The Fifth Sorceress: Volume I Of The Chronicles Of Blood And Stone

Overview

Not since Terry Goodkind unsheathed the Sword of Truth has there been such an epic tale of heroism and magic that so captures the imagination as this monumental new work by a master storyteller. In The Fifth Sorceress, Robert Newcomb conjures a time and place wrought with exquisite detail, characters vividly drawn and deeply felt, and a history rich in glory and horror, splendor and secrets. . . .

“We gave them a chance once, long ago. . . . We offered to share power equally, ...

See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)
$7.19
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$7.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (64) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $4.30   
  • Used (60) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

Not since Terry Goodkind unsheathed the Sword of Truth has there been such an epic tale of heroism and magic that so captures the imagination as this monumental new work by a master storyteller. In The Fifth Sorceress, Robert Newcomb conjures a time and place wrought with exquisite detail, characters vividly drawn and deeply felt, and a history rich in glory and horror, splendor and secrets. . . .

“We gave them a chance once, long ago. . . . We offered to share power equally, and in peace. But they refused and chose war. With them it was all or nothing. Wizard against Sorceress. Male against female. Light against dark.”

It is more than three centuries since the ravages of a devastating war nearly tore apart the kingdom of Eutracia. In its wake, those who masterminded the bloodshed—a quartet of powerful, conquest-hungry Sorceresses—were sentenced to exile, with return all but impossible and death all but inevitable. Now a land of peace and plenty, protected and guided by a council of immortal wizards, Eutracia is about to crown a new king. And as the coronation approaches, the spirit of celebration fills every heart. Except one.

Prince Tristan is a reluctant monarch-to-be. Though born with the “endowed” blood that will give him the power to master magic, and destined by tradition to succeed his father as ruler, he is a rebel soul. And when he discovers the ancient, hidden caves where strange red waters flow—possessed of their own mysterious magic—it only makes him yearn all the more to escape his future of duty . . . and succumb to the stirrings of enchantment within him.

But more than tradition compels Tristan to ascend the throne. The very existence of Eutracia depends upon it. For after these long centuries of peace, dreadful omens have begun to appear, heralding something too unspeakable to ponder. And if indeed the old evil has returned, hungry to wreak vengeance, Tristan’s role in an ages-old prophecy must be fulfilled—or the cost to his kingdom and his people will be beyond imagination.

It will be a battle like none ever known, against an enemy whose thirst for blood and domination is depthless and unyielding. And for Tristan, it will be the ultimate challenge: facing an adversary whose greatest weapon is the person he loves most—transformed into the instrument of his annihilation . . . and the catalyst that will doom Eutracia forever to darkness.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345448934
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/10/2003
  • Series: Chronicles of Blood and Stone
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 949,027
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.93 (h) x 1.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Newcomb traveled widely in his youth as a member of the American Institute for Foreign Study, studying at the University of Southampton, England, and aboard a university-sponsored ship in the Mediterranean sea. After graduating from Colgate University with a B.A. in economics and a minor in art history, he enjoyed a successful career in business. He lives in Florida with his wife, a neuropsychologist and novelist herself. This is his first novel.

Visit the world of The Fifth Sorceress online at www.fifthsorceress.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The Tome shall be read first by a seed of the victors who, years later, shall become the sworn enemy of those same victorious ones. The sire of this seed shall, having abandoned the victor's cause, live as an outcast. The six of the craft who remain shall select one from their midst to lead them in peace for sixteen score and seven years, choosing, in turn, many who shall wear the stone. From the seed of one of those who wear the stone shall come the Chosen One, first preceded by another.

The azure light that accompanies the births of the Chosen Ones shall be the proof of the quality of their blood . . .

--PAGE 478, CHAPTER ONE OF THE VIGORS OF THE TOME

True peace of mind comes only when my heart and actions are aligned with true principles and values. I shall forsake not, to the loss of all material things, my honor and integrity. I shall protect the Paragon above all else, but take no life except in urgent defense of self and others, or without fair warning. I swear to rule always with wisdom and compassion.

