Richard Morgan posted a fifth and final extract for the third book in the A Land Fit for Heroes series, The Dark Defiles. The book will be coming out in April 2014.
There were times he dreamed that the cage had taken him after all; that he made some impassioned speech confessing guilt and repentance on the floor of the Hearings Chamber, and offered himself up for the sentence instead. That the Chancellery law-lords in their enthroning chairs and finery murmured behind their hands, deliberated amongst themselves for a space and finally nodded with stern paternal wisdom, and the manacles were unlocked and his wife and children set free. He saw it with tears in his eyes and a sobbing laugh on his lips, saw Sindrin kneel on the cold marble, weeping and hugging at little Shoy and Miril, while Shif junior just stood and looked back at him across the chamber with mirroring tears standing in his own young man eyes.
Then he woke, to his chains and the memory of what had really been done.
Sprayborne tilted on her anchors beneath him, yearned seaward on the currents from the river’s mouth. The damp cold of dawn seeped in through the portholes over his head and brought with it from the mudflats a stench like death.
At other times, maybe triggered by that reek, it was nightmare that took him – he dreamed, keening deep in his throat as he slept, that the rusted locks fell off the gibbet cages where they’d been heaved over the side and come to rest on the estuary’s silted bed, and now Shoy and Miril swam free, glitter-eyed and skeletal in the murky water, rising into the light to knock at Sprayborne’s hull and call for their father to come out and play……
Living punishment, as severe as the law allows, pronounced law-lord Murmin Kaad grimly into the anticipatory quiet of the Hearing Chamber. Meted out to reflect the severity of your sins against the Fair City and its allies, and to serve as clear example to others. Shif Stepwyr, you will see your bloodline extinguished, you will be imprisoned in the vessel you used to commit your crimes, and you will be given the rest of your natural span to reflect upon the evil you have done in this world.
He screamed when he heard it, and sometimes, waking from his dreams, he echoed those screams again. Screamed and tore at his fetters until he bled from the old scarred wounds once more, screamed as he had in the Hearing Chamber, for the Salt Lord to come for him, for the whole fucking Dark Court to come if they willed it, to take his soul, to take him away, to any kind of torment but this, if he might just first pay back the rulers of Trelayne for what the justice they had meted out.
And for the other extracts: