Centuries before the building of the Great Causeway, when the enveloping Ice seems to be in retreat, the lands of the North and South are on uneasy terms. War appears to be inevitable. But there is still some trade between them, particularly for the peerless weapons created by the Northern mastersmiths. In one small town, Kunrad, one young mastersmith, has carved out a reputation as a fine armourer. Helped by his two apprentices, the ox-like Olvar and the silver-tongued Gille, Kunrad has created the greatest suit of armour ever made: armour fit for a hero or a king. When that armour is stolen by a powerful Southern lord, Kunrad has only one concern – to regain it. And so begins an epic journey of discovery, filled with danger, magic – and love.
This is the story of Ulrich von Bek, a cynical mercenary who sells his skills as a soldier in the wars taking place all over Europe. After the particularly horrific destruction of a city in which he played a role, von Bek decides to desert the military company he was working for and travel alone for awhile before seeking further employment. On his solo journey, he happens upon a castle where he takes refuge with – and then falls in love with – the keeper of the castle, the beautiful Sabrina. It is in this castle that he meets Lucifer, the master of Hell, and finds out that his soul is already destined for Hell. And so, in exchange for his soul, von Bek agrees to go on a quest for Lucifer, namely to find the Cure for the World’s Pain. This quest is also known as the Search for the Holy Grail.
World-saver, or world-breaker? The treaty that ended the civil war decreed that the men of science and the followers of the gods would split all of society between them. Yet Guild apprentice Pol was torn between the logic of science and the lure of faith, unaware that destiny had already chosen a very special role for him to play. For Pol was about to encounter a woman of unique power, the mistress of a mysterious, forbidden castle, who would lead him down the pathways of prophecy to a strange and frightening new world . . .
Vivia, a paragon of youth and beauty, daughter of Lord Vaddix, is alienated from his brutal campaign of violence and fear. Her only solace lies in the secret cave in the bowels of the castle, known only to her and the arcane god whose shrine she believes it is. When plague enters the castle, bringing an orgy of death and destruction, Vivia seeks shelter in this seductive place. Drawn to her innocence and beauty, a presence – Zulgaris – is resurrected who claims her as his own. Wakened to the wonder of the undead, Vivia is granted the secret of eternal life, but she has been betrayed. Her immortality stretches before her like a damnation. Handsome Zulgaris, dark prince, war-leader and alchemist. Is Vivia to be his lover, or his pet? Or, far worse, is she but one more thing to be used in this relentless quest for sorcerous power.
The firebird came at night – a magnificent creature whose magical cry seemed to transform objects at random. Gifted with powers of her own, Meguet tried to reach out to the bird. But at moonrise, the firebird became human, a prince cursed by dark magic. Meguet bowed to help him. But then the mystery carried her away, on alien winds, to a land far from her home… At the edge of the world, the Luxor Desert awaits – a barren land where a sorcerer’s war rages. Where invisible dragons cast shadows over ruined castles. And where Meguet’s own fate depends upon a secret locked away in a tower for centuries…
The four novellas in Quatrain are set in worlds of Archangel, Heart of Gold, Summers at Castle Auburn, and Mystic and Rider. “Flight” follows a former angel-seeker who used to be in love with the Archangel Raphael and now is determined to keep her beautiful niece from making her same mistakes. “Blood” is the story of a fierce young gulden man who comes to the city to seek his mother, whom he hasn’t seen since he was a boy and she ran away from his abusive father. In “Gold,” a crown princess escapes the hazards of war by hiding among the fairylike aliora, where she encounters an altogether different sort of danger. And in “Flame,” the mystic Senneth uses her magic to save a little girl, an act that wins her new friends but puts her own life at risk.
Aided by the powerful magic of Vagel, the evil Arch-Imager, the merciless armies are marching against the kingdom of Mordant. In its hour of greatest need, two unlikely champions emerge. One is Geraden, whose inability to master the simplest skills of Imagery has made him a laughingstock. The other is Terisa Morgan, transferred to Mordant from a Manhattan apartment by Geraden’s faulty magic. Together, Geraden and Terisa discover undreamed-of talents within themselves-talents that make them more than a match for any Imager…including Vagel himself.Unfortunately, those talents also mark them for death. Branded as traitors, they are forced to flee the castle for their lives. Now, all but defenseless in a war-torn countryside ravaged by the vilest horrors Imagery can spawn, Geraden and Terisa must put aside past failures and find the courage to embrace their powers-and their love-before Vagel can spring his final trap.