By Mark Lawrence

First in a new sequence from the writer of The damaged Empire Trilogy.

The pink Queen is outdated however the kings of the damaged Empire dread her like no different. For all her reign she has fought the lengthy struggle, contested in mystery, opposed to the powers that stand at the back of international locations, for better stakes than land or gold. Her maximum weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen through such a lot and unstated of by means of all.

The pink Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one that can see The Silent Sister. 10th in line for the throne and content material along with his function as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone isn't there. yet conflict is coming. Witnesses declare an undead military is at the march, and the crimson Queen has referred to as on her kin to guard the area. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that may have an effect on him.

But he's incorrect…

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And the darkness trailed his awl. “Wh—what? ” Snorri got here to a halt, panting. The twilight had taken on a brand new caliber. The sunlight had set. Aslaug restricted once again to no matter what hell she inhabited. He appeared down at his weapon. “It’s now not a wood-axe! Gods rattling it! ” I stepped nearer, smartish, nervous that corpse-white hands may perhaps achieve for me from the darker shadows. “Make a gentle, Jal. quickly. ” So with Snorri status over me and the horses frightened, wedged alongside the path, I fumbled in my pack, when throughout us branches broke and light males moved among the bushes. “Come out. I’ll guess you chop more straightforward than wood,” Snorri known as to them, although I detected an fringe of worry in his voice—something I’d by no means heard sooner than. i believe the wooded area unnerved him greater than the enemy inside of it. i discovered tinder after which flint, dealing with to drop either within the darkness, discovering them back with trembling palms. The smell of pine sap grew round us, powerful and sickly, virtually overpowering. I struck spark to tinder as Snorri swung on the first of the lads to hurry from the bushes. Branches snapped on both sides, extra of them pushing via. An ill-advised look upwards confirmed them lean and bare, faded greenish-white ghosts within the dimness. The passage of Snorri’s awl carved a very good furrow during the creature from left hip to correct nipple, cutting via intestine, ribs, sternum, and lungs. obviously the awl retained a few part regardless of getting used to chop trees. nonetheless the pine-man got here on, the stink of sap overwhelming because the stuff oozed from his cold wound. on the final he tripped on a stump, crashed down, and have become tousled in a multitude of unfastened entrails and stray branches. via then Snorri had lots of different difficulties to fret approximately. luck! Spark grew to become glow turned smoke turned flame. A month prior it can have taken me part an hour to get an analogous end result. Crouched with reference to the floor and with Snorri swinging and grunting above me, and the scream of terrified horses, I controlled to move the fireplace to 1 of the pitch torches I’d got again in Crath urban, provided there for exploring the huge municipal catacombs. “Burn it! ” A faded, twitching limb landed beside my foot. “What? ” “Burn it! ” one other grunt and a head dropped within sight. A pine-man leapt onto Snorri’s again. “Burn what? ” I shouted. “Everything. ” He fell backwards, impaling his passenger on a number of stumps. “That’s insanity! ” We’d fritter away too. Snorri’s stream, when genius within the brief time period, left me uncovered, and a minimum of 4 pine-men have been pulling freed from the timber to go into the clearing, extra in the back of them. The glance of their eyes worried me greater than the fireplace. I shoved the pitch model into the mass of damaged branches ahead of me. Flames rose up presently. The pine-men took or 3 extra steps prior to halting, each one with their face to the hearth. in the back of me Snorri tore freed from his opponent and rose with a groan. “Follow the horses! ” Already the flames have been spreading, a fierce crackling development as needles popped within the warmth and the hearth raced alongside desiccated branches, quickened by means of pine-men’s blood.

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