Sunday, October 17, 2021

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Charm Wars (Charm Wars #1) by Dan Lutts

Charm Wars tour banner
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Charm Wars by Dan Lutts. This blog tour was organized by Lola's Blog Tours. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a fantastic guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Charm Wars book cover
Title: Charm Wars
Series: Charm Wars #1
Author: Dan Lutts
Publisher: Castine Press
Publication Date: September 2nd 2021
Print Length: 460 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Welcome to Caldon, a land of mages and magic, where the noblesse possess massive political and magical power and destroy anyone who threatens the noblesse way of life—especially the commoners.

Rill Larkin, the son of a commoner blacksmith, has high ambitions. To be a mage, join the exalted ranks of the ruling noblesse, and establish his own noblesse family. Defying both the system and his family, Rill becomes the apprentice of Deuth Estati, a powerful archmage. But appearances deceive. As training progresses, Rill learns of decades-long secrets and manipulations that threaten his dream. And Deuth might not be as benevolent as Rill thought.

Alyse Dejune despises magic, even if she does belong to one of the oldest and most powerful noblesse families in Caldon. The deceits and treacheries of noblesse life and the loveless marriage alliances among the noblesse families disgust her. Her family however has high expectations: that she fulfill her role as a noblesse girl by marrying Troy Estati, an arrogant, selfish noblesse boy she does not love. And Alyse harbors a secret—the potential to become one of the most powerful mages in generations and wield forbidden magic—that, if revealed, could mean her death.

In this deadly game of ever-shifting alliances, where the state wages perpetual war against an ancient enemy, Rill and Alyse are thrown together in a land where magic is failing. And as greedy noblesse families raid surrounding family compounds for powerful charms, Rill and Alyse are left standing at a terrible crossroads.

Suddenly Kate raced into the room. “City watchers!”

Alyse glanced up from Serious Ailments and How to Treat Them. “What about them?”

“They’re here!”

Alyse’s fingers twitched, and the book slipped from her hands to the floor. “But the House of Healing is part of the temple. It’s inviolable.”

Kate blew out an angry breath. “Not to them.”

“They’re after the deserters.”

“That’s what I figure.”

Images of Hilbrand, who was tottering on the brink of death, being hauled out of his bed and dragged back to Uncle Leoc’s camp tore a jagged path through Alyse’s mind. “Come on.” She and Kate raced into the House of Healing. As they were passing one of the wards, Alyse heard Priestess Gilda angrily demanding to know who had authorized the city watchers to violate the temple’s sanctity by invading the House of Healing. The cousins managed to reach the deserters’ room without being seen. But when Alyse tried the latch, it refused to move.


Alyse rapped softly on the door. “It’s Priestess Sybil’s apprentice. Let me in.”

A panicky voice—Alyse couldn’t tell whose—came through the wood. “Priestess Gilda locked us inside and left to deal with the city watchers.”

Alyse ground her teeth in frustration. “Do you have the key?”

“If we did, we wouldn’t still be here.”

Alyse turned to Kate. “Find Priestess Gilda and get the key.”

As Kate ran off, Alyse fidgeted as the sounds of the searchers drew closer and closer. A coil of dread wrapped itself tighter and tighter around her chest, like a boa constrictor winding its coils around its prey. At last, Kate returned. Alyse grabbed the key, fumbling until she finally slipped it into the keyhole and opened the door. The lamplight revealed both men crouching by Hilbrand’s bed.

“Thank the Goddess!” the tall man said.

They began lifting Hilbrand up from his bed.

Alyse shut and locked the door. “Don’t move him.”

“We hafta get outta here,” the short man said, his voice laden with panic. “And we ain’t leavin’ Hilbrand behind.”

Alyse nodded at Kate. “Stop them.”

Brushing her cloak aside, Kate drew her sword. “You heard her.”

The short man turned to Alyse, his face radiating scorn. “You said you wanted to help. I should of known we couldn’t trust a noblesse.”

Outrage and fear darkened the other man’s face. “You brought the watchers here.”

“You can trust me,” Alyse told them. “I didn’t bring the watchers.”

Both men eyed her suspiciously.

Alyse wanted to scream at them. Instead, keeping her voice calm, she said, “I’m a healer, and Hilbrand’s my patient. I won’t let anything happen to him or to you.”

