Yelena, the heroine of Maria V. Snyder’s stunning debut novel Poison Study, is on her way to her ancestral homeland of Sitia to be reunited with her family and to learn more about her magical powers. An order of execution hangs over her head should she ever return to Ixia. But her true love, Valek, quickly learns that an assassin has taken it upon himself to make sure Yelena doesn’t reach her destination… As Ixia’s chief of security, and a highly skilled assassin himself, can Valek track down the killer in time to save Yelena’s life? (more…)
“Holy snow cats! Will ya look at the crowd.” Janco whistled in amazement.
Although Janco had the annoying tendency to exaggerate, Ari agreed with his partner. “Must be a record.”
“They must think we’ll be easier to beat.” Janco touched the scar where the lower half of his right ear used to be.
Ari recognized Janco’s nervous gesture. He’d seen it a thousand times. “No worries. Take a closer look.” From where they stood next to the castle, they could see the training yard was filled with soldiers practicing with swords and knives and bow staffs. “Greenies mostly. A few veterans, but nobody you can’t handle. Well…” Ari eyed Captain Francesca. She was deadly with a knife.
“You call that a pep talk?” Janco grumbled. “Why are we here anyway? This isn’t our job. It’s Valek’s.”
Valek was the chief of security for the vast intelligence network of the Territory of Ixia and the Commander’s right hand man. He had made a challenge to all the soldiers in the Commander’s Army: beat Valek in a fight with the weapon of your choice and win the right to be Valek’s second. Ari and Janco had teamed up with Maren and the three of them had bested Valek. Janco had found the loophole and Valek agreed the trio could be his seconds. For now. If another trio formed, then the new group would have to win a fight against Ari, Janco and Maren together. (more…)