Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

House Name (House War Series #3)

House Name (House War Series #3)

4.8 13
by Michelle West

See All Formats & Editions

Jewel Markess and her den of street children have been given shelter in House Terafin. The price for them to remain there is that Jewel must prove her value to the House.

Jewel has been assigned the task of finding entryways to the ancient undercity that lies beneath the streest of the empire's capital. But even with the aid of the most powerful First Circle Mage of


Jewel Markess and her den of street children have been given shelter in House Terafin. The price for them to remain there is that Jewel must prove her value to the House.

Jewel has been assigned the task of finding entryways to the ancient undercity that lies beneath the streest of the empire's capital. But even with the aid of the most powerful First Circle Mage of the Order of Knowledge, Jewel's search seems hopeless.

All of the ways into the undercity seem to be magically disappearing before Jewel can lead the mage to them. And if they can't find a means to reach the undercity, they will not be able to prevent the demon kin from achieving whatever they are planning.

Then the unthinkable happens -- a direct attack on House Terafin -- and suddenly the stakes are raised to a whole new level....

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The power and majesty of the series is in the characters, although the world itself is extraordinary. This is really a tale of people living with harrowing experiences and situations and persevering. The House War series is timeless and clearly takes it place at the top of its genre. It is a full-bodied piece of work that is satisfying, intriguing and thought-provoking."
—Bitten By Books

"Some say Michelle West has been propelled into the ranks of George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb -- I say that she's been there all along and it's about time she was noticed as such."
—Night Owl Reviews

"This is simply a compelling story with riveting and finely wrought characters that will keep you up well into the night.... It's simply a great read, don't miss it."

Product Details

Publication date:
House War Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.28(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.59(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

22nd of Scaral, 410 A.A.Undercity, Averalaan

Sor Na Shannen was incandescent with rage; had light been required for the kin to see, she would have nonetheless been visible in the night of the ruins, so potent was her fury. Stray strands of ebony hair flew, limned in blue and red.

“Sor Na Shannen.” It was Lord Isladar who spoke. Even Karathis was silent.

She wheeled, her hands now shaped in fists, the perfect length of her nails also glittering with traces of dark light. She waited for his anger, his accusation, or the cool tones of his mockery; failure, if it did not destroy, had other consequences. She was not of a mind to accept them with grace.

But he was Lord Isladar, the least predictable of the Kialli lords. “We have been prepared for discovery for some time. It has come later, rather than earlier.” He glanced at Lord Karathis, who nodded.

“Ariane has . . . disturbed the gate; she is now aware of what she faces. Whether or not she can intervene again remains to be seen—but it is my suspicion that she cannot.” He knelt; the marble into which she had driven her sword was cracked, and the crack ran the length of the polished stone from one side of the coliseum to the other. “We have failed in our attempt to take House Terafin, but it was never necessary; it would have been convenient, no more.”

“It would have given us the opportunity,” Karathis cut in, his voice rumbling and crackling, “to destroy the god-born in the heart of their own domain. With their destruction, the Empire would have been in chaos just as the Lord emerged.”

Isladar nodded; that had, indeed, been the plan. It was not, however, the first time a plan would be frustrated; nor was it likely to be the last. Individually, mortals were beneath notice. This was an acknowledged truth. But in the aggregate? They were powerful and capable. This second truth, however, was less acknowledged, and when it was, in however reluctant a way, it was qualified: The god-born were mortal, but they bore the blood of the gods.

“We will not now have that opportunity,” Isladar continued softly. “But it was never required.” He tendered the enraged demon a brief nod. “We have what we require, if we are careful, and if your servitors can be kept in check.

“We will begin, Karathis and I, to close the ways.”

“We will not now have Scarran,” she said, grudging the slower burn of her rage.

“We will. The damage done by the Winter Queen will require the whole of the darkest night to repair. Can you do it?” he asked. It was a challenge.

But it was, as well, a gift, and it mollified her. “Yes.”

“Then stay; we must go in haste. Tell us only what you know of the entrances that Ararath once used to wander these streets; it is there we will go first.”

“Does it matter? If they are found, we will merely add to the numbers of sacrifices required to dedicate the standing ground at the ceremony’s close.”

Isladar’s silence was not gratifying. But, inasmuch as a Kialli lord could be, he had been gracious. She waited. “It matters,” he finally said. “If, by unforeseen circumstance, one such mortal should escape, the Kings will know.”

“They will know now,” she snarled.

