To the legendary clairvoyant Maestro Nostradamus, the future is forever in motion. But for young swordsman Alfeo Zeno, his apprentice and protector, the present is hard enough to contend with. His days are spent poring over astrology charts and making calculations, his nights learning arcane magic or transcribing Nostradamus's nebulous prophecies. Until one night, when the Council of Ten arrives to take the seer into custody. It seems that a high-ranking friend of the prince died under mysterious circumstances after Nostradamus cast his horoscope, warning of danger-and rumors are swirling that the mystic poisoned the victim to enhance his own reputation. Alfeo is stunned when his master refuses to flee. Instead, Nostradamus charges Alfeo with the task of clearing his name. Now, Alfeo must unravel a web of magic and murder if he is to have any future of his own.
When Nostradamus is hired to find a foreign spy by Venice's ruling Council of 10, the only clues they can offer him are the spy's intercepted messages, encoded in a seemingly unbreakable cipher. But Nostradamus soon detects evil influences working against him, and realizes the spy can only be caught by occult means. He turns to his able apprentice, the young swordsman Alfeo Zeno, whose unique talents may prove essential to unraveling the truth. Thus begins a series of events that will involve Alfeo in murder, passion, betrayal, and magic.
Someone is murdering the courtesans of Venice, and legendary clairvoyant Nostradamus and his apprentice Alfeo must pursue a labyrinth of clues to find the killer.
Wallie Smith is staring death in the face; only a miracle can save him. And then one does! The Goddess appears to preserve his soul, but she does much more than that. She promises to bestow upon him a new and powerful body, and, more important, to endow him with the fabled Sapphire Sword of Chioxin. But nothing in this world or any other comes without a price. The Goddess demands that, for her services, Wallie become her champion. It will be an honor to serve such a presence, to have the chance to be victorious over all challengers. But Wallie and his sword quickly find themselves outmatched in a world of high-stakes magic. Even the Goddess's priests cannot offer any resistance to the invading sorcerers and their quest to conquer souls for the Fire God. Wallie will need to find in himself and in the world the powers that will save all mortals. He will need to find the Coming of Wisdom.
Wally, a fugitive from the twentieth century, must now decide how he is to become the leader of the Swordsmen who have a tremendous power in this feudal world that Duncan has created. Sequel to the reluctant swordsman; followed by Destiny of the Sword.
This series is a little shorter and is intended for the young teens. The heroes in this series are much younger.
The world was desperate. Since the empire had fallen a hundred years ago, Gwin and her people had nearly given up hope that the Renewer would come. Gwin had lost everything. Her husband was killed in one of the wars. Her children died of Star Sickness. Even her work at the hostel was in jeopardy because the politicians had it out for her. The cursed Gwin, therefore, had nothing to lose. When she took in the girl, a survivor of the Star Sickness, it was a dreadful crime. Gwin was at the end of her rope, and possibly the end of her life if she was found out. But the Sickness had left the girl with certain magic, certain powers, which could prove very useful to them both. Was it possible that this young survivor could save their lives and the empire? Was a new life for Gwin and her world finally at hand?
The great adventure had ended happily. The good folk of Krasnegar discovered that a beautiful princess could, indeed, succeed her royal father and rule in her own right--and rule very well, too. And when Queen Inos married Rap, the former stable boy, he turned out to be a very good king. He never admitted that he was a sorcerer, and everyone knew that Rap was a man of his word, so that was all right. The years passed. Rap and Inos raised a family, prospering in their remote little kingdom. But trouble was brewing in the great world outside. The aged imperor grew ever more erratic, more tyrannical. His grandson Shandie, the boy Rap had befriended, was now a great soldier, struggling to suppress ever-growing upheaval in the borderlands while he waited to inherit the throne. Strange prophecies of upheaval and disaster spread. When the rumors reached even to Krasnegar, Rap scoffed at them as superstition--until one night a god appeared and confirmed that the truth was likely to be far worse. On his travels long ago, Rap himself had made a terrible blunder. Because of that, the world of Pandemia was now poised on the brink of utter disaster. The last thing Rap wanted was another adventure, but it might be the last thing he ever gets.
