Sinner (Wayfarer Redemption Series #4) [NOOK Book]

Overview


The land Tencendor has been united for more than forty years. The Starman Axis defeated the dreaded monster Gorgrael and by fulfilling his destiny he has brought peace finally to the three races of this land: the Icarii bird people, the Avar tree people, and the humans who for generations controlled (and oppressed) the other two races. Attaining god-like powers, Axis chose to retire to the ethereal sphere in the heavens with his beautiful consort Azhure and ceded his authority to his son Caelum SunSoar. As ...
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Sinner (Wayfarer Redemption Series #4)

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Overview


The land Tencendor has been united for more than forty years. The Starman Axis defeated the dreaded monster Gorgrael and by fulfilling his destiny he has brought peace finally to the three races of this land: the Icarii bird people, the Avar tree people, and the humans who for generations controlled (and oppressed) the other two races. Attaining god-like powers, Axis chose to retire to the ethereal sphere in the heavens with his beautiful consort Azhure and ceded his authority to his son Caelum SunSoar. As Supreme Ruler of Tencendor, Caelum holds the reins of power carefully and the thousands of years of ill-will between the three races seems to be at an end. All seems golden for this land. Or so it might seem.

But the path of the son is not necessarily that of the father. Caelum is untried and has known nothing but peace during his lifetime. And while the three races appear at peace, there are undercurrents of jealousy and bitter memories just buried beneath the surface.

So when strange powers threaten to come through the Star Gate (a source of power that gives those with magic their near immortality) bent on the destruction of all he holds dear, Caelum will have to find the strength to fight this threat.

Complicating this situation is the almost impossible death of his Icarri sister...and the culprit appears to be none other then his hated brother Drago, who as a baby had been in league with Gorgrael and had sufficient power to try to kill Caelum. As punishment Drago was made mortal (unlike his near invulnerable siblings). As Caelum struggles to hold all he holds dear safe, he is left with this quandary:

Is Drago as powerless as he seems? Is his hate for his fate enough to have him murder?

And is he in league with the demons that hover ever nearer?

This is the fourth book in Sara Douglass's The Wayfarer Redemption series, however it starts a brand new story arc and is the perfect place for new readers to enter this series.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Sinner, the fourth volume of Sara Douglass's Wayfarer Redemption saga, begins a new cycle in the bestselling fantasy series. Forty years have passed since the events in the first three novels (The Wayfarer Redemption, Enchanter, and Starman), and Axis and Azhure's son rules over a seemingly peaceful land about to erupt in total chaos.

Although the sentient races of Tencendor have been united for decades, open rebellion is just one diplomatic misstep away. Caelum SunSoar, the son of Axis and Azhure (heroes from the previous three novels), has done his best to keep the peace between humans; the Icarii, a race of winged people; and the Avar, an ancient race of horned forest dwellers. But when a faction of highly irate humans demand political and cultural equality among races, a bloody civil war breaks out that puts all of Axis' accomplishments in jeopardy. To complicate matters, one of Caelum's sisters is allegedly murdered by her disgraced twin brother, whose improbable disappearance unleashes mayhem amongst the royal family. And pandemonium strikes -- just as the mysterious WolfStar had foreseen, some sentient beings are coming through the Star Gate intent on locating an ancient relic. Are these celestial beings harbingers of doom or saviors?

Fans of epic fantasy who have enjoyed archetypal sagas like J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Terry Brooks's Shannara sequence, and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time should definitely check out these novels. If anything is guaranteed in this world, it is the quality of a Sara Douglass story. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
In Australian author Douglass's solid fourth installment in her Wayfarer Redemption series (after 2002's Starman), control of the land of Tencendor has passed from Axis SunStar to his son, StarSon Caelum SunSoar. A benevolent ruler, Caelum faces his first great challenge when Zared, Prince of the North, plots treason against him. Surprised by Zared's betrayal, Caelum doesn't take the threat seriously until disaster strikes. Meanwhile, Caelum's unpopular brother, Drago, who has already tried to kill Caelum, stands accused of murdering his twin sister, RiverStar. Drago flees for his life, taking with him the Rainbow Scepter with which Axis destroyed the monster Gorgrael in Starman. Caelum must save Tencendor from a multitude of dangers, any one of which is likely to tear the country to pieces. While Douglass smoothly fills in some backstory about the SunSoar dynasty, even those who've read the three earlier volumes will welcome the extensive glossary. The bouts of narcissism that some characters suffer tend to slow the plot, but fans of this ambitious epic fantasy should be eager to find out what happens in book five after the muted cliffhanger of an ending. Agent, James Frenkel. (Sept. 14) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Storytelling at its best, with fast-paced action, gritty realism, powerful characters, magic and romance."-Romantic Times on The Wayfarer Redemption

