Here's an extract from Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith's The Geomancer, compliments of the folks at Pyr. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.
Here's the blurb:
The first Gareth and Adele Novel, The Geomancer is the start of an ongoing, character-based, urban fantasy series set in the same Vampire Empire universe as the authors’ previous trilogy! The uneasy stalemate between vampires and humans is over. Adele and Gareth are bringing order to a free Britain, but bloody murders in London raise the specter that Adele’s geomancy is failing and the vampires might return. A new power could tilt the balance back to the vampire clans. A deranged human called the Witchfinder has surfaced on the Continent, serving new vampire lords. This geomancer has found a way to make vampires immune to geomancy and intends to give his masters the ability to kill humans on a massive scale. The apocalyptic event in Edinburgh weakened Adele’s geomantic abilities. If the Witchfinder can use geomancy against humanity, she may not have the power to stop him. If she can’t, there is nowhere beyond his reach and no one he cannot kill. From a Britain struggling to rebuild to the vampire capital of Paris, from the heart of the Equatorian Empire to a vampire monastery in far-away Tibet, old friends and past enemies return. Unexpected allies and terrible new villains arise. Adele and Gareth fight side-by-side as always, but they can never be the same if they hope to survive.
Adele walked through the weedy grounds of Greyfriars kirkyard. She found comfort in the long rows of funerary markers and in the crumbling church. Her fingers drifted across grave markers that were no longer legible. Mossy stone skulls stared at her as she passed. Heavy gates lay askew and black iron cages sat on the ground, mortsafes intended to keep out grave robbers.
A bright moon shone through the leaves, giving her a shadow on the grass. The air was warm and Adele wore only a nightgown, which she briefly thought odd. Buttercups swayed in clumps below the tombs. Crocuses grew along the walls of the church.
Footfalls through the grass brought Adele around. A figure in a long kimono of green silk came through the moonlight. Short, compact, powerful, the man strode toward Adele with a smile on his face.
“Mamoru.” Adele was excited to see her old teacher. It seemed like it had been a long time. His presence usually brought something new and fascinating. He didn’t speak, although she longed to hear his deep voice. It was always reassuring.
She held out her hands to take his as he approached. “I’m so glad to see you. I was reading the last book you gave me, and I have a question about the permanent positioning of rifts in the Earth.” Adele felt his strong fingers intertwine with hers and a familiar warmth spread through her. “I have questions about crystallog raphy as well.”
Her hands hurt. Mamoru was squeezing them. He stared at her with eyes like the iron gates on the graves around them. He sneered and twisted her hands. The pain drove her to her knees.
“Don’t,” Adele cried in confusion. “What have I done?”
He dragged her toward a stone sarcophagus. She struggled but found herself shoved flat until her back pressed against the cold marble.
She didn’t move even after he released her hands, her limbs strangely numb. Bewilderment turned to terror.
Suddenly Adele stood beside Mamoru, looking at him as well as down at her own body where he had placed her atop the sarcophagus. She looked so young lying there. She watched as he produced crystals from his robe and placed one on her supine form.
Mamoru turned away and walked about the kirkyard. He carried an instrument that was something like a maritime sextant with crystals at principle points. He took readings with the scryer, set a crystal carefully on the ground, and then proceeded to chart a place for another.
Adele followed him as he went about his complex task. She pointed back at her body lying on the crypt. “I beg you, don’t do this. I’m your student. And you taught my mother before me. I have honored you for all these years.”
Mamoru stopped with a yellow crystal in his hand and regarded her. He then set that stone on the ground. Without another glance at her, he returned to the tomb where she lay. Adele could feel the power of the Earth awaken under her feet. The life force of several rifts roared in her ears like the sound of water rushing through hidden pipes.
“Get up!” Adele shouted at her immobile self on the moss-speckled tomb. That version of herself looked so young and innocent. “Don’t be afraid. You have the power to stop this!”
Mamoru made one final adjustment to the crystal that rested on the chest of her younger self. Adele stiffened as if she were stone too. Fire from the hungry Earth reached up and seized her. She was dragged down through the graves of Greyfriars. The skeletons stared as she fell far below their loamy houses. She felt the hellish heat and smelled a sick ening mélange of scents from across the world. The normally melodious crystalline tones clanged and smashed around her. The burning silver rifts swept her along.
