Excerpts - Erikson, Williams and Kemp

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's excerpt time again! Tor.com posted the prelude and first chapter of Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson, the first book in the Kharkanas trilogy.  Justin at Staffer's Book Review also posted the first chapter of Knife Sworn by Mazarkis Williams (second book of the Tower and Knife series).  And finally, it's already released and my review of the book will be up this week, Paul S. Kemp first fifty pages of his new book The Hammer and the Blade are available on his blog.  Enjoy!


. . . so you have found me and would know the tale. When a poet speaks of truth to another poet, what hope has truth? Let me ask this, then. Does one find memory in invention? Or will you find invention in memory? Which bows in servitude before the other? Will the measure of greatness be weighed solely in the details? Perhaps so, if details make up the full weft of the world, if themes are nothing more than the composite of lists perfectly ordered and unerringly rendered; and if I should kneel before invention, as if it were memory made perfect. 
Do I look like a man who would kneel? 
There are no singular tales. Nothing that stands alone is worth looking at. You and me, we know this. We could fill a thousand scrolls recounting the lives of those who believe they are each both beginning and end, those who fit the totality of the universe into small wooden boxes which they then tuck under one arm – you have seen them marching past, I’m sure. They have somewhere to go, and wherever that place is, why, it needs them, and failing their dramatic arrival it would surely cease to exist. 
Is my laughter cynical? Derisive? Do I sigh and remind myself yet again that truths are like seeds hidden in the ground, and should you tend to them who may say what wild life will spring into view? Prediction is folly, belligerent assertion pathetic. But all such arguments are past us now. If we ever spat them out it was long ago, in another age, when we both were younger than we thought we were. 
This tale shall be like Tiam herself, a creature of many heads. It is in my nature to wear masks, and to speak in a multitude of voices through lips not my own. Even when I had sight, to see through a single pair of eyes was a kind of torture, for I knew – I could feel in my soul – that we with our single visions miss most of the world. We cannot help it. It is our barrier to understanding. Perhaps it is only the poets who truly resent this way of being. No matter; what I do not recall I shall invent. 
There are no singular tales. A life in solitude is a life rushing to death. But a blind man will never rush; he but feels his way, as befits an uncertain world. See me, then, as a metaphor made real.

Thrashing churned the water, white foam, tinged brown with river mud. Grada knelt on a broad stone bedded in the shoreline, her arms elbow deep, wringing as she had wrung out the robes of the wealthy many times before.  
Muscles bunched across her shoulders. Jenna had always said she was strong. Ox-strong, head-strong.  
Further out the river slid past, green-brown, placid. Somewhere a widderil called out its three-note song with all its heart.



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