"Epic storytelling on a par with Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan."—Library Journal on The Wayfarer Redemption

"With three races, licit and illicit loves, prophecy, fraternal hatred, and enough battles for several campaigns, Douglass has whipped up enough raw material to avoid shortchanging readers throughout her vast undertaking."-Booklist on Enchanter

"Sara Douglass is a powerful voice in high fantasy that readers can equate to the likes of Robert Jordan, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey."-Romantic Times, 4 ½ stars on Enchanter

"A superior adventure fantasy right to the last."-Booklist on Starman

"Should satisfy a fantasy readership hungry for strong female characters."-Publishers Weekly on Starman

"Exciting writing with emotional highs and lows! Ms. Douglass has created a

mystical world populated with many vividly portrayed races."-Romantic Times, 4 ½ stars on Starman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429962889
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 8/26/2004
  • Series: Wayfarer Redemption Series , #4
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 154,802
  • File size: 663 KB

Meet the Author


Sara Douglass was born in Penola, a small farming settlement in the south of Australia, in 1957. She spent her early years chasing (and being chased by) sheep and collecting snakes before her parents transported her to the city of Adelaideand the more genteel surroundings of Methodist Ladies College. Having graduated, Sara then became a nurse on her parents' urging (it was both feminine and genteel) and spent seventeen years planning and then effecting her escape.

That escape came in the form of a Ph.D. in early modern English history. Sara and nursing finally parted company after a lengthy time of bare tolerance, and she took up a position as senior lecturer in medieval European history at the Bendigo campus of the Victorian University of La Trobe. Finding the departmental politics of academic life as intolerable as the emotional rigours of nursing, Sara needed to find another escape.

This took the form of one of Sara's childhood loves - books and writing. Spending some years practising writing novels, HarperCollins Australia picked up one of Sara's novels, BattleAxe (published in North America as The Wayfarer Redemption), the first in the Tencendor series, and chose it as the lead book in their new fantasy line with immediate success. Since 1995 Sara has become Australia's leading fantasy author and one of its top novelists. Her books are now sold around the world.

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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

West and North

His wing-span as wide as a man was tall, the speckled blue eagle floated high in the sky above the silvery waters of Grail Lake. The day was calm and warm, the thermals inviting, but for the moment the eagle resisted climbing any higher. He tilted his head slightly, his predatory gaze undimmed by his vast age, taking in the pink and cream stone walls and the gold- and silver-plated roofs of the city of Carlon. The eagle's gaze was only casual, for it was almost noon, and the streets so busy that all rodents would have secreted themselves deep in their lairs many hours previously. The eagle was not particularly concerned. He had feasted well on fish earlier, and now he tilted his wings, sweeping over the white-walled seven-sided tower of Spiredore.

The power emanating from the tower vibrated the eagle's wings pleasantly, and made the old bird reflect momentarily on the changes in this land over his lifetime. When he had been newly feathered and only just able to stay aloft, he'd flown over this same lake and tower with the eagle who had fathered him. Then the tower had been still and silent, and the land treeless. Men had scurried below, axes in their hands and the Plough God Artor in their hearts. Ice had invaded from the north and Gryphon--creatures whom even eagles feared--had darkened the skies. But all that had changed. A great battle had been fought in the icy tundra far to the north, the ice had retreated and the Gryphon had disappeared from the thermals. In the west, enchanted forests had reached for the sky, and the white tower below had reverberated with power and song. The armies that had crawled about the land in destructive, serpentine trails disbanded, and now the peoples of this enchanted land--those who called themselves human, Icarii and Avar--shared their lives shoulder to shoulder in apparent harmony.

Contented, knowing that the score of chicks he had raised over his lifetime would have nothing more to fear than the anger of a sudden storm, the eagle tipped his wings and spiraled higher and higher until he was no more than a distant speck in the sky.


Leagh stood at the open windows of her apartments in the north wing of the Prince of the West's palace in Carlon, watching the eagle fade from sight. Sighing, for watching the bird had calmed the ache in her heart, she dropped her gaze slightly to the ancient Icarii palace that loomed above the entire city. It seemed to Leagh that the palace looked lonely and sad in the bright sunshine. And so it should, she thought, for StarSon Caelum so rarely leaves Sigholt now that he only uses his palace in Carlon every three or four years.

