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Wolfblade: Book One of the Wolfblade Trilogy (Hythrun Chronicles Series #4)
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Wolfblade: Book One of the Wolfblade Trilogy (Hythrun Chronicles Series #4)

4.3 17
by Jennifer Fallon

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Marla Wolfblade of Hythria is determined to restore her family's great name, but conspirators surround her: the Sorcerers' Collective, the Patriots -- even members of her own family. She must make sure her son Damin lives to be old enough to restore the Wolfblade name to its former glory.

Elezaar the Dwarf is a small man with big secrets -- but


Marla Wolfblade of Hythria is determined to restore her family's great name, but conspirators surround her: the Sorcerers' Collective, the Patriots -- even members of her own family. She must make sure her son Damin lives to be old enough to restore the Wolfblade name to its former glory.

Elezaar the Dwarf is a small man with big secrets -- but that doesn't matter to Marla Wolfblade. Her brother is the High Prince of Hythria, and, in this fiercely patriarchal society, her fate will be decided on his whim. She needs someone politically astute to guide her through the maze of court politics -- and Elezaar the Dwarf knows more than he lets on.

As Elezaar teaches Marla the Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power, Marla starts on the road to becoming a tactician and a wily diplomat -- but will that be enough to keep her son alive?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A warm and intriguing book with all-too-human characters who draw you in more deeply with each page.” —L.E. Modesitt, Jr. on Medalon

“MEDALON is an intriguing, intelligent and fun read with a refreshing take on female characters so often not seen in the genre.” —Elizabeth Haydon on Medalon

“A gripping tale of warring ambitions, politics, and real people. The characters (and even the gods!) spring to vivid, believable life, making Medalon a great read. More, please!” —Ed Greenwood on Medalon

“I read Medalon, by Jennifer Fallon, and am impressed. This is a powerful, solid, imaginative, sometimes brutal fantasy novel with a splendidly worked out cast of characters. I like the way the gods are less than omnipotent, and dragons are magical constructs; this seems realistic in terms of magic, no oxymoron intended.” —Piers Anthony on Medalon

“A well-executed fantasy with complex characters and entertaining style.” —Kirkus Reviews on Treason Keep

“Intrigues, rivalries and romance provide an entertaining tangle in the second book in Australian fantasy author Fallon's Hythrun Chronicles (after Medalon). Accompanied by a large cast of compelling characters . . . new readers will be well rewarded; fans arriving straight from book one can dive right in.” —Publishers Weekly on Treason Keep

“As in Medalon (2004) and Treason Keep (2004), the capricious gods are part of the mix, and now intrigue and counterintrigue become even more complicated. The battles are fierce, the losses heartrending in Fallon's beautifully created world, whose disparate inhabitants are once again completely convincing, making Harshini a chilling, thrilling conclusion to the trilogy.” —Booklist on Harshini

“For fantasy fans comes another title from an Australian Author highly rated in this field. This is the final volume of the Demon Child Trilogy and it lives up to the entertaining action, imagination and power of its predecessors.... Prepare yourself for non-stop adventure and romance. A good getaway read.” —The Australian Woman's Weekly on Harshini

“One of the better Australian Fantasy books this year. . . . With Jennifer's first trilogy under her belt I expect to see great things in the future. Jennifer isn't only a writer to watch but she may become one to emulate. Harshini is a good book.” —Altair on Harshini

