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Eyes of Silver
     

Eyes of Silver

4.6 3
by Michael A. Stackpole
 

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From one of the most exciting new voices in fantasy fiction comes a spellbinding epic of adventure and mystery, intrigue and magic....

Eight centuries ago, the legendary Keerana Dost conquered a vast empire.  Now younger nations battle for the remnants of his realm.  As the turmoil spreads, princes and spies, priests and heretics are drawn

Overview

From one of the most exciting new voices in fantasy fiction comes a spellbinding epic of adventure and mystery, intrigue and magic....

Eight centuries ago, the legendary Keerana Dost conquered a vast empire.  Now younger nations battle for the remnants of his realm.  As the turmoil spreads, princes and spies, priests and heretics are drawn into the fray.  Nomad leader Rafiq Khast fights to reclaim his homeland and avenge his family honor.  Princess Natalya undertakes a journey for love and finds herself standing alone against forces that could shatter her nation.  And the warrior-priest Malachy Kidd, blinded in combat years before, finds himself holding the fate of the world in his hands, using his powerful battlemagicks in service to his god...protecting a figure who may be the very devil himself.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Also by Michael A. Stackpole:

Once A Hero

"A magnificent tale! A page turner."
—Dennis L. McKiernan

"Enough action, adventure, and romance to satisfy the most demanding."
—Roger Zelazny

Talion: Revenant

"Displays intelligence, originality, superior narrative technique...and that most essential of all qualities—the impetus to keep the reader turning pages."
—Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553762785
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/01/1998
Pages:
468
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Royal Military Seminary
Sandwycke, Bettenshire
Ilbeoria
15 Arcan 1687

As he walked through the library, hugging a bound volume of maps to his chest, Robert Drury found the stares of the other students unsettling.  He'd been much older than most when he entered Sandwycke—much bigger as well—and had even been a veteran of the Lescari War; so being stared at wasn't something he found uncommon.  Those sorts of stares had died away over his four years at the seminary, so their renewal, especially in the library and at that moment, meant only one thing.

Robin sighed.  You must have really gone and done it this time, Uriah.  He frowned and that broke off a number of stares, save the positively icy glare from Brother Lucas.  Robin offered him a weak smile, which prompted the old priest to shake his head and turn away.

Without knocking, Robin opened the door to the small study chamber he'd reserved.  A long, lanky, loose-limbed youth with a shock of red hair sat sprawled between two chairs.  He'd slumped down in one enough that his shoulder blades were pressed against the seat; the second chair served as a platform for his thighs.  Uriah held two little painted blocks of wood, one in each hand, and rammed them together, vocalizing a sound that approximated the roar of a steam cannon firing a volley.

Robin's eyes narrowed.  "Interesting exercise in tactical abstraction, Cadet Smith."

The wooden blocks flew as Uriah started, then grabbed for some portion of either chair to keep him from falling.  He failed, tipping over the chair beneath his thighs and letting the other one skid noisily to the wall.  The little blocks, painted to represent military units, danced around him as he crashed to the floor, then he looked up at Robin, anger gathering on his face.

"You scared me!"

"Uriah, you've been scaring me every single day we've been working on this project together." Robin set his book of maps down on the corner of the sand table in the center of the room.  A boxy affair, it was open at the top and filled with sand that could be shaped into the terrain of any battlefield in the world.  "I expected you to have our terrain ready."

Uriah climbed to his feet, then picked up the two wooden blocks.  He set them with others on the edge of the sand table.  "I couldn't do the terrain without those maps, could I?"

"You could have gotten started." Robin pointed to the troop designator blocks.  "After all, you weren't busy painting up the troops the way I asked you to."

Uriah shrugged.  "Why should I? Brother Lucas had them in his stores.  He looked at me funny when he handed them over, but he always looks at me funny."

Robin shook his head.  "You realize, of course, that Brother Lucas will give Captain Irons a list of the troops we requested, and that means he'll know we're doing a hypothetical for our Tactics seminar project."

"Does it matter? We're not doing a battle using his Cathedral Lancers, so he's bound to grade us down anyway."

Robin held up his hands.  "Why don't you think about what you just said while you get the terrain ready?" He opened the book of maps and held it up for Uriah to study.  "I want it exact."

"Okay." Uriah nodded, then waved the book away.

Robin raised an eyebrow.  "Study it, Uriah.  Apply yourself a bit.  'Exact' doesn't mean 'kind of close.'"

