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By Moira Katson

It's been basically generations for the reason that Arthur Warden seized the throne of Heddred from the Conradines, and now the crown rests at the head of Garad, sickly and vulnerable. Shadows assemble: legacies of the centuries-long rivalries for energy, previous betrayals, the never-ending plots of the courtiers, and the murmur of uprising within the southern provinces… Catwin, plucked from her lifestyles on the fringe of the dominion, is thrust all of sudden into the realm of the court docket while she is selected via the Duke of Voltur to be a Shadow—spy, safeguard, and blade—to his niece, the woman Miriel DeVere. The Duke’s ruthlessness is known, and he'll cease at not anything to develop into the facility at the back of the throne, utilizing Miriel as a pawn to seize Garad’s center. however the Duke's carefully-laid plans are just a bit of the intrigue of the court docket, and larger forces than Catwin can think are massed opposed to her, decided to dispose of Miriel and impose a brand new order in their personal. If Catwin and Miriel are to outlive, they need to research speedy who to belief, and while to show their abilities opposed to the very those that have proficient them...

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What’s your identify? ” “Catwin. ” “Who’re your mom and dad? ” “Dunno,” I acknowledged sullenly. The Duke’s eyes flashed. “You will communicate appropriately while spoken to by means of a noble. ” He sat again and waited till I muttered, “I don’t know,” and persisted to attend till I further, “Sir. ” “That’s higher. ” He thought of. “Why do you now not be aware of? ” “Roine took me in whilst i used to be a toddler. Sir. ” It appeared an unimportant piece of knowledge to me, however the Duke’s eyebrows shot up. “Roine? The sorceress? ” “She’s a healer,” the girl interjected. “I’d don't have any unnatural dealings in my loved ones. ” “Be quiet,” the Duke stated, absently. He had leaned again in his chair and used to be learning me, tapping one finger opposed to his mouth. “What have you learnt of politics, lady? ” I stared at him mutely. i didn't even comprehend what the note intended. “Do you recognize who your king is? ” the Duke requested. I shook my head. All I knew of the King was once that he was once the Boy King, younger and in poor health, and he lived far-off within the East someplace. “Do you recognize the relations of your girl? ” back, I shook my head. “Can you learn, baby? ” the Duke used to be commencing to sound impatient. I shook my head, wide-eyed, and he sighed. “Ignorant as a pig-herder. ” “She may be taught,” Temar acknowledged pacifically. He checked out me. “Child, what percentage rooms are there within the citadel? ” “Four palms and 3 arms. And the courtyard. ” “How many safeguard towers? ” I held up 5 palms. “And the only down the hill,” I volunteered. “It’s carved into the rock so that you wouldn’t see it, yet you could cover there and there’s a sequence to ring the alarm bells on the fort. ” “How are you aware that? ” Temar requested. He had leaned ahead, resting his elbows on his knees, and he used to be gazing me. “I went exploring someday and that i chanced on it in the course of the tunnels. ” “Interesting. for those who had to cover humans within the fortress, the place could you do it? ” I thought of this question. “There’s a tunnel that is going down into the rock. ” “What if an individual chanced on you? ” Temar requested. “How might you get away them? ” I shook my head at him. “No one may locate us. I’m the one one that is aware my manner down there. ” “You can by no means suppose that you're the just one with knowledge,” Temar stated heavily. His face used to be very grave. I stared at it, and located myself shocked via how younger he used to be, his face delicate and unlined not like the Duke’s grizzled scowl. It was once a colour I had by no means visible as pores and skin sooner than, a hot brown like chestnuts, browner even than my epidermis have been from solar and grime earlier than my pressured tub. “If someone else had explored these caverns, they can locate you. after which you are going to have nowhere to run, could you? ” “No,” I admitted grudgingly. I knew I had given the incorrect solution, and for a few cause I knew that i didn't are looking to glance silly. now not in entrance of the girl, whom I had discovered I hated; now not in entrance of the Duke, who terrified me; so much of all, now not in entrance of Temar, whose eyes have been so without warning variety. “There are major issues to think about whilst deciding upon a hiding place,” Temar stated. “First, you want to select a spot that not anyone will imagine to seem.

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