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Explore Leira Blog Tour: V is for Vituain Desert

Got a special guest here today - fellow Enclave author Gillian Bronte Adams, as part of a blog tour! Check out her work and follow along for a giveaway chance:

Thanks, Steve, for hosting me here and helping me celebrate the (almost) one year book birthday for Songkeeper! It is the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles, which tells the story of a girl who can hear the song that created the world. If this is your first encounter with the blog tour, we are continuing a series of alphabet posts looking at the world and characters and magical creatures of the Songkeeper Chronicles (follow the tour at and find a list of all the stops at #exploreleira tour). And we have an awesome giveaway that you can enter below!

Today, we’re looking at the letter …

V is for Vituain Desert

One of my favorite settings to write about in the Songkeeper Chronicles was the Vituain Desert. Leira is a large land with a wide variety of landscapes, including the carpeted hills of the Midlands, grass-swept dunes of the Nordlands, and the high moorland and peat bogs of the Westmark. But in the south, the hills of the Midlands give way to a more arid region, known as the Soudlands, and beyond that, all that is green and growing is swallowed by the ever-hungry maw of the desert.

The Vituain desert is a harsh land, a sea of sand dunes ringed about by jagged, red-gold mountains. Heavy winds sweep across the desert, and sandstorms are an ever present threat. The southernmost tip of the desert breaks through the mountains to the coast, where the sea is plagued by heavy winds and fierce currents.

“Storms that blow off and around the tip of Leira are always incredibly fierce and unpredictable, and if they happen to collide with a desert storm inland, the mountains tremble and rocks split apart. We must find shelter before it strikes.” – Sym, Songkeeper

Between the wind and the storms and the ever-shifting sands, the Vituain desert is a land that is constantly being remade. But the people who inhabit it—the Saari—are steadfast, unyielding as the mountains, warriors to the bone. In battle, warriors ride upon lions as steeds—steered by a heavy collar rather than bit or bridle—and wield spears. Some prefer light throwing spears which they wear upon their backs in long quivers. Others prefer heftier lances. For matters where subterfuge is needed, the Saari use a spear pipe to blow an iron-tipped shaft coated in poisonous Vrimgor sap. Throughout Leira, the Saari are renowned as excellent hunters and trackers—a feat made all the more remarkable when you consider the constantly changing sands of their homeland.

The Saari are divided into tribes who are ruled by mahtems who are in turn ruled by the Matlal. In Songkeeper, Matlal Quahtli rules the Saari, alongside his wife Sa Itera, from the grand city of Nar-Kog. There he sits enthroned beneath the Star of the Desert—a massive crystal and heirloom of the Saari.

Matlal Quahtli stood with his back to the opening, presenting an imposing silhouette against the afternoon sun—a warrior’s figure clad in a massive lion skin cloak, mane forming a collar about his neck, spear held upright in his hand. Gold beads rattled in his dark braids, and jeweled cuffs gleamed on his wrists. – Songkeeper

The Saari typically go about clad in fringed leggings and jackets made from lion’s skins, cloaks made from lion’s fur, and necklaces made from lion’s teeth—in this way, they honor their beasts who are slain in battle. Beyond that, their robes and tunics are made from a light, airy material, typically woven in scarlet, gold, and cerulean blue—colors that reflect and enhance the rich rock, sand, and skies of their homeland.

Sound like someplace you would want to visit? What is your favorite setting? Do you prefer the desert, woodlands, mountains, prairie, or beach?

(This post was originally published on as a part of the Lost at Sea Scavenger Hunt)

Check out the links below for a place to purchase the books.

Barnes and Nobles: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper

And before you leave, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and a gorgeous handmade mug. Two lucky winners will take home copies of Songkeeper! Enter through the Rafflecopter below and be sure to visit to continue following the blog tour. You can earn new entries for each post that you visit along the way. Winners will be announced after April 15th.

Bio: GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

About Songkeeper: War ravages Leira and the Song has fallen silent.

Freed from the hold of a slave ship, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, and Ky, a street-wise thief, emerge to a world at war. Hordes of dark soldiers march across Leira, shadowed by whispers of plague and massacres, prompting Ky to return to his besieged home city in hopes of leading his fellow runners to safety.

Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Takhran’s fortress. Legend speaks of a mythical spring buried within and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it to achieve victory. Everyone believes Birdie is the one, but the elusive nature of the Song and rumors of other gifted individuals lead her to doubt her role. Unleashing the spring could defeat the Takhran once and for all, but can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her?


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