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  • Brianna Sugalski

M. Dalto Takes Your Coffee Orders, EMPIRE STYLE + WHAT THE BONESMEN READ...

Last month, MacMillan and Fantasy powerhouse Leigh Bardugo unleashed Ninth House—a whimsically dark ode to the real-life secret society of East Coast elite, known as the Skull & Bones Society.

Although her stunning Adult Fantasy debut is the first time many readers are hearing of Yale University's undergraduate senior student society, Skull and Bones remains one of America's oldest and best kept secrets. It is a wonder groups like the Illuminati are still theorized about when there are real secret societies under our very noses... Some authors, such as Alexandra Robbins, have also reportedly claimed the society's affiliation with the Illuminati.

Since its inception in 1832, Skull and Bones has produced some of the country's most successful businessmen and politicians. It remained an all-male institution, until 1991, when women were first allowed admission. These days, 15 students, both male and female, are "tapped" annually—receiving an invitation of a promising lifetime of inscrutable power, social platform, and financial stability.

For your viewing pleasure, I've dug up four Bonesmen, and their reading tastes...

1. Austan Goolsbee, Class of 1991: American Economist and formerly served on Obama's cabinet

"When I'm driving to work, I listen to NPR's Morning Edition or All Things Considered. Then, when I get there, the White House puts out the White House Morning News Summary, which tends to be a lot of politics, so if we have some big staff meeting, I might just flip through it. When Rahm was the chief of staff, checking the News Summary was more of a defensive, nerve-wracking obligation. He would be running around "have you seen this article?" "Have you seen that?" I'll also visit the homepages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post to make sure I'm up to speed. Oh and have you heard of Memeorandum? It's kind of an algorithm-based site showing who's linking to the top stories. I'll check that during the day..."

- Goolsbee, in his interview with The Atlantic

2. George W. Bush, Class of 1968: Former US President

Natan Sharansky believes that the truest expression of democracy is the ability to stand in the middle of a town square and express one's views without fear of imprisonment. He should know. A dissident in the USSR, Sharansky was jailed for nine years for challenging Soviet policies. During that time he reinforced his moral conviction that democracy is essential to both protecting human rights and maintaining global peace and security.

Sharansky was catapulted onto the Israeli political stage in 1996. In the last eight years, he has served as a minister in four different Israeli cabinets, including a stint as Deputy Prime Minister, playing a key role in government decision making from the peace negotiations at Wye to the war against Palestinian terror. In his views, he has been as consistent as he has been stubborn: Tyranny, whether in the Soviet Union or the Middle East, must always be made to bow before democracy.

Drawing on a lifetime of experience of democracy and its absence, Sharansky believes that only democracy can safeguard the well-being of societies. For Sharansky, when it comes to democracy, politics is not a matter of left and right, but right and wrong.

This is a passionately argued book from a man who carries supreme moral authority to make the case he does here: that the spread of democracy everywhere is not only possible, but also essential to the survival of our civilization. His argument is sure to stir controversy on all sides; this is arguably the great issue of our times.

3. John F. Kerry, Class of 1966: Former Secretary of State

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. Born A Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

4. George Herbert Walker Bush, Class of 1948: Former US President

Striking a balance between philosophical discussion and compelling story-telling, War and Peace transcends the restrictions that Tolstoy perceived in the conventional novel.

Set in Russia during the Napoleonic era, this epic novel follows the fortunes of five aristocratic Russian families over the course of the French invasion. Tolstoy's timeless portrayal of the fates of families set against the backdrop of war is ultimately optimistic and life-affirming, with the educated, but socially awkward Count Pierre Bezukhov often giving voice to Tolstoy's own beliefs.

Weaving together the historical and the personal, this powerful work of Russian literature encompasses the entirety of human existence.


M. Dalto Takes Your Coffee Orders, Empire-Style, by M. Dalto

As glorious as living in an alternate realm of a fantasy world may be, there’s one thing you may want to consider—

There’s no coffee in the Empire.

Now you know how Alex feels—Starbucks barista by day, Queen Empress by fate over a kingdom without a coffee bean to its name. We all have to make sacrifices where the Prophecy is involved, but sometimes you have to wonder if it’s worth it when coffee is on the line.

Of course, it is…

Isn’t it?

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that Starbucks was opening up a store in the Empire. What would our favorite characters from The Empire Saga if given the option? Well, there’s only one way to find out, so get your red cups and gold cards ready!

Queen Empress Alexstrayna — Flat White

If there’s anyone who understands the importance of coffee in their routine, it’s Alex. Having been a Starbucks barista before being swept away to the Empire, coffee was her livelihood! Imagine how she felt being told there’s no possible way to get another cup so long as you’re in your predestined position… and imagine the caffeine headache that would ensue! That’s why Alex keeps it simple with a flat white to start her day. It shows she’s simple, protective of those around her, and can come across as being very innocent, though anything but naive.

Crown Prince Treyan — Caramel Macchiato

Don’t let Treyan’s princely duty-driven, diplomatic exterior fool you. When he was within the Otherrealm seeking out his Empress, he discovered the glory that was coffee, and became a daily visitor to his local Starbucks— he said it was to get over the jetlagged time difference between the Empire and the Otherrealm, but we really know why. That’s why it should be no surprise that he’d discover something with a little more kick, something a little more sweet, and something wholly addictive. Confident and light-hearted, the caramel macchiato shows Treyan is traditional though still reserved. It’s even the drink he ordered on the day he first crossed paths with Alex, and left it behind because he ran away from the Starbucks without thinking to take it.

Jamison, Captain of the Guard — coffee, black

Jamison is calm, conscientious and enjoys the simpler things in life. When you’re the Captain of the Empire’s royal guard, you don’t have much time for anything else. So if Jamison was to choose his morning drink of choice, it would be no-nonsense and straight to the point. A cup of coffee without any creamer or sweetener would be the ideal start to this Captain’s day.

Crystal of the Otherrealm — Red Eye

Crystal is Alex’s closest friend and the only one who knows that Alex has been through within the Empire. Being a nurse, she’s a natural caretaker and has seen her fair share of trauma, which is exactly why Alex and Treyan rely on her when they need her the most. But that also doesn’t mean she doesn’t like to enjoy herself, and can often be found in the bars around Boston’s Faneuil Hall. That said, in order for Crystal to keep alert as needed, she’s going to go for some espresso with her coffee. Friendly, adaptive but also not one to take any nonsense from friends and patients alike, the Red Eye is the perfect start to Crystal’s long shifts and endless nights.

Bria, Mistress to the Queen Empress — Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino

It’s well known that Bria is easily susceptible to manipulation and persuasion, so if she was to ask someone for a suggestion as to what new coffee drink she should try, chances are she’s going to pick the most outlandish, sweetest and probably unhealthiest drink on the menu. Frappuccinos don’t get much busier than the Mocha Cookie Crumble, and Bria’s definitely one female that will try anything once… and evidently does not make healthy life choices whether it’s at the coffee shop or in her every day life.

Lord Reylor the Betrayer — Tea... just tea

Reylor wouldn’t be one to be swayed to the commercialism from another realm. He got along just fine with his daily tea and condemns anyone who would believe they need anything but what the Empire could already provide for them. Having been denied the luxuries from the palace for so long, the banished Lord Steward would go out of his way to be contrary while sipping on his tea with his pinkie finger up in the air.

M. Dalto's Mark of the Empress is now out!

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