Leagh did not covet the magnificent Icarii palace. Her older brother Askam's palace was spacious and elegant, and grand enough for Leagh, who was a woman of conservative tastes and temperate habits. She dropped her eyes yet further, down to the gently lapping waters of the lake. A gentle easterly breeze blew across the waves, lifting the glossy nut-brown hair from her brow and sweeping it back over her shoulders in tumbling waves. Leagh had the dark blue eyes of her mother, Cazna, but had inherited her hair, good looks and calm temperament from her father, Belial. She had loved her father dearly, and still missed him, even though he'd been dead a decade. He'd been her best friend when she was growing up, and to lose him when she'd been sixteen had been a cruel blow.

"Stop it!" she murmured to herself. "Why heap yet more sadness and loneliness on your heart?"

Gods, why could she not have been born a simple peasant girl rather than a princess? Surely peasant women had more luck in following their hearts! Here she was at twenty-six, all but locked into her brother's palace, when most women her age were married with toddlers clinging to their skirts.

Leagh turned back into the chamber, and sat at her work table. It was littered with scraps of silk and pieces of embroidery that she had convinced herself she would one day sew into a waistcoat for the man she loved--but when everyone around her apparently conspired to keep them as far apart as possible, what was the point? Would she ever have the chance to give it to him? Her fingers wandered aimlessly among several scraps, turning them over and about as if in an attempt to form a pattern, but Leagh's thoughts were now so far distant that she did not even see what her fingers were doing.

Leagh's only wish in life was to marry the man she loved--Zared, Prince of the North, son of Rivkah and Magariz. Yet it would have been easier for me, she thought wryly, if I'd fallen in love with a common carter.

The problem was not that Zared did not love her, for he did, and with a quiet passion that sometimes left her trembling when she caught his eyes across a banquet table. Yet how long was it since they'd had the chance to share even a glance? A year? More like two, she thought miserably, and had to struggle to contain her tears. More like two.

Nay, the problem was not only that Zared and she loved too well, but that a marriage between them was fraught with so many potential political problems that her brother, Askam, had yet to agree to it. (Though doubtless he would have let her marry a carter long ago!) Leagh loved her brother dearly, but he tried her patience--and gave her long, sleepless nights--with his continued reluctance to grant approval of the marriage.

Leagh's eyes slowly cleared, and she picked up a star-shaped piece of golden silk and turned it slowly over and over in her hands. Power in the western and northern territories of Tencendor was delicately balanced between their two respective princes, Askam and Zared. Should she marry Zared, then the grave potential was there that one day West and North would be united under one prince. Askam had married eight years ago, but his wife Bethiam had yet to produce an heir. For the moment Leagh's womb carried within it the entire inheritance of the West.

And, with its burden of responsibility and inheritance, thus did her womb entrap her.

If I were a peasant woman, Leagh suddenly thought, I would only have to bed the man of my choice and get with his child for all familial objections to our marriage to be dropped. She crushed the golden silk star into a tight ball, and tears of anger and heartache filled her eyes. Askam would not let her get within speaking distance of Zared, let alone bedding distance!

Frustrated with herself for allowing her emotions to so carry her away, Leagh smoothed out the silken patch and laid it with the others. The political problems were only the start of Askam's objections, for Askam not only disliked Zared personally, but resented and felt threatened by Zared's success in the North. The West encompassed much of the old Achar--the provinces of Romsdale, Avonsdale and Aldeni. Each year the lands produced rich harvests, and for decades Carlon had grown fat on the trade with the rest of Tencendor and the Corolean Empire to the far south. But despite its natural abundance, the West was riven with huge economic problems. As Prince of the West, Askam had managed to mire himself deep in debt over the past seven years. For three years he had entertained the entire eight-score strong retinue of the Corolean Ambassador while, on Caelum's behalf, he had thrashed out an agreement for Tencendorian fishing rights in the Sea of Tyrre. When the agreement had finally been concluded, and the Ambassador and his well-fattened train once more in Coroleas, Askam had personally funded the outfit of a massive fishing fleet, only to have three-quarters of the boats lost in a devastating storm in their first season. Thinking to recoup his losses, Askam had loaned the King of Escator, a small kingdom across the Widowmaker Sea, a vast sum to refurbish the Escatorian gloam mines in return for half the profit from the sale of gloam, only to have the mines flooded in a disaster of epic proportions, and the new king--the previous having drowned in the mine itself--completely repudiate any monies his predecessor had borrowed.

