Earlier this month, Stephen Deas, the author of the dragon trilogy (The Adamantine Palace, The King of the Crags and The Order of the Scales) posted an extract (the first two chapters) of his new novel, the follow-up to the first trilogy, titled The Black Mausoleum.
I ordered the book yesterday from Book Depository. Alas, I couldn't get it in e-book edition thanks to the geographic restrictions. I'll write another post on the subject soon. Anyway, I should be able to read it soon and post my review next month. Meanwhile, enjoy!
Chapter one - Karatos
He wasn’t stupid. Kataros had seen the way he looked at her, right from the start. Her jailer. She was a woman in a prison cell, frail and fragile, and he was the man charged with keeping her, a brute, massive and scarred with one crippled hand. In stories that went one of two ways. Either he’d fall in love with her, or he’d try to rape her and she’d get the better of him. Either way, in stories, fate always found a way to save the frail and fragile woman.
Actually no. In the childish stories she remembered the frail and fragile woman never saved herself. In those stories she stayed exactly where she was until some gallant rider on the back of a dragon tore open the door to her cell with his bare hands and whisked her away to a happy-ever-after. But in this story that wasn’t going to happen, which left her back where she started. He was interested. He didn’t take much trouble to hide it either. He wasn’t ugly, at least not on the outside, despite the scars. He was an Adamantine Man, though, and so her story wasn’t going to end in love.
There weren’t many cells down here. As far as Kataros could tell, there hadn’t been any at all until recently. Whatever this place was it had served some other purpose, something more benign, probably until the Adamantine Palace had burned. There were patterns on the floor, tiles, half buried now under a layer of filth. Ornate murals and faux arches decorated the walls. They were all over the place those arches, in almost every room she’d seen as they dragged her here. At the far end, towards the door that was the only way out, hangings lined the walls, intricate pictures of Vishmir and the first Valmeyan duelling in the skies; of the body of the Silver King, carried towards his tomb by men in masks and veils; of Narammed holding the Adamantine Spear, bowing down so he looked almost as though he was almost worshipping it – she could understand that, knowing now what it did.
Yes, it had been a genteel room once, quiet and out of the way and meant for reflection until someone had slammed in a few crude rows of iron bars and called it a prison. There was no privacy. The prisoner in the cell next to hers had stared the first time she’d had to squat in a corner. The Adamantine Man, at least, had looked away.[...]