Isladar chuckled. “You have been decades in your dance among mortals of power,” he pointed out. “But you have not observed The Ten or their relationship with the Kings closely. I do not believe that it is so simple an affair as that. I believe that The Terafin will ask for—will indeed require—proof, before she approaches the Kings. Yes, if she chooses to do so without proof, they will hear her, and they will listen. But it might be politically costly for Terafin to do so.

“It is therefore urgent that we find, and seal off, all entrances that Ararath used before his death. Or,” he added, “all of the entrances gleaned from his thoughts before his death. They will be the most common, I think, and will also be the first searched.

“We must give them nothing.”

22nd of Scaral, 410 A.A.

Healerie, House Terafin, Averalaan Aramarelas

Arann woke in the late afternoon.

The slightly rounded ceiling of the healerie was the first thing he expected to see, and when he opened his eyes, it was there.

Although he’d never been in this room before, he knew it almost as well as he knew the den’s apartment. He knew where the beds were laid out; he knew, as well, what the cupboards, recessed along the far wall, contained. He knew the women—and men—who had learned their craft from Alowan. He knew that Alowan, almost revered in Terafin, had steadfastly refused to take the House Name, and he even knew why: A House Name was a political statement, a statement of allegiance. Alowan’s allegiance was to life, in all its forms, and more, to the preservation of life. Healer-born, and scarred by his talent—more than most—he had nonetheless chosen to serve. But service to The Terafin was not, in the end, service to the House. It was, in its entirety, service to the woman. Amarais Handernesse ATerafin.

Alowan had healed her, just as he had healed Arann. And he had left her, just as he had left Arann, bereft and on the shoals of life, as if life were an unexpected burden.

But she had borne it. She had accepted the gift, and in return, she had offered Alowan the healerie for as long as he was willing to stay within her walls. She had offered him the House Name, but she had never expected him to accept it. And he had not disappointed, in the end.

Arann knew Alowan’s life.

Alowan knew Arann’s.


He glanced down from the curve of a ceiling beyond which the sun shone cool in the coming Scaral evening. Finch was seated beside his bed, her face pale, her hair clean and bound above her face. She wasn’t Jay; tendrils didn’t escape to cover her eyes.

She wore a pale cream dress with a simple belt; he couldn’t see her feet, but it didn’t matter. He reached for her with his left hand, and she met him halfway with both of hers. He tried not to crush her fingers.

She tried not to notice when he failed.


She nodded. “Jay told me to tell you—” she hesitated. “There was trouble, in the House.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “A mage came. There was magic. And Jay says . . . something tried to kill The Terafin.”


She nodded. “It looked like Rath.” She glanced around the empty room. “I’m not supposed to upset you. Or talk much, really.”

He nodded. Waited. Neither of them had ever been big talkers, and it was always awkward when two quiet people had no loud buffers between them.

“We’re not sure what happened. Jay’s going to talk with The Terafin tonight.” Drawing a breath, she added, “The Terafin’s given us rooms here. Big rooms. And our own kitchen. And an old guy, Ellerson. I think he’s one of the servants.” She hesitated and then added, “But his only job right now is us.”

Arann nodded again.

“Jay will come later if Alowan lets her in.”

“He will.”

She hesitated and then asked, “Should I stay?”

He nodded again and closed his eyes. After a few minutes, he said, “I think this is a good place.”

“The healerie?”

“The House.”


He shook his head. “The Terafin.”


“What she wants isn’t that different from what Jay wants.”

“Jay wants to protect the rest of us.”

“She wants to protect the things she loves. Right now, that’s only us.” Arann opened his eyes. “But it won’t always be only us.” He glanced at the ceiling again, at the small cracks there. “Jay thinks she failed,” he said quietly. “Because of Lefty.”

Finch didn’t mention the others by name, but he felt the small accusation in her silence. “What do you think?”

Coming from Finch, the question surprised him enough that he pushed himself up the headboard into a seated position. He didn’t, however, let go of Finch’s hand, so the shift in position dragged her half out of her chair.

“I think she failed,” he said, after a long pause. “She failed Lefty.”

Before Finch could find words—and it was pretty clear she was searching for them—he added, “But it wasn’t her fault. All of us failed him. He’s gone,” he added.



She didn’t ask him how he knew. She knew where he had almost gone.

“I was so angry, Finch. I was so angry. At myself. At Jay. At everything.” He forced himself to release her hand, to lay his, white and trembling, against the coverlet across his lower body. “But we don’t fail if we don’t try. Jay will always try. She won’t always succeed.”


“It’s better to try. Because she won’t always fail, either.” He looked at Finch, then. Finch, who, like Arann, was still alive.

“Yes,” a new voice said, and Finch turned to see Alowan, standing in the arch that separated the arboretum from the beds. “She will not always fail.”

