Blood and Memory (Quickening Series #2)

Blood and Memory (Quickening Series #2)

4.4 12
by Fiona McIntosh

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To save two kingdoms from a despot's rule, one man must journey into the unknown, seeking answers to the strange and powerful secret that so plagues him.

Wyl Thirsk, loyal soldier of Morgravia, has seen his best friend slain, his sister tortured, and his mentor sent to certain death, all at the hands of his sovereign, the cruel and manipulative King

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To save two kingdoms from a despot's rule, one man must journey into the unknown, seeking answers to the strange and powerful secret that so plagues him.

Wyl Thirsk, loyal soldier of Morgravia, has seen his best friend slain, his sister tortured, and his mentor sent to certain death, all at the hands of his sovereign, the cruel and manipulative King Celimus. Now Celimus, believing himself to be rid of the "moral constraints" of the Thirsk influence, has turned his greedy eye to expansion ... and Morgravia's neighboring kingdom, ruled by the spirited but inexperienced Queen Valentyna. As Celimus pressures Valentyna into a doomed political marriage, Wyl endeavors desperately to preserve both the honor of his country and the freedom of the woman he loves.

But fate has other plans for him. Despite his friends and loved ones becoming increasingly tangled in the evil machinations of King Celimus, though war with the dread Northern Kingdom appears imminent and Valentyna is poised to succumb to Morgravia's oily rule, Wyl must leave behind all he knows and cares about and travel into the land from which none return, seeking out the bestower of Myrren's sinister gift.

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
“[A] terrific dark fantasy . . . the story line is action-packed . . . . a fabulous saga.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Quickening Series, #2
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.12(d)

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Blood and Memory
The Quickening Book Two

Chapter One

The Queen has suffereda sleepless night, churning over her decision to expel Romen Koreldy. Valentyna has measured the dark hours by listening to the muted noises of the guard changing. The only other distraction was the distant, infrequent howl of a dog—or was it a wolf? She wondered if it was caught in one of the traps laid by poachers ... or more whimsically she imagined it had lost its mate and was venting its despair.

She understood such things, for the sorrowful cry only served as an echo of her own loneliness.

Valentyna asked herself yet again if she could have hung on to the man she loved and still appeased an angry king? A king, she added, with more than enough fighting power to overwhelm Briavel. The answer, whichever way she approached the problem, was no.

"Damn duty!" she murmured into her coverlets. She punched the feather pillow that brought no comfort this night.

To add to the misery, a vision of Fynch haunted her. How he had looked at her she would never forget. He too had grown to love Romen, despite his misgivings about the man. She and her young friend had shared so much in the short time they had known each other. But all of that closeness was shattered now. Fynch was avoiding her because she had so deliberately distanced herself from Romen and ordered him expelled from Briavel.

She had cast aside a man she loved over Celimus—a man they all hated. A child, not familiar with the way of politics and diplomacy, would believe her actions made no sense. But this was no ordinary child. Fynch was special in his serious, deep-thinking manner. Heunderstood all too well, but that did not mean he felt any comfort in his understanding.

She did not want to lose his companionship, but it seemed the day just gone had risen solely to bring loss to her life.

King Celimus, she realized, kicking off her blankets with irritation, would probably be close to the border by now, possibly even crossing into Morgravia. She had no doubt spies would keep him updated on Briavel's events, and her standoff with Koreldy would be high on the list of missives. It suddenly occurred to her that the King might have Romen tracked down upon hearing this news. Surely Romen would be cautious? He had been warned that to set foot into Morgravia was to risk certain execution. Failing his own good sense, she trusted that her own Commander Liryk would counsel Romen. Hopefully they had ridden through the night and would be headed north, back to where he had come from.

"Where Cailech, King of the Mountains, awaits him," she whispered sorrowfully.

The last time Valentyna had cried passionately was over her father and the time before that when she had fallen from a horse a decade ago. She considered herself resilient, but silent, heavy tears won now as she accepted the enormity of her orders. Romen had nowhere to go. Briavel represented safety. Beyond its borders to the north and west, people wanted to kill him. The south offered only ocean, no comfort. To the east, only fear in the little-known Wild. Fynch knew it too. That was the reason for the accusation in that chilling final glance he had given her.

It spoke of betrayed friendships.

And he was right. What had Romen been thinking during that swordfight! It was clear that he had meant to kill Celimus, and then where but in intense danger would that have left Briavel?

Romen knew how precarious her predicament had been. What had been his intention? She had not had a chance to consider it, in truth. She had not had the luxury of opportunity to think it through; she had been forced to react, and swiftly, in the only way that a monarch in her situation could have done. She knew her decision was politically correct, but this reassurance was cold comfort.