These were only two of the investment disasters Askam had made over the past few years. There were a score of others, if not so large. Smaller projects had failed, other deals had fallen through after considerable cash outlay. Askam had been forced to raise taxes within the West over the past two years which, though they made but a small dent into the amount he owed, had caused hardship among farmers and traders alike. Yet who could blame Askam for the economic misfortune of the West? Sheer bad luck seemed to dog his best endeavors.

In total contrast, Zared's North--the old province of Ichtar--had blossomed in unrivaled prosperity. In the days before Axis had reunited Tencendor, the old Ichtar had been rich, true, but it had relied mainly on its gem mines for wealth. The gem mines still produced--and a dozen more had opened in the past ten years--but Zared had also opened up vast amounts of previous wasteland for cropping and grazing. Zared had enticed the most skilled engineers to his capital of Severin, in the elbow of the Ichtar and Azle Rivers, with high wages and the promise of roomy housing and good schooling for their children. These engineers had designed, and then caused to be built, massive irrigation systems in the western and northern parts of the realm. Zared had then attracted settlers from all over Tencendor to these vast and newly watered lands by offering them generous land leases and the promise of minimal--and in some cases no--taxation for the first twenty-five years of their lease. Unlike the West, all farmers, traders and craftsmen in the North were free to dispose of their surplus as they chose. As a result, a brisk trade in furs had grown with the Ravensbundmen in the extreme north, which were then re-traded to the southern regions of Tencendor. And add to that the trade in beef, lamb, gems and grain . . .

The mood of the North was buoyant and optimistic. The income of families grew each year, and men and women knew their futures were strong and certain. Trade, working and taxation restrictions were so slight as to be negligible, and success waited for all who wished to avail themselves of it.

The picture could not have contrasted more with the West, where it seemed that month after month Askam was forced to increase taxes to meet debt repayments.

It was not his fault, Leagh told herself, willing herself to believe it. Who could have foreseen that a storm would virtually destroy Askam's entire fishing fleet, or that the gloam mines of Escator would be flooded? But Askam's misfortunes did not help her situation. Especially not when Askam was aware that each week saw more skilled craftsmen and independent farmers of the West slip across the border to avail themselves of the opportunities created by Zared's policies.

"Leagh?"

She jumped, startled from her thoughts. Askam had entered her chamber, and now walked toward her.

"You wanted to see me, sister?"

"Yes." Leagh stood up and smiled. "I trust I have not disturbed you from important council?"

Askam waved a hand for her to sit back down, and took a seat across the table. "Nothing that cannot wait, Leagh."

His tone turned brisk, belying his words. "What is it I can do for you?"

Leagh kept her own voice light, not wanting to antagonize her brother any more than she had to. "Askam, it is many weeks since you have made any mention of my marriage."

Askam's face tightened and he looked away.

"--to Zared." Leagh shifted slightly, impatiently. "Askam, time passes, and neither Zared nor myself grow any younger! I long to be by his side, and--"

"Leagh, be still. You are noble born and raised, and you understand the negotiations that must be endured for such a marriage to be agreed to."

"Negotiations that have been going on for five years!"

Askam looked back at his sister, his eyes narrowed and unreadable. "And for that you can only thank yourself for choosing such a marriage partner. Dammit, Leagh, could you not have chosen another man? Three nobles from the West have asked for your hand. Why not choose one of them? They cannot all be covered with warts and possessed of foul breath!"

"I love Zared," Leagh said quietly. "I choose Zared."

Askam's face, so like his father's with its mop of fine brown hair and hazel eyes, closed over at the mention of love. "Love has no place in the choosing of a noble marriage partner, Leagh. Forget love. Think instead of a marriage with a man which would keep the West intact and independent."

He paused, let vent an exasperated sigh, then smiled, trying to take the tension out of their conversation. "Leagh, listen to me, and listen to reason, for the gods' sakes. I wish you only happiness in life, but I must temper that wish with knowing that I, as you," his tone hardened slightly, "must always do what is best for our people, not what is best for our hearts."

Leagh did not reply, but held her brother's gaze with determined eyes.

Askam let another minute slide by before he resumed speaking. "Leagh, it is time you knew that the yea or nay to this marriage has been taken from my hands."

