After his pyrrhic victory at Moorview, King Emin learns the truth about the child Ruhen - but he is powerless to act. Instead, he must mourn his dead friends while his enemy promises the beleaguered peoples of the Land a new age of peace. The past year has taken a grave toll: the remaining Menin troops seek revenge upon Emin, daemons freely walk the Land, and Ruhen's power is increasing daily. And yet, a glimmer of hope remains. There is one final, desperate chance for victory: a weapon, so terrible only a dead man could wield it, and only a madman would try. But if they do not grasp this opportunity, King Emin and his allies will be obliterated as Ruhen's millennia-old plans are about to bear terrible fruit. If his power continues unchecked, Ruhen will achieve total dominion - and not just over mankind, but over the Gods themselves. One way or another, the future of the Land will be decided now - written in the blood of men.
A short story collection fleshing out the world of the critically-acclaimed Twilight Reign series, a tremendous work of mature epic fantasy. The history of the Land may remember the slaughter at Moorview or the horror of Scree's fall, but there were other casualties of the secret war against Azaer--more tales surrounding those bloody years that went unrecorded. In the shadow of memorials to the glorious dead, these ghosts lie quiet and forgotten by all but a few. A companion collection to the Twilight Reign quintet, these eleven stories shine a rather different light on the Land. Look past the armies and politics of the Seven Tribes and you will find smaller moments that shaped the course of history in their own way. But even forgotten secrets can kill. Even shadows can have claws.
For Isak, the time for heartless decisions and ruthless action has come if he is to save the land from its oppressors ... Scree has been wiped from the face of the Land in a brutal demonstration of intent. While those responsible scatter to work on the next step in their plan, the stakes are raised--all the way to the heavens--as the Gods themselves enter the fray. Returning home to a nation divided by fanaticism, Lord Isak is haunted both by the consequences of his actions in Scree and by visions of his own impending death. As the full extent of Azaer's schemes become clearer, he realises prophecy and zealotry must play their part in his battle-plans if there is to be any chance of surviving the coming years. As a white-eye, Isak has had to embrace the darker parts of his own soul, but now the savage religious fervour sweeping his nation must also be accepted and turned to purpose, in the name of survival. With the battle lines vague and allegiances uncertain, the time for heartless decisions and ruthless action has come. Two figures oppose Isak and his allies: the greatest warrior in history, who dreams of empire and Godhood, and a newborn baby whose dreams have no limit.
In a quiet corner of the Imperial City, Investigator Narin discovers the result of his first potentially lethal mistake. Minutes later he makes a second. After an unremarkable career Narin finally has the chance of promotion to the hallowed ranks of the Lawbringers - guardians of the Emperor's laws and bastions for justice in a world of brutal expediency. Joining that honoured body would be the culmination of a lifelong dream, but it couldn't possibly have come at a worse time. A chance encounter drags Narin into a plot of gods and monsters, spies and assassins, accompanied by a grief-stricken young woman, an old man haunted by the ghosts of his past and an assassin with no past. On the cusp of an industrial age that threatens the warrior caste's rule, the Empire of a Hundred Houses awaits civil war between noble factions. Centuries of conquest has made the empire a brittle and bloated monster; constrained by tradition and crying out for change. To save his own life and those of untold thousands Narin must understand the key to it all - Moon's Artifice, the poison that could destroy an empire.
Some men can never outrun their ghosts. Enchei thought he'd found a home at last - a life of quiet obscurity far removed from the horror of his military days. After a decade in the Imperial City his mistakes have been few, but one has now returned to haunt him. As Narin's pregnant lover comes to term, life has never been so perilous. There couldn't be a worse time for a nightmare to be unleashed on the Imperial City, but luck's rarely been on Narin's side. Once, Enchei swore he'd take his own life rather than let his past catch up with him, but now it's not just his own in the balance. Demons, rogue mages and vengeful noblemen haunt the city - and a man's ghosts are always watching and waiting...
