The sequel to 2006's Heir of Autumnis another tangle of convoluted plots, age-old grudges and old-fashioned empire building seasoned with plenty of sex and violence. Eighteen years earlier, heroic young Brophy sacrificed himself to save the kingdom of Ohndarien, submitting to an endless sleep of terrible dreams induced by a curse called the black emmeria. Since then, the best efforts of sex-magic sorceress Shara have been unable to free him. But then Arefaine Morgeon, the ambitious teenage sorceress revered as a goddess in the kingdom of Ohohhim (the Opal empire), Ohndarien's rivalmanages to awaken Brophy. She convinces him to come away with her to the ruined magical city of Efften, where he will finally be free of the taint of the black emmeria. If the Opal empire gains the magical powers of Efften, however, Ohndarien will fall. Carwyn and Fahnestock keep the plot and onslaught of characters churning forward; fantasy readers who missed the first book in the seriesand even some who didn'twill find it a challenge to keep up. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Mistress of Winterby Giles Carwyn
Years ago, Brophy, the Heir of Autumn, sacrificed himself to save Ohndarien from the insidious Black Emmeria. Ever since, his beloved Shara has spent her life trying to free Brophy from the ensorcelled dreams that keep the ancient terror at bay. But her struggle is all for naught, until the mysterious Arefaine Morgeon returns with the key to releasing the/em>
Years ago, Brophy, the Heir of Autumn, sacrificed himself to save Ohndarien from the insidious Black Emmeria. Ever since, his beloved Shara has spent her life trying to free Brophy from the ensorcelled dreams that keep the ancient terror at bay. But her struggle is all for naught, until the mysterious Arefaine Morgeon returns with the key to releasing the trapped hero. Yet, once woken, Brophy has been twisted into a vicious monster after years of tormented dreams.
Heartbroken and betrayed, Shara buries her broken heart in a single-minded quest for pleasure and prestige in the Summer Isles, until she is forced into a deadly clash with a sadistic mage whose power comes from pain and humiliation. In the struggle that follows, both Shara and Brophy will be tested to the limits as they fight to save Ohndarien.
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Mistress of Winter
Ossamyr's father called her a queen the day she left home.
She could still see the frightened little man kneeling before her in the vast foyer of his new home. His wispy hair hung limp over sunken cheeks still pallid from his long imprisonment. The emaciated man wore the blue, feathered cloak she'd just bought for him. It made him look like a very expensive scarecrow.
"Thank you, my daughter," he'd whispered to her feet. "You bring honor to us all."
His words were sincere, but the depth of his bow could not hide the look of relief—and pity—in his eyes.
That was Ossamyr's wedding day, the day she had sold herself into royalty. She'd done it to save her family, to save that shadow of a man from the Wet Cells. She'd lied, seduced, betrayed, and murdered her way into the bed of a man she despised. And when she reached that bed, she had put on a performance the likes of which the king had never seen.
Ossamyr closed her eyes against her memories, plagued by a past she couldn't seem to escape. She stood at the heart of the most beloved city in the world, within the most respected school in the world. She was surrounded by lovers, friends, and devoted pupils, but she had never felt so alone, so naked and exposed.
Ossamyr's hand lay frozen on the curled piece of yellow paper. A bottle of Siren's Blood pinned the edge of the note to the table, the swirling colors casting little rainbows on the paper, on her skin. The bottle had drawn her curiosity, but the page had captured her. Her fingers covered the words that revealed what she truly was, exposed her to the only person she could claim to haveloved since Brophy sacrificed himself.
Ossamyr had stepped into Shara's room for just a moment, to borrow a book. It was something she had done a dozen times before. She noticed the bottle on a dusty shelf with other unwanted gifts from Shara's flatterers and admirers. It was unopened, but there was a slight tear in the parchment, and she noticed a strange glow coming from inside. Curious, Ossamyr unwrapped the bottle and was amazed to find an exquisite bottle of the Silver Islander's spirit wine. The extravagant gift of Siren's Blood had surprised her, but the message that accompanied it left her unable to speak, unable to move.
She tore her gaze from the message and looked out the window, trying to guess who could have sent such a venomous warning.
The mighty Ohndarien battlements glowed like the edge of a sword. The sun was setting beyond the Windmill Wall, throwing orange and red across the waters of the bay, painting the blue-white walls of the buildings with a golden glow. Nearby rooftop gardens fluttered in the early-spring breeze. Children shrieked in the streets below, pretending to be Zelani and Lightning Swords. Merchants in the Long Market rushed to pack up their wares before the lanterns in the Night Market were lit, twinkling with the sultry promise of pleasures to come.
