A whisperjewel summoned him to Worlorn, and a love he thought he'd lost. But Worlorn isn't the world Dirk t'Larien imagined, and Gwen Delvano is no longer the woman he once knew. She is bound to another man, and to a dying planet that is trapped in twilight, forever falling toward night. Amid this bleak landscape is a violent clash of cultures in which there is no code of honor-and the hunter and the hunted are often interchangeable.Caught up in a dangerous triangle, Gwen is in need of Dirk's protection, and he will do anything to keep her safe, even if it means challenging the barbaric man who has claimed her-and his cunning cohort. But an impenetrable veil of secrecy surrounds them all, and it's becoming impossible for Dirk to distinguish between his allies and his enemies. While each will fight to stay alive, one is waiting for escape, one for revenge, and another for a brutal, untimely demise.
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September 27, 2004
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Excerpt from Dying of the Light by George R.R. Martin
beyond the window, water slapped against the pilings of the wooden sidewalk along the canal. Dirk t ' Larien looked up and saw a low black barge drift slowly past in the moonlight. A solitary figure stood at the stern, leaning on a thin dark pole. Everything was etched quite clearly, for Braque ' s moon was riding overhead, big as a fist and very bright.
Behind it was a stillness and a smoky darkness, an unmoving curtain that hid the farther stars. A cloud of dust and gas, he thought. The Tempter ' s Veil.
The beginning came long after the end: a whisperjewel.
It was wrapped in layers of silver foil and soft dark velvet, just as he had given it to her years before. He undid its package that night, sitting by the window of his room that overlooked the wide scummy canal where merchants poled fruit barges endlessly up and down. The gem was just as Dirk recalled it: a deep red, laced with thin black lines, shaped like a tear. He remembered the day the esper had cut it for them, back on Avalon.
After a long time he touched it.
It was smooth and very cold against the tip of his finger, and deep within his brain it whispered. Memories and promises that he had not forgotten.
He was here on Braque for no particular reason, and he never knew how they found him. But they did, and Dirk t ' Larien got his jewel back.
' Gwen, ' he said quietly, all to himself, just to shape the word again and feel the familiar warmth on his tongue. His Jenny, his Guinevere, mistress of abandoned dreams.
It had been seven standard years, he thought, while his finger stroked the cold, cold jewel. But it felt like seven lifetimes. And everything was over. What could she want of him now The man who had loved her, that other Dirk t ' Larien, that maker-of-promises and giver-of-jewels, was a dead man.
Dirk lifted his hand to brush a spray of gray-brown hair back out of his eyes. And suddenly, not meaning to, he remembered how Gwen would brush his hair away whenever she meant to kiss him.