to shield my eyes, but the IV line pulled taut. Wrestling with the line to get some slack, I saw the next movement out of the corner of my eye. I bit down hard on my tongue, my body jerking in reflex, and felt the warm blood run back to my throat.

Outside, a hand wiped the fog away from the glass, and I watched the water beads running down the inside of my window. There was no searing light, only this mammoth hand with deep creases in the palms wiping down the window until we both could see each other. A man’s face was against the glass, but no breath fogged his vision. He was a giant, grim man, with an ring in one ear and dark glasses, and he was staring in at me. Even through the morphine, fear snaked along my arms, biting into my stomach, constricting around my throat. I tried to scream, but I could only gulp air and heave little gasps. His expression did not change as he lifted his hands, curling them into fists. I flinched at the last moment, thinking him to be Death, expecting to receive the blow and die.

Then I grew suddenly warm, like the feeling you get stepping from an old, dark city library into the busy street and a warm spring sun.

Death didn’t even hurt, I rejoiced. I could slip into it like I slipped onto that street, eyes down, my thoughts my own, and simply turn a corner and be gone. I lifted my fingers to beckon him. Yes, I thought. I saw the beautiful Rolex on my birdlike wrist and saw that it had stopped. It is time.

When I looked back up, he was beside me, staring down, not speaking. I wasn’t dead. His frame was monstrously large, hitting what must be seven feet tall, with a width of muscle strapped across him that was inhuman. As he watched me, his chest didn’t move, and his nostrils didn’t flare, but heat and warm breath radiated from him. When he laid his hands across my eyes, I was too scared to move my head away. His palms covered most of my face, and a sharp buzzing drilled into every pore. He began to move his hands elsewhere, touching and bringing to life every splintered inch of my body. When he got to the cancer, with one swollen lymph node visible even through my stained blue gown, he rested his hands there until the swelling sighed, and he swept it away with his hand.

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