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Subverter (Lost Road Chronicles #2) - Paperback (Vorona Books Edition)

Subverter (Lost Road Chronicles #2) - Paperback (Vorona Books Edition)

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A year has passed since the judgment of the Ungulion, and Merelin Lindon is beginning to believe she will never return to the world she loved. But when she begins to suffer from strange visions of a life and a love she left behind—visions that grow darker and harsher with each passing day—she begins to understand that her role in Arah Byen is far from over.

But when the moment finally comes that takes her back to Arah Byen, she never could have expected what she would find. The world should have been at peace, but a new enemy has crept from the shadows, plotting the overthrow of all that Merelin holds dear.

And at his side is the rhesep, a mysterious, deadly assassin who challenges everything Merelin believed to be true. With everything turned upside-down and nothing as it seems, Merelin must discover whose side she is really on, and who she can trust, before it is too late.

But how can she know who to trust, when she isn't even sure she can trust herself?

Read an Excerpt!

I opened my mouth to reply, but at that moment the air shattered with a thunder of wings and shrieking birdcalls. Instinctively I ducked, stifling a cry of surprise, as a huge flock of crow-like birds flurried past over our heads. There must have been hundreds of them darkening the sky with their wings. When they finally passed and the thrumming began to fade, I realized that Lohka had pulled me back toward the wall, an almost protective gesture.

I shook my arm free of his grasp, glaring at him, and then the sky, where now thousands of birds wheeled in confusion.

“What’s going on?” I shouted.

But Lohka wasn’t looking up, or at me. He stared southward, mouth agape. I turned, slowly, and let my gaze follow his.

Black clouds billowed into the sky, masking a blood red glow brooding over the buildings.

Emeya was burning.

I spun back to Lohka. “Is this part of their plan? Who’s responsible? Your people? Khalith’s? Who?”

“I don’t know!”

“How can you not know? Don’t you give the orders?”

He shook his head. “I handed over the command to Rim. I told you, I thought the rebellion was over! I didn’t want to be in charge of it. But Rim never said anything about fires…”

I stared at the sick smoke churning over the horizon, then shook Lohka’s arm.

“This is getting out of control. Take me to wherever Rim said the Watchers are staying. I only hope…”

My voice died, but he nodded as if he knew what I was about to say, and set off at a jog. He limped a little as he ran. I wondered why, until I remembered I’d kicked him in the knee, too. A twinge of regret flashed over me, but there was nothing I could do about it now. I just pushed the thought aside so I could focus and followed close on his heels. 

The whole time we ran, I prayed with a desperate kind of hope that I would find the Watchers still there, safe and ready to help. That Aniira would get back to the Academy in one piece, in time to warn the Guardians of the danger… 

But the danger extended beyond the risk of a rebel attack, now. Emeya was in flames. I guessed from the patterns of smoke that the merchant district had been the center of the attack. The Academy might be safe for the present, but if the fires spread, it wouldn’t be long before they reached the western sector.

We ran through deep shadows now. I could smell the smoke on the air, thick and acrid like burning hair and grass. Somewhere in the distance alarm bells clanged in a sharp cacophony. We crossed a wide thoroughfare, pushing through a stream of people all clamoring and weeping and running the other direction. I tried not to worry that we seemed to be heading toward the smoke. Lohka wouldn’t willingly put himself in danger. I was fairly certain of that, at least.

I leapt aside to avoid being trampled by a throng of soldiers heading toward the fires. Lohka started running in earnest, and I had to sprint to keep pace with him. We wove through countless side streets and passages barely wide enough for us to squeeze through sideways. I lost all sense of direction. Lohka never hesitated, though. I had to wonder how he knew where he was going.

He stopped suddenly in front of me, at the edge of a wide, elegant street—or it might have been, before the flames had ravaged it. Most of the buildings were stone and tile-roofed, and so almost untouched by the fires, but the trees lining the avenue smoked like torches. Some lay fallen and burning across the road, flaming barricades to bar our path. 

Lohka surveyed the street for a few moments, gauging his route, then set off again at a quick jog. We edged around the flaming trees where we could, and when we couldn’t he led me through other side streets to get past.

“It’s just ahead,” he said over his shoulder. “Off the main avenue. Come on.”

We threaded between a couple of stately shop buildings, following an unpaved footpath. Up ahead I could see a smaller structure, rambling and unkempt, looking ill-placed in that district. Flickers of flame and pungent smoke plumed from its thatch roof. 

I grabbed Lohka’s arm. “That’s it? The one that’s burning?”

He nodded mutely, and we ran toward it. We were no more than fifty feet away when we heard an enormous crash inside. Fire erupted into the sky with a shower of sparks. The door swung open on only one hinge, eaten from the center by flames like crawling worms. Smoke poured from the open doorway, billowing like a cloak around the figure exiting the building.

Lohka and I stopped short.

The man stood motionless, framed by the black cloud, watching us. Then he turned and walked away. 

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