The succession oath played over and over again in his head like a bad nursery rhyme. He couldn't get it out of his mind no matter what else he thought about. No matter how hard he tried. That was why he had come this morning to his favorite place.

To be alone in the Hartwick Woods.

He reached behind his right shoulder for another throwing knife,
gripping its handle automatically and smoothly bringing his right arm up and over in a swift circle, releasing the blade in yet another trajectory.
It twirled unerringly toward the target he had carved in the huge old oak tree. And as he now stood looking at the blade that lay buried next to the others he had thrown, he knew that the fact it would accurately find its mark had been a foregone conclusion.

He had been doing this all morning. His right arm was sore, his body and face were covered in a light sheen of sweat, and he was dirty from head to toe.

He didn't care.

He pushed the comma of longish black hair back from his forehead and ran his hand through it to where it grew long down the back of his neck. Looking down at his clothes, he suddenly realized just how filthy he really was. He was wearing what he always wore when he came up here: the black leather knee boots and trousers, with the simple black vest that laced in the front across his bare chest. The vest that always allowed plenty of free arm movement for his practice with the knives.

True peace of mind comes only when your heart and actions are aligned with true principles and values. I shall forsake not, to the loss of all material things . . .

He watched the next knife wheel toward the target, swiftly burying

Prince Tristan the First of the House of Galland, heir apparent to his father, King Nicholas the First of the kingdom of Eutracia, stood alone in the woods, practicing with his knives and thinking over what his future was about to bring. In thirty days he was to become king of
Eutracia, succeeding his father to the throne at the occasion of his father's abdication ceremony. It always occurred on the thirtieth birthday of the king's firstborn son, and had been a joyous custom of Eutracia for over the last three hundred years, ever since the end of the Sorceresses'
War. But there were no more sorceresses in Eutracia to fight, and peace and prosperity had reigned ever since--in no small part due to the continual guidance given to the reigning king by the Directorate of Wizards.
But there was just one problem.

He wasn't looking forward to his thirtieth birthday.

And he didn't want to be king.

He also did not wish to be counseled by wizards for the remainder of his life. No matter how he tried, he just couldn't get the truth of his feelings out of his head. Nor could he forget the oath that the old ones would make him take at the ceremony when he succeeded to the throne. He would then be forced to follow in the footsteps of his father until his firstborn son turned thirty years old. He sighed. He didn't have any sons yet.

He didn't even have a wife.

Another throwing knife whistled through the air, clanking into place alongside its brothers in the battered and gnarled old tree.

Panting lightly, he reached over his shoulder for one more from the specially designed quiver that lay across his right shoulder blade, but found it empty. His face sullen, he walked slowly to the oak to recover his knives. He had chosen this tree because it was the one closest to the sheer rock face of the cliff, its branches reaching out into space over the valley. That meant that whenever he missed, his knives would fly over the steep precipice and be lost forever. Proper punishment for a bad throw, he thought. And he had been throwing for over three hours now.

None of them had gone over the side.

Now standing at the very edge of the cliff, he took the time to wipe the sweat from around his eyes and slowly leaned one arm against the nearest branch of the tree. He looked down toward Tammerland,
the city of his birth, and to the Sippora River, which snaked through the city on its way to the Cavalon Delta at the east coast, where the great river lazily released itself into the Sea of Whispers. Tammerland,
the capital city of Eutracia, lay peacefully along either side of the
Sippora's banks. He could see the royal palace easily from here because of its strategic placement upon higher ground and because of the brightly colored flags that flew from its towers and ramparts. And he could also pick out the markets and squares of the city that surrounded it. They would be teeming with life this time of day. He smiled, imagining the mothers and daughters at market, haggling with the vendors for the ingredients of their families' evening meals. But his smile faded.
His evening meal would be taken as usual with his parents, twin sister,
and brother-in-law in the great dining hall of the palace. He loved them all very much, but they would be angry with him tonight--and their criticisms were something he would rather avoid. Perhaps he would take a simple evening's meal tonight in the kitchen with the staff, as he was so fond of doing these days. Somehow those people always seemed so much more real to him.

