From New York Times bestselling author Tracy Hickman and Dragonlance(tm) cocreator Laura Hickman comes a monumental new series that expands the limits of epic fantasy...
Thrice upon a time, there were three worlds of magic, linked only by dreams. On one world faeries suffer in a devastating war against centaurs and satyrs. On another, tiny goblins scrabble about the ruins of giant, mysterious machines. And on the third, humans and dwarves are ruled by theocracies that worship five immortal dragons. The task of the priests: to gather the insane for dark purposes. Galen Arvad, a young blacksmith, hides a terrible secret: he is plagued by fantastic dreams and tortured by common objects that talk to him. Unable to hide his eccentricities, he is hauled away with the other lunatics and plunged into a deep chasm of danger and intrigue. But Galen's madness is a sign of magic...a sorcery that can bridge realms and strike down dragon lords. Can Galen learn to use his power-before he's destroyed by the monsters that rule his world?
Three universes converge-faerie, goblin and human-in this impressive and provocative fantasy, the first of a new series from bestseller Tracy Hickman and [his] Dragonlance cocreator, Laura Hickman. Galen Arvad, a newly married blacksmith, struggles to discover the nature of a dream state connecting him with inhabitants of the faerie and goblin realms. Galen tries to hide this uncanny connection, but fails when he runs afoul of the Dragon Priests in Benyn Township, whose people equate magic with insanity. Galen's wife, Berkita, and his dwarf friend, Cephas, vow to rescue him. Meanwhile, Galen strives to understand how his fate intermingles with the destiny of a faerie Seeker who wishes to aid her war-torn people and a goblin toiling amid the vast mechanical machines left by Titans. This emotionally intense novel's meticulously crafted magical system and likable characters evoke an atmosphere both timely and timeless. While lively action sequences and rich descriptive passages provide plenty of excitement, mature examinations of politics and individual responsibility lend philosophical weight and emotional poignancy. Sure to hit many bestseller lists, this is a fine example of socially conscious and unpredictable imaginative fiction.
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-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 01, 2005
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Excerpt from Mystic Warrior by Laura Hickman
In the 492nd year of the Dragonkings, no commoner within the lands of Hrunard, nor anyone within the Five Domains suspected that their world was already coming to an end. The silent invasion moved as slowly and as inevitably as a glacier, unmarked by the busy lives of the ordinary inhabitants . . .
Only the fevered dreamers sensed the initial tremblers of the Deep Magic; the vanguard of a glory and a doom they could scarcely comprehend. They were the first of the Mystics, these dreamers ...
. . . and they were insane.
Tome III, Folio 2, Leaf 19
They watch me.
I feel their eyes peering through the darkness at the top of the falls. Each pinprick in the dome of night burns me, unblinking in its considerations. The stars try to speak-a murmuring of stardust on a wind that I cannot feel. I ignore them. They never say anything of consequence. They babble incessantly about the past and say nothing of the future. Their concerns, it seems, are too far above the lowly place that I occupy. They watch me with eyes of fire.
The stars are not the only ones watching me. Dark eyes, holes in the night, peer at me from under the black shadows of the forest around me. Their gaze is lust and hunger. Theirs are the eyes of the hunter, and I am the hunted.
I turn from them, stumbling in my flight beneath the low boughs of a pine tree. I might hide from the gaze of the stars here, but the other, unseen eyes are still on me, burning through the darkness. The whispered words between them drift past my ears, talking about me, talking to me. The voices creak and groan like overheated metal: the hiss of steam and the taste of a forge. They are searching for me, licking their long teeth in anticipation. Their voices are more distinct now, chattering madly and incessantly.
Demons. They are dark spirits from the deep reaches of N'Kara-the belly of the world where all condemned sinners suffer unceasingly in the afterlife. They have come for me in my blasphemy and they are getting closer.
I know this place, these trees are near my home and yet so different somehow. They can offer me no safety nor solace. I plunge headlong, mindlessly through the thick woods. Home is farther and farther from me with each panicked stride, but the demons stand between me and that place of solace. I am spinning, lost and confused by trees that I no longer remember. The branches move too slowly out of the way, marking my face and clawing at my eyes. The trees suddenly part. . . and I run headlong into the demons' encampment.
Four of the revolting creatures have their backs to me as I slide noisily to a halt. The demons are tearing at the flesh of a red- haired scholar, his arms and legs spread wide and staked to the ground. Books and parchment scrolls lie shredded and scattered about.
The haggard scholar looks up calmly from the tortured scene. "Would you be so kind as to help me?" he says in a quiet, patient voice despite the terror filling his eyes. "Please make them stop." The demons follow the scholar's gaze.
Only my own life concerns me. I leap at once back into the woods, fleeing heedless of my direction.
Somewhere behind me, the demons scream, spurred into the hunt by the prospect of easy quarry. I hear their panting behind me. I sense the excitement in their squealing voices. They have caught me before-at other times and in other places-but not tonight, I swear! Not tonight!
The trees, enjoying the sport, now point the way for me, doing their best to come to my aid. But the rocks underfoot are friends to the demons, and one trips me in my headlong flight. I tumble painfully, rolling across the uneven ground. Fear conquers my pain, and, panicked, I push myself up from the dirt.
I can see them now. The metal that they wear flashes dully in the starlight. Their steel eyes stare unblinking as they bound through the underbrush toward me. Their skin, too, is green, even in the faint light of the stars. Their smell is an outrageous offense.
Their long knives are drawn, dripping from the rending of a previ-ous soul. They clang their blades against their armor as they ap-proach. Hideous grins split their faces.
My feet struggle to find purchase in the dirt beneath me. Time stretches thin into an eternity. My legs will not move as they should. My body does not respond. The ground slides beneath me.
The demons rush forward, their screams echoing through the forest.
A massive vine suddenly lunges from the trees, wrapping around me. It jerks me upward, snatching me from the demons' out-stretched claws and flinging me into the air.
I tumble slowly through the night sky, and then I am rolling gently into a meadow. No, not just a meadow-it is the meadow, the place where Berkita and I come on holiday afternoons.