It appears that Amazon.com is following its British counterpart. You can now download the first volume of Mazarkis Williams' The Tower and Knife series at a discount. The Emperor's Knife is available for only 1.38$ here.
Here's the blurb:
There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that attacks young and old, rich and poor alike. Geometric patterns spread across the skin, until you die in agony, or become a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence, the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the telltale marks is put to death; that is Emperor Beyon’s law…but now the pattern is spreading over the Emperor’s own arms.
His body servants have been executed, he ignores his wives, but he is doomed, for soon the pattern will reach his face. While Beyon’s agents scour the land for a cure, Sarmin, the Emperor’s only surviving brother, awaits his bride, Mesema, a windreader from the northern plains. Unused to the Imperial Court’s stifling protocols and deadly intrigues, Mesema has no one to turn to but an ageing imperial assassin, the Emperor’s Knife.
As long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, the invincible Pattern Master appears from the deep desert. Now only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes who saw a path in a pattern once, among the waving grasses—a path that just might save them all.
Mazarkis Williams is a writer with roots in both the US and the UK, having worked in and been educated in both countries. Each year is divided between Boston and Bristol and a teleport booth is always top of the Christmas wish-list. Mazarkis has degrees in history and physics, and a diverse set of interests accumulated while mispending a hectic youth. Cooking has always been a passion, and in addition to feeding six children and a sizeable herd of cats, Mazarkis regularly caters for crowds of permanently hungry friends. The Emperor’s Knife is Mazarkis’ first novel.
No word yet as to whether or not the second installment, Knife Sworn, will soon be available on the cheap. Stay tuned. . .