For the past few years Yarroway L’Estrella has lived in exile, gathering arcane power. But that power came at a price, and he carries the scars to prove it. Now he must do his duty: his uncle, the king, needs him to escort Prince Garith to his wedding, a union that will create an alliance between the two strongest countries in the known world. But Yarrow isn’t the prince’s only guard.
A whole company of knights is assigned to the mission, and Yarrow’s not sure he trusts their leader.
Knight Duncan Purefroy isn’t sure he trusts Yarrow either, but after a bizarre occurrence during their travels, they have no choice but to work together—especially since the incident also reveals a disturbing secret, one that might threaten the entire kingdom.
The precarious alliance is strained further when a third member joins the cause for reasons of his own—reasons that may not be in the best interests of the prince or the kingdom. With enemies at every turn, no one left to trust, and the dark power within Yarrow pulling dangerously away from his control, the fragile bond the three of them have built may be all that stands between them and destruction.
Despite their disparate natures, Yarrow, Duncan, and Sasha united against overwhelming odds to save Prince Garith’s life. Now Garith is king and the three friends may be facing their undoing.
Distraught over Yarrow’s departure to find the cure to his magical affliction, Duncan struggles with his new role as Bairn of Windwake, a realm left bankrupt and in turmoil by his predecessor. Many of Duncan’s vassals conspire against him, and Sasha’s unorthodox solutions to Duncan’s problem have earned them the contempt of Garith’s nobles.
When word reaches Duncan and Sasha that Yarrow is in danger, they want nothing more than to rush to his aid. But Duncan’s absence could tip Windwake into the hands of his enemies. In addition, a near-mythic order of assassins wants Sasha dead. Without Yarrow, Duncan and Sasha can’t take the fight to the assassins. They are stuck, entangled in a political world they don’t understand. But finding Yarrow may cause more problems, and with his court divided, King Garith must strike a balance between supporting his friends and assuaging the nobles who want Duncan punished—and Sasha executed.
Sasha was born to, and has always defined himself by, the secret assassins’ Order of the Crimson Scythe. He chose the love of Yarrow L’Estrella and Duncan Purefroy over his duty to his clan, forfeiting his last mission and allowing Prince Garith to live. Now, the order—previously Sasha’s family—has branded him a traitor. He’s marked, and that means the brethren of the Crimson Scythe won’t stop until Sasha is dead.
Garith’s twin kingdoms balance on the brink of war, and all three men have reasons to help the king, whether loyalty, duty, the interests of their own lands, or gold in their pockets. Still, Yarrow and Duncan are willing to abandon their reasons to seek out and destroy the assassins’ order to keep Sasha safe. But Sasha isn’t sure that’s what he wants. Loyalties are strained by both foreign invaders and conspirators in their midst. It’s hard to know which side to choose with threats piling up from every direction and war looming, inevitable, on the horizon. Their world teeters on the precipice of change, and Sasha, Duncan, and Yarrow can only hope the links they’ve forged will hold if Garith’s kingdom is torn apart.
An assassin’s unexpected mercy granted Octavian Rose his life and freed him from his father’s control, but it left him with little more than the clothes on his back and the determination not to waste his chance at a life of his choosing.
As Octavian sets out to make a name for himself, he refuses to compromise his ideals for money or status—a decision tested as he works his way up the ranks as a mercenary fighter and novice mage. Along the way he forges friendships, takes lovers, and makes bitter enemies, all while striving for the power he feels he deserves and can wield fairly.
With the advent of the Blessed Epoch and the discovery of new cultures, the world is changing. Octavian’s decisions will affect not only those closest to him but will have profound worldwide consequences that he cannot begin to imagine. For twenty years, Octavian does what he must, and his choices bring him brilliant victories alongside crushing losses. Time and again, he must choose between what is right for all and what is beneficial to him, while hoping for the wisdom to tell the difference.
FREE Short—A Lesson and a Favor
Eight years before meeting Yarrow and Duncan in Ash and Echoes, the man now known as Sasha lived and breathed for a single purpose: to kill for gold and the glory of his cult and dark god without emotion or hesitation. In this lost tale of Sasha’s early career, he’s dispatched on a difficult mission—one with a surprise in store for him.
FREE Short—Archer’s Regret
Sylvain Damasca has seen and done it all since walking away from his wealthy family and the promise of a future title. He’s had more men, money, and adventure than he can count—including a part in the founding of Rosecairn—but he’s restless, and no amount of gold, wine, or casual companionship can scratch his itch. It might be time to deal with the one thing he left unfinished, if he can find the courage to face the only man who ever got underneath his skin.
Whose hand will orchestrate the change in the world?
The decade-long war with Johmatra is over, but peace hangs by a thread in Garith’s kingdom. Yarrow, isolated in his island realm, refuses to abide by the treaty or to follow the dictates of the priestesses. Others—Octavian Rose among them—are uneasy with the growing military power of the temples, and the mage island of Espero remains a tenuous ally. Garith knows his people cannot weather another conflict and that infighting will leave their lands vulnerable to further invasion. The arrival of a Johmatran ambassador with his own agenda calls everyone’s loyalties into question.
Sides will be chosen, and the consequences of those choices will have repercussions no one can foresee. Even among the turmoil, Yarrow is determined to have his vengeance against the thirteen goddesses and heal the world’s magic. But how far will he go, and what lines is he willing to cross? As unlikely alliances are forged and enemies are revealed, Prince Thane seems to be the key to forgotten knowledge that will shape the future—and some will do whatever it takes to control him.
A Tale of the Blessed Epoch
Mage Yarroway L’Estrella decided the Battle of the Starlight Bridge when he summoned fire from the heavens. The blaze decimated much of the vineyard that has been in Alain Lamont’s family for nine generations. Mountain Shadow Winery may no longer be able to support Alain’s family or the dozens of others who call it home, but Alain vows not to fail all those depending on him.
Mercenary Fabrezio Orvina d’Caelus, Breeze to his friends, appreciates Alain taking him in when he’s badly wounded after the battle, but he has no intention of living the dull life of a farmer any longer than necessary. Though he likes the vintner, he sees Alain as soft and sheltered, hardly a man who can understand a warrior’s calling.
As they live and work together, Alain realizes Breeze isn’t exactly the amoral opportunist he suspected, and Breeze sees more strength in Alain than he thought possible of a simple winemaker. Life on the estate is richer and less boring than Breeze first imagined. With ingenuity, courage, and cooperation, they may devise a way to revitalize the vineyard and move beyond the pain and loss of their pasts.