Lord Isak is dead; his armies and entire tribe in disarray. As the Farlan retreat and Kastan Styrax mourns his dead son, it is King Emin who takes the initiative while he still can. The secret, savage war he has devoted his life to nears its terrible conclusion as Ruhen positions himself as answer to the Land's problems. Before the conquering eye of the Menin turns in his direction Emin must take his chance and strike without mercy. A showdown is coming and battle lines are drawn as blood is spilled across the Land. The specter of the Great War looms but this time the Gods are not marching to war. It will be men who decide the future now. But before victory, before survival, there must first be salvation--even if it must be sought in the darkest place imaginable. With the tide turning against Emin and his allies, the key to their survival may lie in the hands of a dead man.
Isak is a white-eye, feared and despised in equal measure. Trapped in a life of poverty, hated and abused by his father, Isak dreams of escape, but when his chance comes, it isn't to a place in the army as he'd expected. Instead, the Gods have marked him out as heir-elect to the brooding Lord Bahl, the Lord of the Fahlan. Now is the time for revenge, and the forging of empires. With mounting envy and malice the men who would themselves be kings watch Isak, chosen by Gods as flawed as the humans who serve them, as he is shaped and moulded to fulfil the prophecies that are encircling him like scavenger birds. The various factions jostle for the upper hand, and that means violence, but the Gods have been silent too long and that violence is about to spill over and paint the world the colour of spilled blood and guts and pain and anguish . . .
In a land ruled by prophecy and the whims of gods, a young man finds himself at the heart of a war he barely understands, wielding powers he may never be able to control. Isak is a white-eye, born bigger, more charismatic, and more powerful than normal men. But with that power comes an unpredictable temper and an inner rage he cannot always hide. Brought up as a wagon-brat, feared and despised by those around him, he dreams of a place in the army and a chance to live his own life. But when the call comes, it isn't to be a soldier, for the gods have other plans for the intemperate teenager: Isak has been chosen as heir-elect to the brooding Lord Bahl, the white-eye Lord of the Farlan. The white-eyes were created by the gods to bring order out of chaos, for their magnetic charm and formidable strength makes them natural leaders of men. Lord Bahl is typical of the breed: he inspires and oppresses those around him in equal measure. He can be brusque and impatient, a difficult mentor for a boy every bit as volatile as he is. But now is the time for the forging of empires. With mounting envy and malice, the men who would themselves be kings watch Isak, chosen by gods as flawed as the humans who serve them, as he is shaped and moulded to fulfil the prophecies that circle him like scavenger birds. Divine fury and mortal strife is about to spill over and paint the world with blood.
Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent's principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he's not forced to rely on others or kill without cause. Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won't turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he's met over the years. So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.
Lord Bahl is dead and the young white-eye, Isak, stands in his place; less than a year after being plucked from obscurity and poverty the charismatic new Lord of the Farlan finds himself unprepared to deal with the attempt on his life that now spells war, and the possibility of rebellion waiting for him at home. Now the eyes of the Land turn to the minor city of Scree, which could soon be obliterated as the new Lord of the Farlan flexes his powers. Scree is suffering under an unnatural summer drought and surrounded by volatile mercenary armies that may be its only salvation. This is a strange sanctuary for a fugitive abbot to flee to--but he is only the first of many to be drawn there. Kings and princes, lords and monsters; all walk the sun-scorched streets. As elite soldiers clash after dark and actors perform cruel and subversive plays that work their way into the hearts of the audience, the city begins to tear itself apart--yet even chaos can be scripted. There is a malevolent will at work in Scree, one that has a lesson for the entire Land: nations can be manipulated, prophecies perverted and Gods denied. Nothing lies beyond the reach of a shadow, and no matter how great a man's power, there are some things he cannot be protected from.
In a land ruled by prophecy and the whims of Gods, a young man finds himself at the heart of a war he barely understands, wielding powers he may never be able to control. Isak is a white-eye, born bigger, more charismatic and more powerful than normal men... but with that power comes an unpredictable temper and an inner rage. Feared and despised by those around him, he dreams of a place in the army and a change to live his own life, but the Gods have other plans for the intemperate teenager. Over five books we follow Isak's life and the fallout from the choices he has been forced to make - choices that may well lead to his death. This sampler contains almost the first half of STORMCALLER, the first book in the sequence, as well as three related short stories and a lengthy extract from Tom Lloyd's new series, MOON'S ARTIFICE.
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