Beautiful Queen Inos married the loyal stableboy Rap and made him her king. They were very much in love, and they lived happily ever after. Fifteen years went by Rap and Inos were comfortable, secure, and truly happy, raising their family in the little backwater kingdom of Krasnegar, well removed from the hurly-burly of great affairs... But in far-off Hub, the old Imperor's health, and some say his sanity, deteriorated inexorably. The borderlands were seething, Prince Emshandar -- or Shandie, as Rap knew him -- found himself leading his grandfather's armies into terrible battles where victory and justice hung in gravest doubt. And now the end of the millennium was at hand, ushered in by prophecies of cataclysmic upheaval on a scale never before imagined. All across Pandemia, sensible people tried to dismiss a growing sense of unease as superstitious nonsense. Then a God appeared to Rap and warned him that the prophecies spoke the least of the truth. Devastation was a certainty; total destruction loomed. The very fabric of the world was at risk. And it was all Rap's fault. The lasting in the world Rap had wanted was another adventure. And it might be the last thing he would ever get.
For fifteen years, the truce has held. Swordsmen of the Tryst of Casr have kept the peace and extended the rule of law over half the world, but now sorcerers have started killing swordsmen again, and swordsmen traitors are aiding them. Shonsu--who was Wallie Smith before he became a swordsman of the seventh rank and liege lord of the Tryst--must once more gird on the seventh sword of Chioxin, and this time he rides out to fight the war that he hoped would never come. As he leads his army forth, its two most junior members are Vixini, son of Shonsu, and Addis, son of Nnanji, who has an oath of vengeance to fulfill. Their failure or success will determine the fate of the world for the next thousand years.
The Scottish outlaw Toby Strangerson, known as Longdirk, has used gramarye, dark magic, to defeat the Fiend and save Europe from abject slavery--but he has also made himself the most feared and envied man in all of Italy. The hordes are reorganizing and plan to sweep over the Alps once more and retake their lost prize of power and conquest. Toby and his friend Hamish struggle to unite the quarreling city-states into a single, powerful force to resist the invasion in a world where no ally can be trusted and traitors lurk in every shadow. But there is more at stake than freedom and the destiny of a continent. A woman's love is also hanging in the balance. This book was originally published under the name Ken Hood.
All of Europe is ruled by the Khan, whose Golden Horde swept its conquering way across Europe in 1244. The Scottish outlaw Toby Strangerson, known as Longdirk, is ruled by an even harsher master. He is possessed by a "hob," a demon spirit murderous as a child, although inherently neither good nor evil. Toby wants his freedom--and the spirit of the tyrant-demon Nevil, ensorcelled in amethyst, can be traded for the exorcism of the hob. In order to make the exchange, though, Toby and his friend and ally Hamish must face the hexer Oreste on his own ground, in the dank and fetid dungeons of Barcelona, where souls are racked and tortured and destroyed on the relentless wheel of the Inquisition. This book was originally published under the pseudonym Ken Hood.
All of Europe is under the control of the Khan, whose conquering armies swept across the West in 1244. Scotland, in addition, lies under the heel of England. Young Toby Strangerson, a half-English bastard, reared by a witchwife, wants only to shed his hated "Sassenach" blood and free his beloved highlands. Toby wields a sword as the outlaw Longdirk. The sword can cut down men like so many stalks of corn. But stranger winds are swirling and howling across the lochs, eldritch winds that are ridden by "hobs" and "wisps" and demons. The enemy Sassenach king is also a sorcerer. His demon soul needs a body and his Black Arts can free Europe from the Khan's Golden Horde. This book was originally published under the pseudonym Ken Hood.
Wally Smith, having died on Earth, finds himself reincarnated as a swordsman in another world and entrusted by the presiding goddess with a mission that has no appeal for him at all. Can he bring together all the swordsmen to finally defeat the sorcerors and their terrible technology? Wally is not quite convinced he should, but goddesses can be very persuasive . . . This is the third and final exciting book, after The Reluctant Swordsman and The Coming of Wisdom, in the Seventh Sword Trilogy.
With Inos married to the wrong man and Rap dying in a dungeon, obviously the cause is hopeless. Only Aunt Kade refuses to admit defeat . . .
