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Authors: Daniel Abraham

Seasons of War

BOOK: Seasons of War
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
SEASONS OF WAR
PRAISE FOR DANIELABRAHAM
 
‘Daniel Abraham is one of the reasons the fantasy genre continues to haunt my dreams. Abraham is fiercely talented, disturbingly human, breathtakingly original and even on his bad days kicks all sorts of literary ass. Welcome to the world of the
andats
, of the haunted extraordinary poets, a world where men enslave ideas, where these slaves scheme to avenge themselves, where every bad deed spawns more, a world where after the treachery, the conspiracies, the journeys, all that’s ever left in the end are the consequences. Welcome to Daniel Abraham. If you are meeting him for the first time I envy you: you are in for a remarkable journey.’
Junot Diaz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
 
‘Daniel Abraham gets better with every book.
A Shadow in Summer
was among the strongest first novels of the last decade, and
A Betrayal in Winter
was a terrific second book, but in
An Autumn War
, Abraham puts both of them in the shade. This book really blows the top off, taking the world of the
andat
and the poets in new and unexpected directions.
An Autumn War
will keep you turning pages and break your heart in the bargain. If there’s any justice, this should be a contender for all the major awards.’
George R. R. Martin
 
‘There is much to love in the Long Price Quartet. It is epic in scope, but character-centred. The setting is unique yet utterly believable. The storytelling is smooth, careful and - best of all - unpredictable. The first two books impressed me, but
An Autumn War
surpassed them, leaving me stunned and wondering where Abraham will take me in the fourth book.’
Patrick Rothfuss
 
‘I already knew Daniel Abraham was an excellent writer.
An Autumn War
is his best novel yet: his quiet compassion for humanity slams hard against his clear-eyed depiction of the ruthless progress of war and the bitter choices people must often make to protect their own. Highly recommended.’
Kate Elliott
 
‘Abraham’s series gets more mind-expanding with every book.
An Autumn War
ratchets up the tension and then delivers a stunning ending that will leave you gasping for breath, wondering what bowling ball jut slammed you in the skull.
Yes, it is that good.’
Walter Jon Williams
BY DANIEL ABRAHAM
The Long Price
Shadow and Betrayal
Seasons of War
 
 
 
 
Seasons of War
 
 
DANIEL ABRAHAM
 
 
Hachette Digital
 
Published by Hachette Digital 2010
 
Copyright © 2008 by Daniel Abraham
 
 
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
 
 
All characters and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
 
 
All rights reserved.
 
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
 
 
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
 
eISBN : 978 0 7481 2077 2
 
 
This ebook produced by JOUVE, FRANCE
 
Hachette Digital
 
An imprint of
 
Little, Brown Book Group
 
100 Victoria Embankment
 
London EC4Y 0DY
 
 
An Hachette Livre UK Company
To Scarlet
Acknowledgements
Once again, I would like to extend my thanks to Walter Jon Williams, Melinda Snodgrass, Emily Mah, S. M. Stirling, Terry England, Ian Tregillis, Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin and the other members of the New Mexico Critical Mass Workshop.
I also owe debts of gratitude to Shawna McCarthy and Danny Baror for their enthusiasm and faith in the project, Jim Frenkel for excellent advice, and to my family for supporting me through this very long project.
The World
The Cities of the Khaiem
BOOK THREE: AN AUTUMN WAR
PROLOGUE
T
hree men came out of the desert. Twenty had gone in.
The setting sun pushed their shadows out behind them, lit their faces a ruddy gold, blinded them. The weariness and pain in their bodies robbed them of speech. On the horizon, something glimmered that was no star, and they moved silently toward it. The farthest tower of Far Galt, the edge of the Empire, beckoned them home from the wastes, and without speaking, each man knew that they would not stop until they stood behind its gates.
The smallest of them shifted the satchel on his back. His gray commander’s tunic hung from his flesh as if the cloth itself were exhausted. His mind turned inward, half-dreaming, and the leather straps of the satchel rubbed against his raw shoulder. The burden had killed seventeen of his men, and now it was his to carry as far as the tower that rose up slowly in the violet air of evening. He could not bring himself to think past that.
One of the others stumbled and fell to his knees on wind-paved stones. The commander paused. He would not lose another, not so near the end. And yet he feared bending down, lifting the man up. If he paused, he might never move again. Grunting, the other man recovered his feet. The commander nodded once and turned again to the west. A breeze stirred the low, brownish grasses, hissing and hushing. The punishing sun made its exit and left behind twilight and the wide swath of stars hanging overhead, cold candles beyond numbering. The night would bring chill as deadly as the midday heat.
It seemed to the commander that the tower did not so much come closer as grow, plantlike. He endured his weariness and pain, and the structure that had been no larger than his thumb was now the size of his hand. The beacon that had seemed steady flickered now, and tongues of flame leapt and vanished. Slowly, the details of the stonework came clear; the huge carved relief of the Great Tree of Galt. He smiled, the skin of his lip splitting, wetting his mouth with blood.
BOOK: Seasons of War
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