Hi, I’m Andy Peloquin, and I’m a bookaholic. It has been five minutes since my last hit of fantasy fiction, and I’m already jonesing for my next one!
I’ve been reading fantasy for close to two decades (not a long time compared to some, but it’s still most of my life), and I’ve found that there are so many wonderful worlds to explore. More often than not, the best worlds are the ones I would never have heard about on my own. After all, I don’t spend anywhere near as much time in bookstores as I’d like, and I can’t spend all my time browsing Amazon shelves for new authors. So that means I’m either only looking for authors I’m familiar with (like the big-name, traditionally published authors), or I rely on word of mouth to find out about new reads.
My current favorite book/series—The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch—was recommended to me by a friend. As was my second favorite series, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson. Heck, aside from The Chronicles of Narnia and Warlord of Mars, all of my favorite books and series have been recommended to me by a fellow fantasy reader or an author I trust.
As an author myself, I like to know what other awesome fantasy novels are out there—not only so I can enjoy reading them, but so I can find ways to do things better than everyone else (yes, I’m a tad competitive). Thanks to author newsletters, I can find out what my favorite authors are doing, as well as receive recommendations from them on other new books and authors worth my time. It’s the best sort of word of mouth out there—I know that I like one author’s book, so his recommendation of another author probably is going to carry some weight.
If you’re a reader like me, you’re probably always on the lookout for that next amazing series or your next “hit” of fantasy fiction. Author newsletters are an amazing way to do that. Not only can you find out what your current favorites are up to, but you’ll be able to follow their recommendations to find new books to feed your addiction.
I know it can be overwhelming to get a lot of emails in your inbox, but I’ve found it’s so worth it to take the time to read the emails. I find out what sort of magic my favorite authors have in store for me, and I get to see the recommendations of other books. The result: more fantasy awesomeness!
Ilanna, Master of the Night Guild, has waged a war for eight years to cleanse her city of the rival criminal organization that nearly destroyed it. When she uncovers a ring of slavers trafficking young girls for sexual servitude around the continent, she is forced to venture into the city of Voramis, the seat of her enemy’s power, to hunt down the true culprit and put an end to the enslavement of innocents.
But her enemies will not be so easily eliminated. She must turn to the one man certain to get the job done: the Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis.
The Hunter willingly accepts a fortune in gold to kill one of the richest men in his city. A mansion fortress and a private army should prove no match for his inhuman abilities.
But as he stalks his target, he unmasks a bloodthirsty conspiracy in the guise of a holy mission. If he doesn’t stop the men responsible, the gruesome murders will continue and people—including those he has sworn to protect—will die.
Fans of Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson, and Joe Abercrombie will devour Traitors’ Fate!
Ilanna peered over the roof’s edge at the shadow-cloaked figures below. Three men, wearing the dull-colored, rough-spun clothing of commoners. Wary eyes and hard faces belied their nonchalance as they lounged before the door of what ought to be an empty, abandoned warehouse on the bank of the Stannar River.
She tensed as a figure slid up beside her.
“All is ready, Master Gold,” whispered Errik, Master Serpent, his expression grim. “Everyone is in place.”
Ilanna drew in a deep breath. Eight years of serving as Master of the Night Guild hadn’t diminished the excitement of creeping across the rooftops of Praamis, leaping, running, and flying over the Hawk’s Highway. But what they did tonight had nothing to do with thieves’ craft.
A hand slipped into hers and squeezed. Ilanna turned to the figure on her left, a dark-skinned woman a few years younger than her. Ria’s grip had a strength that reassured Ilanna without need for words.
She nodded. “Give the signal. Move in.”
Errik, Master over the assassins of House Serpent, returned the nod and slithered away from the edge, disappearing into the night. A few moments later, a muted tap-tap echoed behind her.
A score of large, heavily-muscled men with scarred knuckles and heavy maces boiled from the doorways across from the warehouse and the surrounding streets. The three guards cried out and reached for their own weapons.
Ilanna didn’t wait to watch the confrontation. When it came to ruthless ferocity, the strong-arms and heavy-handed enforcers of House Bloodbear had no match.
She leapt to her feet and darted toward the edge of the rooftop, whipping a strip of greased canvas up and over the rope that stretched across the street. She sped through the air and dropped onto the warehouse roof, rolling with the impact. The thump of Ria sounded behind her.
Ilanna didn’t glance back—she had no need to worry about the dark-skinned woman—but sprinted across the rooftop toward the trapdoor that led into the warehouse’s upper level. Figures wearing dark grey cloaks seemed to appear from the darkness. She nodded at the apprentices of House Hawk, the third-story thieves of the Night Guild, and reached for the door.
“No!” hissed Tandril, a broad-shouldered youth with a patchy beard and long, dark hair. “I have express orders from Master Hawk not to let you take any unnecessary risks.”
Ilanna snorted. “Mother hen Bryden is worried for me, eh?”
Tandril’s eyes slid away. Everyone in the Night Guild knew Bryden, Master of House Hawk, had little love for his Guild Master.
“Get that door open and get out of my way, Tandril,” Ilanna commanded. “You and the other apprentices need to get back to the Aerie.”