“Fine words,” the tall man said. “But you got nothing to back them up with, even if you are noblesse. The watchers are backed by the power of the Magesterium.”

Alyse put all the authority she could muster into her voice. “I won’t let them arrest you. I give you my word. Just let me do the talking.” Even as she spoke, apprehension crawled along her skin. They’re Uncle Leoc’s soldiers. If I lie, I’ll be committing treason. And what will Uncle Leoc think of me? The thought of his condemnation made her muscles quiver as she looked at the men. But these men are poor farmers. And I bet they just want to return to their farms. If they still have them. Maybe some noblesse bought them for a pittance, just like they did to that poor family I met on the way to our villa and with the family of the poor man I treated for the wasting disease. That last thought decided her. Even if it was treason, she would protect these men.

Alyse spoke forcefully while her mind raced to determine how to best handle the impending confrontation with the watchers. “I won’t let them arrest you, I promise.”

The deserters glanced at each other, then reluctantly nodded their agreement.

Kate positioned herself in the shadows in the opposite corner from the bed, her sword and dagger concealed beneath her cloak. Just then someone tried the latch. When it didn’t work, a fist pounded on the door.

“Open up! By the authority of the Magesterium, open up!”

Alyse unlocked the door and quickly stepped away.

The door burst open, and three watchers barged into the room. Two women—a blonde and a brunette—and a man.

The brunette pointed at the deserters by Hilbrand’s bed. “There they are.”

The deserters cowered against the wall.

Alyse placed herself in front of the watchers’ path and used the most imperious tone she could summon. “How dare you violate the sanctity of the temple and of this House of Healing?”

“These men are deserters from the Eastern Legions,” the brunette responded. “Interfere, and we’ll arrest you too.”

“You have no right to be here. The temple and its House of Healing are inviolable.”

The brunette motioned to her companions. “Take them.”

The two watchers started forward.
Dan Lutts author bio
Dan Lutts, the author of Charm Wars, was brought up in Quincy, Massachusetts, and began addictively reading Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman comic books at an early age, much to his mother's distress. In junior high school, he switched to reading science fiction novels. While in high school and college, he wrote science fiction short stories.

Dan taught history and archaeology in high school for ten years. After being laid off because of budget cuts, he used his love of writing to retrain and became a software technical editor and writer. He worked for several computer companies, taught technical writing at the college level, and worked as a freelance writer. Now, combining his love of history and writing, he works at a World War II museum doing research and writing.

Dan loves to read and has varied tastes, including Young Adult, historical fiction, mysteries, 18th-century sea epics, and history. He especially enjoys Young Adult fiction and decided to try his hand at it. Charm Wars, Dan’s first novel, is the result.

Dan lives in rural Maine with his wife, Lisa. When he’s not working or writing, Dan can be found reading, making and shooting medieval arrows with his longbow, or playing with his two dogs and two cats—all rescue animals.

- If you could live in any literary fantasy world, which would you choose and why?

I’d live in Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms, both before and after the Realms’ shattering. The politics and intrigues in The Queendom of the Fells and in the other realms offer an ambitious person such as myself plenty of opportunities to better myself. For example, I could become an ardent supporter of Princess Raisa ana‘Marianna and a person she relies on. Or I could form a friendship with Han Alister and help him in his journey. Or perhaps I could find better opportunities by supporting their enemies in the other realms. If I had an affinity for magic, I could make a reputation for myself as a wizard and maneuver to get onto the Queendom’s Wizard Council.

If I didn’t want to become involved in politics, I think the broad expanse of the Seven Realms offers me a lot of other opportunities. One is trading. I could become a trader and a make living by selling goods to the various realms. There’s something I like about establishing an extensive network of friends throughout the continent. If conflicts should arise again among the realms, I could act as an intermediary or a spy for the Fells.

All in all, I think the Seven Realms is a colorful world with endless opportunities to rise in the world.
Win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card - four winners!
(US only.)

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Lola's Blog Tours assumes all responsibility for this giveaway.)

Hosted by:
Lola's Blog Tours graphic


  1. Hi, Heather,

    Thanks very much for promoting Charm Wars on the book's blog tour.

    -- Dan Lutts

  2. This sounds like a book that would be engaging for many readers.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

    1. Thanks, Nancy. I hope the people who read the book enjoy it.

  3. I love all things magical & supernatural this sounds awesome

  4. My hubbs would love this book!!