This is by way of apology to all the people who either bought Heart of the Mirage recently in Australia as a result of meeting me at Swancon, or who received a free copy of it as a result of buying Feist’s latest – and then found that Book 2 in the trilogy The Shadow of Tyr was temporarily unavailable.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed Heart of the Mirage and it distresses me that The Shadow of Tyr was allowed to go out of print at such an inopportune time. I scoured Perth while I was there in both March and Arpil, and never found a single copy on sale anywhere except the speciality shops (bless ’em). I know, I know, it was totally ridiculous to run what was in effect a marketing campaign for the book and then not have it available – but that’s the kind of inanity that happens in the publishing business.
However, rest assured, The Shadow of Tyr is now in print once more and it should be back on the shelves very soon, if not already.
Here’s the prologue, just to whet your appetite:
Temellin stood on the sea wall and watched the Platterfish manoeuvre through the moored fisher boats. In the windless waters of the fishing harbour, four oars stroked in unison from the lower deck, while the sail hung like a rumpled blanket from the top spar. On the top deck, a woman leant at the railing, looking back at him.
Ligea Gayed, who was also his cousin Sarana Solad. She really was leaving him, taking his unborn child with her. Nothing he’d said had persuaded her to stay, and his sense of betrayal was matched only by the intensity of his loss. She could have chosen to rule this land alone, she could have chosen to share his rule, she could have done neither and just chosen to stay anyway. Instead, she had put her own quest for revenge, justice — call it what you would — before their love.
He understood, yet was bitterly angered, but it made no difference anyway: he loved her and always would. Mirageless soul, how was he going to live a life without her now that he had known what it was like to share it with her?
As the boat slipped past the arms of the narrow entrance and out of the harbour’s embrace, the shipmaster manning the stern sweep called out something to Ligea, and indicated the limp sail. She laughed and waved at Temellin, pointing to it in turn. He knew what they were asking, and obliged because he liked the irony of it ─ using his own power to send the woman he loved away. A breeze sprang out of nowhere to fill the flaxen squares ribbed with leather along the joins.
She raised her hand in farewell as the boat picked up speed and slid over the first of the ocean swells. Even across the distance, he felt the emotion she let free for him to sense: that mix of love and sorrow and determination that was peculiarly hers.
As he watched, he saw Brand come and stand by her side. Damn his eyes. And yet he was grateful the Altani was there for her. Gratitude and jealousy, side by side … nothing was simple any more.
Cabochon take it, Sarana, you turn a man inside out.
A voice spoke softly from behind him, echoing his sentiments, but for a quite different reason. ‘She should not go. No Magoroth should leave Kardiastan now. Not when those murdering blond bastards walk our streets and war is coming.’
He turned to look at the speaker: a crinkle-skinned fisherman weaving closed a tear in the side of an aging lobster pot, a man too ancient to sail with the fleet any more.
‘She will still fight our battles, old man,’ he said. ‘She will be in a position to stop legionnaires from landing on our shores, one day.’
The fisherman grunted, his disbelief strong in the air. ‘How much longer, Magori?’ he asked. ‘How much longer before I don’t fear to walk me own streets again? Will these old bones last long enough for this ancient to see freedom once more, eh?’
Temellin gave a grim smile. ‘You look as tough as shleth leather. You’ll make it.’ In his heart, he wasn’t so sure. It was one thing to start a war — they could, and would, do that soon. They’d been on the way to begin when Sarana had brought the news of the Stalwarts attack across the Alps. But win? That was another matter.
Hostages, he thought as he walked back along the sea wall towards the town. The Tyranians have a land full of hostages, and they’ll use them, too. How much stomach will we have to go on fighting when they can attack the innocent?
Sands take it, maybe Sarana was right. Maybe her help in Tyr would be crucial. Maybe without it, Kardiastan would never be free, for all their Magor power. Power, he mused, his thoughts bleak, even Magor power ─ it’s not everything. It might not even be enough.