Tandril bristled and opened his mouth, no doubt to protest that he wanted in on the action below.
“Mouth shut, and follow orders, apprentice.” Ilanna’s tone left no room for argument. “The Hawks have done their job to satisfaction. Let the others do theirs.”
Tandril hesitated a moment, and Ilanna stepped forward. Swallowing, the Hawk apprentice bent and tugged the trapdoor open.
A hand gripped Ilanna’s arm and held her back.
“Me first,” Ria said, stepping in front of her and drawing her assegai, a spear with a forearm-length shaft that ended in a long leaf-shaped blade.
Ilanna raised an eyebrow. “Don’t for a minute think I’ll let you order me around just because I’m sweet on you.”
Ria grinned. “I’m pretty sure you will.” With a wink, she twirled the spear once and descended the steps into the warehouse.
Ilanna followed a step behind, long, slim sword and dagger held at the ready.
Darkness met her eyes, but the sounds of fighting echoed from the lower floors. Ria slipped through the empty halls with the grace of a desert greatcoat. Ilanna couldn’t help admiring the lithe, willowy frame ahead of her.
The sound of booted feet grew louder, and a heavy-set man raced around the corner, lantern jangling in his hand. He lurched to a halt as he caught sight of the two women.
Ria danced forward, her short spear stabbing out like a viper’s flicking tongue. The man gave a strangled cry and crumpled. Blood gushed from the puncture in his throat, mixing with the oil seeping from the shattered lamp beside him.
Ilanna pushed past Ria and burst through the next door.
A disheveled, sweat-soaked man leaped to his feet, fumbling in desperation at the breeches around his ankles. His eyes flew wide as Ilanna rested the tip of her rapier against the base of his throat.
“Please!” The man’s hands flew up, causing his trousers to drop. “Don’t harm me. I-I’m just…”
“I know exactly who you are, Lord Illiran,” she snarled, her voice cold as the Frozen Sea.
The nobleman’s face turned an interesting shade of beet red, sickly green, and terrified white. “I-I…” he stammered.
Ilanna’s lip curled into a sneer. “Better you say nothing, my lord.” She spat the words. “I’ve no mind to kill you, but one wrong word from your mouth could change that.”
Lord Illiran’s mouth snapped shut.
“Good. Now sit in that corner and don’t move. If you’re not here when I return, the Night Guild will be paying you a visit shortly. Do you understand?”
The nobleman’s head bobbed as he hastened to obey.
Ilanna turned her attention to Ria. The dark-skinned girl hovered over the bed—if a pathetic pile of straw covered in a filthy sheet could be called such—that Lord Illiran had recently vacated. Its occupant was a girl that couldn’t be older than thirteen or fourteen, with an emaciated face, filthy skin, and little more than rags for covering.
“How bad is she?” Ilanna asked.
“Bad.” Ria pressed a finger to the girl’s neck. “Pulse is weak, and her breath is weak.”
Ria nodded, her face grim.
Ilanna swore and produced a corked phial from her pouch. “Will one dose suffice?”
“I don’t know.” Ria’s brow furrowed. “The way she’s lying there, it looks like they’ve been over-dosing her for weeks. But I’m no Tyman.”
Tyman was not only Master of the poisoners and potion-makers of House Scorpion; he was also the Night Guild’s preeminent healer. He had been the one to brew up the potion to counteract the hallucinogenic, paralytic, and addictive effects of Bonedust, the narcotic named for both its color and the way it caused rapid bone degeneration. Its effects simply slowed down the physical decay, but couldn’t fully stop it.
Ilanna cursed again. “The moment we’re done here, I’ll make sure the Bloodbears transport her and any others in bad shape back to Tyman first.”
Ria nodded and bent over the girl again. “I think it might be too late for her, but we can hope.”
Anger swirled in Ilanna’s gut, and it took all her self-control not to lash out at Lord Illiran. The thought of what he’d been doing to the girl, the same age as her own son and too drugged to resist, brought back memories of what had been done to her.
The girl muttered something inaudible. Ria bent her ear to the girl’s mouth.
“What’s she saying?” Ilanna asked.
Ria shook her head. “It’s too faint to—”
“…ti-dote.” The girl spoke louder.
“Antidote?” Ria demanded.
The girl nodded, a tiny movement of her chin. Ilanna waited with bated breath for her to say more, but the girl lay listless and silent, her lips blue, mouth hanging slack, only the whites of her eyes showing.
“Go,” Ria said. “Do what you need to do. I’ll stay with her.” She hefted her assegai. “And keep an eye on him.”
Lord Illiran refused to meet her eyes as she stalked from the room.
“I am Ilanna, Journeyman of House Hawk… and vengeance will be mine.”
Ilanna has lost everything: her friends, her home, her family, her dreams of freedom.
All that remains is a burning desire to find the bastards who burned down her city and tried to kill her.
But a traitor hides among the ranks of the Night Guild, poisoning her friends and allies with lies.
Cast out and condemned to death, Ilanna has no choice but to turn to old enemies to save not only her life, but her Guild and city in the process.
Read the breathtaking, heart-stopping conclusion to the Queen of Thieves series!
Fans of Sarah J. Maas and Scott Lynch will love Queen of Thieves…