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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2021 by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Excerpt from The Bone Shard Daughter copyright © 2020 by Andrea Stewart

Excerpt from The Mask of Mirrors copyright © 2021 by Bryn Neuenschwander and Alyc Helms

Cover illustration © Thea Dumitriu

Map by Paul Bourne, Handiwork Games

Author photograph by Edel Ryder-Hanrahan

Hachette Book Group supports the right to free expression and the value of copyright. The purpose of copyright is to encourage writers and artists to produce the creative works that enrich our culture.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book without permission is a theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like permission to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), please contact [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

Orbit

Hachette Book Group

1290 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10104

orbitbooks.net

First Edition: May 2021

Simultaneously published in Great Britain by Orbit

Orbit is an imprint of Hachette Book Group.

The Orbit name and logo are trademarks of Little, Brown Book Group Limited.

The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher.

The Hachette Speakers Bureau provides a wide range of authors for speaking events. To find out more, go to www.hachettespeakersbureau.com or call (866) 376-6591.

Library of Congress Control Number: 2020947393

ISBNs: 978-0-316-70567-7 (trade paperback), 978-0-316-70565-3 (ebook)

E3-20210419-JV-NF-ORI

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Map

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Interlude I

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Interlude II

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Epilogue

Acknowledgements

Discover More

Extras

Meet the Author

A Preview of The Bone Shard Daughter

A Preview of The Mask of Mirrors

Also by Gareth Hanrahan

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PROLOGUE

The same dream, again.

That same day, again. More than a year ago, now.

In the dream, Artolo of the Ghierdana swaggers down a street in the New City of Guerdon. Spring is in the air, and there’s a spring in his step, too. He looks across the unlikely vista of the New City, this realm of fanciful spires and bridges, as if the froth of a breaking wave froze and turned to marble. He looks up at the towers, all conjured in an instant by a creation of the alchemists gone awry – or so rumour claims. Across the world, Guerdon’s chiefly known for the wonders wrought by the alchemists’ guild. Weapons from their foundries and cauldrons flow out across the sea to the Godswar and streams of gold and silver come flowing back.

In Artolo’s eyes, this New City is a sieve, straining the city, skimming off gold and silver for him and his family. It was born of chaos and crisis, and chaos always brings opportunity for those with the nerve to seize the moment. That is why Great-Uncle chose Artolo, out of all the family, to oversee operations in Guerdon. He’s got the strong hands needed.

In the few months he’s been here, he’s proved it. He broke the local criminal syndicate, the Brotherhood, operating out of the pisspot district of the Wash – he owns them now.

And he’s dealt with anyone else who crossed him.

Because when you cross Artolo, you cross the Ghierdana, and no one crosses the Ghierdana.

No one crosses the dragons.

This is only the beginning. The New City doesn’t belong to anyone, not really. Half these enchanted spires are empty, or claimed by squatters and refugees who have no one to protect them, who can easily be driven out. Guerdon’s still knitting itself back together after the Crisis. The city watch’s wax golem-things, the Tallowmen, banished off the streets. The alchemists are rebuilding their broken factories, the Brotherhood’s gone, parliament’s staggering around stunned, run by some cobbled-together emergency committee. Even the local gods are moribund.

All wide open. All ripe to be plucked. Artolo runs his big hand along the smooth marble railing of the balcony, delighting in the sensation. He taps the Ring of Samara off the railing, and he can almost feel the whole city tremble, feel it quiver beneath his touch like it fears him. A horse to be broken, a woman to be taken.

It feels good. It feels right. It feels like the first time Great-Uncle took him flying. The New City around him might be a cloud in a shimmering sky, and he’s soaring towards his glorious destiny.

In the dream, he walks down a stairwell. His men bow their heads as he passes, murmur words of respect. Soon, the whole city will bow to him, too. Boss Artolo, Great-Uncle’s favourite. Great-Uncle’s Chosen.

He enters the cellar room. Two of his men wait, his cousin Vollio and Tiske. Loyal men, even if Tiske’s only Eshdana. Ash-marked, not one of the dragon’s kin. They’re holding a prisoner between them. A woman, young, dark-haired, struggling like an alley cat. Yowling like one, too.

“Quiet,” he snaps. He grabs her by the chin, twists her head so he can see her face. Her skin is marked by a dusting of little dark marks, like scars or burns. An ugly amulet of some black metal hangs around her neck. “I’m told that you’ve been spying on me. That you stole from me. That you stabbed three of my men.”

“Three that you’ve found,” she whispers.

“Do you know who I am?” He squeezes her mouth.

“Tolo,” she mumbles.

“Wrong!” he shouts.

He releases her. Takes out his knife. The hilt is gold and studded with jewels. The blade is a dragon’s tooth, given by Great-Uncle. It’s more than a weapon – it’s a symbol of Great-Uncle’s trust, of his authority as a Ghierdana prince. He lifts the knife, enjoying the weight of it, the

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