The Righteous Blade

The Righteous Blade

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by Stan Nicholls

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Cursed with immortality and fits of blind, deadly rage, swordsman Reeth Caldason has wandered the world seeking both revenge for his slain tribe and a cure for his affliction. His travels have brought him to Bhealfa, where the authorities use magic and brute force to control the entire population.

The paladin clans, an order of mercenary knights, are


Cursed with immortality and fits of blind, deadly rage, swordsman Reeth Caldason has wandered the world seeking both revenge for his slain tribe and a cure for his affliction. His travels have brought him to Bhealfa, where the authorities use magic and brute force to control the entire population.

The paladin clans, an order of mercenary knights, are determined to crush the growing revolution, and Devlor Bastorran, the wildly cruel heir apparent to the clan leadership, plots a gruesome revenge against Reeth.

But Reeth has larger problems to contend with. The rebels have decided on the location of their new state -- a remote island -- and he has been given the dangerous task of delivering payment in gold. Soon Reeth discovers that a powerful new enemy threatens to destroy not only the Covenant, but also his chance for redemption.

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Magic, murder, and mayhem are definitely not in short supply in The Righteous Blade, the second installment of Stan Nicholls's Dreamtime trilogy and a worthy sequel to The Covenant Rising.

In this epic fantasy, comparable to Raymond E. Feist's Midkemia sequence, the central character is Reeth Caldason -- one of the last remaining members of a warrior race who is cursed with a kind of immortality that also afflicts him with nightmarish visions and episodes of berserker fury. In his search for some kind of insight into his magical malady, Caldason ends up in Bhealfa, a small island state that lies between two rival superpowers. Here, he allies himself with a resistance movement pursuing an elaborate plan to escape the yoke of the two empires and found their own utopian society on another island. But before the resistance leaders will answer Caldason's questions about his condition, the seemingly immortal warrior must deliver a large sum of gold to the island's current owner. All that's standing in his way is the revenge-obsessed leader of paladin clans, an infamous pirate, and a nightmarish assassin that can split itself in two.

The lofty comparison to Feist is well deserved; Nicholls's vast and richly described realm is steeped in ancient history and folklore and populated by some of the most compelling, unforgettable characters to grace the pages of a fantasy saga in years. Fans of authors like Feist, Terry Goodkind, Jennifer Fallon, and John Marco should definitely check out this first-class, action-packed epic fantasy. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
In this sluggish, talky sequel to The Covenant Rising (2005) by British author Nicholls, the swordsman Reeth Caldason still seeks to lift the curse that has made him immortal and prone to violent rages. His quest is complicated when he becomes involved in a rebel plot to overthrow the tyrannical ruler of the island state of Bhealfa, which is caught between two larger antagonistic empires. Crossing the vindictive heir apparent to the Bhealfa throne, Devlor Bastorran, leads to more trouble for Caldason. While there's a lot going on, the story offers little swordplay and even less magic, which is on the order of a sorcerer floating into a chamber on a disk with a backrest; "a thick safety belt girdled his waist." Fans of less sophisticated action fantasy will be most satisfied. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Dreamtime Series , #2
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The Righteous Blade

Book Two of The Dreamtime
By Stan Nicholls

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Stan Nicholls
All right reserved.

ISBN: 006073891X

Chapter One

There had been no reprieve for reality. It remained in abeyance.

The night-time city was smothered by a dense fog that choked sound but only dimmed the constant discharge of magic. The gleam of sorcery pulsed and sparkled. Phantasms were on the wing, apparitions walked abroad.

A young man shuffled through the damp streets. He was bundled against the autumnal chill, collar up, battered cap pulled well down, a few unruly wisps of blond hair poking from underneath the brim.

He couldn't see. His eyes were covered by a contrivance resembling a leather mask, with two round patches, tied fast. Behind each patch was a coin, wrapped in wadding.

In one hand he held a cane, and used it to tap his uncertain way. In the other he grasped a leash, tightly coiled. This was attached to a halter girdling the shiny black carapace of a millipede --a creature the size of a large hunting dog. It moved sinuously, huge insectoid eyes set in an unblinking gaze, its multitude of twiggy legs rippling in unison.

The youth was anxious. He reckoned he was in a less than salubrious quarter, and he'd lost track of the time. Rapping his stick left to right, he walked falteringly, as though newly sightless. The millipede strained at its leash, probing, snuffling, guiding its charge around obstructions. The young man tried to hurry.

Had he been able to see, he would have regarded the blizzard of magic on every side as of little account. It was too ordinary. But another sight might have given him pause. Ahead of him, a pair of lights bobbed in the murk, and they were getting closer.

He was aware of a sound. Tugging the millipede to a halt, he stopped and listened, head tilted to one side, his eye patches like dark hollows. He heard the steady crump of boots on cobblestones. A small group, marching in unison. Coming his way.

His sense of unease increased and he thought of hiding. Lifting a hand to his mask, he made to peel it off.

'You, there! Don't move!'

The rasp of blades being drawn underlined the warning.

Breath stilled, the youth froze. The millipede scuttled back to him, brushing his calves as a frightened cat might do, for solace.

