The Shadow Sorceress, concludes New York Times bestselling author L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s epic fantasy series the Spellsong Cycle begins a new story arc for a new cycle of tales starring a new heroine who must face a series of deadly political and military threats.
Secca, foster daughter of the Soprano Sorceress, and now her successor as Sorceress Protector of Defalk, must deal carefully with her willful master and wield her power to save his kingdom from the armies, fleets and master sorcerers of the Maitre of Sturinn. Faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, she is forced to test her own powers over and over again.
The Spellsong Cycle
The Soprano Sorceress
The Spellsong War
The Shadow Sorceress
Other series by this author:
The Imager Portfolio
The Saga of Recluce
The Corean Chronicles
The Ghost Books
The Ecolitan Matter
About the Author
L. E. MODESITT, JR. is the bestselling author of more than seventy novels encompassing two science fiction series, the Ghost Books and the Ecolitan Matter, and four fantasy series, the Imager Portfolio, the Saga of Recluce, the Spellsong Cycle and the Corean Chronicles. He lives in Cedar City, Utah.
Read an Excerpt
ShadowsingerThe Final Novel of The Spellsong Cycle
By Modesitt, L. E.
Tor FantasyCopyright © 2003 Modesitt, L. E.
All right reserved.
Heavy wet flakes drift past the windows of the Liedfuhr's study, each window hung with maroon velvet drawn back to reveal an early-spring snow that has already dropped more than half a yard of whiteness on the city, and on the ice that still covers the River Toksul.
The man who stands before the windows, looking out, wears a sky-blue tunic with a silver chain bearing the amulet-seal of the Liedfuhr of Mansuur around his neck and a mourning band of black and maroon upon his left arm. For a moment, his hard green eyes flick to the ice-and-snow-covered river that cuts through the city, if well below and beyond the hill on which the palace rests. Then, he turns, standing beside the polished wooden desk that has graced the study for three generations, and asks, "You think Neserea will fall before harvest?"
"As matters now proceed, it is most likely," replies the trim overcaptain in the maroon uniform of the Mansuuran Lancers. There are but a few streaks of raven black amid the silver-gray of the lancer's short hair. His thin eyebrows are silvered as well, but the dark eyes are deep and intent. "Despite the efforts of the Sorceress of Defalk, Aerlya and Annalyal hold but an area little more than a hundred desks around Esaria."
"If we dispatch the fifty companies of lancers from Unduval? Then what, Bassil?" Kestrinruns his right hand through short-cropped brown hair that is already half-gray, although he will not reach his full second score of years until the turn of the following spring.
"Are you willing to risk all fifty companies? And to slaughter
all those who do not support your sister and her daughter?"
Kestrin tilts his head slightly as he studies Bassil. "If I must."
"You must. You must also avoid facing the sorcerer Lord Belmar. He is strong enough to dispatch all your lancers with his spells."
"Unless we can catch him in a snowstorm or the rain." Kestrin laughs.
"You risk much if you send your lancers into Neserea," cautions the older man.
"I risk more if I do not."
"Your seers report that the Sea-Priests are readying a fleet to sail from the Ostisles," reports Bassil.
"They are doubtless sailing eastward, but not to Mansuur."
Bassil raises his eyebrows, but does not speak.
Outside the private study of the Liedfuhr, the wind moans. The snowflakes are smaller, and falling faster, and the light dims as the clouds overhead darken, as if winter is returning to Mansuus.
"This Secca--Lord Robero's new Sorceress Protector of the East--she has destroyed all the Sturinnese vessels that had threatened Liedwahr. Do you think that the Maitre of Sturinn will decide to invade us while he has forces in Dumar that are threatened by the sorceress?"
"She remains in Encora for the moment." Bassil pauses. "Yet it is most likely that she will travel to Dumar and use her sorcery against the Sea-Priests there before the Maitre can reinforce them. That will not be easy for her. The Maitre can use the sea to land more sorcerers and lancers, but it will be weeks, if not longer, before the snows melt enough for Lord Robero to send reinforcements to Lady Secca."
"He will not send them even then," predicts Kestrin. "He fears Belmar as much as the Sturinnese. Lady Secca has been successful without further aid. Lady Clayre is slowly losing in Neserea, as you have pointed out, and Aerlya and Annayal may have to flee before long."
Kestrin sighs. "Perhaps to Nordwei."
"It is yet winter there."
"And you question that I should send lancers into Neserea?"
"I cannot see how you could do otherwise--when you can. They cannot cross the snows of the Mittpass yet." Bassil shakes his head. "If you do not dispatch them, once the snows melt, Belmar will take all of Neserea by midsummer. But...if he is as bright as he seems, he will turn to face your lancers, in order to destroy them."
"They must not face him. Their task is to destroy those who rebelled against Aerlya." Kerstrin's voice is hard. "If he turns, then the Sorceress of Defalk may be able to strengthen Aerlya's hold on the north and east."
"That is possible," Bassil concedes, his voice neutral.
"Not likely, but possible," Kestrin replies with a grim laugh. "Better that than we do nothing. The lady Secca may yet retake Dumar from the Sturinnese, but this Belmar is their tool, and even she will be hard-pressed if Neserea falls and the Sturinnese reinforcements land in Narial."
"Because she will be caught between him and the Sturinnese?"
The Liedfuhr nods slowly. "Because we will then face the Sea-Priests alone."
Outside the study, in the growing darkness, the moaning of the returning winter wind rises with the night.
Copyright 2002 by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Excerpted from Shadowsinger by Modesitt, L. E. Copyright © 2003 by Modesitt, L. E.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Liked the series as it developed. Less sniffing and scratching of noses and more insight of what the characters are thinking. Will check out other books from Modesitt Jr.
Read the series a long time ago. Still a good read the second time around.
The people who rule the Sturrinese Islands are a despotic lot, who shackle their women in chains and rip out the tongues of female sorceresses. They always seek to expand their empire and their present target is the land of Liedfuhr where Anna, the Soprano Sorceress brought peace to her corner of the land. Now that she is gone, her foster daughter Secca, also a powerful sorceress, is trying to keep the sea-priests from ruling her land. Although she is not convinced that her powers are as strong as her adopted mother, she has, through magic, sunk an invasion fleet. Prior to that, she met and fell in love with Alcaren and he with her. He uses his magical powers to augment hers and to defeat their common enemy. Tired of the never ending battles, Secca decides to bring the war to the Sea pirates own lands but even if she is successful in that endeavor she still must rid her land of the ruler Sturrin and his many followers if peace is to return. This fifth and last novel in the Spellsong Cycle is by far one of the best sword and sorcery novels of the new millennium. L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is a visionary who has created a brand new world that seems so real and lifelike readers will believe it actually exists. Although this is a stand-alone work, lovers of fantasy will want to read the previous four books in this fantastic series. Harriet Klausner