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The Empire of Ashes
Cover of The Empire of Ashes
The Empire of Ashes
The Draconis Memoria Series, Book 3
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In the White Drake's war, the price of freedom is paid in blood and fire . . .
For hundreds of years, the Ironship Trading Syndicate was fueled by drake blood—and protected by the Blood-blessed, those few who could drink it and wield fearsome powers. But now the very thing that sustained the corporate world threatens to destroy it.
A drake of unimaginable power has risen, and it commands an army of both beasts and men. Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge and Ironship captain Corrick Hilemore have been spread to disparate corners of the world, but they are united in their desire to defeat the White Drake and the Spoiled who follow it.
Humanity itself is at stake, but with the aid of ancient knowledge, revolutionary technology and unexpected allies, all hope is not lost. Saving the world will require sacrifice, as Clay, Lizanne and Hilemore will see all they know either consumed by flames or reborn from the ashes.
In the White Drake's war, the price of freedom is paid in blood and fire . . .
For hundreds of years, the Ironship Trading Syndicate was fueled by drake blood—and protected by the Blood-blessed, those few who could drink it and wield fearsome powers. But now the very thing that sustained the corporate world threatens to destroy it.
A drake of unimaginable power has risen, and it commands an army of both beasts and men. Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge and Ironship captain Corrick Hilemore have been spread to disparate corners of the world, but they are united in their desire to defeat the White Drake and the Spoiled who follow it.
Humanity itself is at stake, but with the aid of ancient knowledge, revolutionary technology and unexpected allies, all hope is not lost. Saving the world will require sacrifice, as Clay, Lizanne and Hilemore will see all they know either consumed by flames or reborn from the ashes.
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  • From the book Chapter 1

    Clay

    It was like drinking liquid fire, the heart-blood sending a searing bolt of agony through him the instant it touched his tongue. Somehow he managed not to lose his grip on the vial, keeping it pressed against his lips until the entire contents had made a fiery progress from his throat to his gut. He convulsed as the pain blossomed, thrashing in the water as it grew, banishing all other sensation, turning his vision grey then black. He wondered if the pain would kill him before Last Look Jack could send a stream of flame down to boil him as he thrashed. Either way he knew with absolute certainty he had barely seconds to live.

    Then it was gone. The pain vanished in an instant. Clay blinked and the black void filling his eyes cleared. He was still in the water, floating weightlessly below a shimmering surface. The water was cold but the chill was muted somehow, a distant thing beyond the confines of his body, a body he quickly realised had grown to huge proportions. The view ahead was a mélange of colour, cool azure shades shot through with smudges of orange and the occasional small flutters of deep red. They see heat rather than light, Ethelynne Drystone had said when she shared memories with him in the ruined amphitheatre. Once again, he was seeing the world through the eyes of a drake.

    He saw that these colours were not so vibrant as those captured by the doomed Black all those centuries ago, but any sense of limited vision was more than dispelled by the sound that filled his ears. It was a constant vibrating echo, varying in pitch from one second to the next. It meant little to him but he could sense an understanding somewhere in his mind, an instinctive knowledge possessed by the one who had captured this memory. The conclusion was as inescapable as it was terrifying. I'm trancing with Last Look Jack.

    The view shifted as the soundscape changed, a sharp pealing cry cutting through the echo. The shimmering surface above blurred as Clay was propelled through the water, moving with a speed that was beyond any human engine. He could feel the great drake's pulse quicken from a steady, ponderous thrum to a rapid drum-beat as the pealing cry came again. It was plainly a distress call, shot through with panic and terror. Clay could sense Jack's increasing alarm as they raced through the water, the understanding afforded by the trance enabling him to recognise it as parental concern. Somewhere his child was suffering.

    Abruptly the distress call rose to a scream, piercing enough to send a shiver of pain through Clay's mind, then it was gone, cut off in an instant. Another sensation seeped through his consciousness as the scream faded, not a sound this time, a scent. It was a smell that would usually stir hunger in the belly of this monstrous predator, but now stirred only despair. Blood, but not prey to be hunted down or a drifting whale carcass to be scavenged. This was the blood of a Blue drake.

    Last Look Jack gave voice to a cry of his own then, a deep throaty roar of grief that seemed to shake the sea. His speed remained undiminished, however, his massive body coiling with furious energy to propel him on. The scent of blood grew more intense until Clay saw a dark billowing red fog ahead, cooling to pink as the warmth leeched into the water. Jack slowed as he neared the cloud, Clay making out a dark matrix amidst the billowing warmth, a net stretched tight around something large and limp. He could see the dark barbs of several harpoons jutting from the dead Blue, a juvenile judging by its size. Blood bloomed with fresh intensity as the net shifted and the body rolled in its snare as it was drawn up...
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 25, 2018
    Ryan concludes the Draconis Memoria epic fantasy trilogy (after The Legion of Flame) with an ending riddled with political intrigue, bloody battles, and magic. Using shifting perspectives and points of view, Ryan continues to expand this visually rich landscape as he builds up to an all-out battle for the fate of the world. As the White Drake’s army wreaks havoc, leaving ash and death in its wake, small-time criminal Claydon Torcreek and master spy Lizanne Lethridge rally their allies. Relying on their powers and knowledge, this ragtag group moves against the Drake, hoping to turn the tide of battle. But saving the world means the secrets of the past must all come to light. Ryan skillfully navigates multiple narrators to unveil a world steeped in magic and on the brink of destruction. Both the characters and the setting are irresistible right through to the end. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit.

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The Empire of Ashes
The Draconis Memoria Series, Book 3
Anthony Ryan
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