From out of the swirling, yellowish mist came a band of men. Foremost was a three-strong watch patrol in grey uniforms. Beside them, his scarlet tunic contrasting with their drabness, strode a paladin clansman. The patrol's requisite sorcerer brought up the rear, dressed in tan robes and bearing an ornamented staff. Two of the watch held charmed lanterns, bathing the scene in a soft, magical glow.

'Drop the weapon!'

He realised they meant the cane, and let it slip from his fingers. The clatter it made was all the louder in the taut silence.

They approached him warily.

'Don't you know there's a curfew?'

The speaker was the watch captain, grizzle-faced and lanky.

Despite the cold, his arms were bare. One was tattooed with a rampant, fire-spitting dragon, emblem of Gath Tampoor, the prevailing empire.

Still masked, the youth said nothing.

'Lost your tongue too, have you?'

'I'm sorry, I D'

'You're breaking the curfew,' the paladin barked. 'Why?'

The young man swung towards the new voice, swallowing hard. 'I D misjudged the hour. I thought -- '

'That's no excuse,' the watchman snapped.

'Any more than being blind,' somebody added gruffly.

'But I'm -- '

'Ignorance is no defence,' the paladin recited. 'The law's the law.'

Someone elbowed his ribs, making him wince. 'What're you doing here?'

'Where're you from?' asked another, breathing the fetid odour of cheap pipe tobacco.

'Who brought you?' rasped a third, his mouth unnervingly close to the youth's ear.

He reeled under the barrage of questions. Floundering, he tried to answer, tried to placate them. But they were as bent on harassment as interrogation.

The captain eyed the millipede. 'Where did you get a glamour this expensive?'

'It was a gift,' the young man lied.

'And who would you know with that kind of wealth?'

He didn't reply.

'Can you prove ownership?' the clansman pressed.

'As I said, it was -- '

'Then we have the right.'

The clansman nodded at the sorcerer. Gravely, he produced a long-bladed silver knife, embellished and fortified with spells, and offered it hilt first. The watch captain took it.

'If you can't prove,' the watchman said, 'you can't keep.'

'Please, don't D' the youth implored.

The millipede looked up with doleful eyes.

Stooping, the captain raised the knife, then plunged it into the creature's back.

A myriad cracks appeared on the insect's husk. It bled light. Thin needles at first, piercing the gloom in all directions. A second later, shafts; intense as summer sun and just as dazzling. The millipede turned translucent, no more than a hollow outline, before melting into a silvery haze which flickered briefly, and went out.

The glamour died.

A little inrush of air filled the vacuum it left, and the leash the young man clutched hung slack, its collar vacant.

His persecutors mocked him with laugher.

'There was no need,' he protested weakly.

'You can't account for yourself and you're in violation of the curfew,' the paladin told him. 'We're taking you in.'

'C'mon.' The watch captain laid a rough hand on the youth.

'I won't!' the young man blurted, trying to shake himself loose.

'You what?'

'I mean D it was just a mistake. I didn't know I'd broken the law and -- '

The watchman cuffed him, hard. It was enough to make the youth stagger.

'You speak when you're spoken to.'

A red welt coloured the youth's cheek, a trickle of blood snaked from the corner of his mouth. He braced himself for another blow.

'And you address us with the respect we're due,' the watchman added, raising his fist again.

'Take your filthy hands off him.'

A figure emerged from the fog. He was tall and dark. His flowing cloak made him look like some kind of giant winged beast.


Excerpted from The Righteous Blade by Stan Nicholls Copyright © 2005 by Stan Nicholls. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Stan Nicholls is best known for the internationally acclaimed Orcs: First Blood series. His journalism has appeared in Locus, SFX, the Guardian, the Independent, the Daily Mirror, Time Out, Sight and Sound, and Rolling Stone, among many other publications. He currently lives in the West Midlands, U.K., with his wife, the writer Anne Gay.

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Righteous Blade (Dreamtime Series #2) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Croter More than 1 year ago
A little less character development in this book but still a good read. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
Immortal Qalochian swordsman Reeth Caldason of Bhealfa detests the paladin clans, enforcers of the rule of the tyrants that run the brutal rivals the Rintarah and Gath Tampoor Empires. All others are subject to their cruel sorcery or abuse from ground armies. Reeth knows that first hand as much of his tribe were killed by the Paladins. Almost as bad as his need for revenge of sending his people to near extinction, Reeth loathes the curse of immortality that haunts him and includes a by-product of out of control rage leading to violence and cruelty on a scale that even the Paladins fear. --- As Reeth seeks the cure to his malady, he becomes entangled with a rebellious plot to eliminate the heir to the Bhealfa throne, Devlor Bastorran at a time when the Gath Tampoor Empire rules the island. Devlor the merciless learns of what he assumes is a betrayal and vows to kill those involved especially the immortal Reeth if as rumor states that he cannot die, then Devlor will torture him for eternity while crushing the rebels that Reeth joined. --- The second ¿Dreamtime¿ novel (see THE COVENANT RISING) is an intriguing sword and sorcery tale filled with plenty of action, but little of it of a magical variety. Instead the tale focuses more on Reeth¿s laments and Devlor¿s scheme to avenge those who plotted against him starting with the immortal swordsman. Thus the two prime antagonists share in common a gut need for revenge. THE RIGHTEOUS BLADE is a well written fantasy thriller even with no enchantments.