Uriah's green eyes narrowed.  "I said, Cadet Drury, I have it.  I have a facility for memorizing images, remember? That's one of the reasons I'm in your Advanced Tactics seminar even though this is only my third year here."

"Okay, do it." Robin closed the book.  "Sooner rather than later."

Uriah pretended he'd not heard that last remark.  Using a yard-long board, he smoothed the sand table's surface and leveled the sand over the table's six-foot length.  Yawning, he swept a hank of red hair back from his eyes, then dug the board in at the far end of the table.  Working the board forward and up, he heaped sand at the nearer end.  Finally, with his hands, he built up a little mound to dominate the near end.

Brushing his hands one against the other to rid them of sand, he shrugged.  "That's as close as I need for Jebel Quirana and its environs."

"I'm still waiting for exact, Uriah."

"And exact you'll get." The younger man then closed his eyes and placed his hands on two well-worn spots on the side of the table.  He whispered a prayer to Saint Jerome, the patron saint of libraries and librarians, then gave one short, crisp nod.

The spell he invoked, though common and not very powerful, still caused a bluish incandescence to pour like mist from the nimbus surrounding his hands.  It bled out to ring the table, then flowed foglike over the beige sand.  As it sank in, the light shifted the sand, pulling some parts down and pushing others up.  Where Uriah had left a rounded mound, Jebel Quirana appeared as a flat-topped mesa with its cliff sides etched in sharp relief.  The fog even formed sand into the image of the city of Helor, though the mountain dwarfed it and the scale did not allow for much complexity aside from the shape of the walls.

Robin reopened the book and stared at the map he'd shown Uriah.  Everything matched, from the broad valley that rose at the southeast end on up to where the cylindrical mountain stood with a city built at its base on the north side.  The cartography was not particularly spectacular, but the contour lines gave a good idea of the slope of the land, and Uriah had matched things perfectly.

Robin closed the book and sighed.  He knew the same spell Uriah had used, and was capable of wielding it with similar skill, but he would have had to section the table off and work on parts of it individually were he to get that sort of detail, studying the map all the while.  What he does without even breaking a sweat would take me nigh unto forever.

"Great job, Uriah." Robin shook his head.  "Given the nature of the battle we're simulating, the scale is too big to encompass the final stages of the battle—the siege of the city of Helor itself—but this will work perfectly for the preliminary stages."

"It's exact enough for you, then?"

"Definitely."

"I hope your city of Helor is up to your standards."

"My city of Helor? You're doing that map, too."

Uriah frowned.  "Why am I doing all the work?"

"Ha!" Robin blinked his eyes and stared incredulously at Uriah.  "This is the first work you've done on this project.  If you actually worked hard on it we'd have been done a month ago."

"You're forgetting who translated all those Stranan unit histories for you."

"Uriah, your mother was Stranan; you learned the language while she dandled you on her knee.  You translated those histories, but I was the guy who dug around and determined which histories you'd be working on, remember?"

The younger man nodded.  "I remember."

"Good." Robin set the map book down again.  "At least Irons won't be able to mark us off for the terrain in our presentation.  I wish, though, you'd done as I asked and not let it slip that we were doing a hypothetical."

"I stand by my previous remark.  We're not doing one of the Cathedral Lancer battles from the Lescari War, so Irons will hate what we're doing anyway.  Why worry about it being a hypothetical?"

"Irons has a particular hatred of hypothetical battles, Uriah."

"You, doing something to provoke an instructor?" Uriah's green eyes filled with mischief.  "I guess your working with me on this project has warped you."

"For someone who is so damned smart, you see a lot less than even Colonel Kidd." Robin rubbed his scarred hands over his face.  "I'm not trying to provoke Irons, but I don't see any value in doing a project that hundreds of other cadets have done." And if I had chosen such a project and picked you as my partner, you would have had absolutely zero work to do, which you would have gladly accepted.

The younger man sighed heavily and began to pace the width of the small lantern-lit room.  "Rob, you're a Firstie and you're a cadet company commander.  You've got everything going for you.  You'll be getting out of here come graduation a month hence.  Now I've got one more year here—"

"If they don't bounce you out of here after this term."

Uriah's nose wrinkled with disgust as a hint of fear trickled into his voice.  "And doing a hypothetical isn't going to improve my chances of staying, is it?"

Robin smiled, his dark eyes flashing.  "Can't hurt them.  At least with a hypothetical, Irons and the others will know we were using our brains."

Uriah sighed.  "True.  But I don't think it will make that much difference to him."

"I'm counting on the fact that you've actually applied yourself to stun him with surprise."