Publishers Weekly
The first book of Fallon's new trilogy showcases the Australian writer's skill at dramatizing the convoluted schemes and backstabbing of king making and power politics. Though not yet 16, Lady Marla Wolfblade, sister to Lernen, the High Prince of Hythria, is a valuable piece in a vast political chess game. Marla's upcoming wedding to King Hablet of Fardohnya will give Lernen access to Hablet's armies, in case of attack from neighboring Medalon; they'll also come in handy to make the Warlords of Hythria toe the line and to withstand attacks from members of the Hythrian "Patriot" faction disgusted by Lernen's hedonistic lifestyle. Fortunately, Marla finds a helpful adviser in the clever dwarf Elezaar, whose former lord was assassinated by Patriots. With his help, Marla grows from a mere pawn to one of the most powerful women in Hythria. Fallon sets the stage for another lively fantasy saga full of intriguing characters, smart dialogue and twisty plotting. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Marla Wolfblade is sister to Lernen, the High Prince of Hythria. Lernen's sexual proclivities prevent him from siring an heir, making Marla responsible for continuing the royal line. Lernen's poor leadership and cruel perversions have fostered rebellion, so Marla must marry well and produce an heir quickly. Marla starts off as a nanve fifteen-year-old with dreams of marrying for love. She quickly learns that the patriarchy of Hythria leaves her powerless. She is betrothed to the cruel King of Fardohnya, faced with life in a harem and giving her nation an heir with foreign blood. The brazen plan of a few Patriots results in her marrying Laran, a Hythrian Warlord, and their son is named heir to the throne. Marla's slave, the dwarf Elezaar, educates her politically, and she uses her intelligence to seize power and protect her young son. Fallon creates a fascinating world of political intrigue, social tradition, and religious intolerance. The story is well crafted and richly detailed, leaving the reader anxious for the rest of the trilogy. The drawbacks to this book are common to high fantasy. The amount of exposition necessary can be tedious. The names of people and places are easy to confuse, especially in the beginning. There are several subplots that add greatly to the story but can also add to the confusion of the reader. It is an excellent novel for genre fans. Readers with a taste for detail and complicated plots will enjoy this story. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2006 (orig. 2004), Tor, 512p.,Ages 15 to Adult.
—Heather Pittman
Kirkus Reviews
A spoiled princess and her dwarf slave prove surprisingly effective adversaries against a host of contenders for power in Fallon's saga of forbidden love and revenge, the first in a trilogy. The Demon Child trilogy (Medalon, 2004, etc.) and the Wolfblade Trilogy launched with this volume are both part of Fallon's over-arching Hythrun Chronicles. Here, a complicated series of political dealings result in the marriage of Princess Marla Wolfblade, barely 16, to Laran Krakenshield, one of the Warlords of Hythria. Too bad Marla's not in love with him-that honor goes to the dashing Nash Hawksword, who could be the princess's Achilles heel if the maneuvers of expertly sneaky Alija Eaglespike succeed. Much skullduggery ensues, and for a few hundred pages, Fallon is happy to simply keep throwing out characters and schemes until the narrative achieves a critical mass of paranoid confusion. In the process, she neglects the culture of slaves and court'esa (sexual servants for the nobility) that provides the book's most interesting scenes. The story finally gels with some shockingly cold-blooded betrayals and the looming prospect of war. Rote setting and unnecessarily dense exposition, enlivened by Fallon's teeming imagination.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Hythrun Chronicles Series , #4
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.27(w) x 6.68(h) x 1.37(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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Read an Excerpt


Book Four of the Hythrun Chronicles
By Fallon, Jennifer

Tor Fantasy

Copyright © 2006 Fallon, Jennifer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780765348692

