"Elves killed your parents," say the Thirteen, and the Thirteen never lie. But sometimes, Pras Underwood wonders. The Thirteen are creatures of living malice, and he has never wholly trusted them. Pras has fought Elves for as long as he can remember, despising them and the Magik they are cursed with. He is Aniri, a master of war, the scourge of his enemies. But war with the Thirteen has scattered the Elves, and they are all but broken now, blessed-or perhaps cursed-with a king too stubborn to surrender. Even if Elves killed his parents, Pras has had his vengeance a thousand times over, and he has grown weary of killing. He has gotten to know a few Elves lately, and he no longer finds them an easy people to hate. Their eyes are blue, like his, and though he is their enemy, some call him "Luminous Friend". Pras has heard about a southern country where a man might find peace before he dies-peace, and answers to long-unanswered questions. But the war is not yet over, and he has lost favor with the Thirteen. For sparing an Elf, he is banished to the outer reaches of the Thirteen's empire, where he is deemed an Elven sympathizer, and is nearly assassinated. Rescued by Elves, he is taken to a city of healers, where a gifted Elven child challenges all he has ever believed about her people and the Thirteen. The child possesses Magik, like all Elves, but Magik is a gift, she says, not a curse, and Pras begins to wonder who his true enemies are. Hunted by the Thirteen, haunted by the child's words, he sets off for the southern country on an odyssey that will carry him across a war-strewn world and into the company of the one person who might hold the power to make him whole again.
About STEVEN ISAACS
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Published August 20, 2004
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction.