The emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life path on which their father set them, their destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods. Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it's too late. An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test. At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor's final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing - and risk everything - to see that justice is meted out.
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A vivid and visceral universe.... Real, solid, and compelling. --Christie Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King An exciting first salvo involving Machiavellian politics...an intriguing world of magic, and three protagonists whose personal journeys will keep the reader impatiently waiting for the next book! --Richard A. Knaak, New York Times bestselling author of The Legend of Huma A complex and fast-moving fantasy set in a world where treachery and intrigue are everywhere. --L. E. Modesitt Jr., New York Times bestselling author of The Imager Portfolio Come for the intrigue, assassination, death priests, black-ops bird riders, and giant poisonous hive-lizards. Stay for Staveley's characters, his language, and his way-cool fantasy Zen.--Max Gladstone, author of Three Parts Dead Takes a story of family, loss, conspiracy and revenge and gives it new legs. It's epic fantasy with a sharp, jagged edge to it, a modern sensibility, prose as tight as the leather wrapped around a sword's hilt, and characters that you can relate to and give a damn about. I look forward to the next installment of Staveley's chronicle.--R. S. Belcher, author of The Six-Gun Tarot Staveley brings together a richly imagined world and vibrant characters, and serves them up with monks and monsters, tension and treachery--an exhilarating adventure.--Elspeth Cooper, author of Songs of the Earth A vividly imagined story of conspiracy and empire.Col Buchanan, author of Farlander --VariousBook Description:
The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . . The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy. His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation. Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?
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