In the center of it all, the Hall of Windows shone like a dome of jewels. A single torch burned atop that magnificent building. Its feeble light was lost amid the grandeur of the setting sun, but the mere thought of that flame burned right through her. That light stood as testament to the freedom one boy had bought for everyone and as a reminder of the prison that Ohndarien had become.
Ohndarien was no longer the Free City, no longer the jewel of the known world. Her citizens now called her the Fortress of Light, all because of that one torch and the boy who lay beneath it.
Ohndarien's days of thriving as the crossroads of the world had ended shortly after the Nightmare Battle. Merchants still paid dearly for the right to ferry their ships through her locks, but few stayed to trade in the city's famous Long Market. Only the stoutest of heart lingered within Ohndarien's blue-white marble walls any longer than they had to.
They had won the Nightmare Battle, but the war against the Legacy of Efften continued. The black emmeria called to its own, and the boy who had been the beacon of Ohndarien's salvation was now a beacon for the corrupted. All that was vile in the world had come south. As the profane creatures once sought the baby and the music box, now they sought the boy. Those transformed by the foul magic of Efften scratched and clawed at Ohndarien's walls, desperate to get in, yearning to set loose the shadows that everlasting torch held at bay.
Those few Ohndariens who stayed within the cursed city fought for their lives beside their fellow merchants, sailors, cobblers, and butchers. The battlements were filled with Lightning Swords, Zelanis, and former Physendrian queens.
Ossamyr closed her eyes. The mysterious message felt hot under her fingertips and that word came again, unbidden, to her mind. Queen. . .
"You are a queen among queens, my love," Phandir had said, kneeling at her feet. Her former husband was flush with victory, drunk on the adulation of the crowd and reveling in his power over her. His hand slid beneath her dress and up her thigh as he looked up at her with mock reverence as brutal as his smile. He knew she had tasted real love, and that she had murdered it for him.
"You're just like me," he continued, squeezing her to him, his eyes glistening with triumph. "My perfect queen." He beamed at her, clenching her soul between those perfect white teeth.
And he did have her. She might as well have been in the Wet Cells for all the control she had over her life. She marched with him, all the way to the walled city. She curled her lips in a smile for him, spread her legs for him, whispered how powerful he was. She played the perfect queen, marching into the conquered city by his side until the black emmeria swept across them like a blizzard of despair.Mistress of Winter. Copyright © by Giles Carwyn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Todd Fahnestock and Giles Carwyn met in high school nineteen years ago. Within an hour of meeting, they started a philosophical conversation they haven't been able to finish yet. Their nomadic lifepaths have crisscrossed again and again. Through the years they have dated the same women, been best man at each other's weddings, and attended the births of each other's children. They currently live twenty-five blocks from each other in Littlewood, Colorado, with their stunning wives, Lara and Tanya, and their freakishly well-named children: Liefke, Elowyn, Luna, and the Dash-man.
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Eighteen years have passed since Brophy, the once HEIR OF AUTUMN, saved Ohndarien but at the cost of his well-being he sleeps the endless sleep filled with horrific nightmares caused by the Black Emmeria curse. During this ghastly period, Brophy¿s beloved sex-mage sorceress Shara has tried to free him, but has failed. With each passing night, the weight of her failure has taken a toll on her psyche as she suffers from nightmares just thinking what mental anguish he suffers.-------------------- Making matters better and worse from Shara¿s perspective is when teenage sorceress Arefaine Morgeon, a goddess in the rival kingdom of Ohohhim, awakens Brophy. He is not the same heroic person who entered the eternal sleep and easily is led away by Arefaine who persuades him to accompany her to the ruined magical city of Efften there she says he can rid himself entirely from the residual remains of the sinister Black Emmeria. As a heartbroken and mentally devastated Shara leaves for the Summer Isles seeking solace, her beloved owes Arefaine although he distrusts her. Brophy knows Arefaine and her empire must have some reason to want to journey to Efften with him, but he is unaware that the plan to raid the magical city is to enable her kingdom to destroy Ohndarien.------------------- This exciting action-packed sequel requires the audience to recently have read the first epic saga HEIR OF AUTUMN to keep up with all the goings-on (the above two paragraphs glide on the surface of the zillion subplots). Brophy is a fascinating protagonist who behaves like a tortured prisoner of war with no escape possible leading to all hope gone. This sort of reminded this reviewer of a Star Trek episode in which a man is stuck for eternity in a ¿universe¿ with a manic who wants him dead. However, the more fascinating character is Shara whose mixed reactions to his awakening are classic. Fantasy fans will enjoy Brophy¿s latest escapades as it appears he has jumped from the frying pan into the fire.----------------- Harriet Klausner