Songs of the Earth (Wild Hunt (Paperback))

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9780575096165: Songs of the Earth (Wild Hunt (Paperback))

Novice knight Gair has a gift: he can hear the songs of the earth, and weave that music into magic. But in the Holy City, that makes him a witch, and that means he must be tortured until he gives up the name of his demon master - except that he has no demon lord; it's just something he can do.

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About the Author:

Elspeth Cooper (Ellie) was born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne. Ever since she was read IVANHOE as a bedtime story, she has been fascinated by storytelling. Now her lifelong fascination with language has been put into practice with SONGS OF THE EARTH, her first novel, and the first of The Wild Hunt series.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Songs of the Earth
1CONDEMNED 
 
The magic was breaking free again.Its music sang along Gair's nerves as if they were harp-strings, a promise of power thrumming through his fingers. All he had to do was embrace it, if he dared. He pressed his face into his knees and prayed. 'Hail, Mother, full of grace, light and life of all the world. Blessed are the meek, for they shall find strength in you. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find justice in you. Blessed are the lost, for they shall find salvation in you. Amen.'Line by line, verse by verse, the devotion tumbled from his cracked lips. His fingers twitched for the familiar shapes of rosary beads to keep the count, but he had lost his place long ago. When the words faltered, he hugged his knees tighter to his chest and began again.'Now I am lost in a place of darkness O Mother I am fallen from thy path guide me once more ...'Music still whispered seductively in his ears. Nothing drowned it out, not prayers, not pleas, not even the few hymns he could still remember. It was everywhere: in the rusted iron walls of his cell, in the rank sweat on his skin, in the colours he saw in the dark. With every breath he took, it grew a little louder.Silvery chimes rang in the air. Gair opened his eyes and theywere seared by a light so bright, so white, he had to shield his face with his hands. Through his fingers he saw two figures, clothed in brilliance. Angels. Holy Mother, angels sent to carry him home.' ... bless me now and take me to your side let me be forgiven of all my sins ...'On his knees, Gair waited for the blessing. A backhanded blow across his face sent him sprawling.'Save your chants, hidderling!'Another blow flung him hard against the iron-plate wall. Pain exploded in his temple and the music shivered into silence.'Gently, now. He has no power to harm you here.'No. He had no power. The magic was too wild, too unpredictable to belong to anyone for long. He didn't need iron walls to be helpless. Slumped on the floor, Gair clutched his pounding head. Blessed are the lost.Silver-spurred boots crossed his line of sight, rowels chiming. Not bells. No robes of light, just the white wool surcoats of the Lord Provost's marshals. Iron manacles snicked round Gair's wrists and the marshals hauled him up by the chains.He fell back to his knees as the cell wheeled crazily around him.Cursing, a marshal drove his boot into Gair's rump.The other marshal clicked his tongue. 'It's a sin to take Her name in vain, you know that.''Heh. You swore yourself to the wrong House, my friend. You preach like a lector.' Another kick. 'Up, witch! Walk to your judgement, or we'll drag you!'Gair lurched to his feet. Out in the stone-flagged corridor, sunlight lancing through high windows blinded him again. The marshals took position either side of him with their hands under his arms, half steering him, half supporting him when he stumbled. Scabbards slapped and spurs rang as more marshals fell in step behind.Endless blurry corridors. Stairs that tripped him and tore at his bare toes. No time to rest or catch his breath; he had to walk orfall, and he had fallen so far already. Out of the Goddess' grace, out of Her hearing, no matter how many fragments of prayers still skittered through the void the magic had left inside him.' ... be a light and comfort to me now and in the hour of my death ...''Quiet!'A gauntleted hand cuffed the side of Gair's head and a yank on his chains pulled him on. Wider hallways now, panelled in wood. Marble tiles underfoot instead of bare dressed stone, and hangings on the walls. One final turn and the marshals halted. Dark doors towered ahead, flanked by smudgy figures carrying long banners. A breath of air stirred the fabric, and Holy Oaks flamed as thread of gold embroidery caught the sun.Recognition sank like a stone into Gair's gut. Those doors led to the Rede Hall, where the Knights held their councils and ceremonies ... where the Order gave its judgements. His knees buckled, and chains clattered as he put out his hands to stop himself sprawling on the polished floor. Inside him, a whisper of music stirred and was still.Judgement. Too late to hope he might be spared; too late to hope for anything but forgiveness.Oh Goddess, look kindly on me now.Ahead, the massive doors swung noiselessly inwards. 
 