"What? By whom?" But even as she asked, Leagh knew.

"Caelum. He is as disturbed as I by the implications of a union between you and Zared. Last week I received word from him to delay a decision until he could meet with me personally to--"

"And yet he does not wish to speak to me, or to Zared?"

"Caelum sits the Throne of the Stars, Leagh. He has heavier responsibilities than you can imagine."

Leagh bridled at her brother's school-masterish tone, but held her tongue.

"Caelum knows well that the continued well-being of Tencendor matters before the wishes of any single person. Leagh, you are a Princess of Tencendor. As such you enjoy rights and privileges beyond those enjoyed by other Tencendorians. But these rights and privileges mean you also carry more responsibility. You simply can not live your life to the dictates of your heart, only to the dictates of Tencendor. I have tried these past five years to discourage you from choosing Zared, but you have not listened. Now, perhaps, you will listen to Caelum."

Both his words and his tone told Leagh everything she needed to know. Caelum would not assent to the marriage either.

As Askam rose and left the room, Leagh finally gave in to her heartache and let tears slide down her cheeks. The very worst thing to bear was that she understood everything that stood in the way of her marriage. Why couldn't she have accepted the hand of a nobleman from the West? It would be so much easier, so much more acceptable for the current balance of power. But what she understood intellectually didn't matter when she'd totally given her heart to Zared. All she wanted in life was the man she loved.


Far to the north Zared straightened his back, refusing to let weariness slump his shoulders. He'd spent an entire week clambering over the ruins of Hsingard with several of his engineers to see if there was any point in trying to rebuild the town, only to come to the conclusion that the Skraelings had so destroyed the buildings that all Hsingard could be used for was as a stone quarry. Now he'd spent ten days riding hard for Severin, and even though he was lean and fit, the week at Hsingard and the arduous ride home had exhausted him.

But now Severin rose before Zared and, in spite of his tiredness, a small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. It was a beautiful town, built not only with sandstone and red brick to withstand the harsh winters of the north, but also with skill and imagination, so that the structural strength of each building was perfectly married with grace of line and beauty of feature. Severin was a town built to satisfy the spirits as much as it was to harbor the bodies of those who lived within.

Thank the gods for my parents' foresight, he thought. Rivkah and Magariz had lived out the final twenty-five years of their lives in the town they'd had built, and had loved it almost as much as they had loved each other and the son they'd made between them. His parents had not only laid the foundation stones of Severin, but also of the territory Zared had inherited from them. The North had been the most severely ravaged region of Tencendor during the wars between Axis SunSoar and his brothers Borneheld and Gorgrael. Once it had crawled with ice, and worse--IceWorms, Skraelings, and Gryphon. Now fields ripened and cattle fattened, and any man, woman or child could travel from the Fortress Ranges to the coast of the Andeis Sea and encounter nothing more dangerous than the chill of a northern breeze.

Zared pulled his horse in slightly, waiting for his escort to catch up with him. He was a tall, spare but striking man with his father's dark good looks and his mother's light gray eyes. Even though he was now in early middle-age, Zared was as agile as most young men, and could still best any swordsman in the country. He had been bred in an age of war, and his father had spent many years training him in the arts of war, although for what, Zared was not sure. For forty years, since Axis had finally bested Gorgrael, Tencendor had lain peaceful and largely prosperous in the sun. Axis had ruled well and wisely--a glib enough statement, but true. And since, nine years ago, Axis had handed over control of Tencendor to his eldest son, Caelum had continued to lead Tencendor with the integrity that was the hallmark of the House of the Stars. And yet . . . and yet Zared would rest the easier once Caelum had proved his worth in true crisis.

His escort now directly behind him, Zared rode his horse through the gates in the town walls, returning the salutes of the guards standing to either side. For an instant the walls blocked out the noon-day sun and, as their shadow settled over Zared, so his mind turned to the one shadow in his own life--Askam.

He drove the thought from his mind almost as soon as it had surfaced, reining back his horse to a walk in the crowded streets. It was too warm a day to let thoughts of Askam cloud it over.

Zared's path back to his palace on the hill overlooking the town was slowed, not only by the crowds, but by the individuals who called out greetings and, occasionally, stopped him for a quick word. Zared had never been a distant prince, not only holding open court in his palace every Thursday afternoon when he was in residence so that any citizen of the North had the chance to gain his ear, but making sure that he did not ride the streets of Severin so encased by retainers that all his people ever saw of him was a brief glimpse of a linen shirt or glittering sword hilt.

