The Way Into Darkness: Book Three of The Great Way

BOOK: The Way Into Darkness: Book Three of The Great Way
2.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Praise for the books of

Harry Connolly

The three novels of The Great Way

The Way Into Chaos

The Way Into Magic

The Way Into Darkness

"Connolly pens one hell of a gripping tale and kicks Epic Fantasy in the head! Heroic in scope, but intimately human, and richly detailed. The Way Into Chaos intrigues and teases, then grabs readers by the throat and plunges them into desperate adventure related through the experience of two extraordinary narrators. The story never lets up as it twists and turns to a breathless finish that leaves you crying for the next book of The Great Way. Fantastic!"

-- Kat Richarson

"One hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners, breathtaking holy moly of a book."

-- C.E. Murphy

"Complex world, tight action, awesome women as well as men; Connolly was good right out the gate, and just keeps getting better."

-- Sherwood Smith

Twenty Palaces

"Connolly’s portrayal of magic — and the hints he drops about the larger supernatural world—are as exciting as ever."

Black Gate

Child of Fire

“[Child of Fire] is excellent reading and has a lot of things I love in a book: a truly dark and sinister world, delicious tension and suspense, violence so gritty you’ll get something in your eye just reading it, and a gorgeously flawed protagonist. Take this one to the checkout counter. Seriously.”

-- Jim Butcher

"Unique magical concepts, a tough and pragmatic protagonist and a high casualty rate for innocent bystanders will enthrall readers who like explosive action and magic that comes at a serious cost."

-- Starred review from
Publishers Weekly
, and one of PW's Best 100 Books of 2009

"One of the few urban magic books — for lack of a better term — novels I enjoyed last year was Harry Connolly’s Child of Fire. And I loved it.”

-- John Rogers, writer/producer THE LIBRARIANS

“Every page better than the last. Cinematic and vivid, with a provocative glimpse into a larger world.”

-- Terry Rossio, screenwriter (SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN)

Game of Cages

"Game of Cages is a tough, smart, unflinching urban fantasy novel."

Andrew Wheeler

"This has become one of my must read series."

Carolyn Cushman
, Locus Magazine

Circle of Enemies

“An edge-of-the-seat read! Ray Lilly is the new high-water mark of paranormal noir.”

Charles Stross

“Ray Lilly is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read lately, and Harry Connolly’s vision is amazing."

Charlaine Harris

Spirit of the Century Presents: King Khan

An exuberant romp that distills all the best of pulp fiction adventure into one single ludicrously entertaining masterpiece.

Ryk E. Spoor

Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy

Connolly writes tales of magic and mystery in more modern times incredibly well. His work reminds me a lot of Tim Powers or Neil Gaiman. I highly recommend this collection.

-- Jason Weisberger at
Boing Boing



The Way Into Chaos, Book One of The Great Way

The Way Into Magic, Book Two of The Great Way

Twenty Palaces

Child of Fire

Game of Cages

Circle of Enemies

Spirit of the Century Presents: King Khan

Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy

A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark



Book Three of The Great Way

Harry Connolly

Interior art by Claudia Cangini

Map illustration by Priscilla Spencer

Cover art by Chris McGrath

Cover design by Bradford Foltz

Book design by The Barbarienne’s Den

Copy edited by Richard Shealy

Copyright © 2014 Harry Connolly

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 0989828476

ISBN-13: 978-0-9898284-7-5

For J.R.R. Tolkien. I owe him a great debt.


Book Three of The Great Way

Chapter 1

The Great Hall of Tyr Iskol Twofin was not particularly great, but it was large enough for an execution. Tejohn was dragged inside with his hands bound behind his back. Rope. Not chains. Chains were expensive. Tejohn, for his part, did not to try his strength against his bonds.

If the Twofins were as small a holding as they seemed, he would have to be
careful. Few enemies were as quick to violence as a weak one determined to appear strong.

Tejohn kept his mouth shut as he was brought before the Twofin chair. Sunlight shone through the open doors of a large balcony, and with it came the smell of seawater. A small fire burned in the hearth, but the oil lamps hanging from the rough lumber beams were unlit.