The power tore at her flesh, eating its way inside. It swirled through her, using her as a lens to focus itself. Then it ripped out, surging back into the rifts, spreading like flaming blood in the veins of the Earth.
Far to the south of Edinburgh, across the border into northern England where the vampires lived, the dying began. The creatures sensed the coming wave only seconds before it struck. From the ground came silver fire that poured over them. They screamed with a horrible agony that none had ever known. They writhed and fell. Their flesh turned to ash leaving white bones scattered across the countryside.
Adele turned her horrified eyes from the spreading extinction she had begun, and suddenly she was back in the kirkyard. Dread filled her. She knew what was coming. A familiar figure dropped like a meteor through the branches and smashed to the ground. Gareth. He rose with a face like death for Mamoru. Adele tried to shout at Gareth to run. The fires of the Earth struck him and he too twisted in agony, just as all his brethren had. Mamoru slammed him to the ground. Gareth fought to rise and Mamoru battered him again. Gareth struggled up once more, his sharp fangs bared.
Adele’s younger self finally stirred on the tomb, kicking crystals away. Swinging her feet over the edge, she sat up, shoving the stupor and the pain aside. She had her mother’s khukri in her hand. She walked unsteadily across the graveyard toward Mamoru, who pressed his boot on Gareth’s throat. Gareth grasped the man’s ankle, but couldn’t find the strength to shift it.
The young woman plunged the glowing dagger into Mamoru’s back. He didn’t cry out. He simply turned and looked at her as if he was disappointed. Then he vanished in the moonlight.
Adele ran over to her younger self, who stood over Gareth as he writhed in agony in the dirt. Geysers of silver fire erupted across the cemetery. Gareth’s flesh turned red, then black. His face cracked and tore away. His outstretched hand shriveled. His horrible cry faded and his bones dropped smoldering in the grass.
Adele grabbed herself, trying to shake awareness into her stunned face. “Stop it! Don’t let Mamoru turn you into a tool of extinction. It’s your power, not his. It isn’t his choice.” She pointed at the charred skel eton of Gareth. “Save him!”
“I can’t,” she replied in a cracking voice Adele remembered from years ago. “It’s too late.”
An overwhelming helplessness gripped Adele. She fell to her hands and knees in the ashes of her lover and screamed.
The dark timbers of Edinburgh Castle abruptly hovered above her. Adele gasped and felt sweat dripping along the sides of her neck. Her heart pounded, nearly shaking the bed. She reached across the mattress to find it cold and empty.
Gareth had died. She hadn’t saved him in the kirkyard. He was gone. Adele couldn’t remember the days between that terrible night and this one. She could only remember the way he held her in his arms. If only she could go back to sleep and live in a dream where they were together.
A blast of cold wind scattered thick photographs from the bed. A tall shadow entered an open window. Gareth stood silhouetted against the grey skies. His blue eyes reflected in the dim lamplight. He stared at Adele for a long moment before swinging the glass shut.
“Adele.” His voice rumbled in the quiet.
Her hand gripped the covers beside her, along with the pictures she had been studying before she dozed off. Gareth stepped down from the windowsill. He wore his usual black trousers and white shirt. His long black hair was tousled from the wind.
“You’re alive.” Adele hadn’t wanted to say it out loud in case it might wake her up again.
His brow furrowed and he smiled. “I was only out for an hour or two.” He moved to the bed with a silent tread and took her arms in his firm grip. He was tall and elegant, but well-muscled. His lips were soft when he kissed her.
Adele clutched him tight.
“Another nightmare?” Gareth asked.
“Yes.” She pressed her face against his chilled chest. “As always, I couldn’t use my geomancy to save you, and I couldn’t stop the death that Mamoru started.”
“But you did.”
Adele pushed back against her pillows and pulled her knees up. The truth didn’t assuage her. Every time the nightmare struck, she was left in fuming helplessness. Over the months since the horrors of that night, the frequency of the dreams had lessened. However, when they came they still brought the same rage and she needed a moment to calm herself.
Taking long breaths, she was surprised to see her face across the room in a wall mirror. She was olive skinned with voluminous brunette hair and the Persian features of her mother. However, this face was dif ferent from the one in the dream. Adele was only twenty years old, but her girlish features were overlaid with lines creasing the corners of her eyes and grey streaking her hair. She looked away from the face that had been born that night in the kirkyard and hastily changed the subject. “Were you writing, or out thinking?”
“No. I was feeding.”
“I thought your people came to the castle for you to feed.”
“With your troops here in Edinburgh now, they’re uncomfortable passing by your soldiers.”
“Have there been any incidents? I’ll have Major Shirazi deal with it.”
“No, but they feel the Equatorians look down on them for providing me with blood. So I go to them now to spare them the embarrassment.”
Adele felt a twinge of sadness at his discomfort. “I’m sorry. My troops don’t understand yet that your people give their blood willingly. It’s so foreign to them.”
“I understand. They’ve never seen it before because it’s never happened before.” Gareth gathered the papers that had flown around the room. He looked at each of the pictures as he picked them up. Most of them were shots of Greyfriars kirkyard. “Perhaps you shouldn’t go back there.”
“Why?” Adele asked with alarm as she crossed to the fireplace to be away from her reflection in the mirror.
“If you stayed away maybe the nightmares would stop.”
“I don’t want to stay away. Taking pictures has helped me over the last few months. It’s therapeutic.” She knelt to toss in several chunks of coal and jostled them with an iron rod. “I keep taking pictures of it expecting to see . . . something. Something from that night. Burns. Fire. Some proof that it happened in the real world. I know what I did that night, but the pictures all look normal.”
Gareth came up behind her, holding a stack of photographs. “We know it happened. We were both there. All the vampires were scoured from Britain. I died—”
“Stop.” Adele stared at the glowing embers. That night in the kirk-yard, she had done more than just destroy all the vampires and make the island uninhabitable for them; she had silenced the power of the Earth here forever. Anywhere else in the world, the rifts would sing to her. But not in Britain or Scotland. It had taken several months before she stopped trying to find the rifts again, to touch the warmth that she was used to flowing at her fingertips. Adele knew that power was still avail able to her if she left the island, but she had grown oddly content at its absence. Now she was almost used to the silence and the cold that sur rounded her in this place. A part of her felt like any other normal human being. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Gareth flipping through the photos.
He said, “Pet is very photogenic.”
Adele smiled and rose. He was looking at a picture of a grey cat stretched out on his back, looking coyly into the camera. There were many other pictures of the cat and of the many other cats who lived around the castle. Gareth continued to shuffle through the photos. Many showed Edinburgh’s inhabitants at their daily chores. A pretty young woman smiled into the camera in a few of the shots. And there were other pictures of the stone city of Edinburgh in various seasons and sun light. Soldiers of her personal guard lounging or training. Townspeople drinking, laughing, flirting.
Gareth nodded with approval. However, there was something curious, a little disappointed, about his expression. He obviously noticed an absence among the photos. Adele took the stack from his hands and went to her desk. She pulled open a drawer and removed a box.
“What’s that?” Gareth asked.
“Pictures of you.”
He tried to look surprised, but he couldn’t keep the satisfaction off his face. “I have my own box?”
Adele pulled out a pile of photos and set them on the desk near a flickering lamp. He joined her and saw an extraordinary variety of pic tures of him. Some he posed for, but most she had taken when he was unaware. Sitting before the fire. Staring out the window. As a distant shape in the air above the castle. There was a picture of him on the bat tlements surrounded by a veritable herd of cats, with his hand resting idly on the back of one that arched happily under his touch.
He flipped through a series of close-up pictures of his hands. His fingers were long. His fingernails were sharp and capable of being extended into claws. The photos showed his hands draped along the arms of chairs, holding books, settled on a tabletop, holding a pen, and grasping Adele’s hand.
Gareth looked up at her. “You seem fascinated by my hands.”
“I am.” She placed her own over his, relishing the roughness of his hands. “They’re wonderful.”
“They are just hands.”
“No. They belong to a vampire. You have a diminished sense of touch compared to humans, and yet, look. Holding a pen. Writing. You use tools, unlike any of your kind. Your hands are subtle. Facile. Elegant. Powerful.” She kissed his fingers. “And yet gentle.”
His lips skimmed over hers, light as the air itself. “Let’s go back to bed.”
Adele took the photos and dropped them back in the box. “I’m not sleepy.”
Gareth swept her up off her feet. He clutched her tight against his chest as he leaned down and blew out the lamp. “Who said anything about sleep?”