He had defiantly ignored his requisite daily classes with the wizards to come here today, and to be alone. They were all probably out looking for him right now, but they would be wasting their time. This place was almost impossible to find. He sighed in resignation as he pulled the knives from the tree. Unstrapping the quiver from around his chest, he draped it over his left shoulder, replacing the dirks one by one until they were arranged to his liking.

This art of the knives, at least, was his and his alone. He had designed the quiver himself, along with the throwing knives. The palace leathersmith and blacksmith had only been too happy to help the prince with their construction. The black leather baldric went comfortably around and under each of his armpits, and the quiver joined to his vest in the back with a silver buckle, securely holding up to a dozen of the special throwing knives just behind his right shoulder.

Then had come the hours and hours of practice, which at first had been very defeating. He had foolishly begun in the military training yards, in full view of the Royal Guard. He had realized immediately that this was a mistake, as he had watched so many of his early throws bounce harmlessly off their target. So, to avoid embarrassment, he had taken his practice to the woods. That had been seven years ago, and he had come to the forest virtually every afternoon since, after his daily classes with the wizards were over. No one had seen him throw a dirk since that day he left the courtyard, and know one knew the expert that he had become.

Sometimes instead of just practicing, he walked through the woods quietly in search of game. Bringing down larger animals was difficult,
and meant a well-thrown head shot was usually needed. It was something that required even greater skill if the animal was moving, but now even moving targets had become little challenge for him. The largest game he had ever killed had been a hugely antlered stag. After killing it with a single throw to the head, he had neatly quartered the animal in the woods and given the meat to the townspeople living at the edge of the forest--the forest that had become his second home.

But his most dangerous quarry had been a large, charging wild boar. They were prevalent in the Hartwick Woods, and it was not uncommon to hear of the occasional hunting party that had lost a member to the awful cloven hooves and sharp, curved tusks before it could be killed. He had come upon the creature unknowingly, and the kill had become necessary rather than voluntary. Tristan's boar had stood across an open field from him, snorting and glaring with enraged eyes. The prince had remained motionless until the awful thing had begun its charge. His right arm had then become a curved blur of speed as the whirling dirk cleaved the boar's skull directly between the eyes, stopping it dead in its tracks only ten feet from where Tristan held his ground.
He had left the carcass to rot in the field, thankful that he had made a good throw. He probably wouldn't have gotten another.

Still gazing down at Tammerland, once again leaning against the outstretched tree branch and lost in his memories, he didn't hear the thing that came up behind him before it was too late. Without warning,
he was violently pushed forward from behind.

Out into the air and over the cliff.

Instinctively, his right arm wrapped around the tree limb while his left arm held the quiver to his shoulder. He frantically hung by one arm,
swinging crazily in the air, at least a thousand feet above the valley floor.
He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to shut down the fear, trying not to look down.

Someone had just tried to kill him, and looking down would be the completion of a death sentence.

Using his left hand, he placed the quiver strap around his neck. He was then able to bring both hands to the limb. His strength was beginning to ebb, but the old limb, at least for the time being, was holding his weight.

I thank the Afterlife, his terrified mind shouted.

Carefully, one hand after the other, he began to reverse direction on the limb to face his attacker. As he came around, he wondered if he would be able to hold on with only his left hand and secure and throw a dirk with his right at the same time. He would without question kill the person who was standing there before he swung himself back to the cliff.

If he could swing himself to the cliff.

As his body came around, he managed to hang on with his left hand and take a dirk with his right, praying he would be able to throw it without losing his grip. The limb bending and straining under his weight, he quickly finished the turn, bringing both his weapon and his eyes up to kill whoever it was that had tried to murder him.

It was his horse.

Pilgrim, his dappled gray stallion with the white mane and tail,
stood at the edge of the cliff, looking at him with spirited, huge black eyes. The horse pawed the ground twice with his left front hoof and snorted softly at him, as if he had already put up with quite enough of
Tristan's foolishness and was more than ready to go back to the stables.
Nudging Tristan from the back had been one of his favorite habits ever since he was a colt. But this spot had definitely not been the place for it.

