Really, it needs no introduction. Written by Jim Theis, published by all that is good in the universe and sits alongside the likes of Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth, Howard’s chronicles of Conan the Cimmerian and Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, first published in Osfan #10 (1970), and now partially re-printed here for your enjoyment.
The legend lives on.
The weather beaten trail wound ahead into the dust racked climes of the baren land which dominates large portions of the Norgolian empire. Age worn hoof prints smothered by the sifting sands of time shone dully against the dust splattered crust of earth. The tireless sun cast its parching rays of incandescense from overhead, half way through its daily revolution. Small rodents scampered about, occupying themselves in the daily accomplishments of their dismal lives. Dust sprayed over three heaving mounts in blinding clouds, while they bore the burdonsome cargoes of their struggling overseers.
“Prepare to embrace your creators in the stygian haunts of hell, barbarian”, gasped the first soldier.
“Only after you have kissed the fleeting stead of death, wretch!” returned Grignr.
A sweeping blade of flashing steel riveted from the massive barbarians hide enameled shield as his rippling right arm thrust forth, sending a steel shod blade to the hilt into the soldiers vital organs. The disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his saddle and sank to the clouded sward, sprinkling the parched dust with crimson droplets of escaping life fluid.
The enthused barbarian swilveled about, his shock of fiery red hair tossing robustly in the humid air currents as he faced the attack of the defeated soldier’s fellow in arms.
“Damn you, barbarian” Shrieked the soldier as he observed his comrade in death.
Yesterday, we celebrated the release of Blake Charlton’s Spellbound by releasing Chapter Three. Today, we’re back with Chapter Four!
With Deirdre in her arms, Francesca charged up the eastern stairs. Her ability to speak had returned, but orange spots still swam in her blurry vision.
As she climbed another flight of steps, Francesca allowed herself to feel burning fear and confusion. Then she forced herself to relax. It was time to fall back on the oldest of physicians’ tricks: when inner composure was unattainable, its semblance must be worn like an actor’s costume and cosmetics.
“You know, my lady,” Francesca said as coolly as she could between breaths, “you might have found a way to improve medical training by making me run you up to the roof.”
Deirdre frowned. “How’s that?”
“When most clerics blunder, all they have to do is attend a funeral.”
Deirdre grunted. “But if we made physicians carry their mistakes up six flights?”
“We’d enter a golden age of near immortality. Only the very skinny would be allowed to die.”
The avatar sniffed with amusement. “Magistra, are you implying I’m fat?”
“A tiny little thing like you? Never. I could fit two of you in my belt purse.” Francesca repositioned her grip around the other woman as she turned up another flight.
“So now you are implying I’m short?”
“No, my lady, I wouldn’t dare offend an avatar.”
To celebrate today’s release of Spellbound by Blake Charlton (a very generous and kindly friend-of-the-blog), I’ve got two chapters from the novel, ripe for the reading. If you’re curious about my affection for the series, my review of Spellwright should shed some light on that:
Charlton’s inventive debut is comfortable in its tropes, but also willing to turn convention on its head and remind us of that sense of wonder than drew us to Fantasy in the first place.
Today we’ve got Chapter Three and tomorrow I’ll be rolling out Chapter Four. Bu… but, what about the first two chapters? Ain’t those important, too?
Well, yeah, and, luckily, Tor.com’s got you covered with Chapter One and Chapter Two of Spellbound, all ready to go.
So, then, here’s today’s excerpt, Chapter Three!
High up in Avel’s sanctuary, Nicodemus crouched in a dark hallway and waited for the sound of footsteps. If this raid on Typhon’s library was timed correctly, he would shatter the demon’s mind as if it were a stained-glass window. For nearly ten years, Nicodemus had waged clandestine war against the demon. It was almost time to end that war.
But the attack had to be perfect. He needed to catch all three librarians together and unaware.
So he crouched in the dark and waited for footsteps.
It’s no secret that The Alloy of Law, the next volume in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, is one of my most anticipated books of 2011 (despite my up-and-down relationship with Sanderson’s novels). So, with some excitement, here’s another excerpt from the novel.
The first excerpt is available here.
As they’re wont to do, Suvudu has released another 50-page excerpt of an exciting new novel on their website. This time around, it’s Mark Charan Newton‘s City of Ruin, one of my favourite novels of last year!
‘Last year?’ you say.
‘Well,’ I respond. ‘You see, Newton’s books are released about a year ahead of time in the UK and Canada… so I get to read them early!’
‘I wanna read them early!’ you whine.
‘Then rejoice! Just check out The Book Depository. Free worldwide shipping from the UK! Even better, if you like City of Ruin, you can also order its sequel, The Book of Transformations, which won’t be out in the US for at least another year!’
‘Thanks, Aidan!’ you shout. Absolute jubilation warps your face and tears of joy rolling down your cheeks. ‘You’re an amazing blogger and advocate of great Fantasy novels.’
‘Yah, I know.’
Newton has some interesting thoughts on City of Ruin:
[City of Ruin] is about a siege. It’s a war story. Villiren is a city under threat from an outside force, a race not natural to the world in which the book is set. I invested a lot of the narrative in building up to the war, because to make this war story more powerful, I added in some personal stories. The reasoning was that if the reader was invested in characters beforehand, then they would care when the invasion begun and their lives are at threat. So there are love affairs, a crime plot (with a serial killer), a gang leader whose marriage is breaking down uncontrollably.
You can read the first 50 pages of City of Ruin, and read the rest of Mark’s thoughts on the novel, on Suvudu.