Arann tensed. He couldn’t help that. But he didn’t try to stand; he didn’t try to go to the old healer.

“Tell me about your Jay,” Alowan said quietly. His voice carried; there was nothing to break it. Even breath was almost silent in this place.

Finch glanced at Arann.

Arann said, “He knows what I know. He’s not asking me.”

Alowan grimaced slightly but nodded. “Tell me, Finch, about the first time you met Jay.”

Finch hesitated. But Alowan’s age and the peaceful wisdom he radiated couldn’t be reduced to simple threat; it couldn’t be ignored as distant authority. “Why?” she asked, at last.

“She reminds me of someone, I think. And I would like to know what you see in her.”

Finch spread her hands. “She’s Jay. She saved my life.”

“And you stayed with her?”

“I had nowhere else to go.” She hesitated again and then added, “But even if I had, I would have wanted to stay with her.”


“Because she’s Jay. She knows things. She believes in things. I think she wants to change the world. I know I can’t, not by myself—but if I stay with her, I might be able to help.”

“Does she know this?”

“I don’t know. It’s never seemed important to her. Why we stay, I mean. I don’t know if she really questions it.”

Alowan nodded, as if that answer satisfied him. “She doesn’t question it; she is young, and she is not yet what she will be. But it is there.”

It was dark, and the moon’s light filtered through the arboretum, silvering leaves and hanging plants, by the time Teller came to relieve Finch.

“Jay’s back,” he whispered. He glanced at Arann, who was sleeping.

“He sleeps a lot,” Finch told him, as she vacated her chair. “But so does Alowan.”

“Alowan’s old.”

She nodded. “But . . . I like him.”

Teller smiled. He took Arann’s hand from hers and settled in. “Jay’ll come in the morning. She’s cleared the kitchen,” he added, with just the hint of a smile.

“How did Ellerson take it?”

“About as well as she expected.”

Finch’s grimace was delicate.

“Did she speak with The Terafin?”

Teller nodded. “The Terafin offered her two solarii a day.”

Finch couldn’t whistle, and she seldom regretted the lack. She did make the attempt, now, and it fell into a quiet huff of breath, as it always did. “For what?” She was wary, but she wasn’t entirely suspicious. Just a little. They would always have that “little” when dealing with the powerful.

“Work.” Teller hesitated. “We’re not entirely certain what she wants, but she said—” he glanced at Finch. “Maybe you should go back to the wing and let Jay explain.”

“She won’t say anything you don’t.” They both knew that Teller’s memory was better. He was, as far as they had one, a keeper of records, a minihistorian. It was Teller who transcribed Jay’s dreams.

“Jay says The Terafin wants proof that the undercity exists. She—The Terafin—sent people out to explore Rath’s place and the subbasement. They found nothing.”

Finch frowned. “In the basement?”

He nodded. “Nothing at all.”

“But we’ve used that entrance—”

“About a hundred times. They couldn’t find it.”

“Maybe they—”

“Jay thinks it wasn’t there.”

“How could a hole that size just—just disappear?”

Teller shrugged. He reached over and touched Arann’s forehead with the back of his hand before nodding and returning to his chair. “Probably magic,” he told her, still gazing at Arann’s sleeping face. “We almost lost him.”

Finch touched his shoulder gently.

“We lost Duster.”

She had saved Finch’s life. Finch said nothing, waiting.

“Jay wants to find the body if she can.”


“Bury it. Have a funeral. She says we’ll never find the others.”

“Did she say when?”

Teller shook his head. “But she’s serious about the work for The Terafin. Because The Terafin promised two things in exchange for the work. The money.”


“We get to stay. Here, in the wing, while Jay works.”

“And when she’s done?”

“If she can prove her value to the House and to The Terafin, we—” He swallowed. “We get to stay.”


“She’ll offer Jay the House Name.”

Silence then. Of all the things they’d been foolish enough to hope for, to dream of, in the streets of the twenty-fifth, in an apartment that was smaller than their single rooms, becoming ATerafin wasn’t one of them. “Jay won’t look for Duster,” Finch said quietly.

Teller nodded. Even in the gentle dark, his face was expressionless. “She’s practical,” he said softly. “While there’s any chance that she can do this, that she can prove she’s useful, she’ll concentrate on that to the exclusion of almost everything else.”

“What does she want us to do?”

“She hasn’t said. Angel’s biting through walls,” he added, “because Jay’s going to be searching—on her own—with the mage. He asked to go, and she said no.”

“Did she take Carver?”

“She’s taking no one.”

