Beyond Sanctuary

Beyond Sanctuary

Sacred Band Series Book 2

Here is the new, revised and expanded Author’s Cut edition of BEYOND SANCTUARY, the first ever full-length novel to take you BEYOND the notorious Thieves World™ fantasy universe, where gods still stalk the land, warring with demons and human sorcerers and trampling unfortunate humanity underfoot.

If you like stories of bold brave knights employed in meritorious duty, or tales of ladies delicate and fair, be warned. Beyond Sanctuary, set at the foot of notorious Wizardwall, may be too much for your sensibilities. There wizards, bards, and maidens mingle with murderers and thieves, and the fight breaking out at the next table may be the one that ends your life.

The hero of BEYOND SANCTUARY is Tempus, leader of mercenaries and warrior-servant of Vashanka, god of storm and war. With Niko, Cime, and the Froth Daughter Jihan, Tempus faces the archmage Datan and his unholy followers – in a battle for the Rankan Empire’s survival and that of his very soul. BEYOND SANCTUARY is the first novel in Janet Morris’ BEYOND series, followed by BEYOND THE VEIL and BEYOND WIZARDWALL.

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About the Book

[excerpt from Beyond Sanctuary: UP WIZARDWALL]

Around Wizardwall’s lofty crags, wards snapped tight and rockfalls glowed bright blue. Nothing could pass through unnoticed, unscathed, or by dint of force alone: the perimeter wards of Black Nisibis turned unwary insects into combusting fireflies, roasted rabbits in an instant, charred birds’ feathers as they hit the high-strung fence of power wound about the citadel like ritual wool.

Down from the high peaks winter blew, and wizard weather vanquished summer: not one of the adepts gathered on the heights expected an easy rout, but all agreed a verdant carpet of flowered earth was too lush a welcome for Tempus the Black; his murderous sister Cime; Bashir of Free Nisibis who bore Enlil into the war; and Grillo, representative of Ranke under whose aegis even the Tysian mageguild had sent a young adept along to fight.

Nisibisi warlocks had never been so busy. As the Mygdonian Alliance’s most fearsome forces, they already were engaging the Machadi enemy on behalf of Mygdon. Most of the blood-hungry and high-spirited warlocks had joined Lacan Ajami’s rear echelon retinue; those remaining on Wizardwall didn’t dirty their hands with mortals or mix among the puny or the damned. A wealth of tender spirits and newly unconsecrated dead were delivered straight to them by lesser mages; the greater sorcerers burped and lazed and fed. Nor were they troubled by the war raging in the distance or even the sixty-six guerilla fighters climbing their slopes with dogged determination to bring that war to them.

To teach Tyse a lesson long past due, the mages of Black Nisibis sent blizzard weather howling down the mountainsides, camouflaging the high peaks routes. Filling deep crevasses and hiding escarpments with treacherous drifts of white, it rolled on, dispatching summer with its blighting breath that whispered harshly of frost-bite and famine soon to come.

Exploratory lightning bolts from sorcerers on high had been parried by Tyse’s overweening mageguild: thus fair warning was ignored. Mere Hazards were not up to battling weather. Terror waxed among Tysian townsfolk as their treasured prestidigitators bowed their heads and warmed their hands over sputtering hearths, trying in vain to reinstate the banished summer.

Pious priests pontificated to congregations larger than they’d ever been before. Armies drilled through slushy streets, a show of hollow force. Mothers wrapped coughing children close and bought draughts that didn’t cure them from overworked physicians. Coins changed hands on Commerce Avenue for forecasts of fate and weather meant to make the frightened brave. Whores warmed the bellies of grieving clients who had fields full of frozen cattle to forget. Girls wrapped in furs queued up before the mageguild to buy prophylactic spells and abortifacients, but those who’d gone through times like these before knew a baby boom was on its way.

