Taran Elijahâ€™s quest for knowledge uncovers a plot that threatens the world…
Desperate to learn how to control his innateÂ ArtesanÂ powers, Taran embarks on a foolhardy plan to acquire the teaching he craves. The military backlash his action unleashes forces Albiaâ€™s High King to send Major Sullyan as an envoy to the Fifth Realm. But a dark and treacherous power is moving through the realms and all will feel its influence.
Captured and tortured by the power-hungry Lord Rykan, Sullyan is trapped inÂ Andaryon. Aided by the unlikeliest sources, the major formulates a plan to defeat Rykan and end his quest for the throne. ButÂ Sullyanâ€™sÂ strength is fading fast and time is running out. The only thing that can save her is Rykanâ€™s mysterious Staff, which lies buried in the ruins of Taranâ€™s cellar.
Sullyanâ€™s lover, Robin Tamsen, sets out to recover theÂ artefact, but the enemy is two steps ahead of him. If Robin fails to secure the Staff, Sullyanâ€™s life, theÂ ArtesanÂ craft, and the very existence of their worldÂ isÂ under threat.
“Cas Peace’sÂ ArtesansÂ of Albia trilogy immediately sweeps you away:Â the drama starts withÂ King’s Envoy, continues unabated inÂ King’s Champion, and climaxes inÂ King’sÂ Artesan, yet each volume is complete, satisfying.Â TheÂ ArtesanÂ seriesÂ propelsÂ you into a world so deftly written that you see, feel, touch, and even smell each twist and turn. These nesting novels are evocative, hauntingly real. Smart.Â Powerful.Â Compelling.Â The trilogy teems with finely drawn characters, heroes and villains and societies worth knowing; with stories so organic and yet iconic you know you’ve found another homeâ€”in Albia. So start reading now. I, for one, can’t wait to find out what will happen next.
Janet E Morris: Bestselling Author ofÂ The Sacred Band of StepsonsÂ series;Â theÂ Dream DancerÂ series; I, the Sun; Outpassage; The Silistra Quartet;andÂ editor of the BangsianÂ In HellÂ series.Â Famed contributorÂ to the shared universe fantasy series,Â Thieves World.
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Snippet FromÂ Kingâ€™s Champion:
Sullyan cantered Drum across the plains for the first mile or so, weaving through the trees, Robin and Marik at her back. Then she slowed the stallion to a brisk walk, allowing the other two to catch up. She made for the high road leading directly to the fortress gates, seeing with satisfaction that they were the only people on the road. Warning Marik and Robin to keep their hands well away from their sword hilts, she rode confidently forward, eyes narrowed against the snow glare.
The Count nudged his horse up on her left side, a gloomy expression on his face. â€œI expect the sentries and outriders will see us soon.â€
She gave a snort. â€œMy dear Count, there have been loaded crossbows aimed at our hearts for the past half hour.â€
Marik started and looked wildly about, but there was no one in sight. Sullyan continued in silence, highly visible on the coal-black Drum. Her borrowed longsword reared in its harness over her shoulder.
They were about a mile and a half from the gates when the sentries rode out of cover and confronted them. Sullyan immediately halted in the middle of the road, waiting for the twenty-strong patrol to approach. Marik and Robin flanked her. She studied the Hierarchâ€™s men with professional interest. The purple and gold of his livery was evident on their combat leathers, and their leader bore a Lieutenantâ€™s rank insignia, the equivalent of an Albian Captain. A medium height man in his middle thirties, he halted his men a few paces from Sullyan and rode forward alone. He sat his dark bay stallion easily and his hand never left the hilt of his sword, despite the ready crossbows behind him.
He ignored Robin, swept Marik a contemptuous glance, and then turned his attention to Sullyan. He regarded her for a few moments, his pale brown eyes taking in her gold insignia, her battle honors, and Kingâ€™s Envoy shooting star. When he addressed her, his tone was barely respectful, the attitude of a confident man unused to dealing with armed women.
â€œMajor.â€ He gave her a slight nod, the only sign of respect she would get.
â€œLieutenant.â€ She accorded him the same bare courtesy, giving her voice an identical inflexion.
His eyes narrowed as he reassessed her, taking in her relaxed but alert attitude and the casual way she sat the huge black stallion with its light saddle and bitless bridle. His own mount bore the usual heavy cavalry saddle that could keep a dying man upright, and foam was dripping from the iron bit in its mouth.