Kellen Tavadon, son of the Arch-Mage Lycaelon, thought he knew the way the world worked. His father, leading the wise and benevolent Council of Mages, protected and guided the citizens of the Golden City of the Bells. Young Mages in training-all men, for women were unfit to practice magic-memorized the intricate details of High Magic and aspired to seats on the council.
Then he found the forbidden Books of Wild Magic-or did they find him? The three slim volumes woke Kellen to the wide world outside the City's isolating walls. Their Magic was not dead, strangled by rules and regulations. It felt like a living thing, guided by the hearts and minds of those who practiced it and benefited from it.
Questioning everything he has known, Kellen discovers too many of the City's dark secrets. Banished, with the Outlaw Hunt on his heels, Kellen invokes Wild Magic-and finds himself running for his life with a unicorn at his side.
Kellen's life changes almost faster than he can understand or accept. Rescued by a unicorn, healed by a female Wild Mage who knows more about Kellen than anyone outside the City should, meeting Elven royalty and Elven warriors, and plunged into a world where the magical beings he has learned about as abstract concepts are flesh and blood creatures-Kellen both revels in and fears his new freedom.
Especially once he learns about Demons. He'd always thought they were another abstract concept-a stand-in for ultimate evil. But if centaurs and dryads are real, then Demons surely are as well. And the one thing all the Mages of the City agreed on was that practicing Wild Magic corrupted a Mage. Turned him into a Demon. Would that be Kellen's fate?
Deep in Obsidian Mountain, the Demons are waiting. Since their defeat in the last great War, they've been biding their time, sowing the seeds of distrust and discontent between their human and Elven enemies. Very soon now, when the Demons rise to make war, there will be no alliance between High and Wild Magic to stand against them. And all the world will belong to the Endarkened.
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The Books of Wild Magic
There were three of them, at the bottom of a pile of ledgers, very slender volumes bound in some fine-grained, dark leather, with just a touch of gilt on the spine. Kellen found himself turning them over in his hands with some puzzlement. There was nothing on the spine of each but a single image-a sun, a crescent moon, and a star. Nothing on the cover, not even a bit of tooling, and the covers themselves were in pristine condition.
Odd. Definitely out of keeping with the rest of the used bookseller's wares.
He opened the front covers. The title pages were handwritten, not printed. The Book of Sun. The Book of Moon. The Book of Stars. He leafed through the pages, trying to puzzle out the tiny writing. The contents were handwritten as well . . . and seemingly dealt with magic.
They shouldn't be here at all! Kellen thought with a sudden surge of glee. Books on magic were very closely kept, with Students returning their workbooks to their Tutors as they outgrew them. And these weren't any of the recognized Student books, or anything like them, as far as Kellen could tell.
Without bothering to look through them further, he put them on the top of his pile and caught the stallholder's eye.
"Got younger sibs at home, do you?" the man asked as he wrote up a bill of sale with the merest stub of a graphite rod.
"No," said Kellen, startled. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, children's stories.... The man gestured at the three books. He handed Kellen his receipt.
Kellen studied it in confusion. There were his Histories, but what was this? Tales of the Weald, Fables of Farm and Field, and Hearth-side Stories?
There was something very odd about those books.
--from The Outstretched Shadow
James Mallory is the co-author, with Mercedes Lackey, of the Obsidian Trilogy, which begins with The Outstretched Shadow. Mallory's other novels include Merlin: The Old Magic, Merlin: The King's Wizard, and Merlin: The End of Magic. A classical scholar, he lives in upstate New York.
Mercedes Lackey began writing fiction while working for American Airlines. In addition to her many novels, she has written lyrics for and recorded several albums of fiction folk songs, which have been distributed through Firebird Arts & Music. Lackey's longest-running series, beginning with Arrows of the Queen, details the adventures of the Heralds of Valdemar. Lackey's other series include Bardic Voices; the Elementals; the Halfblood Chronicles (first volume: The Elvenbane); Elves on the Road, which includes Tor's Burning Water and its sequels; and the Obsidian Trilogy, also published by Tor, which begins with The Outstretched Shadow.
Lackey often teams up with both her fellow masters of fantasy, such as Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey, and talented newer writers Rosemary Edghill. Married to artist and sometime co-author Larry Dixon, Lackey, who was born in Chicago, lives near Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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