Tristan hung in stark terror a thousand feet above the surface of the valley from a lone tree branch, slowly losing his strength. Carefully managing to replace the dirk in his quiver and his right hand upon the branch, he looked tentatively to the left where the limb joined the trunk, trying to see if it was dried or decayed. He groaned inwardly when he saw the dry crack, and there was no way to tell if it was strong enough for what he had planned. He couldn't simply stretch his legs to the cliff. It was too far away. He would have to swing his body back and forth to gain the momentum to reach the ledge. It was the only way.
Slowly, his eye on the crack, he began to swing from his arms the same way he had seen the court acrobats do so many times before, the bark starting to painfully twist off in his hands. Each time he swung his outstretched legs a little harder. Each time a little more bark came off in his now-raw palms. Each time a little more sweat began to flow into his eyes. And each time he had a little less strength.

The crack split open another inch.

Just two more swings should do it, he prayed. I beg the Afterlife, just two more.

His release from the branch on the second swing came at the precise moment the crack split all the way open, the shards of the joint becoming a twisted, tortured rope of exposed wood. He flew through the air toward the cliff, his face finally striking the end of Pilgrim's muzzle as the horse bolted backward in surprise. Tristan went down hard on one knee, the momentum carrying him over on his back, finally hitting the back of his head hard upon the ground.

Moments later, dazed, his eyes out of focus and his face strangely wet, he raised his hand to check his face for blood. There was none. The twisted and torn tree limb lay innocently upon his lap, and he tossed it to one side.

He wanted to kiss the ground.

Pilgrim's lips once more nuzzled his master's face. The stallion had definitely had enough of this and wanted to go home. Tristan sat up,
looking at the impatient Pilgrim, and began to laugh softly, then harder,
finally bursting with the sheer joy of being alive. He laughed at himself harder still, imagining the looks on the faces of all six wizards of the Directorate when they realized they had no king to fill the throne at the abdication ceremony. He still didn't want to be king, but there had to be an easier way out of it all than this. And in truth he loved to tease them,
but he didn't want to die doing it. At least he had temporarily forgotten their ridiculous oath.

He slowly stood, wondering if anything was broken, and collected the scattered dirks. He was all right, but he would be sore for a week.
When he placed his hands to either side of Pilgrim's muzzle, the horse flinched his head to one side in pain. The stallion's nose would be sore for a while, also. Served him right. Putting his arms around the horse's neck and his mouth against the animal's ear, he smiled.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

The Tome shall be read first by a seed of the victors who, years later, shall become the sworn enemy of those same victorious ones. The sire of this seed shall, having abandoned the victor's cause, live as an outcast. The six of the craft who remain shall select one from their midst to lead them in peace for sixteen score and seven years, choosing, in turn, many who shall wear the stone. From the seed of one of those who wear the stone shall come the Chosen One, first preceded by another.

The azure light that accompanies the births of the Chosen Ones shall be the proof of the quality of their blood . . .

--PAGE 478, CHAPTER ONE OF THE VIGORS OF THE TOME

True peace of mind comes only when my heart and actions are aligned with true principles and values. I shall forsake not, to the loss of all material things, my honor and integrity. I shall protect the Paragon above all else, but take no life except in urgent defense of self and others, or without fair warning. I swear to rule always with wisdom and compassion.

The succession oath played over and over again in his head like a
bad nursery rhyme. He couldn't get it out of his mind no matter what
else he thought about. No matter how hard he tried. That was why he
had come this morning to his favorite place.

To be alone in the Hartwick Woods.

He reached behind his right shoulder for another throwing knife,
gripping its handle automatically and smoothly bringing his right arm
up and over in a swift circle, releasing the blade in yet another trajectory.
It twirled unerringly toward the target he had carved in the huge old
oak tree. And as he now stood looking at the blade that lay buriednext
to the others he had thrown, he knew that the fact it would accurately
find its mark had been a foregone conclusion.

He had been doing this all morning. His right arm was sore, his
body and face were covered in a light sheen of sweat, and he was dirty
from head to toe.

He didn't care.

