FIRE IN THE BLOOD EXCERPT:

Happy Thursday, readers!

There are now just 5 days until Fire in the Blood comes out! Are you excited? I’m so excited I’m getting headaches.

That also means there are just TWO DAYS left to enter the Fire in the Blood giveaway! Get your entries in–get your friends’ entries in. There are only 89 entries to go until the BIG PRIZE LEVEL unlocks. Which means more winners and one winner of an annotated version. All you have to do is write your favorite fictional ruler in a comment. Easy-peasy.

Okay: excerpt time.

Just like with The Adversary, I’m pleased to present to you a series of excerpts to get you ready for the big show. This time, instead of introducing you to the characters, I’m going to introduce you to what’s happening. (If you missed the last three, find them herehere and here.)

For this last excerpt, you get a peek at the great big happening of the book. The thing that has the capacity to shake up Cormyr if it’s not dealt with. So come meet Crown Prince Irvel…

***

On a hunt, Irvel had always thought of his companions as his brothers, linked in a shared goal, a shared excitement, a shared prize.

I have eight thousand brothers and sisters this day, he thought, throwing up his shield to ward off a blow. His horse was lost, somewhere in the chaos, his guardsmen fighting hard against the Sembians that had broken around their rear guard and attacked the royal command.

Spells flashed around him, steel scraped against shields, against armor. Sembian, Cormyrean, there was no dividing which soldier was shouting, screaming, dying. Irvel could only keep his concentration on the men before him, the blades seeking his throat, and the officers close by and guarding both him and Baerovus.

He ran the Sembian through and risked a glance at his son—still on horseback, his dun gelding prancing under him, still shooting arrow after arrow into the enemy line. At his side Vainrence and a trio of war wizards summoned terrible storms of magic, powerful enough to make the air thicken and crackle with energy. In the valley beyond, the Sembian army would regret allying with Risen Netheril.

Baerovus reached for another arrow, found Irvel’s eyes—

A globe of shadow struck Baerovus’s head, rocking him out of the saddle as it passed, hardly slowing. Baerovus’s eyes rolled back in his skull. One foot still tangled in the stirrup, he fell into the churning mud, boneless and slack.

Irvel shouted. Another soldier broke through the ranks of the Cormyrean defenders and struck him hard with a pike—missed his head, bruised and bloodied his shoulder through the mail shirt. Irvel turned to throw the fellow off—Baerovus, Baerovus, he had to get to his son. Lord Darclant Illance stood between them, catching the pike on his sword and thrusting it away.

“This way, Irvel,” he bellowed. “I’ll keep—”

A dagger to the throat cut him off—Irvel shouted a war cry and ran the soldier through, seeing his dark eyes widen as the blade breached him. He was younger even than Baerovus. He caught Darclant, who grasped his own throat, blood spilling through his fingers. A healing potion, Irvel thought, but there was no quiet place to administer it—and Baerovus might need it more.

“Back to the palace!” Vainrence shouted, his voice carrying through the chaos. Irvel spun—like an island in a storm of clashing bodies and rearing horses, the Lord Warder stood holding Baerovus’s slack body. “The boot- stick!” he shouted.

Still holding Darclant, Irvel reached down and slid the flat wooden stick from the edge of his boot with two fingers, just far enough to take hold of the top and snap it sharply down. The air around him and Lord Illance vanished as the Weave whined like the overdrawn strings of a fiddle about to break, drowning out the clash of swords, the shouts of soldiers, the folly of Cormyr.

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