New Release: Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

US Cover

The third book in the Healer series was released on December 31st 2013! It is currently available in print and ebook in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The audiobook, read by Gabra Zuckman, will be available in January 2014. Take a look at the different covers for the book, read a scene that was deleted from the story and watch the UK book trailer.

The Story:

She’s fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he’s gone forever.

But there’s a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry’s healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.


Deleted Scene from Taste of Darkness

UK Cover

“Oh sure. I’ve done this route a dozen times so far,” Beau said.

“A dozen?” Sounded like an exaggeration. [Avry]

“Oh yes. Sepp wants updates regularly.”

Did he just say… He smiled, revealing yellowed crooked teeth. I reached for my stiletto, but he pulled his sword and nicked my arm with the tip of his blade. Then stepped back.

Oh no. Not Death Lily toxin again. I disconnected.

Beau sheathed his sword and hung the lantern on a hook. “My name’s Pov, not Beau.” He towed my body about twenty feet away from the junction. He returned to the intersection. “Now watch this.” Pov placed his palm on the wall and closed his eyes.

An alarming crack echoed. The sound zigged zagged, growing louder. Then a groan followed by a terror-inducing rumble. Pov backed away, joining me. More cracking and popping filled the air and then a roar as rocks rained down from the ceiling above the intersection. Dust flew up in a white fog. Pov covered his mouth and nose.

The dust settled, revealing a pile of rocks blocking the way back. He’d used his rock magic to create the cave-in. So worried about Sepp, I’d forgotten Tohon had also had a rock hound working for him.

“Even if your friends figure out the symbols, they won’t get far,” Pov said, wiping his hands on his pants. “Shall we?” He grabbed my arm and pulled me along.

We traveled for hours. I tried to keep track of the symbols on the walls, but they changed all the time. One thing I knew, we’d left the three triangles path long ago. Comfortable in the mines, Pov moved with ease. A quiet man, he didn’t gloat, threaten or try to scare me. Knowing Sepp waited on the other end of our journey, I didn’t need any prompting to be terrified. And Pov’s kindness was unexpected.

Before the toxin wore off, he stopped. “Look,” he’d said. “I can keep pricking you with the toxin, but I’d rather not. You’re a smart lady. Without me, you’ll die in here. So how about a temporary agreement? I don’t prick you, and you don’t zap me. Once we get to the exit, then the agreement expires.”

Pov continued towing me until I reconnected with my body and tripped. He stepped back, waiting. I considered grabbing him and forcing him to show me the way out. Except he’d probably bring the ceiling down on my head.

Instead, I clambered to my feet and wiped the dirt off my cloak. “All right, I agree to a temporary agreement.”

He relaxed. “Good.”

We stopped to eat and rest soon after. Pov had stashed food, water and lantern oil along the route. As he navigated the twists and turns, I wondered what my friends had thought of my disappearance. Would they be enroute to the Healer’s Guild? And what about Flea?

At the second stop, I asked Pov how long he’d been Private Beau.

“I joined Prince Ryne’s army before he left Ivdel Realm last spring. King Tohon wanted me to bury the entire army in an avalanche when they crossed the Nine Mountains, but with the dry winter, there wasn’t enough snow.”

Wow a random bit of good luck.

“But what about when we were trapped in Zabin? Why didn’t you tell him where Ryne and the others were hiding?”

“I couldn’t leave the POW camp, it would have looked suspicious.”

True. “And when Tohon was neutralized?”

Australia & New Zealand Cover

“I stayed. Cellina knew of my assignment so I waited for orders.”

“And did they come?”

“Oh, yes. Who do you think found this perfect HQ for Prince Ryne?”

Shocked, I stared at him. Again he didn’t gloat, but seemed proud of his accomplishments. “How did you communicate with her?”

Pov shook his head. “I’m not giving away secrets.”

Right then I gave up trying to figure out the business of war. Spies, double-crosses, ambushes and strategic military positioning, how did anyone keep it all straight? And then I realized, it wasn’t my job to keep track. It was Ryne’s and maybe I should have just trusted him to do his job and I should have focused on my job—healing patients. Or at least I should have kept to the plan to rescue Zila. That was what Ryne wanted, but we took another course of action, which landed me here with Pov.

Hours turned into days and I learned quite a bit about Pov. A smart sensible guy, except for the fact he worked for Sepp and Cellina.

Six…seven days into the trip, Pov stopped. “The exit is a mile down that shaft. Our agreement is at an end,” he said then waited.

Did he expect me to attack him?


UK Book Trailer