He pushed the comma of longish black hair back from his forehead
and ran his hand through it to where it grew long down the back of his
neck. Looking down at his clothes, he suddenly realized just how filthy
he really was. He was wearing what he always wore when he came up
here: the black leather knee boots and trousers, with the simple black
vest that laced in the front across his bare chest. The vest that always allowed
plenty of free arm movement for his practice with the knives.

True peace of mind comes only when your heart and actions are aligned with true principles and values. I shall forsake not, to the loss of all material things . . .

He watched the next knife wheel toward the target, swiftly burying

Prince Tristan the First of the House of Galland, heir apparent to
his father, King Nicholas the First of the kingdom of Eutracia, stood
alone in the woods, practicing with his knives and thinking over what
his future was about to bring. In thirty days he was to become king of
Eutracia, succeeding his father to the throne at the occasion of his father's
abdication ceremony. It always occurred on the thirtieth birthday
of the king's firstborn son, and had been a joyous custom of Eutracia for
over the last three hundred years, ever since the end of the Sorceresses'
War. But there were no more sorceresses in Eutracia to fight, and peace
and prosperity had reigned ever since--in no small part due to the continual
guidance given to the reigning king by the Directorate of Wizards.
But there was just one problem.

He wasn't looking forward to his thirtieth birthday.

And he didn't want to be king.

He also did not wish to be counseled by wizards for the remainder
of his life. No matter how he tried, he just couldn't get the truth of his
feelings out of his head. Nor could he forget the oath that the old ones
would make him take at the ceremony when he succeeded to the
throne. He would then be forced to follow in the footsteps of his father
until his firstborn son turned thirty years old. He sighed. He didn't have
any sons yet.

He didn't even have a wife.

Another throwing knife whistled through the air, clanking into
place alongside its brothers in the battered and gnarled old tree.

Panting lightly, he reached over his shoulder for one more from the
specially designed quiver that lay across his right shoulder blade, but
found it empty. His face sullen, he walked slowly to the oak to recover
his knives. He had chosen this tree because it was the one closest to the
sheer rock face of the cliff, its branches reaching out into space over
the valley. That meant that whenever he missed, his knives would fly
over the steep precipice and be lost forever. Proper punishment for
a bad throw, he thought. And he had been throwing for over three
hours now.

None of them had gone over the side.

Now standing at the very edge of the cliff, he took the time to
wipe the sweat from around his eyes and slowly leaned one arm against
the nearest branch of the tree. He looked down toward Tammerland,
the city of his birth, and to the Sippora River, which snaked
through the city on its way to the Cavalon Delta at the east coast, where
the great river lazily released itself into the Sea of Whispers. Tammerland,
the capital city of Eutracia, lay peacefully along either side of the
Sippora's banks. He could see the royal palace easily from here because
of its strategic placement upon higher ground and because of the
brightly colored flags that flew from its towers and ramparts. And he
could also pick out the markets and squares of the city that surrounded
it. They would be teeming with life this time of day. He smiled, imagining
the mothers and daughters at market, haggling with the vendors
for the ingredients of their families' evening meals. But his smile faded.
His evening meal would be taken as usual with his parents, twin sister,
and brother-in-law in the great dining hall of the palace. He loved them
all very much, but they would be angry with him tonight--and their
criticisms were something he would rather avoid. Perhaps he would take
a simple evening's meal tonight in the kitchen with the staff, as he was
so fond of doing these days. Somehow those people always seemed so
much more real to him.

He had defiantly ignored his requisite daily classes with the wizards
to come here today, and to be alone. They were all probably out looking
for him right now, but they would be wasting their time. This place
was almost impossible to find. He sighed in resignation as he pulled the
knives from the tree. Unstrapping the quiver from around his chest, he
draped it over his left shoulder, replacing the dirks one by one until they
were arranged to his liking.

This art of the knives, at least, was his and his alone. He had designed
the quiver himself, along with the throwing knives. The palace
leathersmith and blacksmith had only been too happy to help the prince
with their construction. The black leather baldric went comfortably
around and under each of his armpits, and the quiver joined to his vest
in the back with a silver buckle, securely holding up to a dozen of the
special throwing knives just behind his right shoulder.