“So . . . we’re supposed to sit around in our rooms and wait?”

Teller nodded.

“We’ve done worse.”

“I told Angel that.”

“He wasn’t impressed.”

“Not much.” Teller hesitated again and then added, “She’s lost too much. She can’t stop, and she can’t think about it. This is better, for her.”

Finch agreed. But the presence of a mage—a known mage—made her uneasy. “I’ll go back,” she told him and turned toward the arch.


She paused.

“Talk to the others. Talk to Ellerson.”

“What should I—” she stopped. “I will. Watch Arann. He’s really, really lonely,” she added, searching for words and finding all of them inadequate.

“It’s the healing,” Teller replied softly.

She wanted to ask him how he knew. But she didn’t; he was Teller.

“Rath told me once.” He paused and then added, “Rath’s dead.”

So much death. So much death to bring them to the edge of House Terafin, upon the Isle.

She surprised herself when she spoke. “Let’s make it mean something.” Looking back, she saw that she had his attention. “The deaths,” she said. “Let’s make them count.”

“For what?”

“For anything, Teller. Duster died so the rest of us could live. Let’s make it count.”

“You sound like Jay.”

“There are worse things to sound like.” They both smiled, and she turned then and left the room, pausing for a moment to dip her fingers into ripples of moon-dappled water in the arboretum’s fountain.

Meet the Author

Michelle West is the author of three interconnected series: The Sacred Hunt duology, the six-volume Sun Sword series, and The House War novels. She has published numerous short stories and fantasy novels under her maiden name, Michelle Sagara. She was a two-time nominee for the Campbell Award. She works part-time at BAKKA Books, one of Toronto's larger bookstores, and writes a column for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. She can be contacted via her website, michellesagara.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

House Name 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
ElizabethT More than 1 year ago
This is a great read and I highly recommend it, but after this book Jewel is also in another series called The Sun Sword Series, from at least the fist three books in that series. I have not read that series so it was a bit of a surprise to go from book three to book four and find out that she was in a different series that went in between those two books. I just wanted to warn anyone who likes to read in a direct timeline.
bobo15 More than 1 year ago
i highly recommed this book to anyone who reads either science fiction or fantasy. d Klatt
Austriana More than 1 year ago
Just in case anyone was wondering, Michelle West has said on her website that an e-book will be released. She doesn't know when yet, but hopefully soon!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the Essaylieyan Empire capital, Averalaan, Jewel "Jay" MarkessA has survived being an orphan in the slums thanks in part to her "mentor" Old Rath the demon slayer who taught her how to live off the treasures beneath the mean surface streets. She has formed a den of discarded children in Rath's home and struggles to feed her charges; but her life and that of her pups appeared to improve when the most powerful of the Essaylieyan Empire ruling Houses, Terafin take Jewel and her den rats under their protection with the stipulation she must pay the price. Jewel proves her worth when she prevented a demonic assassination of the Terafin ruler. That proves easy compared to what the House leaders assign her next. With demon kin planning something deadly, they order her to escort their mages on the magical pathways into the hidden Undercity where the demons reside. Initially Jewel assumed this is easy thanks to her relationship with Rath, but each portal vanishes just before Jewel reaches them. Jewel fears that her den will be deported back to the slums. The visions she sees adds to Jewel's feelings of hopelessness when failure is not an option, but success seems impossible as she expects the improbable of an all out demon kin assault on the House of Terafin, but does not know how to prevent what seems inevitable. The third book of the House Wars saga is an exciting entry that continues to tell the events of the Sun Sword epic from the primary perspective of Jewel. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action, but lacks the freshness of the first two tales especially The Hidden City; as fans of Michelle West will sense déjà vu. Still following the adventures of Jewel remains a delight. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader of all genres it is great to find an author who writes a good story. I highly recommend
Gaviota More than 1 year ago
I think the most amazing thing in the West series is the facility that West has in creating believable characters and believable worlds. Once you start with her books they become addictive. check her website and you will discover the incredible number of fans willing to discuss the books, read them again and again, and discuss them with Michelle. I find it amazing how can an author go from a world created with an orphan, in the middle of poverty within a city, ends up with early skirmishes with demon creatures, and from there goes to the highest level of money and power in a big city. The heroine comes from orphan and poorest level, mix with kings, sons of gods, powerful magicians, and raises to become a powerful woman. All believable. If you are confused with the other series where Jewel is also a character, Michelle's website provides an explanation and a transition. Look for it; she and readers explain the best way to read these connecting masterpieces. You are in for a wonderful ride.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Michelle Sagara always gets it right
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago