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Authors: Rowena Cory Daniells

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The Kings Man

BOOK: The Kings Man
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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
)

 

Rowena Cory Daniells

THE KING'S MAN

The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin

 

 

 

First published 2012 by Solaris

an imprint of Rebellion Publishing Ltd,

Riverside House, Osney Mead,

Oxford, OX2 0ES, UK

www.solarisbooks.com

 

ISBN: (epub) 978-1-84997-472-1

ISBN: (mobi) 978-1-84997-473-8

 

Copyright © Rowena Cory Daniells 2012

 

Cover Art by Pye Parr

 

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.

 

 

To Leanne, who refused to believe that Garzik was dead.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

A
LL HIS LIFE
, Garzik had followed Byren and Orrade around, trying to keep up with them, but his legs were never long enough. The five years’ age difference meant they were seasoned warriors at nineteen, while he was still an untried boy. Not that his brother and the younger of the royal twins were cruel. They tolerated him with the absent-minded kindness of older brothers.

He hated being tolerated.

Tonight was his chance to prove himself and win a place in Byren’s honour guard. Tonight Dovecote Estate had fallen to treacherous invaders, who’d murdered Garzik’s father. This meant Orrie was the new Lord Dovecote – what a strange thought.

Garzik gave himself a mental shake. Right now his sister, Elina, and Byren’s twin, Lence, were being held captive upstairs. Byren and Orrie were going to free Elina and the kingsheir, while Garzik lit the warning beacon.

They trusted him to alert Rolencia to the invasion. And he would do it.

Or die trying.

Garzik followed four of Byren’s honour guard out of the cellars, trying to pretend he wasn’t scared witless. Seven of them, dressed in servants’ tabards to blend in, made their way up the steps through the kitchen and storerooms to the door of the stable yard.

No one asked what they were doing.

Thanks to the cook, the Merofynians were all drunk or getting that way. As for the invaders’ servants, they’d been lured into a cold-cellar and the door bolted behind them.

If Garzik didn’t light the beacon on the warning tower, King Rolen wouldn’t know Rolencia had been invaded. Byren’s father was busy planning for a wedding, not an invasion.

Treacherous Merofynians!

Garzik glanced to Winterfell. With his broken nose, the honour guard no longer looked like himself. He looked battered, but determined.

Conviction hardened Garzik’s resolve. If he was honest, he was glad he wasn’t leading the party to light the beacon.

Winterfell paused in the doorway to the rear courtyard. At almost seventeen, he had two years’ experience on Garzik. Oldest of the honour guard, he had emerged as their leader. Three more honour guard stood between Winterfell and Garzik, so he couldn’t see out the back door.

But he knew what lay beyond it. Across the courtyard was the original Dovecote stronghold, built back when their family and retainers’ survival depended on stout walls.

This new house, with its gracious terrace, big windows and elegant chambers, was an affectation. A dangerous indulgence...

As the Merofynians had proven.

Anger and outrage churned in Garzik’s stomach. His home had fallen, but Rolencia wouldn’t fall to the invaders. Not if he could light the beacon.

He glanced over his shoulder to the two lads who brought up the rear. At thirteen, both looked up to him. Did they think it odd to see Lord Dovecote’s youngest son in a servant’s tabard?

Pale cheeked, eyes glittering, they watched his face. He hoped he didn’t look as scared as them, but he suspected he did. This was not like hunting Affinity beasts with Captain Blackwing. Poor Blackwing. The captain had been amongst the first to fall, an honourable death in defence of Dovecote.

Not like his father, who had been disturbed at the dinner table... Garzik rode a wave of fury.

An old man who had already lost four sons to war and ambition before they could produce grandchildren, his father should have been enjoying his old age. Instead, he’d been attacked by invaders in his own great hall. Garzik hadn’t been there to see it. He’d arrived after the estate had been overrun.

Discovering Lord Dovecote pinned to the front doors, a lance through his chest, had rocked the foundation of Garzik’s world.

Even Orrade had staggered when they found their father’s body. Respectfully silent, the eight honour guard had waited, while his older brother took him aside. ‘Don’t let anger or fear blind you, Garza. This was a calculated cruelty to cow the defenders.’

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