The loyal stableboy Rap had fought through hell and high water to rescue Inos, his queen. But at the end, it had all been in vain. Inos had married the accursed Sultan Azak. A failed and broken man, Rap awaits his fate, at the hands of Azak's torturers while Inos follows her lord on a dangerous journey.
When Inos was abducted through the magic casement and Rap tried to follow her, they arrived in places very strange--and very far apart . . .
In a place called Nextdoor--the farthest flung outpost of British imperialism--earthborn mortals possess the power of gods. Young Englishman Edward Exeter has spent five years trying to escape the magnetic and powerfully magical pull of the Great Game, which has designated him as its most important player. But war and bloodthirsty intrigue rage on both sides of magical portals and across worlds, and Exeter can resist his destiny no longer. He accepts the mantle of Liberator that has been thrust upon him, and the decision turns old friends into foes and old enemies into acolytes as he is surrounded by murderous plots and betrayals. But this is not the uninformed Edward Exeter who came naked into this hidden realm years ago. He has lived the Game and learned it well--and he intends to play it boldly to its shocking, worlds-shattering conclusion.
For five years Edward Exeter has resisted the destiny circumscribed in the Filoby Testament--a sacred and mystical text that has named him the one who will bring death to Death. For five years the young Englishman has passed back and forth through secret portals that link his world with the farthest flung outpost of British imperialism--a realm called Nextdoor, where earth-born mortals can live forever, possessing powers that make them gods. Through war and murderous intrigue on both sides of the magical boundaries, he has tried to escape the irresistible pull of a Great Game that has designated him its most important player. But Death has finally roused Edward Exeter, as was predicted. And now he has accepted the burdensome mantle that has been thrust upon his shoulders: that of D'ward, the Liberator foretold. For centuries, the ruling Pentatheon of human gods has held the people of Nextdoor in its sway through terror, magic and superstition--with Zath, its most fearsome member, accumulating powerful mana through ritual sacrifice and wholesale bloodletting. By opposing the tyranny of the Pentatheon, D'ward imperils not only himself, but the future of two distinctly separate yet strangely empathetic worlds. Now old friends have become foes, old enemies his acolytes. The guardian Service, which once welcomed Exeter into its ranks, now plots murderous gambits at formal affairs--and betrayals to be unwittingly enacted against him by Edward's closest companions and loved ones. And for the hundreds and hundreds of the devout who have joined the Liberator on his fateful trek across the Vales, doom surely awaits at the end of the journey. But D'ward Liberator is not the Edward Exeter who came naked into this world just a few short years ago. For he has lived the Game and learned it well--far better, in fact, than his adversaries could ever imagine. And he will play it boldly to its shocking, worlds-shattering conclusion--even if it means having to pay the devastating price of godhood.
As unwanted and rebellious boys, they find refuge in Ironhall....Years later they emerge as the finest swordsmen in the realm--A magical ritual of a sword through the heart binds each to his ward--if not the king himself, then to whomever else the monarch designates--with absolute loyalty.And the greatest Blade of them all was--and is--Sir Durendal. But a lifelong dream of protecting his beloved liege from enemies, traitors, and monsters is dashed to bits when Durendal is bonded till death to an effete noble fop at his king's orders. Yet Destiny has many strange and inscrutable plans for the young knight--for a mission, a contest, and, perhaps, a treasure await him in a faraway land. But he soon finds himself enmeshed in treason and foul intrigues, compelled to betray the king he had hoped to serve. The Blades have ways to protect their own, but death and madness haunt the path to salvation--and few ever return unscathed. As unwanted and rebellious boys, they find refuge in Ironhall....Years later they emerge as the finest swordsmen in the realm--A magical ritual of a sword through the heart binds each to his ward--if not the king himself, then to whomever else the monarch designates--with absolute loyalty. And the greatest Blade of them all was--and is--Sir Durendal. But a lifelong dream of protcting his beloved liege from enemies, traitors, and monsters is dashed to bits when Durendal is bonded till death to an effete noble fop at his king's orders. Yet Destiny has many strange and inscrutable plans for the young knight--for a mission, a contest, and, perhaps, a treasure await him in a faraway land. But he soon finds himself enmeshed in treasonand foul intrigues, compelled to betray the king he had hoped to serve. The Blades have ways to protect their own, but death and madness haunt the path to salvation--and few ever return unscathed.
