Preview: The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

The Emperor’s Blades, first book in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley, is being released by Tor on January 14, 2014. Just a few days away! The first seven chapters are available to read on Tor. Temper your curiosity by trying out the story and then go get it to find out what happens!

Available January 14, 2014

When the emperor of Annur is murdered, his children must fight to uncover the conspiracy—and the ancient enemy—that effected his death. Kaden, the heir apparent, was for eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, where he learned the inscrutable discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power which Kaden must master before it’s too late.

When an imperial delegation arrives to usher him back to the capital for his coronation, he has learned just enough to realize that they are not what they seem—and enough, perhaps, to successfully fight back.

Meanwhile, in the capital, his sister Adare, master politician and Minister of Finance, struggles against the religious conspiracy that seems to be responsible for the emperor’s murder. Amid murky politics, she’s determined to have justice—but she may be condemning the wrong man.

Their brother Valyn is struggling just to stay alive. He knew his training to join the Kettral— deadly warriors who fly massive birds into battle—would be arduous. But after a number of strange apparent accidents, and the last desperate warning of a dying guard, he’s convinced his father’s murderers are trying to kill him, and then his brother. He must escape north to warn Kaden—if he can first survive the brutal final test of the Kettral.

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The first seven chapters of this novel is available to read on Tor! Follow the links below to get a taste of the Emperor’s Blades.

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven

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Intrigued? Find out more information about the author and story by checking out Brian Staveley’s website.

Brian Staveley

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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.

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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?

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UK Book Trailer

Cover Reveal: Almost Adept by Olga Godim

~ COMING SOON ~

Available January 6, 2014

For the seventeen-year-old mage Eriale, magic is a source of joy, and she often uses her magic to solve problems. Unfortunately, such solutions sometimes get out of hand. Her latest magical caper was a disaster, so she has to leave home in a hurry but she decides to turn her shameful fleeing into a quest to prove her Adept potential. She expects a glittering foreign escapade but ends up in Grumesh, the land rife with treachery and violence. A local courier Kealan becomes her only friend and ally. Together, they survive an explosion, a treacherous incarceration, and a daring escape. Sparks of interest ignite between them, but before Eriale can explore her attraction to Kealan, she discovers blood magic ruining amok in the city. Her priorities must change. As an aspiring Adept, she is duty-bound to find and eliminate the blood mage of Grumesh. She can’t allow her budding romance to distract her, or the blood magic will taint the entire land. No matter the cost—her life or her heart—she can’t let the vile mage win.

Mark your calendars!

Olga Godim’s new novel, Almost Adept, will be available on January 6, 2014.

Keep an eye out for SSV’s book review and other plans in the works!

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You can find out more about Olga Godim’s work by checking out her website.