No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy"But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d"Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself"and Hugh d"Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies"
As the prophet says: "It is better to marry than to burn."
Hugh and Elara may do both.Books in Series:The Iron Covenant Series by Ilona AndrewsBooks by Author:Ilona Andrews Books
He sensed the kick coming through his sleep and curled into a ball. It didn"t hurt as much this time. "mile wasn"t really trying.
"You have a client."
He rolled up, blinking. He should"ve hidden deeper in the drum that was his nest. The drum lay on its side and was long enough that "mile couldn"t land a good kick. But it was so nice and sunny, and he"d fallen asleep on the rags in front of it.
He looked at "mile and the man next to him. The man had dark eyes. He"d learned to watch the eyes. Faces lied, mouths lied, but the eyes always told you if the man would hit and how hard. This man was large. Big hands. Powerful shoulders. Next to him "mile looked skinny and weak, and he knew it too, because he forgot to sneer. All the street people called "mile Weasel, because of the sneer, but only when he couldn"t hear. "mile was mean. He ran the street and when someone tried to stand up to him, he"d fly into a rage and beat them with a rock or a metal stick until they stopped moving.
"mile jabbed his finger in the direction of the man. "Fix him."
The man held out his left arm and pulled back the sleeve of his leather jacket. A cut snaked from his wrist all the way to the elbow. Shallow, only through the top layer of the skin. Easy to fix. He eyed "mile. Usually "mile made him say nonsense words and drag it out, so it would look mysterious, but the man was watching him, and it was making him uneasy.
He reached out and touched the man"s arm, letting the magic flow. The cut sealed itself.
The man squeezed his forearm, checking the spot where the wound used to be.
"See" I told you." "mile bared his teeth.
"How much"" the man asked. His voice had an accent.
"How much what""
"How much for the boy""
His heart sank. He scooted deep into the drum, where he"d kept a knife hidden under his rags. He knew what happened to boys who were sold. He knew what men did to them. Rene was sold. Rene had been his only friend. Rene was fast and when he stole from the market stalls, nobody could catch him. He"d healed a boil on Rene"s back, and since then Rene shared. They"d hide in his drum and eat the bread or pirogi Rene had nicked and pretend they were somewhere else.
Two weeks ago, a man took Rene away. "mile had sold him. Three days later, after dark, he saw the same man leading Rene on a chain like a dog as they walked into a house. Rene was wearing a pink dress and he had a black eye.
"mile had promised not to sell him. That was the deal. He healed clients and "mile gave him food and protected him.
"Not for sale," "mile said.
The man reached into his leather jacket. An envelope came out. A stack of money hit the dirt in front of "mile. A thick stack. More money than he had ever seen. "mile"s eyes got big.
He was trapped in the drum. There was nowhere to run.
"mile licked his lips.
"You promised!" he yelled.
"Shut up." "mile squinted at the man. "He"s a magic boy."
"Take him," "mile said.
The man reached for him. He shrank back, his hand clutching the knife hidden under his filthy blanket. He wouldn"t be walking on a chain.
The man stepped toward him, his back to "mile.
"Drop the knife," the man said.
Behind him "mile"s face turned ugly. He lunged, a dagger pointed at the man"s back. The man turned fast. His hand fastened on "mile"s wrist. "mile screamed and dropped the dagger. The man pulled him over.
"Take him!" "mile squealed. "Take him!"
The man locked his left hand on "mile"s throat and squeezed. "mile clawed at the man"s arm with his free hand, flailing, trying to get away. The man continued squeezing.
Magic told him the little bone in "mile"s throat broke. It nagged at him, like an annoying itch. He would have to mend the bone to make it go away, but the man kept squeezing, harder and harder.
"mile"s eyes rolled back in his skull. The annoying buzz of magic disappeared. You can"t fix the dead.
The man let go and "mile fell, limp.
He gathered himself into a ball, trying to make himself smaller.
The man crouched by the drum. "I won"t hurt you."
He slashed with his knife. The man caught his hand, and then he was yanked out into the sunlight and set on his feet.
The man looked at his knife. "A sharp blade." He held it out to him. "Here. Hold the knife. It will make you feel better."
He snatched the knife from the man"s hand, but he already knew the truth. The knife wouldn"t help. The man could kill him any time. He would have to bide his time and run.