Teaser excerpt from Dan Abnett's PROSPERO BURNS

Dan Abnett's postponed Propero Burns is about to be released, and the folks at Black Library have provided this teaser extract. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

There is another, longer excerpt on Abnett's official blog. Follow this link if you want to read it. There is also an audio excerpt available here.


There are no wolves on Fenris.

When the Upplander had been told this, years before, he’d laughed.

He had heard it from a venerated scholar and conservator, later celebrated iterator, called Kyril Sindermann.

The Upplander, not long graduated with distinction from the Universitariate of Sardis, had won a coveted place on an eight-month field mission to audit and preserve some of the arcane datacores of NeoAleksandrya, before sandstorms and scorching radiation squalls erased the precious ruins into the melancholy emptiness of the Nordafrik zone forever. This was many decades before the Upplander decided to go to Fenris, or call himself Ahmad Ibn Rustah. Back then he was twenty-five years old, and known to his friends as Kasper.

Sindermann learned his name early on. Sindermann wasn’t the project head. He had been sent in for a three week consult, but he was not afraid to get his hands dirty or to mix with the junior team members. He had an easy way with people. Names were important.

One evening, the team had fallen, according to their habit, into discussion over supper in the project’s base, a modular station overlooking the library ruins.

They were all exhausted. Everyone had been working inadvisably long shifts to get the mission accomplished.

No one wanted to see the precious digital memories that lingered in the ruins lost for all time.
So, everybody was sand-burned, and everybody was sleep deprived, and everybody had lost significant body mass to water debt. The nights should have been time for restorative rest, but they had found their dreams populated by the data-ghosts of NeoAleksandrya, talkative phantoms that would not let the living slumber undisturbed. So they stayed up to keep the phantoms out, and the nights became time for tired companionship and reflection as the ablative winds howled in over the radgrave of NeoAleksandrya and assaulted the station’s bolted storm shutters.

They talked about everything, just to stay awake. Sindermann, perhaps the greatest polymath the Upplander would ever have the honour of knowing in his long life, had a tireless tongue.

The older team members talked about the various places they had visited in the courses of their careers, and the younger members talked of places they still wanted or hoped to visit. This led, inevitably, to the concoction of an ultimate wish list, a dream itinerary of the places in creation that any scholar, historian or remembrancer would give great wealth or a body part just to glimpse. It was a list of the universe’s secret places, its remote wonders, its enigmatic corners, its rumoured sites and mythical locales. Fenris was one such. Ironically, given what the Upplander would witness towards the end of one of his lives, Tizca was another.

Sindermann, though even then a man of great age and experience, had not been to Fenris himself. The number of outsiders who had ever gone to Fenris was alarmingly small. But then, as Sindermann put it, Fenris did not welcome visitors, nor was it a gracious host.

Thanks to its extreme conditions, even a well prepared man might be lucky to survive a few hours on its open surface.

‘Still,’ he had said to them, ‘think of all that ice.’

It had sometimes reached forty degrees in the station at night, at least that when the climate control centre packed up. They had all groaned at Sindermann’s tormenting words.

Then, apropos of nothing in particular, Sindermann made the remark about the wolves, a remark that had been passed to him down such a long relay of other travellers and historians, its provenance was obscure.

‘There are no wolves on Fenris,’ he had said.

The Upplander had smiled, expecting some droll witticism to follow. His smile had covered the shiver he had felt.

‘Except, of course… for the wolves, ser?’ he had replied.

‘Exactly, Kasper,’ the old man said.

Shortly afterwards, the subject had changed, and the remark had been forgotten.

1 commentaires:

Ted Cross said...

Ugh! With a cover like that I wouldn't even check out the blurb. Autoreject.