"I see you're working hard in your Witticism seminar, as well."

Uriah pointed toward the door and the library beyond.  "There are plenty of battles we could have used for our project and shown Irons we were capable of thinking—and the chance for you to be graded down would have been much less.  Many of the battles have been done before so we know where the holes in tactics and strategy are and we can plug them easily.  All we have to do is pick one of these and you'll get the grade you need to get you on the Saint Michael."

"And you'll somehow convince yourself that warfare can be just as easy, just as simple, when you're commanding the Saint Michael."

"I don't think that's your problem, Robin."

"You're going into the same service I am, so it is my problem.  And here, you're my partner, so it's even more of my problem." The older man folded his arms across his chest.  "Sandwycke isn't going to send you away if I have anything to do with it.  Your father wanted you here.  You're in the accelerated group because your ability to wield magic is strong and because you're so smart.  To lose you would be a blow to the service."

"Not as big a one as you might think.  Besides, my father is dead and my brother has other uses for me."

"It doesn't matter that your brother is now the Duke of Carvenshire.  The Church knows your value here.  Your brother may want to marry you off to someone to seal an alliance, but his wishes amount to little when opposed by the Church."

"That's Tybalt, but you forget that my brother Graham is a priest and he has Cardinal Garrow's ear.  If they start working together and if Tybalt stops the grant my father gave me to pay for my training .  .  ."

"If, if—you're worrying about hypotheticals." Robin shook his head.  "Only a fool worries himself about hypotheticals."

Uriah exaggerated a laugh and pointed at the sand table.  "Which brings us back to the wisdom of this one."

"This isn't a hypothetical, it's a reality that hasn't happened yet." Robin flipped his big book open and shifted through the yellowed pages.

"You really think this will happen, that Strana will attack Helor and try to dominate Helansajar?"

"Do you expect the sun to come up tomorrow?"

Uriah nodded.  "Yes, and much too early for my tastes, too."

"I saw that coming.  You'll need to apply yourself in your Witticism seminar next year, too." Robin leaned on the edges of the sand table.  "Let's get the troops deployed.  We've got to get this right, or Irons will have a field day with us."

Meet the Author

Michael A. Stackpole is still an award-winning game designer, computer game designer and writer who is uncomfortable about this third-person bio thing. Not much has changed since the last bio, actually, except there is a third dog in the house: Saint, the great-grandson of Ruthless and the great-grandnephew of Ember, the other two dogs living here. Growing up in Vermont, Mike only ever had one dog at a time in the house, but if all three of these Cardigan Welsh Corgis were piled into one dog, they would equal the Labrador with which he grew up.

Mike still plays soccer on weekends and is on a team with players who do all sorts of things to make him look really good. He's still riding his mountain bike—the more he rides it, the less of a mountain he becomes.

By the time you're reading this, he should have finished his final X-wing book. He'll also have finished scripting bunches of the X-wing Rogue Squadron comic from Dark Horse, which he finds to be a lot of fun. And, after all, if you can't have fun writing, there is absolutely no reason to do it—it's too much hard work otherwise. His next big project is an epic fantasy series for Bantam called the Dragoncrown War and he's really looking forward to it.

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Eyes of Silver 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very good book, but quite different from Stackpole's usual fare. How? The pacing is off (the book starts quite slow, which is odd for Stackpole), the universe wasn't fleshed out as straight-forwardly as he usually manages (I couldn't keep track of all the nations and their connections until about a quarter through the book), and there are religious overtones, which I've never seen in a Stackpole novel (I liked them and thought they worked, but I suppose *someone* might be put off by it for whatever reason). The latter fits quite well with the fact that most of the nations have some sort of parallel to a real-world nation (something else I haven't seen from Stackpole before), but I know some people who are put off by all things remotely religious, so I mention it anyway, for whatever it's worth. Don't misunderstand, it's a very good book, just different from most of Stackpole's novels. I'd still recommend it to Stackpole fans and fantasy fans looking for a good book, but if you've never read Stackpole before, pick up a copy of 'Talion: Revenant' or 'Once a Hero' (if you can find it--I can't imagine why 'Once a Hero' went out of print) first. They're simply amazing novels. Plus, if you're on a budget, 'Talion' is in mass-market paperback format (and still in print), so it's cheaper.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great story. There is a lot of background information at the outset, but it is necessary because of the way Stackpole weaves a fantastic and complex tale. So, stick with it and you won't be disappointed. There is a lot of sage like wisdom hidden between the lines, that enlightens the reader and challanges them as they go along. A great read. ENJOY!