“What have you done to us?” Granny Nin cried. She, too, had been bound and brought into the hall, although the rest of her merchant troupe had been left out in the courtyard, guarded by a ring of anxious-looking boy soldiers. She was close enough to Javien that he flinched every time she shouted at him. “What have you done? We’re respectable merchants from honorable families. I’m Third Festival myself, and not one of my people is more recent than Eighth! Are you even a real priest?”

That brought a response. “Of course I am!” Javien shouted. The squeak in his voice betrayed his fear, but she had given him a reason to be offended and he used it as an excuse to assert himself. “I am a Beacon of the Great Way, leading the people of Kal-Maddum on the true path, and I will not be spoken to like a common cutpurse!”

“I don’t believe you!” Granny cried. “My good friend Iskol would never treat us this way. You must have murdered the real beacon and taken his robes!”

Javien shut his eyes and bared his teeth, but he kept silent. “Monument sustain me.”

“Song knows,” Granny cried out, “that I did nothing wrong. I was tricked!” She entreated the bureaucrat who had greeted her so warmly outside. It occurred to Tejohn that she had not once said the man’s name. Perhaps she didn’t remember it.

It didn’t matter. The bureaucrat said nothing. He simply stood in the corner of the hall and watched the three of them with a pinched face. Tejohn looked around the room and saw it slowly filling up. More guards appeared, followed by a man in a cuirass that probably fit him when he was young and healthy, but now hung over him like the shell of a turtle.

A trio of women entered the room, covering their mouths with their long sleeves as they whispered to each other. Others were obviously merchants; it was common in the smaller holdfasts for merchants to have substantial influence with the tyr; the smaller lands relied more on trade with the outside world more than, say, a Finstel or a Gerrit. Tejohn wasn’t sure if the merchants were hoping to loot the caravan or if they feared they might receive the same treatment someday. Their expressions were too stoic to read.

Granny Nin slumped to the side, falling on her hip. Tejohn didn’t blame her; the wooden floor was hard against his kneecaps, but he didn’t want to be lying down if he could help it, not when the tyr finally decided to make his appearance. Bad enough to be kneeling.

Doctor Twofin himself was nowhere to be seen.

Tejohn cursed himself for his stupidity. He’d known that Doctor Twofin was brother to the tyr of a minor mountain holdfast, but he hadn’t been clear on where it was. And he had seen the banner out on the walls perhaps once in his life, during the prince’s tour of the empire. Doctor Twofin himself never wore it, of course. As a soldier, Tejohn was proud to wear the insignia of his homeland, but scholars were not permitted to retain their old loyalties. They swore oaths to the Italga family and the Scholars’ Tower.

Maybe he should have recognized those two sea serpent humps with the fins on them. Maybe not. It didn’t matter now. All he could do was wait for the local tyr to made his dramatic entrance.

Iskol Twofin, tyr of the Twofin lands, was very like Doctor Twofin in appearance, although he looked ten years older. His hair was thin and white, his face haggard, and his eyes a little wild, as though he had been told a wild animal waited for him.

Still, his robes were green and trimmed with white, unlike the miserable blacks of the Finstels, which gave him a sprightly air. “Well!” he cried as he swept across the room, doing his best to sound confident and hearty. Tejohn thought there was a touch of strain in his voice. “Nin, it is always so good to see you, but I’m told you have brought, er, unusual guests with you this time.”

“My tyr,” Granny Nin said, forcing herself back to her knees. “You know the love I bear you and your people. I’m not sure why you have treated me this way, as if I’m a common criminal? I have brought with me a beacon of the temple in Ussmajil. At least, that is who he told me he was.”

She sounded almost as strained as he did. “Indeed? Did he perform services for you? Forging marriages? Dissolving them? Blessing the newly dead and the newly born?”

“He did, my tyr.”

“And did he know the proper rites?”

“He did, my tyr,” Granny said earnestly. She seemed to be gaining confidence that she would convince her “good friend” that she meant no harm after all. “He knew every rite and seemed a pious and gentle man.”

BOOK: The Way Into Darkness: Book Three of The Great Way
2.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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