From the curtained alcove above the doors Alderan could see the length of the Rede Hall, from surcoated sentries to the many-leaved bronze Oak above the Preceptor's chair, glowing in the sun that was streaming through the tall windows. His perch was high enough above everyone's eyeline to be safe, provided he did nothing to attract attention to himself, but it was still a risk being there.The benches either side of the hall were crowded with hierarchs, magnificent in their formal scarlet - a full house, as close ashe could count, full of rosy cheeks and well-padded arses, gossiping and nodding and fluffing their feathers.Alderan's lip curled. These are the inheritors of Endirion? The First Knight must be weeping in his grave.From a side door came a pair of clerks, sober as ravens in their black robes. They took their seats at desks facing each other across the hall before the Preceptor's chair on its dais, the prosecutor sorting his papers, the scribe setting out pens and ink to record the day's proceedings for the archives. A moment later, the Preceptor himself entered the hall.Ansel's angular frame was as upright as ever, but his thick hair matched his white robes, and the hand that held his staff of office was knobbed and twisted by arthritis.So at last he's met a foe he cannot vanquish. The hero of Samarak, finally brought low by time.At Ansel's side, the Chaplain was unchanged, if a little greyer than when Alderan had last seen him. Leonine head bent to whisper a word for Ansel's ear alone, Danilar frowned at the response, then folded his massive hands in his sleeves and walked to his seat on the front row of benches. Ansel squared his shoulders, then climbed the steps onto the dais and turned to face the hall. The hierarchs fell silent.'I call this Rede to order,' he announced. 'Let us begin.'A twitch of Ansel's fingers signalled the sentries to open the doors. Every hierarch leaned forward, the better to watch the entrance of the accused. In his lap, Alderan's fists clenched. These were the Order's most senior officers, subservient only to the Preceptor, himself second only to the Lector of Dremen.And yet look at them! Gawking like yokels at the fair, waiting for the showman to bring out his painted lady or a two-headed calf. I hope the Goddess is watching what Her anointed few are about to do in Her name.Through the doors came a pair of marshals, their prisoner stumbling between them. Long lank hair and many days' growthof beard hid the captive's face, but nothing hid what had been done to him. His naked body was patterned with bruises. Scabs from the lash crusted his back, and one foot left bloody smears on the black and white floor with each step. When the marshals chained him to the mahogany rail of the witness stand he crashed to his knees, too weak to stand.As one, the Curia caught their breath. Some of the hierarchs made a show of holding handkerchiefs to their faces as they stared.Was this how far the Suvaeon had fallen from the tenets of Diamondhelm? Returning to the question and the tawse, that had been outlawed for centuries? Anger uncoiled in Alderan's belly like a serpent rearing to strike. Was this what they called justice? 
 
Pain stabbed Gair's foot as he fell. Buzzing darkness swarmed into his vision from all sides and the Rede Hall became a vortex of scarlet and sunlight, sucking him down to the chequered floor.His stomach clenched to spew. He swallowed the nausea down hard and shut his eyes until the dizziness passed. The hierarchs were staring at him. Their revulsion, their awful fascination, prickled over the back of his neck. Their silence rang as loud as a shout.Apostate! Unbeliever!He had no answer for them. How could he deny the truth? His skin crawled with guilt.Stand up, novice. Whatever comes, face it on your feet.Selenas, the Master of Swords, hard brown hand extended to help a boy up from the dirt of a sun-soaked practice yard, what felt like a century ago. Helping him up to fight again.Gair opened his eyes. Black and white tiles under him. Smells of floor polish and incense and - merciful Mother! - his own unwashed body. On the periphery of his vision, dark wood, red robes. Let the Curia stare. They would not see him mewling on the floor like a pup.Slowly, chains heavy on his wrists, he took hold of the mahogany rail and pulled himself to his feet. 
 
Alderan let out a breath he had not even realised he held. They had not broken him. The boy was unsteady, but he was standing, head up to meet the Preceptor's gaze full on. Exultation punched up from Alderan's gut. There was hope yet.The Preceptor raised his steel-shod staff and struck the dais three times, measured as a heartbeat. Around the hall, the hierarchs stilled. Motes flared in the sunlight from the long windows. The sun had moved westwards; now the dais lay in shadow and the witness stand stood full in the glare.'Who stands before the Rede?' Ansel's voice was worn thin by the years, but still it had a snap to it.'One who stands accused,' responded the prosecutor, warrant in his hands. He did not look at the prisoner.'Of what is he accus...

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Elspeth Cooper
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ISBN 10: 0575096160 ISBN 13: 9780575096165
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Descripción Orion Publishing Co, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. UK ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. SONGS OF THE EARTH is the most compelling debut fantasy novel since Patrick Rothfuss first hit the shelves four years ago, with the stunning THE NAME OF THE WIND. Combining superb characterisation with an epic story, it is beautifully told and engaging from the very first word. Gair is under a death sentence. He can hear music - music with power - and in the Holy City that means only one thing: he s a witch, and he s going to be burnt at the stake. Even if he could escape, the Church Knights and their witchfinder would be hot on his heels while his burgeoning power threatesn to tear him apart from within. There is no hope .none, but a secretive order, themselves persecuted almost to destruction. If Gair can escape, if he can master his own growing, dangerous abilities, if he can find the Guardians of the Veil, then maybe he will be safe. Or maybe he ll discover that his fight has only just begun. Nº de ref. de la librería AA29780575096165

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