I never thought I'd say this but I cannot wait until Monday for that is when Kingsbane, the long awaited sequel to Claire Legrand's epic fantasy Furyborn will finally be released. Don't you love how I give the impression of a near-interminable wait? I actually only discovered Claire Legrand when I devoured Sawkill Girls in two days in December and I only finished Furyborn on Wednesday but five days is a long time to wait!
If you've not heard of Legrand, she is known for writing complex, powerful female characters and her books delve deep into the feminine psyche. In Furyborn we met Rielle and Eliana, born a millennium apart but bound together by one prophesy. Their story continues in Kingsbane and I'm pleased to host an exclusive excerpt focusing on one of my favourite characters Simon as part of Claire's Kingsbane blog tour. It is so intriguing! It only makes me love Simon more and want to read more about his story.
Do check out the other blogs on the tour for news, reviews, interviews and all sorts of other Kingsbane-related goodies.
Kingsbane is out on Monday 20 May.
Kingsbane (Empirium 2) - Exclusive Excerpt
When Simon awoke, he was alone.
He lay flat on his back on a scrubby plain veined with brown rocks and white ribbons of ice. The sky above him was the color of slate, choked with sweeping clouds that reminded him of waves, and from them fell thin spirals of snow. For a few moments he lay there, hardly breathing, the snow collecting on his lashes. Then the memories of the last several hours returned to him.
Queen Rielle, giving birth to her child.
Simon’s father, his mind no longer his own, throwing himself off her tower. Rielle thrusting her infant daughter into Simon’s arms, her face worn, her eyes wild and bright gold.
You’re strong, Simon. I know you can do this.
Threads glowing at his fingertips—his threads, the first ones he had ever summoned on his own, without his father’s guidance, and they were strong and solid. They would carry both him and the child in his arms to safety.
The queen, behind him in her rooms, fighting the angel named Corien. Her voice, distorted and godly. A brilliant light, exploding outward from where she knelt on the floor, knocking Simon’s threads askew and sum- moning forth new ones—dark and violent, overtaking the others. Threads of time, more volatile than threads of space, and more cunning.
He’d tightened his arms around the screaming child, clutched the blan- ket her mother had wrapped around her, and then, a rush of black sound, a roar of something vast and ancient approaching.
Simon surged upright with a gasp, choking on tears, and looked down at his arms. They were empty.
The only thing left of the princess was a torn piece of her blanket— slightly singed at the edges from the cold burn of time.
All at once he understood what had happened. He understood the immensity of his failure.
But perhaps there was still hope. He could use his power, travel back to that moment on the terrace with the baby in his arms. He could move faster, get them both away to safety before Queen Rielle died.
He pushed himself to his knees, raised his skinny arms into the frigid air. His right hand still held the child’s blanket. He refused to let it go. It was possible to summon threads with a cloth in his fist, and if he released the blanket, something terrible would happen. The certainty of that tight- ened in his chest like a screw.
He closed his eyes, his breath coming shaky and fast, and remembered the words from his books:
The empirium lies within every living thing, and every living thing is of the empirium
Its power connects not only flesh to bone, root to earth, stars to sky, but also road to road, city to city.
Moment to moment.
But no matter how many times he recited the familiar sentences, the threads did not come.
His body remained dark and quiet. The marque magic with which he had been born, the power he had come to love and understand with his father’s patient tutelage inside their little shop in Âme de la Terre, was gone.
He opened his eyes, staring at the stretch of barren, rocky land before him. White peaks beyond. A black sky. The air held nothing of magic inside it. Pale, it was, and tasteless. Flat where it had once thrummed with vitality. Something was wrong in this place. It felt unmade and clouded.
Scarred. Scraped raw.
Once, his marque blood—part human, part angel—had allowed him to touch the empirium.
Now, he could feel nothing of that ancient power. Not even an echo of it remained, not a hint of sound or light to follow.
It was as if the empirium had never existed.
He could not travel home. He could travel nowhere his own two feet could not take him.
Alone, shivering on a vast plateau in a land he did not know, in a time that was not his own, Simon buried his face in the scrap of cloth and wept.