Melina Marchetta has posted the prologue to Quintana of Charyn! The prologue is in Quintana's point of view, and you can read what Melina has to say about Quintana's perspective on GoodReads. It's pretty fascinating. The prologue is pasted below, but please keep in mind that it contains MAJOR spoilers to the ending of Froi of the Exiles. So, don't read it unless you've already read Froi!
There’s a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road. And I travel for days on the back of a cart with the lice and the filth, and the swill of the swine.
But once in the valley, those pigs of the city sit high on their horses, not with a noose, but with swords at their sides. And still so forsaken, I rage at the gods, and I turn from the faces of those who take charge.
I keep to myself, but I find they are watching. I clench both my fists, I’ll kill in a beat. Your words pound my brain, Froi, if they dare try to touch me, a knife to the side and a slit ear to ear.
Those in my cave, they grab and they drag me. They want me to bathe, but they’ll soon know the truth. And the fear on their faces speaks loud of their awe, and I capture the crying and tell them what’s true; that the men with the swords, who once held the noose, will cut out my king and leave me to die.
The girl with the smile, the one you once spoke of, she enters the cave and can see what is true. And she thinks with her heart, and shouts out, ‘It’s plague!’ and calls for a man who has seen plague before. I beg her, I beg her, but the man named Matteo is the lad with the cats from when I was a child. 'Your Highness,' he whispers, his eyes full of wonder. 'Did you mate with the lastborn I sent to save Charyn?’
And the women, they stare with fear in their hope, but it’s hope drenched with tears, and it smothers me whole. And the Mont’s wife, she covers my belly and speaks, ‘We’ll be dead to all Charyn, from plague in the north.’ There’s keening and wailing from those left behind: the men of the valley who lose all they have.
And here where we’re hidden, I sleep in a corner. My dreams are consumed by She who has stealth. I feel her, I fight her, I grit through my teeth, ‘Keep far from my king or I’ll tear you to pieces.’ I call out your name to help fight this demon. I call out your name. ‘Froi. Save
And day after day it is dull in my heart, for there’s nothing to say when you’re dead to the world. And the Mont’s wife, she looks to the valley and mountains with pain and regret, but such hope and fierce love.
‘Is it rain?’ someone asks, and I wait for the answer. Though winter still shrouds this land, I've prayed for the sun.