Exclusive extract from R. Scott Bakker's THE WHITE-LUCK WARRIOR



Thanks to R. Scott Bakker, here's an exclusive excerpt from his forthcoming The White-Luck Warrior. It's spoiler-free, so go ahead and read it for a taste of what is coming your way! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Here's the blurb:

As Anasûrimbor Kellhus and his Great Ordeal march ever farther into the perilous wastes of the Ancient North, Esmenet finds herself at war with not only the Gods, but her own family as well. Achamian, meanwhile, leads his own ragtag expedition to the legendary ruins of Sauglish, and to a truth he can scarce survive, let alone comprehend. Into this tumult walks the White-Luck Warrior, assassin and messiah both, executing a mission as old as the World’s making …

The White-Luck Warrior is a story filled with heart-stopping action, devious treachery, grand passion and meticulous detail. It is both a classic quest tale and a high fantasy war story
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Enjoy!
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Dreams are only possessed upon waking, which is why men are so keen to heap words upon them after the fact. They engulf your horizons, pin your very frame to turbulent unreality. They are the hand that reaches behind the mountains, beyond the sky, beneath the deepest sockets of the earth. They are the ignorance that tyrannizes our every choice. Dreams are the darkness that only sleep can illuminate.

The old Wizard walked slots beneath mighty foundations. The stones, he knew, were among the oldest in the complex, part of the original structure raised by Carû-Ongonean, the third and perhaps the greatest of the Umeri God-Kings. Here... This was the place where the Nonmen of the famed Tutelage, the Siqû, had come to live among the Kûniüri. This was the place where the first Qûyan texts had been translated and stored, and where the first sorcerous School, the Sohonc, had been born.

Here... The famed Library of Sauglish.

Temple. Fortress. Granary of many things, wisdom and power foremost among them.

The walls seemed to close about him, so narrow was the way. Candles squatted in sconces along the walls. Whenever he neared one, it sparked to white life, while the one previous vanished into strings of smoke. Over and over, until it seemed there was but one flame leaping from wick to wick.

But the illumination was never quite enough. For every ten steps, five took him through absolute shadow, allowing him to see the layering of ancient Wards without the confusion of worldly sight. Ugly, the way all sorcery is ugly, and yet beautiful all the same, like the rigging of great ships, only ethereal–and as deadly as gallows. In the millennium since its construction, the Library–and the Sohonc–had never been conquered. The Cond Yoke. The Skettic invasions. No matter what the conquering nation, civilized or barbaric, they all sheathed their swords and came to terms. Whether perfumed and erudite like Osseoratha or unwashed and illiterate like Aulyanau the Conqueror, they all came to Sauglish bearing gifts instead of threats... They all knew.

This was the Library.

The corridor ended in blind walls. Holding tight the ornate map-case Celmomas had given him, the Grandmaster spoke the sorcerous words. Meaning flashed through his eyes and mouth, and he trod through monolithic stone. The Cant of Sideways Stepping.

Blinking, he found himself in the Upper Pausal, a narrow rostrum overlooking the Pausal proper, a dark antechamber long and deep enough to hold a war galley. Batteries of candles set below sparked to spontaneous life. Seswatha descended the right stair, map-case firmly in hand. Of all the innumerable rooms of the Library, only the Pausal could boast Nonmen artisanship, because only it had been hewn out of living rock. Twining figures adorned the walls, frieze stacked upon frieze, representations of the Tutelage and the first great peace between the High Norsirai and the False Men–as the Tusk called the Cûnuroi. But like so many who entered this room, Seswatha scarcely noticed them. And how could he when the stigmatic blemish of sorcery so assaulted his gaze?

It was always the same whenever one of the Few, those who could see the mark that the sorcerous cut into the natural, walked the Pausal. One thing and one thing only commanded their gaze... the Great Gate of Wheels. The portal that was a lock, and the lock that was a portal.

The entrance to the Coffers.

To mundane eyes it was a wonder of scale and machination. To arcane eyes it was nothing less than a miracle of interlocking deformities: enormous incantation wheels carved from milk-white marble, turning through a frame of bronze set with constellations of faces carved of black diorite, instilled animata–or proxies as they called them–enslaved souls, whose only purpose was to complete the circuit between watcher and watched that was the foundation of all reality, sorcerous or not. So hideous was the Mark of the thing, so metaphysically disfigured, that bile bubbled to the back of his throat whenever he found himself before it.

Qûya magic. Deeper than deep.

Seswatha paused on the stair, warred with his stomach. He looked down, and for some reason felt no surprise, no alarm, to see that the golden map-case had become an infant’s inert form. Blue and grey. Mottled with black bruising, as if it had perished while lying on its face. Slicked with the sweat of the dead.

Such is the madness of dreams that we can neglect the continuity of even the most basic things. An infant corpse, it seemed, had always been what he carried.

Achamian followed the grooves of the Dream thoughtful only of what had been thought, oblivious to the discrepancies. Only when he came to a halt beneath the arcane machinery of the Gate, only when he commanded the proxies to roll back the Gate, did he find himself skidding across unlived life...

Squirming. The dead baby was twisting and straining against his hands.

The Great Gate of Wheels rumbled to cracking life. At last the Archmage gazed down in horror.

Black eyes shining up with newborn bleariness. Fat-webbed arms reaching out, tiny fingers clutching.

Revulsion. Flailing panic. He cast the thing the way a boy might throw off at a spider or a snake, but it simply hung in the air before him, made a cradle of empty space. Behind it, the wheels of the Gate continued their groaning tumble.

“This,” Seswatha gasped, “is not what hap–!”

The last of the great bronze cogs had ceased their clacking. The Gate of Wheels was drawing open...

The infant had dropped from the air. A golden tube clattered where it had fallen. Beyond it, the ponderous bronze machinery of the Gate folded into blackness. A gust swept out across the antechamber.

Achamian stood immobile.

Wind roiled and twisted. His gown tugged at his limbs. A rumble shivered through the walls and lintels, deep, as if a tempest lashed some world inside the world. The Gate, which stood within the Library’s deepest heart, now opened onto the sky–not the Coffers, the sky! And he could see the Library, as though the Pausal hung from a great height above it. Bastions collapsing. Walls flying outward in strings of sand. And he could see it... the horror of horrors within billowing skirts of dust and debris, a mountain of black-spinning wind that linked wrecked earth to flickering clouds. Existence itself howled.

TELL ME... the Whirlwind said.

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

6 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any info on why the release date was pushed back two weeks?

underext7 said...

I love these damn books... Re-reading the series now, got the white luck warrior on pre-order...Now i wait... Thank you Pat, while not as good as the preview of the judging eye, this will suffice!

Dream Girlzzz said...

Woot!!! Can't wait to get my hands on this one!!!:) Thank you for posting this teaser!

The pedants and wankers who always harp on the Hotlist are just jealous because they can't get the goods the way you can!

Keep up the good work Pat!

Jorge said...

This book is gonna rock.

W said...

Pre-ordered, can't wait. :D

Also re-reading the series again now, have so many pages earmarked that I end up going back to several times.

Anonymous said...

I just got into this series about a month ago and have finished all the books that are out, i am tearing my hair waiting for this one to hit the shelves