From Mountains of ice by Lorina Stephens

From Mountains of ice

byLorina Stephens

Paperback | July 9, 2009

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Sylvio spent the past decade banished from Simare’s court, stripped of land, ancestral home and title – from Minister of National Security to back-country bowyer. But not any bowyer; Sylvio creates bows from laminations of wood and human bone, bows that are said to speak, bows known as the legendary arcossi.

And now, after a decade, he is called back to the capitol, summoned by his Prince whom he suspects is a patricide and insane. His very life is in danger and with it the country he has served through all his days.

From Mountains of Ice is a story of love, endurance and the meaning of honour.

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Title:From Mountains of iceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:268 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.63 inPublished:July 9, 2009Publisher:Five Rivers ChapmanryLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0973927852

ISBN - 13:9780973927856

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      He tried very hard to remain still, to be strong, project the image of the Royal Prince he was. That scream in his throat had a life of its own. He wanted to set it free, let it encompass the room.      How could she?      He allowed himself to scan the chamber – the afternoon sunlight so heavy where it poured through the open terrace door, the spiral of motes there, Prima Violina Pallavicini di Negli from Almarè where she stood murmuring in radiance with his father, Il Principe Aldo Valerio; the attendants padding about their business innocuously as possible; the ladies in waiting with faces of marble; the courtiers frozen like frescoes; the priest with his acolytes hovering behind the doctor where he sat on the edge of the Royal bed and held the withered, fragile wrist of his mother, La Principessa Viviana Pontiaro ni Valerio. And there, beyond them all, a lurid form in the shadows, the bone-speaker from the Temple of Nerezza, hooded, cloaked in red, silent as loneliness. Cucullatus. The one who would come before the priest to guide Carmelo’s mother from life to death.      She seemed transparent to him now, gossamer and mist. She barely breathed, her face composed.      He felt the pressure of Sylvio di Danuto’s hand on his shoulder. “You should speak with her now, Carmelo.”      “I can’t.”      “If you don’t you will regret it the rest of your life.”      He felt Sylvio nudge his shoulder, urging him forward out of the shadows.       “Come with me.” He winced at the plea.      “This is a moment you should have with her alone.”      “Please. Don’t leave me now.” He wanted to turn toward his father’s Minister of National Security, seek out the solace of their friendship. But the man taught him the mark of a good leader and statesman was his ability to refrain from self-indulgence.       His mother opened her eyes at that moment, turned her face toward him. Drawn, he found himself at her bedside, the marble hard under his knees where he knelt by her bed, his fingers lacing through hers – she was so cold –his tears hot and immediate despite every lesson and every self-imposed restriction.       “I have to go, Carmelo,” she whispered.      He pressed the back of her hand to his mouth, trying hard not to sob, to be strong. But she was going. She was leaving. She wouldn’t be back; the only remnant of her would be the bone effigy of her in the family shrine, this after her body was given to Nerezza, that greedy goddess of death that was his nation’s patron.       He watched his mother’s attention shift up and behind him. Sylvio was there he realized. Sylvio who had always been there guiding, teaching, offering friendship and advice beyond what was required of a Royal Minister, filling the gaps left by his father who was parent to a nation and not just a son.       “Watch over him, Sylvio,” she said. He watched her pause. He couldn’t tell if Sylvio made any gesture. “Promise me.”      “I promise,” he heard Sylvio whisper.      She smiled and her attention returned to him. “Remember who you are and what you have learned.” He nodded, watched her relax. He heard the rustle of cloth, felt the presence of the bone-speaker next to him, the one named as cucullatus because of her ability to speak with the ancestors. A hand now upon his mother’s shoulder, the hand of what should have been an ordinary woman, but for the red cloth that hung over her wrist. With all his heart he wanted to stop this, to keep his mother here in the now, not as a distant voice, but no, she closed her eyes and then lay utterly still.      “She has gone, mio Principe,” he heard the doctor say.      His father gave a strangled groan, coughed. He could hear his father’s footsteps, felt his hand upon his head. “I –” He coughed again, “I’ll send for you in my chambers. I must address the people.”      “Papa –”      And in the distance his mother’s voice, disembodied, as gentle as morning.      “I will send for you. I promise.” His father paused. “Sylvio –”      “At once, Principe.”      He heard them leaving. All of them. His father. Sylvio. The courtiers, the dignitaries who had been close to her. They all left, even the cucullatus. He bent over her bed, inconsolable, alone with the voices of the dead.

Editorial Reviews

...a non-stop ride filled with surprises at every turn.- The Little Red ReviewerThe life of a bowyer won't seem so bad. From Mountains of Ice tells the story of fallen noble Sylvio, as he returns to the courts of Simare and finds that he's being dragged into a world of murder and insanity. Set in an Italian renaissance inspired world, From Mountains of Ice is an entertaining and original fantasy from Lorina Stephens, highly recommended. - Midwest Book ReviewA brilliant writer. One of the best. This isn't just good fantasy; it's top of the genre.- Robert Runte, editor Tesseracts5 Among the best fantasy books I've read in quite some time.- Brian Rathbone, author, The Dawning of Power