After escaping from the Isle of Kiros, the companions face a long ocean voyage together with an attack from a pirate ship…
“The writing is tight and skilful and I really enjoyed the descriptions. Each character is well described and they are all very different to each other. There’s lots of going on and lots of different viewpoints and these work well together without becoming confusing. I especially liked the climax with the fight with the pirates.” E Baxter
The four companions are finally heading north once more in the wake of the kaerlings who have abducted Derri and Lally.
But the ocean is vast and pirate ships lurk in fog banks. Can the companions reach Jargoiden before the pirates attack them?
If they are unable to reach Jargoiden, Derri will be assimilated into his violent family once more, and Lally may end up as a sacrifice to the terrible kaerling god.
If you enjoy Ursula K Le Guin’s work, you’ll love this series! Inspired by authors such as Le Guin, Terry Brooks and David Eddings, Freya Pickard has developed her own style of fantasy which edges towards the dark and the dangerous, rather than the cosy and comfortable.
Erl stood with his back to the bole of a beech tree, hearing the leaves above his head rustle and whisper. He could feel the weight of the pack resting on his right leg and sensed Otta leaning against the trunk of a red pine.
The darkness was not so heavy here at the tree line, and overhead, stars flickered in a black velvet sky. To his right a silver radiance grew with every minute as the moon rose. The grass beneath his booted feet was damp with dew and behind him he could hear the grunt of badger, bark of fox and shrill shrieks of dying rodents.
He felt excitement run through his body; he was going to see Tari! He felt his sister emanate disgust at his eagerness to see the treu-priestess again and kept his thoughts private. Erl still wasn't clear on what had been happening at the Cathair, as Otta had revealed very little. All he'd gleaned from her was that two nights before, Lored had successfully contacted Otta to let them know they would soon leave Kiros. But first Lored had to help free someone from prison.
Not more than two hours ago, Otta had woken Erl to tell him that Lored and Tari would meet them at the crossroads soon after midnight. Erl wasn't sure how he felt about Lored and Otta communicating without speech together. Mind to mind conversation was something that he and his twin shared; he didn’t want any other man entering Otta's mind. But, if someone was to be in contact with her in that fashion, he supposed Lored was trustworthy and decent.
A pair of barn owls screeched their way over the open space that encompassed the crossroads and Erl raised his head to see the bare tree to the north all bent and twisted in the moonlight. He shivered as he recalled the murder he and Otta had witnessed. Something within him still grieved for the unknown men clad in grey uniforms who had been killed and buried so callously.
Otta gave off another wave of impatience and he realised he was no longer thinking on a tight, private thought. He felt once more the rift between them; his attack on his sister the previous autumn had forever changed them. She did not trust him completely now. And, during his travels with Otta, Erl had realised how cold-blooded she was. Why had he never seen it before? Had she always been like that? Or had something changed when she'd started imitating the kaerlings the previous winter? Had the strange contact with cold-featured kaerling who pursued Otta through her thoughts during the summer months, changed something fundamental in her personality?
Erl had no answers and he watched the shadows sharpen and deepen as the moon rose higher. Otta stirred, tilting her head to one side.
Four horses approach.
Excitement shivered over his skin and he pushed himself away from the beech bole, reaching for his pack.
Wait until they're nearer ...