Read The Scarecrow (Master of Malice Book 1) Online

Authors: Cas Peace

Tags: #Dark Fantasty, #Epic Fantasy, #Sword and Sorcery

The Scarecrow (Master of Malice Book 1)

BOOK: The Scarecrow (Master of Malice Book 1)
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Other titles in the Artesans of Albia series:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Albian Characters

Andaryan Characters

Realms of the World

Terms

Artesan ranks and their attributes

Artesans of Albia Fantasy Series:

Praise for the Artesans of Albia series
:

“Cas Peace’s
Artesans of Albia
trilogy immediately sweeps you away. The series propels you into a world so deftly written that you see, feel, touch, and even smell each twist and turn. These nesting novels are evocative, hauntingly real. Smart. Powerful. Compelling. The trilogy teems with finely drawn characters, heroes and villains and societies worth knowing; with stories so organic and yet iconic you know you’ve found another home—in Albia. So start reading now. I, for one, can’t wait to find out what will happen next.

~Janet E. Morris, author of
The Sacred Band of Stepsons
series;

the
Dream Dancer
series;
I, the Sun
.

 

+ + + + +

 

“I have just loved this entire series. Cas Peace is a master storyteller, providing a depth and breadth of information about her worlds and their people that is just staggering. Her characters are complex and multi-dimensional, and I have very much enjoyed reading this series. I am also looking forward with great anticipation to her next novel in this series. I heartily recommend this series to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, strong world-building, and beautiful storytelling. Highly recommended!”

~K Sozaeva,
Amazon Vine Voice and Top 1000 Reviewer
.

 

+ + + + +

 

“As a fan of the late great David Gemmel I think I have finally found an author who is similarly inspiring. It’s how fantasy should be written. Less about the world building and more about the characters. I didn’t want to stop reading.”

~ML. H,
Amazon reviewer
.

 

+ + + + +

 

“A superb read. Non-stop intrigue and action. I literally could not put it down.
Anyone needing a good series to read should take up Book 1 and get started. Cas Peace has created an unforgettable hero(ine) in Sullyan, and a world that ranks alongside Middle Earth and Westeros.”

~David C Snell,
Amazon reviewer
.

 

 

Published by Albia Publishing 2015

 

First American Paperback Edition

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control and does not assume responsibility for author or third party websites or their content.

Copyright ©2015 by Caroline Peace

Editing by Diane Dalton

Cover art by Mikey Brooks, www.insidemikeysworld.com

Author photo by Dave Peace

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

 

Visit Cas Peace at her author website: www.caspeace.com

 

 

 

ISBN-10: 1-939993-68-7

ISBN-13: 978-1-939993-68-7

 

Dedication

 

 

To Becca, many grateful thanks for all your hard work!

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

A
s always, my very grateful thanks to everyone who has helped me with, or who has read (and especially left a nice review of) my Artesans of Albia series. I could not have done it without you.

 

To Dave; to my parents, Barbara and Dennis; to my brother Dave: I love you all!

To Milly and Milo: thanks for all the cuddles and walks.

To my editor Diane Dalton: special thanks for your expertise and for saving me from potential embarrassment.

To Mikey Brooks: I do believe that this is your best cover yet! I adore it.

To NTN (David Snell, David Shepherd) and to Susan Mallett: many grateful thanks for the music and the fun.

To Bob Watson: for website advice and maintenance.

To Janet Morris: special thanks for that wonderful endorsement.

To anyone who has reTweeted, posted to Facebook, or otherwise helped spread the word through social media, and to anyone who has taken the trouble to write and post a review.

I hope you enjoy this book!

 

Other titles in the Artesans of Albia series:

 

 

Trilogy One: Artesans of Albia

 

Book One: King’s Envoy

 

Book Two: King’s Champion

 

Book Three: King’s Artesan

 

 

Trilogy Two: Circle of Conspiracy

 

Book One: The Challenge

 

Book Two: The Circle

 

Book Three: Full Circle

 

 

Trilogy Three: Master of Malice

 

Book One: The Scarecrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

L
erric, aging client-king of Bordenn, stood in the dark doorway. A damp, noisome smell assailed his nose, the drip of water reached his ears. Lerric shivered, his reaction not wholly due to the chill in the air.

Deep within the lightless room he detected a hint of movement. Creaking leather, a hiss of pain. Lerric stepped one pace farther from the door’s protection and raised his lamp. As soon as the faint yellow light touched—and flinched from—the dark form huddled on the truckle bed along the far wall, a vicious curse sounded. A crooked hand flew up to shield eyes that could no longer bear good, honest light.

“Put that out, you bloody fool! Would you blind me entirely?”

“Ah … your pardon.”

Lerric shuttered the lamp and gloom reclaimed the cell. When his eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, the king assessed the cell’s lone occupant.

Habitually dapper and well-fed, his body had assumed scarecrow proportions. A parody of his former self. The fastidiously clean and expensive raiment was replaced by a thin, shabby robe of dusty black. A darker blot amid the shadows, it barely disguised the gaunt frame it covered.

Gone were the arrogant swagger and confident poise, replaced by a savage desire for revenge, a thirst for retribution. Three years of incarceration and hopelessness, of nursing raging grievances, hadn’t lessened the pious fervor and deeply-held beliefs. Thirty-six interminable months of imprisonment and deprivation had served only to deepen his determination to rid the land of those to whom he owed his life. Those without whose mercy he would have suffered a horrific and agonizing death.

His eyes, damaged and unable to focus, peered peevishly at his visitor as he levered his skeletal frame upright. The tortured creature that had once been Baron Hezra Reen stood, leaning on a wooden cane as gnarled and lined as the liverish skin of his face, and bared his yellow, decaying teeth at the well-dressed man by the door. His host.

“Well? Are you going to stand there all day gawping, Lerric?”

His harsh tones lashed the older man. Lerric winced and pried his eyes from the cane clasped so tightly in the other’s hand, thinking—hoping—it must be a trick of the gloom that made it glow a gory red.

His daughter had convinced him that this withered being held the key to avenging her disgrace, yet Reen’s shocking physical aspect and aura of menace eroded Lerric’s confidence in the wisdom of allowing Sofira her way. How could she still profess to love this ill-tempered, wrinkled shell of a man, this ranting, obsessive bigot? He only had her word that the scarecrow’s mind was still sharp, undamaged by years of incarceration. After all, Sofira only had his letters on which to base her assertion.

It suddenly crossed Lerric’s mind that those letters could have been written by someone else purely to convince Sofira of the Baron’s sanity. Although who on that gods-forsaken island—or was that a contradiction in terms?—Reen could have found to write them for him, the aging king could not imagine. It was nothing less than a miracle he had even found a carrier for his messages, given his status as prisoner and traitor. But gold was gold, and there was always someone willing to risk the High King’s wrath for a price.

BOOK: The Scarecrow (Master of Malice Book 1)
8.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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