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Action, horror, politics, and sensuality combine in this DEBUT EPIC FANTASY novel for fans of George R. R. Martin and Michael J. Sullivan, set in the world of the Eisner Award-nominated Artesia comic books.
To find the Sword, unearth the Barrow. To unearth the Barrow, follow the Map.
When a small crew of scoundrels, would-be heroes, deviants, and ruffians discover a map that they believe will lead them to a fabled sword buried in the barrow of a long-dead wizard, they think they've struck it rich. But their hopes are dashed when the map turns out to be cursed and then is destroyed in a magical ritual. The loss of the map leaves them dreaming of what might have been, until they rediscover the map in a most unusual and unexpected place.
Stjepan Black-Heart, suspected murderer and renegade royal cartographer; Erim, a young woman masquerading as a man; Gilgwyr, brothel owner extraordinaire; Leigh, an exiled magus under an ignominious cloud; Godewyn Red-Hand, mercenary and troublemaker; Arduin Orwain, scion of a noble family brought low by scandal; and Arduin's sister Annwyn, the beautiful cause of that scandal: together they form a cross section of the Middle Kingdoms of the Known World, united by accident and dark design, on a quest that will either get them all in the history books...or get them all killed.
without the stars to guide them, and so would likely be seen anyway should there be a lookout at work, and the wet and cold and long day’s march had everyone close to falling out of their saddles from exhaustion. So he led them directly to the Inn, deciding not to care if anyone noticed that they were coming up out of the Dagger Vale. To describe Woat’s Roadside Inn as an inn did not, perhaps, do it justice; better to say instead that it was a version of the caravanserai that could be found
the whole time you’re here, though inside the Inn it’s not the Woats you have to be worried about,” Stjepan said under his breath to Erim as they pulled saddles and bags off their steeds. “And we’ll arrange a private bath for you, if you want,” he added. She nodded absently as she scanned the yards and the great hall from the dry refuge of the stables. “It’s after midnight. Is it normally so busy?” asked Erim, finding that she was warming to the place. “I’d expect this in Therapoli, but not out
Dania was lost in the war against Githwaine (see Lost Uthedmael). Later Dania split into Dain Dania and Erid Dania. DARA—first Queen of Daradja, from whom the land derives its name. Slain by Thula. DARA DESS—called the greatest of the four ancient citadels of Daradja (Dara Dess, Heth Moll, An-Athark, and Finleth). DARADJA—traditional name for the mountainous highlands of the Middle Kingdoms. Literally “Realm Of Dara” in Old Éduinan. DAUBAN HESS—the Golden Emperor, the Conqueror King, greatest
family marred by scandal and dishonor, and while he had to admit there was some surface truth to it, Arduin most certainly did not agree with the notion that that was who they were. No, for Arduin there was a deep distinction between the current reputation of the Orwains of Araswell and their truth: theirs was a proud family, a great family of ancient lineage, and he had been an honorable King’s Champion, and would be so again. But perhaps not this day. Arduin suddenly realized that Duke
poleaxes clustered at the rear gate, watching the rear alley and letting Jonas’ crew slip in and out the sally port, while the loyal remnants of the once great Aurian family hurriedly prepared coaches and wagons and loaded them with what provisions and property they could easily carry. The squires and stable hands were saddling and armoring the best horses in their barding, and tying other horses to the rear of the wagons. Cole and Ruvos Till had taken up positions inside the house behind the