Chapter One

It was always messy, cleaning up after a murder. There was more than just blood to be washed off the tiles. There were all those awkward loose ends to be taken care of--alibis to be established, traitors to be paid off, witnesses to be silenced . . .            
   And that, Elezaar knew, was the problem. He'd just witnessed a murder.
A slight, humid breeze ruffled the curtain in the alcove where the dwarf was hiding, the tiled floors of the mansion echoing to the sound of booted feet. The faint, fishy smell of the harbour lingered on the wind, rank and uninviting. Or perhaps it wasn't the nearby bay Elezaar could smell. Maybe the decay he smelled was here. Maybe the swords of his master's killers had opened a vein somewhere and the stench came from the moral decay that seeped from the very walls of this house and permeated everything it touched.
Still trembling at the narrowness of his escape, Elezaar moved the curtain a fraction and looked into the room. His master's corpse lay across the blood-soaked silken sheets, his head almost severed by the savage blow which had ended his life. On the floor at his feet lay another body. A slave. She was so new to the household Elezaar hadn't even had time to learn her name. She was onlytwelve or thirteen; her slender, broken body in the first bloom of womanhood. Or it had been. The master liked them like that--young, nubile and terrified. Elezaar had lost count of the number of girls like her he had seen led into this opulently decorated chamber of horrors. He'd listened to their screams, night after night, playing his lyre with desperate determination; he provided the background music to their torment, shutting out their cries for mercy . . .
This was no subtle assassination, the dwarf decided in a conscious effort to block the memories. This was blatant. Done in broad daylight. An open challenge to the High Prince.
Not that the attack was entirely unexpected. Elezaar's master, Ronan Dell, was one of the High Prince's closest friends--assuming you could call their bizarre, often volatile relationship "friendship". In Elezaar's opinion, his master and the High Prince shared a passion for perversion and for other people's pain rather than any great affection for each other. There were few in Greenharbour who would lament the death of Ronan Dell. No slave in his household would miss him, Elezaar could well attest to that. But even if the slaves of Lord Ronan's house stood by and cheered the men who had stormed the mansion--was it only an hour ago?--their change of allegiance would do them little good. Slaves, even expensive, exotic creatures like Elezaar, were too dangerous to keep alive.
Particularly when they could bear witness to an assassination.
Wiping his sweaty palms on his trousers, Elezaar stepped out of the alcove and made his way cautiously through the chaos of shredded bedding and broken glass to the door. He opened it a fraction and peered out. But for a toppled pedestal and a shattered vase, the hall was deserted, but there were still soldiers in the house. He could hear their distant shouts as they hunted down the last of the household staff.
Elezaar waited in the doorway, torn with indecision. Should he stay here, out of sight? Out of harm's way? Or should he venture out into the halls? Should he see if he could find anybody left alive? Perhaps the assassins had orders to spare the innocent. The dwarf smiled sourly. He might as well imagine the killers had orders to set them all free, as imagine there was any chance the slaves of the house would be spared.
Perhaps, Elezaar thought, I should stay here, after all. Maybe the soldiers won't torch the place when they're done. Maybe he could escape. Maybe Crys had found somewhere to hide. With their master dead, perhaps there was a chance to be truly free? If everyone thought Crysander the court'esa and Elezaar the dwarf had perished in the slaughter . . .
I have to get out of here. I have to find Crys.
Elezaar froze at the sound of footsteps in the hall, hurried yet fearless. He shrank back against the wall, holding his breath, his view of the hall beyond shrinking to a slit as he waited for the danger to pass. A figure moved in his limited field of vision. His heart clenched . . .
And then he almost cried with relief when he realised who it was.
The tall court'esa turned as the dwarf called out to him in a loud hiss.
"Thank the gods you're still alive!" Elezaar cried, looking up and down the hall furtively as he emerged from behind the door.
"It's a miracle you're still alive," Crys replied, apparently unconcerned about the danger he might be in. "How did you get away?"
"I'm small and ugly, Crys. People either don't see me or they think I'm stupid. How come you were spared?"
For a moment, Crys didn't reply. Elezaar looked up at him curiously. The brothers had always been close, even though their status as slaves had seen them separated more often than not since childhood. In fact, this was the first household they had ever served in together. Both played down the relationship, however. It didn't do to give a master any more leverage over you than he already had; particularly a master like Ronan Dell. Crysander was such a handsome young man, with his dark eyes and long dark hair. He was also blessed (or cursed) with the slender type of physique that so appealed to masters who wanted their slaves to have all the skills of a well-trained court'esa and yet still manage to give the impression they were an adolescent boy. Crys had suffered much in Ronan Dell's service; almost as much as Elezaar. But in different ways. And for different reasons.
The young man glanced down at Elezaar, smiling apologetically as he saw the dawning light of comprehension on the dwarf's face. Elezaar stifled a gasp. No wonder Crys looks so unafraid. He wasn't in any danger from the assassins. He's one of them.
"You betrayed my master." It wasn't a question, or even an accusation. It was a statement. A simple fact.
"Not at all," Crys said. "I've been faithful to our master all along."
Elezaar suddenly remembered the breastplates of the soldiers who burst into Ronan Dell's bedroom. The eagle crest of Dregian Province. He'd not had time in all the excitement to think about it before.
"We belonged to Ronan Dell, Crys."
"You belonged to the House of Dell, Elezaar. I have always belonged to the House of Eaglespike."