Then had come the hours and hours of practice, which at first had
been very defeating. He had foolishly begun in the military training
yards, in full view of the Royal Guard. He had realized immediately that
this was a mistake, as he had watched so many of his early throws
bounce harmlessly off their target. So, to avoid embarrassment, he had
taken his practice to the woods. That had been seven years ago, and he
had come to the forest virtually every afternoon since, after his daily
classes with the wizards were over. No one had seen him throw a dirk
since that day he left the courtyard, and know one knew the expert that
he had become.

Sometimes instead of just practicing, he walked through the woods
quietly in search of game. Bringing down larger animals was difficult,
and meant a well-thrown head shot was usually needed. It was something
that required even greater skill if the animal was moving, but now
even moving targets had become little challenge for him. The largest
game he had ever killed had been a hugely antlered stag. After killing it
with a single throw to the head, he had neatly quartered the animal in
the woods and given the meat to the townspeople living at the edge of
the forest--the forest that had become his second home.

But his most dangerous quarry had been a large, charging wild
boar. They were prevalent in the Hartwick Woods, and it was not uncommon
to hear of the occasional hunting party that had lost a member
to the awful cloven hooves and sharp, curved tusks before it could be
killed. He had come upon the creature unknowingly, and the kill had
become necessary rather than voluntary. Tristan's boar had stood across
an open field from him, snorting and glaring with enraged eyes. The
prince had remained motionless until the awful thing had begun its
charge. His right arm had then become a curved blur of speed as the
whirling dirk cleaved the boar's skull directly between the eyes, stopping
it dead in its tracks only ten feet from where Tristan held his ground.
He had left the carcass to rot in the field, thankful that he had made a
good throw. He probably wouldn't have gotten another.

Still gazing down at Tammerland, once again leaning against the
outstretched tree branch and lost in his memories, he didn't hear the
thing that came up behind him before it was too late. Without warning,
he was violently pushed forward from behind.

Out into the air and over the cliff.

Instinctively, his right arm wrapped around the tree limb while his
left arm held the quiver to his shoulder. He frantically hung by one arm,
swinging crazily in the air, at least a thousand feet above the valley floor.
He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to shut down the fear, trying
not to look down.

Someone had just tried to kill him, and looking down would be the
completion of a death sentence.

Using his left hand, he placed the quiver strap around his neck. He
was then able to bring both hands to the limb. His strength was beginning
to ebb, but the old limb, at least for the time being, was holding his
weight.

I thank the Afterlife, his terrified mind shouted.

Carefully, one hand after the other, he began to reverse direction on
the limb to face his attacker. As he came around, he wondered if he
would be able to hold on with only his left hand and secure and throw a
dirk with his right at the same time. He would without question kill the
person who was standing there before he swung himself back to the
cliff.

If he could swing himself to the cliff.

As his body came around, he managed to hang on with his left
hand and take a dirk with his right, praying he would be able to throw
it without losing his grip. The limb bending and straining under his
weight, he quickly finished the turn, bringing both his weapon and his
eyes up to kill whoever it was that had tried to murder him.

It was his horse.

Pilgrim, his dappled gray stallion with the white mane and tail,
stood at the edge of the cliff, looking at him with spirited, huge black
eyes. The horse pawed the ground twice with his left front hoof and
snorted softly at him, as if he had already put up with quite enough of
Tristan's foolishness and was more than ready to go back to the stables.
Nudging Tristan from the back had been one of his favorite habits ever
since he was a colt. But this spot had definitely not been the place for it.

Tristan hung in stark terror a thousand feet above the surface of
the valley from a lone tree branch, slowly losing his strength. Carefully
managing to replace the dirk in his quiver and his right hand upon the
branch, he looked tentatively to the left where the limb joined the
trunk, trying to see if it was dried or decayed. He groaned inwardly
when he saw the dry crack, and there was no way to tell if it was strong
enough for what he had planned. He couldn't simply stretch his legs to
the cliff. It was too far away. He would have to swing his body back and
forth to gain the momentum to reach the ledge. It was the only way.
Slowly, his eye on the crack, he began to swing from his arms the same
way he had seen the court acrobats do so many times before, the bark
starting to painfully twist off in his hands. Each time he swung his outstretched
legs a little harder. Each time a little more bark came off in his
now-raw palms. Each time a little more sweat began to flow into his
eyes. And each time he had a little less strength.

