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The Bright and The Dark

by Michelle M. Welch

Ten years have passed since the end of Confidence Game. In Biora, Tod has found himself repairing the old books left by scholars three centuries ago. These books are valued in Dabion, but in Biora itself they are little more than curiosities, and most of its people cannot even read the books that are so prized outside its borders. Biora has become a land of unending violence, where men are destined to be warriors. Julian, a peaceful young man who has befriended Tod in Biora and learned to read from him, is not at home in his homeland. When traders come to Biora for books to sell in Dabion, they take Julian with them, another curiosity for the Justices. Aron Jannes is the son of Lord Justice Jannes, a leader in the government of Dabion. Aron is angry at his father's negligence; he is angry at his mother's death ten years ago; he is angry at Elzith for her abandonment of him. It is no comfort to him to discover that his father employs spies. Not all the spies work only for Jannes, though. Justice Rayner, now at the head of Dabion's secret forces, has been following Jannes for more than ten years, and is intent on cornering him at last. In Dabion, Julian encounters misunderstanding and conflict, a foreigner in a land that accepts only the image of Biorans gathered from their ancient books. Julian is drawn toward Aron, recognizing Aron as another seeker without a home, although Aron is too enthralled by his own anger to return Julian's friendship. One fateful day, Aron rescues Julian from danger almost by accident, and the two young men are thrown together by circumstance. As they become drawn up in Rayner's plots and the political turmoil that sets Dabion at the edge of civil war, Julian and Aron must discover where their loyalties lie and which paths they will walk. From the Paperback edition.

Chasing Fire

by Michelle M. Welch

Returning to the land ofConfidence GameandThe Bright and the Dark,Michelle M. Welch revisits the Five Countries, where magic is suspect, loyalty drives a hard bargain, and war is just a misstep away. Now, as a devastating plague takes its deadly course, a quest as fragile as a dream begins. . . . Rindell Jorren, the twenty-year-old son of a governor of Dabion, is unsuited to follow in his powerful father's footsteps. Aimless and timid, Rindell wants only to delve into the poetry and song of the romantic cavaliers of yesteryear. But his father has other plans. To shore up his alliances, he has arranged a marriage for Rindell to a heathen Azassian. Unknown to Rindell, his future bride, Adina, is mad. Descended from the Azassian warrior who ripped the country apart centuries before, she is racked by nightmares, bound to the past-and sought by wanderers on the fringe of reality. But while Adina is blurred by insanity, Elzith the Sage sees clearly: a city burning, a search for faith, and a way to finally free humanity from its greatest scourge. . . .

Confidence Game

by Michelle M. Welch

SHE DIDN'T BREAK THE RULES. THEY BROKE HER. Beneath its peaceful exterior, Dabion is a land of violence and intrigue, its politics run by judges, schemers, and spies. Elzith Kar is one such spy, gifted with an uncanny skill derived from rigorous training--and an unusual magic inherited from parents she never knew. Dabion may have use for her talent, but its rulers fear the magic that tempts it, so Elzith has hidden her history and true power, becoming a master player in a game she despises. But now, as she heals in the aftermath of a dangerous mission, Elzith finds herself temporarily forced into life as a civilian. It is here she finds Tod Redtanner, a humble man with secrets of his own, and feels compelled to tell him her story. But as Elzith's history unfolds and the present begins to unravel, it soon becomes clear that the past haunts more than just her dreams. And that if Elzith is to survive, she has no choice but to return to the world of intrigue and corruption that was once her domain. And this time she must play to win. From the Paperback edition.

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