"And how does the old saying go? Beware an Eaglespike bearing gifts?" Elezaar stopped abruptly as the sound of footsteps grew louder. "We must find a better place to hide!"
"There's really no need--" Crys began, but before he could finish, a troop of soldiers rounded the corner. Elezaar began to panic, wondering if there was any point trying to make a run for it. There wasn't, he realised quickly. Crys might escape but with his short, stumpy legs, the soldiers would run him down in a few steps. The dwarf glanced up at Crys again, but the young man seemed unafraid. He simply shoved Elezaar back into the room, out of sight, then turned to the captain of the troop as the invaders approached. His heart pounding, Elezaar leaned against the wall, wondering how long it would be before he was caught. Crys might betray him in some misguided attempt to prove his loyalty to Lady Alija. Crys might betray him to save his own neck.
Or he might not. He was, after all, Elezaar's brother.
"Did you find them all?" Crys asked as the soldiers stopped in front of him.
Elezaar's heart was hammering so hard, he was sure they must be able to hear it in the hall. Through the slit in the doorway, he watched the officer in the lead sheathing his sword as he neared Crys.
"Thirty-seven slaves," the man confirmed. "All dead. There should be thirty-eight, counting the dwarf. We didn't find him."
"And you won't," Crys told them. "He's long gone."
"My lady wanted nobody left alive," the captain reminded him.
"No credible witnesses," Crys corrected. "The Fool could stand on a table at the ball tonight in the High Prince's palace, shouting out what he'd seen here, and nobody would believe him. You needn't worry about the dwarf."
The soldier looked doubtful, but Elezaar guessed they were running out of time. And it was easy to believe some strange-looking, half-witted dwarf was too stupid to bear witness to their crimes. Assuming he even survived long on the streets of the city.
"I suppose," the captain agreed doubtfully. "What about you?"
Crys shrugged. "My fate has been arranged for days. I've been sold. With the Feast of Kaelarn Ball going on at the palace tonight, by the time your handiwork has been discovered, I will have been safely under lock and key at Venira's Emporium for hours."
"Then we're done here," the captain agreed, his hand moving from the hilt of his sword to the dagger at his belt. Elezaar saw the movement--he was eye-level with the captain's waist--and opened his mouth to cry out a warning . . .
Then he clamped it shut again. To utter a sound would cost him his life. If Crys was in danger; if he couldn't see that Lady Alija would never allow a court'esa to live when he could testify to her direct involvement in the assassination of Ronan Dell--well, brother or not, Elezaar had no intention of sharing that danger with him. Besides, the man may simply have been moving his hand to a more comfortable position . . .
The captain's blade took Crys without warning. Elezaar's brother didn't even have time to cry out. The soldier drove the dagger up under the slave's rib cage and into his heart with businesslike efficiency. Elezaar bit down on his lip so hard it bled and turned his face to the wall, unable to watch something he had known was coming and had been powerless to prevent. He heard, rather than saw, Crys fall. Heard the creak of leather as the captain bent over to check that Crys was dead; heard the fading stamp of booted feet and the scrape of sandals against the polished floors as the soldiers retreated, dragging Crysander's body behind them.
Elezaar stayed facing the wall for a long, long time.
It was dusk before Elezaar found the courage to move. In that time, the room full of death where he waited had filled with the buzz of hungry flies, attracted to the feast laid out for them.
Immobilised by fear though he was, Elezaar had not wasted his time. His body was still but his mind had been racing, formulating and then discarding one plan after another.
The first thing he had to do was find somewhere safe, and for a court'esa bonded to a house that had just been wiped out, that was not going to be easy. The slave collar he wore would betray him if he tried to flee into the city. Even if Elezaar could find refuge among the homeless and the unwanted on Greenharbour's streets, they were too hungry and too desperate to shelter him for long. Particularly if there was a profit to be made by turning him in.
No. If he wanted to survive this, he needed protection. And Elezaar intended to survive this. He had a score to settle. His brother may have been a misguided fool, thinking he could betray one master for another, but his life had been worth more than a swift knife to the belly, just to keep him quiet.
Protection. That was what Elezaar needed. But who would protect a slave? More to the point, who would protect a Loronged court'esa? A dwarf court'esa at that?
Someone who will profit from it, Elezaar realised. What had Crys told the captain? My fate has been arranged for days. I've been sold. With the Feast of Kaelarn Ball going on at the palace tonight, by the time your handiwork has been discovered, I will have been safely under lock and key at Venira's Emporium for hours.
Elezaar finally found the courage to move.
Venira. The slave trader, he thought, as he opened the door. He stopped and looked down at Crys's blood pooled on the floor. Tears misted his vision for a moment. Elezaar wiped them away impatiently. He was too hardened to grieve for his brother. There was too much pain down that road. The dwarf looked away and forced himself to keep moving. It was almost dark. If he was caught on the streets alone after the slave curfew, he'd be in serious trouble. Or someone might come looking for Ronan Dell. He was expected at the ball tonight. The High Prince might send someone to fetch him if he didn't show.
And Venira's slave emporium closed at sunset. If Elezaar couldn't get to the slave quarter before the slaver left for the night, he ran the risk of a night in the streets, one he was quite certain he wouldn't survive.
Safety lay, Elezaar knew, with the slave trader. He'd already bought and paid for a Loronged court'esa from Ronan Dell. Elezaar would see that Venira got his merchandise. As arranged.
Just not the court'esa he was expecting, that's all.
Copyright 2004 by Jennifer Fallon


