In a world being overwhelmed by ice, the forces of evil are released into the world, and characters are forced to make incredible sacrifices to defend the land. Relying on magical powers as well as divine intervention, the woman partly responsible for allowing the evil to be freed sacrifices even her humanity in order to hunt the darkness. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Raif Severance, one of the ravenborn, and companion Ash March, a young woman with a dark power growing within her, make an unlikely couple whose destinies conjoin to send them on a mission to save the world from creatures known as the Unmade. Set against the background of an icebound world where danger waits at every turn, this follow-up to A Cavern of Black Ice introduces a varied cast of memorable characters who place their lives on the line to save their world. The author of the "Book of Words" series maintains his accomplished storytelling style in a fantasy epic that belongs in most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Info -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from A Fortress of Grey Ice by J. V. Jones
The Ice Fog Rises
THEY FOUND BLOOD ON the trail on the seventh day, five spots, red against the grey of old snow. It wasn't new-spilt, but it might look like it to someone who was unfamiliar with killing game in midwinter. Blood began darkening to black the moment it left the body, thickening and distilling until there was nothing but copper and iron left. It was different when the air crackled with ice. Blood could freeze in perfect red drops in the time it took to drip from an elk's collarbone to the taiga below. Raif remembered how he and Drey would scoop up frozen beads of elk blood after a kill and let them melt upon their tongues; sweet as fresh grass and salty as sweat. The taste of winter and clan.
But this wasn't elk's blood before them.
Raif glanced ahead to the top of the rise, where towers of white smoke rose straight in the still air. The trail had been rising all day and they still hadn't found the source of the smoke. The ground was hard and brittle here, formed from basalt and black chert. Cliffs soared to the east, high and straight as fortress walls, guarding knife-edged mountains beyond. To the west lay the farthest tip of the Storm Margin, its rocky draws and moraines disguised as rolling hills by a thick layer of snow. Beyond there lay the sea ice, and beyond that lay the sea. Stormheads gathering on the westernmost horizon had begun to silver the floes.
"What happened here?" asked Ash, who was standing above Raif as he crouched over the blood. Her voice was clear, but there was too much space between her words.
"One of the Sull breathed a vein."
"How can you be sure?"
Raif faked a shrug. "Even a clean kill leaves more blood." He fingered the red spots, remembering frozen carcasses, ice-bent blades, Tem Sevrance laughing at his sons as they strained to push an elk kill down a slope only to have it crash into the lake ice at the bottom and sink. When Raif continued speaking his voice was low. "And the blood wasn't sprayed. It dripped."
"How do you know it's human?"
Abruptly, Raif stood. He felt an irrational anger toward Ash and her questions. They both knew the answer here. Why did she force him to speak it?
"Listen," he said.
Standing side by side on the headland, their breath whitening in the freezing air, Raif Sevrance and Ash March listened to the sound they had been heading toward all day: a crackling hiss, as if lightning touched down upon water.