In Brother Bomba’s tavern, his wife looked uncharacteristically glum: The place was full night and day, reservations in advance required. The storage magazines beneath would hold for a month or more while goods and services shot up in price, and a mug of warming wine well-mulled or a barley posset was worth what a girl’s night used to cost. But Madame Bomba’s “soldier boys” were out mountain climbing in foul weather and this, her confidants agreed, was what damped the madam’s spirits. Only good news down from the high peaks or word from one of Grillo’s specials made her smile; a Sacred Bander, when one came down the mountain with a horse gone lame, was treated as her guest of honor; all others, rich or connected or even so intimately known as was her husband, were virtually ignored.

High above the town, the archmage Datan, preoccupied with the Froth Daughter snoring in his seraglio, could not be shaken to his senses or even reasoned with, most days.

Since Roxane had flown back to the wizards’ high peaks citadel to heal her wounds and gird for battle, she’d hardly seen him. And when, chancing upon him in private onyx halls, she’d tried to apprise him of his peril, he’d called her “stupid, short-sighted, and inept.”

She’d left him with his belly shaking as he laughed at her and all his chins aquiver, certain then that she’d been right to deem him due for toppling. When this war was over, all of Wizardwall, including the sorcerers of Black Nisibis and the northern range would be hers and hers alone.

Thus Datan didn’t demand that she explain her own behavior; not how the snakes had died (though she’d been ready to blame it on the surprise attack by Stepsons) or even why the Riddler’s forces caught her unawares. Nor did she need to justify the fact that she’d spared the young fighter Nikodemos for more spying, despite the dream lord’s cuirass or his alleged interest in the youth.

So she rehearsed the moment when she’d triumph and planned the fates she’d mete out to enchanters high and low, to Enlil’s priest and to Tempus the Obscure and his rightly-cursed sister, whom Roxane had hated at first sight in Sanctuary when One-Thumb introduced them.

As the Stepsons and Successors and specials of the army trudged on through snow and sleet, she found those witches and warlocks she wanted for her faction and prepared the oaths of fealty they must swear to earn salvation.

She was meeting with a chosen few when Datan called her to his war council: the enemy had passed through the warding spells unharmed. At their head rode Bashir, Enlil’s foul priest who’d facilitated this incursion with sacrilegious prayers sent on high, when from Wizardwall all worship was directed downward. Certain demons were incensed. This Nisibisi warrior-priest, they decided at Roxane’s urging, would be first to die.

 

Details
Author:
Series: Sacred Band Series, Book 2
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Perseid Press
Publication Year: 2013
ASIN: 0671559575
ISBN: 0441056369
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About the Author
Janet Morris

Best selling author Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 30 novels, many co-authored with her husband Chris Morris or others. She has contributed short fiction to the shared universe fantasy series Thieves World, in which she created the Sacred Band of Stepsons, a mythical unit of ancient fighters modeled on the Sacred Band of Thebes. She created, orchestrated, and edited the Bangsian fantasy series Heroes in Hell, writing stories for the series as well as co-writing the related novel, The Little Helliad, with Chris Morris. She wrote the bestselling Silistra Quartet in the 1970s, including High Couch of Silistra, The Golden Sword, Wind from the Abyss, and The Carnelian Throne. This quartet had more than four million copies in Bantam print alone, and was translated into German, French, Italian, Russian and other languages. In the 1980s, Baen Books released a second edition of this landmark series. The third edition is the Author's Cut edition, newly revised by the author for Perseid Press. Most of her fiction work has been in the fantasy and science fiction genres, although she has also written historical and other novels. Morris has written, contributed to, or edited several book-length works of non-fiction, as well as papers and articles on nonlethal weapons, developmental military technology and other defense and national security topics.

Janet says: 'People often ask what book to read first. I recommend "I, the Sun" if you like ancient history; "The Sacred Band," a novel, if you like heroic fantasy; "Lawyers in Hell" if you like historical fantasy set in hell; "Outpassage" if you like hard science fiction; "High Couch of Silistra" if you like far-future dystopian or philosophical novels. I am most enthusiastic about the definitive Perseid Press Author's Cut editions, which I revised and expanded.'

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