Special feature: This PerfectBound e-book contains an exclusive work-in-progress preview of Abhorsen, the third book in Garth Nix's The Old Kingdom Trilogy.Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Abandoned by her mother, ignorant of her father's identity, Lirael resembles no one else in her large extended family living in the Clayr's Glacier. She doesn't even have the Sight -- the ability to see into the present and possible futures -- that is the very birthright of the Clayr.Nonetheless, it is Lirael in whose hands the fate of the Old Kingdom lies. She must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil -- one that opposes the Royal Family, blocks the Sight of the Clay; and threatens to break the very boundary between Life and Death itself. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, to help her, Lirael must find the courage to seek her own hidden destiny.In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Sabriel, Garth Nix draws readers deeper into the magical landscape of the Old Kingdom and weaves a spellbinding tale of discovery, destiny, and danger.
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April 30, 2002
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Excerpt from Lirael by Garth Nix
It was a hot, steamy summer, and the mosquitoes swarmed everywhere, from their breeding grounds in the rotten, reedy shores of the Red Lake up to the foothills of Mount Abed. Small, bright-eyed birds swooped among the clouds of insects, eating their fill. Above them, birds of prey circled, to devour the smaller birds in turn.
But there was one place near the Red Lake where no mosquito or bird flew, and no grass or living thing would grow. A low hill, little more than two miles from the eastern shore. A mound of close-packed dirt and stones, stark and strange amidst the wild grassland that surrounded it, and the green forest that climbed the nearby hills.
The mound had no name. If one had ever appeared on a map of the Old Kingdom, the map was long lost. There had once been farms nearby, but never closer than a league. Even when people had lived there, they would neither look at the strange hill nor speak of it. The nearest town now was Edge, a precarious settlement that had never seen better days but had not yet given up hope of them. The townsfolk of Edge knew it was wise to avoid the eastern shore of the Red Lake. Even the animals of the forest and the meadow shunned the area around the mound, as they instinctively stayed away from anyone who seemed to be going there.
Such as the man who stood on the fringe of the forest, where the hills melted into the lakeshore plain. A thin, balding man who wore a suit of leather armor that covered him from ankle to wrist, reinforced with plates of red-enameled metal at his neck and every joint. He carried a naked sword in his left hand, the blade balanced across his shoulder. His right hand rested against a leather bandolier worn diagonally across his chest. Seven pouches hung from the bandolier, the smallest no larger than a pillbox, the largest as big as his clenched fist. Wooden handles hung downwards out of the pouches. Black ebony handles, which his fingers crawled across like a spider along a wall.
Anyone who had been there to see would have known that the ebony handles belonged to bells, and that in turn would identify the man by kind, if not by name. A necromancer, he carried the seven bells of his dark art.