Now a man--a carpenter, Zared thought, by the tools at his belt--called out a cheerful greeting in unmistakable southern brogue. Zared grinned widely as he nodded back at him. That man was from Romsdale. Yet another who had chosen Zared over Askam.

It cheered Zared to think that so many skilled craftsmen and farmers chose to relocate to the North, but at the same time it concerned him. The tension between himself and Askam was a decade old, and growing stronger with each passing year. Every carpenter, every brickworker, every field-hand who moved north deepened the tension just that fraction more.

Ah! There was Askam again, intruding on his thoughts! Zared's face lost its humor, and he pushed as quickly as was polite through the remaining streets to reach his palace. There, after a few words to the captain of the guard and a smile of thanks for his escort, Zared handed the reins of his horse over to a stableboy and hurried inside.


A bath and a meal later, Zared felt more refreshed. As his personal manservant cleared his table, Zared took a glass of wine and wandered into the reception gallery of his residence. His home was a palace in name only, a term designated by his subjects who somehow thought that as a prince he ought to live in a palace. Built initially by Rivkah and Magariz, the house was a roomy, elegant mansion that spread over the hill which rose on the northern borders of the town. When Zared was twenty-seven he had taken a wife, Isabeau, sister of Earl Herme of Avonsdale, and had added on a light and airy southern wing that together they'd planned to fill with the laughter of their children.

Zared's steps slowed at the first portrait that lined the gallery. Isabeau. Her dark red hair cascaded about her shoulders, her mouth curled in secret laughter, her bright eyes danced with love for him. The portrait had been painted eighteen months into their marriage. Two weeks after it had been finished Isabeau was dead, crushed beneath the body of her horse which had slipped and fallen during the excitement of the hunt.

She had been five months pregnant with their first child.

Zared had never forgiven himself for her death. He should never have given her that horse--but she was so skilled a horsewoman. She should never have been riding at that stage in her pregnancy--but she was so healthy, so vibrant. He should have forbidden her to follow the hounds and hawks--but she did so love the hunt.

He'd never ridden to the hunt again. The day after her death Zared had given away his hawks, and the hunting horses in his stable. His huntmaster had drifted away, seeking employment with lords to the south.

And Zared had promised himself never to love so deeply again, and never again to expose himself to such hurt.

He took a mouthful of wine and moved along to the next portrait. His father, Magariz. And next to his portrait, that of his mother, Rivkah.

They were, Zared supposed, the reason he had succumbed to love again. Magariz and Rivkah had lived life so completely in love, and so contented in that love, that Zared just could not imagine living himself without a soulmate to share his life with. For years after Isabeau's death he'd kept himself distant from women, keeping to his promise . . . and then he'd met Leagh.

Re-met her, actually, for Zared had known Leagh as a tiny girl in Belial's arms. But once he'd assumed the Princedom of the North, his responsibilities had kept Zared away from Carlon, and he didn't see Leagh again until she was twenty-one.

They'd met, not at Carlon, but at Sigholt. Wreathed in its magical blue mists, Sigholt was normally the province only of the enchanted SunSoar family, but the year Leagh turned twenty-one she'd traveled to Sigholt with Askam for a meeting of the Council of the Five First Families. Askam and Zared, as the heads of the two leading families, had attended, along with FreeFall SunSoar, the Icarii Talon, Sa'Domai, the Ravensbund Chief, and Prince Yllgaine of Nor. Leagh had gone, partly at Caelum's invitation--a gift for her coming of age--and partly because she was close friends with Caelum's youngest sister, Zenith.

Zared had found himself alone with her late one night atop the Keep of Sigholt, both there for the night air. They'd spent the night talking, laughing, and--as they both discovered to their amazement--falling deeply in love.

Loving her was the easy part, Zared reflected. Being together, spending their lives together, seemed all but impossible. He'd come home from that Council so optimistically in love that he'd ordered the private apartments of his residence to be redecorated in the blue of Leagh's eyes.

Almost immediately he'd opened the diplomatic negotiations needed for such a high-ranking marriage, only to be confronted with a wall of distrust from Askam. Certainly the two had never liked each other, and they'd been economic rivals for years, but Zared had never thought that such matters would come between him and Leagh.

It was naive of him. Stupid of him.