The crack split open another inch.

Just two more swings should do it, he prayed. I beg the Afterlife, just
two more.

His release from the branch on the second swing came at the precise
moment the crack split all the way open, the shards of the joint becoming
a twisted, tortured rope of exposed wood. He flew through the air
toward the cliff, his face finally striking the end of Pilgrim's muzzle as
the horse bolted backward in surprise. Tristan went down hard on one
knee, the momentum carrying him over on his back, finally hitting the
back of his head hard upon the ground.

Moments later, dazed, his eyes out of focus and his face strangely
wet, he raised his hand to check his face for blood. There was none. The
twisted and torn tree limb lay innocently upon his lap, and he tossed it to
one side.

He wanted to kiss the ground.

Pilgrim's lips once more nuzzled his master's face. The stallion had
definitely had enough of this and wanted to go home. Tristan sat up,
looking at the impatient Pilgrim, and began to laugh softly, then harder,
finally bursting with the sheer joy of being alive. He laughed at himself
harder still, imagining the looks on the faces of all six wizards of the Directorate
when they realized they had no king to fill the throne at the
abdication ceremony. He still didn't want to be king, but there had to be
an easier way out of it all than this. And in truth he loved to tease them,
but he didn't want to die doing it. At least he had temporarily forgotten
their ridiculous oath.

He slowly stood, wondering if anything was broken, and collected
the scattered dirks. He was all right, but he would be sore for a week.
When he placed his hands to either side of Pilgrim's muzzle, the horse
flinched his head to one side in pain. The stallion's nose would be sore
for a while, also. Served him right. Putting his arms around the horse's
neck and his mouth against the animal's ear, he smiled.

From the Hardcover edition.

Copyright© 2002 by Robert Newcomb
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2003

    I'd rate it lower if they'd let me...

    This book is so howlingly poor that it's almost funny. I don't know who is doing the editing at Del Rey, but they could use a trip back to Creative Writing 101. It starts out harmlessly enough: just another Terry Goodkind-ish droning epic (though it's plain from the outset that even Goodkind has it all over this guy in the area of writing mechanics): but after the first chapter, the reader is subjected to a horrible mush of poor grammar and misused words (kids, when writing, always remember to keep a dictionary handy). His logic is hopelessly flawed (how 'simple and symmetrical' could a 3-winged bird be?) and his time lines inconsistent ('Let's see: the fleet needs to reach its goal exactly 30 days from now. The goal is exactly 30 days travel away: so why don't we leave a week from now?') His characters are pathetically weak and constantly wallow in self-pity: yet they also maintain such relentless arrogance that you begin to hope that the whole kingdom sinks under the sea just to make it stop. And don't get me started on the plot. I'm no prude, nor am I easily offended. This book offends my intellegence, though. Newcomb is not the first low-talent writer to simply indulge in an adolescent rape fantasy to generate sales, but this guy doesn't even manage to create prurient interest. This book has a date with a firepit this weekend. But only after I use it for target practice. Newcomb, a little advice: read Neil Gaiman's stuff. Read Bradbury, Ursula Leguin, and Zelazny. That's how it's done. And kindly put the $8 I wasted on this trash toward hiring a decent proofreader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2007

    If you like Terry Goodkind...

    The Fifth Sorceress is an amazing book that rivals the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. If you like Terry Goodkind, you will love Robert Newcomb's The Fifth Sorceress and all the books that follow. I can't wait for book #6, thank goodness the wait is almost over!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2004