Her heart ached. She loved Romen and she had sent him away . . . not just away in fact, for expulsion had more serious implications. Briavel no longer recognized him as friend. Romen Koreldy would not be permitted to set so much as a toe inside Briavel. If recognized, he would be captured and imprisoned. Her actions had trapped him. Whichever way he turned; whichever borders he finally crossed, he was as doomed as their new and fragile love.

Valentyna twisted beneath her remaining sheet, banishing thoughts of his touch, which brought a new kind of ache to her body. She would have given herself gladly to him that night before the tourney, but his was the voice of calm among the waves of passion. It was Romen who pulled back, Romen who made her see the reason for holding on to the most precious commodity for a new queen.

Virginity was wealth, he had counseled. More importantly, it was power. A virgin queen was an irresistible magnet for appropriate suitors. Except she wanted no husband . . . not unless it was Koreldy.

She rubbed her tired but stubborn eyes and sat up. This would not do. Pulling on a soft robe to ward off the chill, Valentyna moved to the window and looked out toward the dark woodland she loved so much.

"It might work," she murmured as an idea gathered resonance in her thoughts. She could meet him somewhere outside of Briavel's borders. Somewhere safe, where they could rendezvous in secret. If only she could feel his kiss just once more, it would be enough, she told herself naively, hardly believing it herself.

Blood and Memory
The Quickening Book Two
. Copyright © by Fiona McIntosh. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Fiona McIntosh was raised in the U.K. but left London to explore the world and found herself in Australia, where she fell in love with the country and one person in particular. She has since roamed the planet for her work in the travel industry but now writes full-time and continues to draw inspiration from her travels. McIntosh lives with her husband and teenage sons, splitting her time between city life in South Australia and the wilderness of Tasmania.

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4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
EZ-BOOKER More than 1 year ago
Blood and Memory continues to amaze me with still more fine tuned and believable characters that you will love or hate and the unique plot continues with surprises from one page to the next. What more can I say...if you have read Myrren's Gift then you just have to know what happens next and what a pleasure it is in just finding out.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow. I enjoyed Myrren's Gift, and thought that even the sequel would not be able to top it. I was wrong. This is a fast paced novel that leaves you guessing due to all its twists and turns. Although it is a tad gory it is easy to look over it and become absorbed in the plot. A must read for any fantasy lover!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the first book in the series Myrren's Gift and I think McIntosh has an amazing ability to decide what the worst thing that could happen to someone is and then make the main character, Wyl, experience it. The book was filled with drama and the events were bloody, terrible, and extremely tragic, but McIntosh's almost childish way of writing ruined some of the conversations between characters and alot of the story was unconnected.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fiona Mcintosh has a special talent of making her books unpredictable. Which hooked me to her series. And im sure this book will please others as it pleased me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i finished the book and thought it was amazing!!! the quickening isnt always letting the good guy win. Its so sad and so much death. i loved it thought. bride of souls the conclusion to this fine series will be avaliable in 2006, wish it wouldnt end!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Kept alive by the magic of the Quickening, warrior Wyl Thirsk witnessed ruthless King Celimus of Morgravia kill Myrren the Witch; the person who gave him his paranormal skill to switch bodies. He vows vengeance while he resides inside his third body that of Faryl the female assassin. Romen Koreldy had killed Wyl¿s body, which due to Myrren¿s Quickening enabled the deceased to move his soul inside his ¿conqueror¿. When Faryl killed Wyl¿s second body that once belonging to Romen, he moved inside her flesh. In each case he kept his memories expanded by that of the body he uses. King Celimus plans to conquer neighboring Briavel either by marrying Queen Valentyna or invasion. Concluding that her country will be slaughtered in a war, Valentyna ponders marriage to the insane abusive Celimus, which she believes would be worse than death, but also fears the outcome to her people if the vicious soldiers of Morgravia attacked. Wyl continues his search for his sister, his desire to return to his beloved beleaguered queen, his need to kill Celimus, and finally trying to understand the Quickening. --- This terrific dark fantasy will get fans to believe in sorcery especially the Quickening but to better understand what is going on especially with the magic, new readers should start with book one, MYRENN¿S GIFT. The story line is action-packed as Celimus puts in motion his scheme to annex his neighbor while Wyl in a female¿s body (interesting psychological twist) struggles with several potentially conflicting objectives. Readers will question his thinking skills because he makes the same fundamental errors which places him in unnecessary jeopardy, but that cranks up the excitement so that the audience has a fabulous saga to follow. --- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
c mon. i read the first book and it was good. The Quickening is an excellent series of drama and action. I cant wait till this comes out... ima read this and then read Eldest