Brimming with passion and adventure, Greg Keyes ' s epic saga of a royal family ' s fall from power through treachery and dark magic, set amid the return of ancient evils whose malevolence threatens to annihilate humanity, bids fair to become a classic of its kind. Now, in the eagerly awaited third installment, Keyes draws the threads of his tapestry ever tighter, illuminating old mysteries and introducing new ones as events build toward a shattering climax.
The legendary Briar King has awakened, spreading madness and destruction. Half ' remembered, poorly understood prophecies seem to point to the young princess Anne Dare, rightful heir to the throne of Crotheny, as the world ' s only hope. Yet Anne is hunted by the minions of the usurper Robert, whose return from the grave has opened a doorway through which sinister sorceries have poured into the world. Though Anne herself is the conduit of fearsome powers beyond her understanding and control, it is time for girl to become woman, princess to become queen. Anne must stop running and instead march at the head of an army to take back her kingdom ' or die trying.
But a mysterious assassin stalks her, so skilled in the deadly fencing style of dessrata that even Anne ' s friend and protector Cazio, a master of the form, cannot stand against him, nor can her sworn defender, the young knight Neil MeqVren.
As for Anne ' s other companions ' Aspar White, the royal holter who bears an enchanted arrow capable of felling the Briar King; and Stephen Darige, the monk who blew the horn that woke the Briar King from his slumber ' they cannot help her, as their separate paths carry them ever deeper into a deadly maze of myth and magic from which return may be impossible.
Meanwhile, Queen Muriele is a prisoner of the false king. With no allies but a crippled musician, who is himself a prisoner, and a servingwoman who is both more and less than she seems, Muriele will find herself a pawn in Robert ' s schemes for conquest ' and a weapon to be used against her own daughter.
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July 10, 2006
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Excerpt from The Blood Knight by Greg Keyes
The Waters Beneath the World
On the stony west shore of Roin Ieniesse, Fren MeqLier met Saint Jeroin the Mariner, and in Saint Jeroin ' s ship they passed over the western waves through sleet and fog until they came to a bleak shore and a dark forest.
' That is the Wood Beyond the World, ' Saint Jeroin told him. ' Take care that when you step from the boat, your boot does not strike the water. If you but touch the waves, you will forget everything you have ever known. '
' From Frenn Rey-eise: A Tale of Saint Frenn Told on Skern, Sacritor Roger Bishop
The Dark Lady took Alzarez by the hand and pointed at the river.
' Drink from that, ' she said, ' and you will be like the dead, without memory or sin. '
Then she pointed to a bubbling spring.
' Drink there, and you will know more than any mortal. '
Alzarez looked at both.
' But the river feeds the spring, ' he observed.
' Of course, ' the Dark Lady replied.
' From ' Sa Alzarezasfill, ' a Herilanzer folktale
Ne piberos daz ' uturo. Don ' t drink the water.
' From a Vitellian funerary inscription