    So Bad, so very very bad

    I heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book, but decided to finally give it a shot. I almost didn't finish it it was so bad, and I always finish my books! The characters were flat, the plot contrived and unimaginative, the exposition poor. I've read books with 'indecent' scenes in them before, but they existed for a reason... not so in this book. The writer has serious issues about women. It reminds me of a roleplay story elementary school boys would come up with: 'Hmmm, lets make the main character a prince... he won't ever act like a prince, and being a prince is only relevant in a couple places, but lets make him a prince anyway, cause it would be cool to be a prince and not have to obey anyone and be able to do whatever you want! And lets make him an expert a throwing knives, because that's cool! And lets make the girls evil -- ya! cause girls have cooties! Oh, and we have to have a wise old wizard guy! ... because ... well, you just have to in fantasy, right? He has to know everything, but will tell our character nothing! This is soooo cooool!' That's what was running through my head when I read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2004

    Racist, Sexist, Homophobic.... and poorly written to boot

    Women are very, very bad. Oh, maybe not ALL women, but given the chance, most women would very happily turn to eeeevil without any regrets. Men are wonderful, virtuous creatures who would never ever turn to eeeevil, even under torture. That's why they have to keep women from practicing magic, for their own good, of course. We wouldn't want any more of them to turn evil, now would we? Oh, wait! The evil women captured the good princess! Oh no, now she's evil, too! Evil and pregnant! We'd better send her twin brother, who's an idiot but at least not evil, after her, along with the requisite wise and condescending wizard who can patiently explain to him why it's his duty to fight against all these evil women and why it's certainly not the WIZARDS' fault the women turned to evil in the first place, nosiree, we didn't do NUTHIN' that would have pushed them over the edge, nuh-huh! (It never occurs to anyone in this book that the sexist practice of forbidding women to learn magic from the good wizards ensures that they can only learn magic from the evil ones. Duh.) <p> I tried to look past this, I honestly did. I gritted my teeth every time women were equated with Everything Wrong With the World and kept reading. I swallowed my sarcastic comments every time someone told the main character that it was because he was 'the male' of the set of twins that he was the 'Chosen One' of Prophecy. I tried to ignore all the other problems with this book, too - like the way the main character, Tristan, would do something stupid and reckless, and everyone would shake their heads and murmur amongst themselves, 'If only he knew the truth,' and then NOT EXPLAIN WHAT TRUTH HE'S SUPPOSED TO KNOW, and leave both him and us wondering what the HECK is going on, especially when he CONTINUES doing stupid and reckless things because the author wanted to maintain an aura of 'mystery' to keep his reader 'intrigued'. Then there's the obsession with 'pure' blood, which is mentioned pretty much on every page. If you don't have pure blood, you're not worth wasting time on, as far as the main characters are concerned, and the purer your blood (i.e. untainted by 'common' blood) the better. Wait, where have I heard this before... Oh yeah, it's called 'eugenics'. And let's not forget the homophobia. I can't even count how many times lesbianism was referred to as an example of 'depravity'. In fact, the entire book reads like a Catholic schoolboy's guilt-inducing wet dream, with hot Asian women dressed in black leather S&M gear and PG-rated girl-on-girl action, all of which induces 'shock' and 'horror' in the virtuous males that are forced to witness it. Inevitably, this leads to Tristan being 'raped' (forced to have sex with the evil sorceresses) several times over the course of the book because he's just soooo desirable. Honestly, this is just a Freudian analysis waiting to happen. <p> Which brings us to the women. I don't mind villainesses. In fact, an evil female character is far preferable to a meek, stay-at-home-and-wring-her-hands, passive and pretty sidekick. My favorite fictional villain of all time is a woman (Melisande, from Jacqueline Carey's 'Kushiel' series). What I do have a problem with is when a male author paints every single female character as either inherantly evil, or so weak-willed that she can easily be swayed to the side of evil, and every male character as either good, or bad only because he's been tempted and seduced by those evil evil women. All of this speaks to me of Major Issues that should have been dealt with BEFORE the book was written. Not only is it offensive, but it makes for dull, unlikable characters and a plot that manages to be both stagnant and overly complicated. People, it's called 'motivation', and it SHOULD be what drives the characters along and makes them interesting. 'Just because' doesn't count as character development. Quite frankly, by the end of the book I was rooting for the outcome where the sorceresses blow up

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2003

    Best Fantasy Sex Ever!!!!

    Oh my dog!! This book is wonderful...the characters are nasty and sexy. I love it when they get under the sheets.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)