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Authors: Rowena Cory Daniells

King Breaker

BOOK: King Breaker
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Praise for Rowena Cory Daniells

 

“A fast moving, gripping fantasy.”

Fantasy Book Critic
on
The King’s Bastard

 

“Rowena Cory Daniells has a splendidly devious way with plotting.”

SFX

 

“It’s a story of kings and queens, beasts and warriors, magic and religion. If you like any of the aformentioned things, then you’ll probably join me in loving this book.”

Den of Geek
on
The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin

 


The King’s Bastard
is a cracking read and the pace never lets up.”

Geek Syndicate

 

“Royal intrigue, court politics and outlawed magic make for an exciting adventure.”

Gail Z. Martin, author of
The Chronicles of The Necromancer
, on
The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin

 

“Pacy and full of action and intrigue.”

Trudi Canavan, author of
The Black Magician
trilogy, on
The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin

 


The King’s Bastard
is a fabulous, rollicking, High Fantasy adventure that will keep you up at night, desperate to find out what happens next.”

Jennifer Fallon, author of
The Demon Child
trilogy

 

Also by Rowena Cory Daniells

 

The Outcast Chronicles

Besieged

Exile

Sanctuary

 

The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin

The King’s Bastard

The Uncrowned King

The Usurper

The King’s Man (
ebook
)

King Breaker

 

Rowena Cory Daniells

KING BREAKER

The Stunning Conclusion to

The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin

 

 

 

First published 2013 by Solaris

an imprint of Rebellion Publishing Ltd,

Riverside House, Osney Mead,

Oxford, OX2 0ES, UK

www.solarisbooks.com

 

ISBN: (epub) 978-1-84997-642-8

ISBN: (mobi) 978-1-84997-643-5

 

Copyright © Rowena Cory Daniells 2013

 

Cover Art by Clint Langley

 

Maps by Rowena Cory Daniells and Luke Preece

 

The right of the author to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of he copyright owners.

 

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

B
YREN CLIMBED THE
steps to the ship’s reardeck.

‘Just as well you shaved.’ Orrade greeted him with a grin. ‘You were beginning to look like an Utland raider.’

Byren rubbed his jaw. For the first three days of the voyage home, he’d been feverish, and Orrade hadn’t left his side. Now, with the morning sun on his face, he felt more like himself, although his knees were still a bit weak. ‘Hate being sick. Hate feeling helpless.’

‘You’d been beaten and starved, and were awaiting execution, yet you still found the strength to swing a sword when we freed you. You’re lucky you had nothing worse than a fever.’ Orrade glanced to the helmsman, then leant closer. ‘You might have recovered sooner, if you’d had an ulfr pack for company.’

Byren shook his head. Smarter and bigger than ordinary wolves, ulfrs were god-touched Affinity beasts. His father had always hated Affinity, and Byren had grown up seeing those afflicted with Affinity sent to the abbeys, or banished. When his youngest brother, Fyn, had been sent to Halcyon Abbey, it had broken his mother’s heart. Since King Rolen’s death, Byren had learnt that Affinity was a tool and, like any tool, could be a weapon in the wrong hands. He grimaced. ‘I don’t have Affinity.’

‘No, but you have something. Those ulfrs—’

‘First time it happened,’ Byren found himself trying to explain, ‘I was hiding in an Affinity seep.’ Normally he would have avoided the hollow, where untamed power rose from the earth’s heart, but he’d been injured and desperate to escape the Merofynian invaders. ‘I was hoping the power would deter my pursuers. Instead it attracted the ulfr pack. I thought I was dead for sure. But they’d come to bathe in the wild power. Like horses taking a dust bath.’ He shivered.

‘They should have ripped your throat out.’

‘I know, but I was wrapped in my ulfr fur and the Affinity seemed to befuddle their senses. Then one of the females whelped a cub right next to me and...’ He shrugged. Somehow, he’d formed a bond with the pack.

‘I’ll admit that first time was pure luck.’ Orrade held his eyes. ‘But the second time you were also injured. Both scars looked days old overnight.’

Byren shook his head. If he wanted to reclaim his father’s throne, there could be no taint attached to his name; he had enough problems without adding to them. When the Merofynians attacked Rolencia, his cousin, Cobalt, had colluded with Palatyne, handing Byren over to be executed. But Byren had killed Palatyne and claimed the young Merofynian queen for his betrothed, and now he was racing home to Rolencia, before the news could reach Cobalt.

‘You need strength to lead an army.’ Orrade sent Byren a teasing look. ‘Perhaps we should’ve moored off a wyvern eyrie, or is it only land-based Affinity beasts that—’

‘No one in their right mind goes near saltwater wyverns.’ Or so he’d been told, yet his betrothed had a wyvern for a pet. Byren frowned. Much of what he’d been taught about Affinity had been wrong.

‘Look, there’s no point hiding from it. You have an affinity for Affinity.’ Orrade’s mouth lifted in a wry grin.

Byren felt an answering smile tug at his lips. ‘You can talk. It took you ages to admit—’

Before he could broach the subject of Orrade’s visions, the cabin boy interrupted. ‘Cap’n Talltrees invites you to his table for dinner, King Byren.’

Byren met Orrade’s eyes. As the younger twin, Byren had been spared the attentions of men eager to curry favour with the king’s heir, but now that Lence was dead... He shut down the thought. This was not the time to mourn his twin.

Dropping into a crouch, Byren faced the little cabin boy. To think, Fyn had been this small when their father sent him away. Byren’s large hand settled on the six-year-old’s shoulder. ‘Just call me kingsheir for now. I won’t be the king until I sit on my father’s throne and Cobalt the Usurper is dead.’

‘Does that mean you won’t dine at the captain’s table?’

Byren ruffled the lad’s hair and came to his feet. ‘I’d be honoured to dine with him.’

Beaming, the cabin boy ran back towards the steps to middeck. A large wyvern swooped down, wing tips brushing the sails. It caught the lad by the shoulder.

Even before the boy screamed, Byren was running. He leapt onto the wyvern’s back, his hunting knife drawn, and drove it down to the deck. The boy tumbled free, rolled across the planks and lay unmoving.

The wyvern screeched and writhed in fury. Byren knew as soon as the beast rolled onto its back, it would bring its powerful lower legs up and slit his belly wide open. In desperation, he drove his knife into the side of the wyvern’s neck and tore out the front of its throat.

The beast gurgled and thrashed; aware the death throes could just as easily kill him, Byren threw himself aside. Orrade braved the flashing claws to drag him to safety.

‘Where’s the boy? Is he—’

‘Safe. The boatswain’s got him. Trust you to tackle a full-grown wyvern with nothing but a hunting knife.’

‘Didn’t think.’ If he’d had time to think, he would never have tried it.

Orrade helped him to his feet. Byren’s legs seemed to belong to someone else. The big beast lay dead, beautiful scales glinting in the sun like jewels.

BOOK: King Breaker
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