Though the knight Ovelia Dracaris swore to defend the Blood of Denerre with her life, hers was the dishonored hand that felled the Winter King.
After five years as a spymaster, Ovelia resurfaced in a desperate quest for justice that cost her everything: love, her sight, and almost her life.
Blinded and exiled, Ovelia wards her only remaining friend on his quest to save the burning city of Luether, hoping to find what has eluded her for so long: redemption.
After the Cold of Winter, Summer Catches Fire
Twenty years ago, terrible treachery befell Luether–once the City of Flames, now the City of Pyres–opening the gates to the barbaric Children of Ruin. The tortured city has rotted away to a mere shadow of its former glory–its people barely scraping by under the oppressive rule of the Ruin King Pervast. Magic-warped savages patrol the streets, inflicting pain and taking what they want, flaying Luether day by day like a shackled prisoner. But one man refuses to give up on his ancestral homeland: Garin Ravalis, the Fox of Luether, who leads a doomed crusade to overthrow the usurper and restore the city of his youth. And at what may indeed be Luether’s last, darkest hour, he may just get his chance–with the aid of his sworn Shield, the infamous bloodbreaker Ovelia Dracaris.
Ovelia Dracaris, Scarred Warder and Champion
After the tumultuous events of Shadow of the Winter King (SotWK), Ovelia Dracaris narrowly survived through miraculous means never before seen in the World of Ruin, but not without terrible cost. Blinded and cast out, shaking from withdrawal, and shorn of her life’s quest, she finds herself unmoored and adrift in a world she can barely perceive. She finds new purpose in aiding her last remaining friend, Garin, and swears a new vow to ward him with her last breath. And when she takes up her family’s bloodsword, Draca, she suddenly sees the world in a way she never imagined possible.
But we never really escape our pasts, and more than one old secret follows her as far as she tries to run.
(Read more about Ovelia in my forthcoming story in the WOMEN IN PRACTICAL ARMOR anthology, “King’s Shield”–coming April 2016!)
Born of two worlds–half-winterblood, half-summer–Ovelia was one of the primary characters of SotWK: a woman of grace and grit, possessed of strength and resilience beyond what anyone could reasonably expect of a normal person. True to its name, the World of Ruin has abused her viciously: stabbed, struck, assaulted, set on fire, and even mortally wounded, she has recovered from every challenge and hauled herself over every hurdle. SotSP will test her even harder: break her body and her heart and put demands upon her that exceed what she has ever faced before. The result? Inspiring.
Garin Ravalis, Crown Prince and Rebel
For most of his life, Garin has waged a war of resistance against the usurping Children of Ruin in his city. Through sabotage, theft, undermining support, and the occasional assassination, Garin and his organization Summer Lives seek to weaken Pervast with the goal of eventually redeeming Luether. Most recently, he went to Tar Vangr to beg his exiled uncle for military support, and now finds himself dealing with a new King of Winter. On a deadline before the forces of the north march and lay waste to the crippled City of Pyres, Garin enlists what aid he can in a last, desperate attempt to overthrow the usurper–and to do so through peaceful, bloodless means to achieve a lasting peace. (Fortunately, he thrives under pressure.)
But has he reached too far and undertaken a task too great? Can Luether accept him–and can he accept himself? When fate turns against him, and the darkness rises to turn all his hopes to ash in his mouth, can anyone pull him back out? And what terrible secrets does he hold in reserve, should he fail to save his city?
Garin first appeared as a minor character midway through SotWK, where he was allied with the antagonist Blood Ravalis but quickly became a friend to the heroes, particularly Ovelia, whose life he saved at one crucial moment. They form a powerful bond of friendship and loyalty that carries them once again into harm’s way, and she has to protect him from himself and his own doubts as much as Luether’s dangers. Together they will undertake the impossible, and in the process discover more than one long buried secret.
The dashing Garin Ravalis evolved considerably through the course of SotWK, from what was initially a pseudo-romantic foil for Ovelia to his current form: the gay black sheep of the heteronormative, male-supremacist Blood Ravalis. As you might expect, this causes a huge amount of anxiety in his character, not only in living up to his Blood’s impossible demands of him, but the tension between love for his squire, Alcarin, and the perceived needs of his city for a king and a queen.
SotSP really dives into Garin’s character and background–it’s about 40% his book and 50% Ovelia’s book. The remaining 10%?
Tithian Davargorn, Slayer and Avenger
Born with a distorted face but a gentle soul, the young Tithian grew up the boon companion of Semana Denerre nô Ravalis, but peace was not to be his. Recruited by the horrific mage-slayer Mask, Tithian developed a style of fighting that compensated for his physical ailments and even turned them into advantages. Aided by an uncanny magical ability that allows him to recover from almost any wound, he served his master long and well until he failed in battle and Mask cast him out in disgrace. Imprisoned, tortured, and–worst of all–his beloved Semana lost to him, Tithian has become a creature of vengeance. When the powers of Blood Ravalis set him free to use as their weapon, he gladly accepts the chance to avenge himself on the one he believes caused his ruination: Ovelia Dracaris.
Disabled, rage-filled, and supremely dangerous, Tithian Davargorn represents a very powerful weapon in the World of Ruin–one to be wielded carefully and with a firm hand. SotSP develops Tithian significantly as a character, presenting him with new challenges and possibilities. So long a pawn in others’ games, he has never truly been free to make his own choices, until a powerful personality breaks his chains and presents him with a new life such as he had not imagined. But has he found freedom, or just another would-be master seeking to bind him?
Well, since you asked . . .
A huntress in a pack of lions, whose unique talent makes her the perfect bane for a certain fire-haired Shield . . .
A young revolutionary firebrand desperate to cling to the man he loves, even as helping him jeopardizes their future together. . .
A shrouded pirate queen loyal only to herself, except for her growing obsession with Ovelia . . .
And a terrible weapon called Hekatomb.
Check out the book that started it all, Shadow of the Winter King!
(more links forthcoming!)
Erik Scott de Bie creates a magnificent fantasy that grabs you from the moment you start reading. He delivers again in book 2 of The World of Ruin series with amazing characters, compelling drama and epic adventure set in a wonderfully rich fantasy world.
~ Rausthauser, Amazon Reviewer
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