Zared's fingers tightened about his wineglass, and he moved a little farther down the gallery. He didn't want to be so close to his parents' portraits. Now the likenesses only reminded him that his parents had spent some thirty years apart, and Zared didn't want to think that he and Leagh might have to endure a similar separation.

Damn Askam! If he hadn't got himself into such dire debt, if he hadn't imposed such heavy taxes, then maybe the West would prosper as much as did Zared's North. And maybe Askam would not feel so threatened by a marriage between his sister and Zared.

Zared was not a proud man, but neither was he foolishly modest. He knew that if he had been Prince of the West, he would not have made such risky investments as had Askam, nor would he have made his subjects pay for his mistakes. If he was Prince of the West as well as of North, then virtually the entire human population of Tencendor would live lives of heady prosperity. If. If. Damned ifs!

Now Zared stood in front of portraits of Rivkah's brother, Priam, and her father, Karel. They had once ruled as kings of Achar, a vast realm that had stretched between the Andeis and Widowmaker seas and from the Icescarp Alps to the Sea of Tyrre.

But as Achar was no more, so too had the monarchy died. Acharite lands had been split up between Avar, Icarii and human, its territory incorporated into the larger Tencendor, its peoples divested of their king.

As he stared at the portraits of his uncle and grandfather, Zared remembered how well both had reigned. True, they had supported the Brotherhood of the Seneschal, an organization that had brought only evil to all those who lived in the land, but in their own way Priam and Karel had ruled well and wisely. The monarchy had been brought into disrepute only when Zared's older half-brother, Borneheld, had murdered Priam and taken the throne.

There was no portrait of Borneheld. Zared's mouth quirked. Borneheld was a son and brother best forgotten.

He swallowed the last of his wine, still staring at the likenesses of Priam and Karel. What would it be like to govern (Zared's mind shied away from the word "reign") over such a large territory? What would he do with it? How would he improve it? How might he best help the West recover from the debts Askam had saddled it with?

Ah! These thoughts were treason!

Zared blinked, and started to turn away, but as he did so his eyes were caught by the golden circlet on Priam's brow, and he stopped, his thoughtful gaze lingering on the gleam of gold as the shadows of dusk gathered about him.

Copyright © 2004 by Sara Douglass Enterprises Pty Ltd.
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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2006

    i want the next 2 books in the US!

    Douglass has the ability to make me constantly change my feelings about her charcters, and the story is still amazing (and makes complete sense)... though im still not a faraday fan, shes not annoying anymore. and i now love StarDrifter - i hated him in the other books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2005

    I am once again impressed

    Sara Douglass has a talent for realistically and compellingly reaching into the political undercurrents of a situation- more so than any other author I have come across. Amid all the wonders magical and mythical, she paints a fascinatingly horrible darker side. At the end of Starman, we are left with a world poetically united, but Sinner shows with painful clarity how every slight and injury given comes back to bite at the people who are holding this precariously re-formed world together. Drago, disinherited of his powers, ostracised and hated by the rest of his family, and stripped of the memory of what he did to deserve this isolation; and Zenith, desperately battling her grandmother's spirit for posession of her body, are appealingly human characters. The ancient powers older than the star gods which are only briefly hinted at in the first three books are slowly and dramatically being revealed, and I impatiently wait for the next few books and the time when all the pieces fall into place.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    Must Read Book

    I love this author and this series it is a most read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2006

    Pretty good, but not the best

    Douglass is a wonderful writer, I put off reading this book for a long time, becuse I had read reviews saying 'oh, it's bad' etc. Don't put it off. This is a good tale, not my favorite is all, I was not a big Faraday fan, though like a previous reviewer mentioned, she's no longer annoying or whiney in this half of the series. Not as beautiful as the first three books, but still a great addition.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2005

    If you loved the first three books in the Wayfarer Redempton series avoid Sinner!!!