As unwanted and rebellious boys, they find refuge in Ironhall. Years later they emerge as the finest swordsmen in the realm. A magical ritual of a sword through the heart binds each to his ward-if not the king himself, then to whomever else the monarch designates with absolute loyalty. And the greatest Blade of them all was-and is-Sir Durendal. But a lifelong dream of protecting his beloved liege from enemies, traitors, and monsters is dashed to bits when Durendal is bonded till death to an effete noble fop at his king's orders.
Space opera at its finest and most action-filled, from the bestselling author of fantasy quests, epic tales, and swashbuckling adventures. Vaun, born a peasant in the stinking mud flats of Ult, a thriving colony planet, claws his way to survival and fame by becoming the toughest young officer in the Space Patrol. A veteran of the brutal training academy, he seizes opportunities as they arise, leading the first ship out against a surprise attack by the mysterious Brotherhood. He returns to a hero's welcome as the Brotherhood ship falls to the surface of his home planet in shattered pieces. The Brotherhood is elsewhere unstoppable, though, as neighboring planets, one by one, fall silent, conquered. And then, the Patrol detects a huge spacecraft launched from one of the now-silent worlds and headed for Ult. Facing a challenge greater than he can truly hope to overcome, Vaun nonetheless sets out to save Ult for a second time.
Omar often gets into trouble as a result of his role as the world's greatest storyteller. The wrong tale at the wrong time told to the wrong audience can prove fatal. A slighted innkeeper threatens to kill Omar by tossing him out into the vicious storm that rages just outside the door of the inn. But this time, for a change, Omar also has the chance to redeem himself by using his gift. If Omar can top the most outrageous tales invented by the inn's guests, he may get away with his neck intact. Omar not only tells a series of tales that would astonish the most gifted bard, but he corrects the errors of the others and weaves them all together into one absolutely compelling tale of adventure.
Though Quirt's name is little known, his skills as a gladiator are quickly obvious and hard to match. In Aureity, noblemen battle in the arena circuit, using their powers of teleportation and telekinesis to prove their breeding and strength. The prizes at play are not only silver and bronze but also the chance to rise amongst the nobility and mate with the ruling class of women. Older than most players, Quirt still manages to draw attention and awe through his mastery of the games. Some of that attention comes from Humate, a brash young competitor with unbelievable power and little patience or control. To him, Quirt is a mystery he can't resist. However, that mystery soon proves much bigger than all of them. Ancient crimes, struggles for status, romance, vengeance, duty--Humate has a lot to learn from the world-wise Quirt. As the secret of Quirt's true identity and past unfolds, Humate and Quirt race to bring justice to the murderer and madman whose blood links the two gladiators together. With Ill Met in the Arena, award-winning fantasy author Dave Duncan creates yet another new, fully realized world filled with complex cultures and brisk adventure. Intrigue, politics, action, humor--this book will grab you from page one and not let go until the final word.
The nobles of Aureity have been breeding their children for psychic powers for generations. Women's powers are mental, including psychic control and mind-reading, making them ideal rulers. Men have superhuman strength and can teleport to any place they have previously visited. Consequently, young noblemen make their fortune by competing in psychic gladiatorial contests to display their powers in the hope of being hired and married by women of high rank. When Quirt, an older man with obvious skill but little known record, first enters the arena, the combat circuit is abuzz wondering who he might be. But his mystery is almost eclipsed by the young cub who has been entering competitions anonymously and winning them all. Barely in his teens, full of raw power but short on training or patience, Humate is so horrified when he's bested by Quirt that he insists on finding out where he came from. Unfortunately for Humate, the answer reaches far beyond his birth: back to the terrible wrongs done to Quirt's mother and his new wife by one of Humate's relatives, and back to Quirt's sentencing, a doom which takes away his identity until he can bring the culprit to justice. Humate is in deep denial about this familial scandal generations deep, but Quirt must try to convince him to help, compelled by his doom and by the stirrings of a new love that cannot possibly be realized in his nameless condition. No one ever said revenge was going to be easy.
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