The Physician’s Apprentice is my current WIP, the first book in the Salamander Series.
I drew inspiration for the world from real countries on earth, and the initial drafts even included phrases in French, Farsi and Norwegian, among others. This has since changed, though the place and character names still originate from those languages.
When the story starts, the Seven Kingdoms have been engaged in a long and futile war with Sanshouo, the emperor of the Desolation. Six of the Seven Kingdoms have been defeated and have been absorbed by the Salamane Empire. Some rebel groups still resist the emperor, but they aren’t strong enough to come out of hiding.
Meanwhile, the seventh kingdom, Aelland, is cut off from the rest of the world by a force field – the Mantle – and the Aels don’t even know if the war is still raging outside their dome. This is where our story starts.
Cara is a physician’s apprentice. She’s a timid woman, whose main purpose in life is to hide, though circumstances beyond her control have led her to Roicester, Aelland’s capitol. Here, she studies medicine under Duke Magnus Cutter, a respected physician, until he hands over her apprenticeship to his son Nathan – one of Aelland’s best and most famous surgeons. Magnus is good to her and she loves him like a father, while Nathan intimidates her. And… What will he do, knowing her secret?
Nathan wants to understand Cara. How has she managed to hide in the open for so long, when he took one look at her and knew she wasn’t what she claimed to be?
Lance, a slummer, is there when a mysterious corpse is discovered at the foot of the Mantle. He doesn’t like the looks of it and employs the help of a physician to figure out from where the body came.
Seraphine is a prisoner in the palace, but nobody can know that – she is the queen, after all. She plays the political game as easily as breathing and has a few more tricks up her sleeve. She won’t be bested by anyone, not even her father.
Varda is our only viewpoint character who isn’t inside Aelland. She sails the Norden ocean with her mother and queen, Vendla, and they fight against the emperor’s reign. But Varda knows it can’t last. They’re weak and isolated, and in dire need of protection and food. An alliance with the Mordian resistance cell will save them, but can she convince her proud, stubborn mother to ally?
What happens to a group of physicians and their apprentices when a deadly plague breaks out under the Mantle, and people are dying faster than they can help? To make it worse, there’s a rigid class system and the accompanying politics involved. Still not enough for you? How about some thrown in spies, intrigue, action, lies and romance?
I’m currently working on the fifth draft of this story. Yes, five. We pantsers do this writing thing in our own weird way. From here on, there should be one round of edits left, then formatting and publishing. I’ll keep you updated on my progress. 🙂 If you’re keen on catching up with TPA related news, follow this link to blog posts specifically mentioning, or about the novel.
© Yolandie Horak 2018