Excerpted from Wolfblade by Fallon, Jennifer Copyright © 2006 by Fallon, Jennifer. 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

Jennifer Fallon is the author of the bestselling Hythrun Chronicles, which began with the Demon Child Trilogy (Medalon, Treason Keep, Harshini). The Wolfblade Trilogy is set before the events of the Demon Child Trilogy, and follows the adventures of Damin Wolfblade's mother, Her Highness Marla Wolfblade of Hythria. Jennifer Fallon lives in Australia.

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Wolfblade: Book One of the Wolfblade Trilogy (Hythrun Chronicles Series #4) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Fifteen years old Lady Marla Wolfblade, sister to the High Prince of Hythria Lernen, is an asset used by her sibling to forge an alliance. He sold his pawn in holy matrimony to King Hablet of Fardohnya and in exchange Lernen strengthens his hold on the throne from invaders and usurpers. He can call on the powerful armies of his future brother-in-law to defend Hythria against an attack from Medalon, to enable him to control the feisty Warlords of his country, and especially put down the outraged Patriots that condemn the self-gratifying aristocracy.------------ The Patriots assassinate Ronan Dell whose hedonism emulated that of the High Prince. Most residents of Greenharbour will secretly rejoice that the abusive pervert is dead his frustrated advisor the dwarf Elezaar is one who feels relief from the demise. Elezaar offers his services to Marla. She takes to his suggestions like a student to a beloved fatherly mentor as he trains her to be a Madam Machiavelli in a regal world of backstabbing. Through his aid she instead marries a provincial warlord that causes problems for her brother with the King and increased aggression from Medalon. Still when she gives birth he names his nephew his heir.------------- The opening act of the Wolfblade trilogy is a superb fantasy constructed on a believable complex patriarchal society in which men forge political alliances that includes selling disposable females to cement them. The story line introduces the reader to a vividly described caste system where everyone knows their place. Marla is the star of this coming of age high fantasy as she matures to the point that she is as good at deadly political chess manipulations as anyone that leaves fans doubting whether she will survive to see her son as the High Prince.----- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't read fast enough!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Same type of book as George Martin throne series. Good plot and character development. Was happy to continue on and read the rest of the series.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marla Wolfblade is something unique in the world of fantasy... A strong, compelling female character who rings completely true! I'm not saying there aren't strong women in the genre - there are tons and I love them all - but this might be the only book I've ever come across where the woman is not only the main protagonist, she is devoid of violence, and she acts the way a woman of that age would (and how many of us do, to one extent or another, even today)! Manipulative, charming, beautiful, foolish, fierce, ruthless... Marla would be a villain in any other book. Here, she's simply STUNNING. If you're looking for intrigue, this is the book for you. If you want a character who will stick with you long after you've finished the book, this is a perfect one. If you want to get inside the female mind just a bit, here's a exceptional opportunity. ;)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The book starts off grabbing your attention & it only gets better
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is amazing book about the way life really was for women in the middle ages while still being high in class. Everything had a purpose wether or not you believed it or not. Great Story and A great start for the second triliogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its okay