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A Sea Like Glass (The Madness Method #3) - Paperback (Vorona Books)

A Sea Like Glass (The Madness Method #3) - Paperback (Vorona Books)

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Tarik and Hayli have failed. They and their crew risked everything to thwart an insurgency bent on toppling the Cavnish government, but all for nothing. The monarchy has fallen, the nation is leaderless, and the threat of a world war looms larger than ever. 

Heartbroken, Tarik embarks on a perilous voyage to Istia, hoping to secure an alliance that might prevent further chaos. But standing in his way is Rigvar, a powerful mage whose vision for Istia could throw Cavnal into ruin. And behind the political turmoil ancient powers are stirring, shaking Tarik’s grip on reality. The struggle for peace will mean nothing if he cannot win the battle for his own soul.

Left behind in Cavnal, Hayli must face her darkest fears to keep Tarik’s people safe in a divided and rudderless nation. To make matters worse, a rogue mage emerges who not only looks like Tarik, but truly believes he is the missing Prince—and is desperate to prove it. 

But there are other forces in motion that no one ever dreamed of, threatening to unravel everything Hayli and Tarik have sacrificed so much to achieve.

When the gods go to war, the world is their battleground, and no one can escape the fight.

Read an Excerpt!

Tarik

Agnir poured me a shallow cup of some kind of clear liquid from a stone jar and settled into the chair, holding his own cup over the steam vent.

“For Veka,” he murmured, “and the forgotten gods. Favor and safe harbor.”

“Safe harbor,” Iskari and Nika murmured.

Agnir tossed the contents of the cup into the deep abyss of the vent, then decanted himself another cupful. I hesitated, wondering if I was meant to repeat the libation, but he just tipped his cup toward me and lifted it to his lips. The first sip of the drink set my mouth burning and my lungs seizing, much worse than any brandy I’d ever drunk, but somehow I managed to swallow without choking. I felt Iskari’s gaze fixed on me, though, and I must have made some sort of grimace because he and Nika exchanged a look and a stifled grin.

“What the hell is that stuff?” I asked when I could speak without coughing. 

Agnir chuckled and took another long sip from his cup. “Skatha. Good, aye?”

I shook my head once to clear my thoughts—one sip was enough to set the room drifting a bit oddly.

“Death in a bottle,” Agnir said. 

“Why aren’t they drinking it?” I asked, pointing my cup at Iskari and Nika.

Nika gave me a rather smug smile. “I prefer keeping my wits.”

I looked her straight in the eye and drained the rest of the skatha in one swallow. As soon the liquid made it down I realized what a stupid thing it was to do, but, damn my half-mad heart, I was determined to prove I could drink the whole bloody cup and still keep my wits about me. Nika didn’t seem impressed by my effort. She rolled her eyes and applied herself to her stew, but Iskari laughed—a harsh laugh, cold as the night wind—and pushed away from the wall. He’d already finished his stew, so he cleaned his bowl and nodded to his father, and disappeared outside. I shuddered in the wind that whipped through the open door as he left and leaned forward, cautiously, to set my cup on the rim of the steam vent.

I was, of course, an absolute idiot. I nudged the cup carefully to the center of the rim, realizing as I did that I was taking entirely too long to do it. 

Why can’t Blood magic keep me from getting drunk? I wondered. It would be nice if it could do something useful for once…

Because…actually healing people isn’t useful…

What am I even thinking?

I gritted my teeth and sat back slowly, trying to keep the world from spinning. Agnir was watching me sidelong, some expression caught between pity and humor on his face. When Nika slid abruptly from her place on the table, I focused my thoughts and forced out the clearest voice I could.

“What should I expect from the moot?”

She paused at the washbasin, her empty bowl still in her hands.

Veka,” she muttered. “You’re still conscious?”

I gave her a long look, and didn’t smile. After a moment Agnir cleared his place and headed out into the dark after Iskari, but Nika didn’t seem troubled by their absence. Me, I thought they were both insane, venturing out into the night when it was so bitterly cold—not to mention the sheer thought of standing up made my stomach wrench unexpectedly. Nika turned her back on me, scrubbing out her bowl and stacking it to dry with Iskari’s and her father’s. I forced myself to eat a few mouthfuls of the rich stew, hoping the food would soften the blow of the skatha, but that was all I could manage. Nika swept my bowl away before I could offer to clean it myself.

“You’re going to be voted out,” she said, just when I thought she would never answer me. She sliced an extra piece of the steam-baked bread for herself and dropped into Agnir’s chair, one booted foot propped on the rim of the vent. “You’re not Istian. You have no business being Godar.”

My head throbbed. I wanted to close my eyes, fall asleep, forget Istia and Godars and ships and death, and just…be. But I couldn’t. Not yet. If I was to have any hope of doing what Trabin had asked me, I had to start here, now, with Nika and Iskari and all their suspicion and hatred.

If you don’t hold power over the hearts of the people, Trabin had told me once, you have nothing at all. Rule them by awe, or rule them by affection, but either way, you must rule them.

“Ambassador Eskir thought I did,” I said.

Her brows knotted in a frown. “Eskir? How did you know Eskir?”

That was interesting. I wondered if she’d heard the report that Ambassador Eskir had written to the moot before his envoy left Brinmark—before they were murdered on their way out of my city. At any rate, it seemed like Agnir was the only one who had figured out that I was actually the Crown Prince of Cavnal.

If I was even that any more.

Maybe I was already King, awaiting my coronation.

Maybe I was a traitor, awaiting my execution.

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