    I was very disappointed after reading Sinner. I loved the first three books in The Wayfarer Redemption series so much I ordered the next three books Sinner, Pilgrim, and Crusader from the UK. After reading Sinner I realized I had wasted my money. while reading Sinner I became very angry with the new plot and character developments.I ended up either hating or becoming completely apathetic towards characters I previously liked. Douglass took a great series and destroyed it with Sinner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2005

    LOVE IT! worth the wait!!!!!

    this book was awesome. the first three was awesome as it was but Sinner is so good, i couldn't put the book down. I can't wait for the next one! this book definitely holds what a book should and creates a world so real! Sara Douglas is an amazing author! This book would lead readers wondering, smiling, yelling, anger, and sadness. I love this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2005

    BIG BOOM BABY!

    i'll have to say...this is the most exciting book i've ever read! SIX MONTHS I WAITED FOR THIS BOOK AND ALL THOSE MONTHS WERE DEFINITELY NOT WASTED AT ALL, MAN! i would give ten stars if it were allowed...Sinner is the best book out of the three i've read before this one....but....even though i was pretty upset that Azhure gets to have Axis and Faraday is the one that 'dies', I GET RISEN UP WITH JOY AND LAUGHTER ONCE AGAIN WHEN FARADAY COMES BACK TO LIVE! YES THATS RIGHT! SHE'S BACK IN ACTION AND IS AGAIN THE STRONGEST LIVING WITH NEW AWSOME POWERS!!!! she gets to decide if the world strums into peace or total termination. and as for drago...poor guy...no one listens to him and yet he gets accused rather for what he had done at childhood rather than what he has done recently. everyone hates him...despises him...and yet he has done nothing. and my second favorite girl is Zenith! awsome character!!! and for wolfstar, he should just leave everyone and die...he's being a real brat bringing distraught to the lands of Tencendor. if he hadn't thrown 2 hundred Icarii through the star gate, there would be no fighting and no Time Keepers to destroy the lands Caelum can't seem to master...-laughs- he's nothing like his father....but people have changed dramatically and i'm upset that Azhure has also changed. she was my fav also...anyway, i say people should read this book! SINNER IS THE NUMBER ONE BOOK I'VE READ 3 TIMES...THE FIRST BOOK OF WAYFARER REDEMPTION....TWICE...AND I'LL READ NUMBER 2 AND 3 AGAIN!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2004

    You are the Queen Sara!

    I loved this enstallment of the Wayferer Redemtion. The book is awesome and the story riveting. I think Sara Douglass has the perfect way of keeping my interest in her books. I have read the first three...and loved them. Now I have read the fourth and wanting more! The only draw back is that I have to wait until 2006 before the next book comes out (Which by the way is already written and published in Australia). Tor just likes to tease us and keep us on edge. I would strongly suggest the first three books and then book four. I'm sure that book five will be the bomb as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2004

    Fantastic!

    It was everything i hoped it would be. I read the book in one night i could not put it down, sara douglas never fails to deliver a great story. Buy it now!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2004

    Wonderful

    The first three books of The Wayfarer Redemption Series epitomizes every story of fantasy, action, and love, and has so many unexpected twists and turns that you won't be able to put them down. I'm sure that the fourth will follow the same path.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic fantasy

    Sinner Sara Douglass Tor, Sept 2004, $26.95, 464 pp. ISBN 0312870469 In the land of Tencendor, peace was finally won when Axis destroyed the monster Goragael and the power of the Acharites (humans) was broken. Their land of Achor is now a part of Tencendor and the people pay homage to Caelum SunSoar, Axis¿s son. Axis and his wife want on to be with the Sun Gods, the next step in the evolutionary process for immortals. On the surface, humans, the Avar (tree people) and the lcarii live in harmony but ugly undercurrents flow in this paradise, ones that Caelum is not aware of because he is closed up in his castle unaware of his subjects¿ desires.................. The humans want their own King and self rule and they rally behind Zarad, the Prince of the North as their leader. Civil war breaks out and many lives are lost but there is a bigger threat to the realm and the leaders of the civil war temporarily put aside their differences in the hope of finding a way of preventing evil beings from entering Tencendor through the Star Gate. If they fail, life in Tencendor will become unbearable............................. Sara Douglass has written another great installment in her Wayfarer Redemption series. There are enough loose threads dangling that readers are assured of at least one more book in this magnificent saga. Magic is a way of life in the land and it is a part of everyday life. The two sub-plots of the civil war and the invasion are interwoven so that it merges into one storyline. SINNER is a powerful epic fantasy that fans of Tanya Hoff and Mercedes Lackey and of course Ms. Douglass will love........................... Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2004

    Yes!!

    I know the Axis books back to front by heart and i have been waiting years for the second series to come out Thank You!!!! How can the book be anything but increadibly awsome

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    Posted November 24, 2008

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    Posted November 24, 2009

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    Posted January 23, 2012

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    Posted November 20, 2008

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    Posted May 27, 2010

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    Posted February 16, 2009

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    Posted July 14, 2009

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    Posted December 29, 2008

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