The Silences of Home

Sweet, Caitlin

Published by Penguin
ISBN 10: 0143016814 / ISBN 13: 9780143016816
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Synopsis: It is a time of bounty in the Queensrealm, thanks to Queen Galha, whose wisdom and power are legendary. Her scribes record the glorious events of her reign, but beneath these words lie others?shameful, heartbreaking, and true?that threaten to destroy the realm.

This magnificent prequel to A Telling of Stars is a saga of epic sweep, deeply realized characters, and page-turning suspense. The Silences of Home explores the gulf between official and unwritten accounts of history, and the ways in which individuals, knowingly or not, shape the events of their time?events that pass into myth...or silence.

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One

Leish was very young when he first heard the land beyond the sea. He was swimming with his brother Mallesh, darting and drifting among the bones of the abandoned city by the shore. Leish heard the familiar singing of this shallow water, and of the land of earth and green above?a singing he had known from the time his body had slipped free of his mother?s. He heard the thread of the river that twined inland; he heard the distant hills and forests he had never seen. These farther places were more difficult to find and hold, and some selkesh were well past childhood before they could do so. Leish had heard them before he spoke his first words?and he had heard other places, as well, that no one else could. But none of the singing of his life prepared him for what he heard that day in the Old City, in the sky-clear water at the edge of the great sea.

He was not trying to listen. He was stirring the water to froth behind him so that Mallesh would not be able to grip an ankle or foot. He was also giggling, sending bubbles dizzily up to break in the sunlight. And then, as he twisted around the porous pink of an ancient tower, he heard it and was still. Mallesh lunged up toward him, grinning and reaching, but he stopped when he saw his brother?s face. ?What?? he motioned. A few moments later, when they lay panting on the moss-patched sand, he said again, ?Leish?what? What is wrong??

Leish gazed up at the sky, his sky, brushed with leaves and blossoms and a wind that was always cool, and knew that he would not be able to explain. ?I heard ?? he said, and swallowed. He felt his limbs trembling, as if he had been swimming for days or had dived too deep. ?I heard a new place. A very ? faraway place.?

Mallesh sat up. ?Really? Farther than the peaks, or the lakes old Radcian hears when it?s storming??

Leish looked up into Mallesh?s face, which was dark because the sky behind it was so bright, nearly white with sun. ?No, not that way. The other way. Across?there.? He was sitting now as well, pointing at the ocean that rolled gently and forever away. Or not always gently, but forever, yes, this was known and told, this was a truth.

Mallesh blinked at Leish?s finger. ?But?? he said?only that, for suddenly Leish was filled with words, none of them exactly right but all of them urgent.

?I heard sand?but not like this?and stone?but not like ours?and a place so dry that there is no green and hardly any water at all above the ground, except somewhere that is white and so tall ?? He could not hear it now. Even as he spoke, he felt sand and stone and white-blue dazzle blurring, roar dwindling to trickle.

?We must tell this to everyone.?

?No,? Leish said, for although the song was silence, he could still feel its power?coiled or crouching?and was afraid.

?Don?t you realize what you?ve heard?? Mallesh demanded, standing up, gesturing at the water. ?This is the song Nasran foretold, when she first led our people out of the sea. She said there would be another far-song someday, and another leader who would bring our people to glory.?

Leish said ?No? again, but Mallesh did not seem to hear him.

?Imagine what would have happened if Nasran had not told our people about the singing she heard! Where would we be?? He was waiting for Leish to speak now.

Leish rose to stand beside his brother, licking his lips to moisten them even though the salt taste made his tongue sting. ?We?d still be down there, swimming all the time like the yllosh.?

Mallesh nodded. ?We would never have ventured from water to land. We would never have heard all the songs of above and below. We would never have replaced yllosh-scales with this skin that is so soft and yet so strong.? Mallesh did not look at Leish as he spoke, but Leish looked at him. At his flushed cheeks, his lips that seemed to curl around words the way fingers curled around a stone. At his eyes. ?Nasran heard the land and spoke of it, and a brave band followed her to it. She said there?d be another song of change someday?and now you?ve heard it. You must speak too.?

?I?m not Nasran,? Leish said as another fear began to hum beneath all the songs he knew.

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Title: The Silences of Home
Publisher: Penguin
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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