Touch of Power by Maria V. SnyderTouch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power

byMaria V. Snyder

Paperback | December 27, 2011

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Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life.

Maria V. Snyder was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University in 1988, before deciding to become a novelist in 1995. Snyder graduated with a Master's degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2007. The first two books in...
Title:Touch of PowerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 8.19 × 5.37 × 0.95 inPublished:December 27, 2011Publisher:Mira BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0778313077

ISBN - 13:9780778313076

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from great i love the world this author created and I couldn't put the book down. Amazing characters!
Date published: 2018-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved! Almost loved this as much as the first series. Loved the healer world.
Date published: 2017-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it :) This book was so good! The author writes so well, she never disappoints :) And i love the characters from this series, they are so well developed and so realistic. This story pulls you right in from the very first page, and leaves you wanting more!
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not great I wanted to like this series, but there was something off about it. I think it was the romance--it felt really forced, there was no chemistry between the two leads.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another hit series from Synder I loved the Poison Studies series and I love this series as well. I love all the characters, the world building and the love story. Two thumbs up.
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from :D This was a very classic Maria V Snyder book- If you loved her other books you will love this one!
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Author = Great Books I can never put down any of her books. They are so captivating
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Start to a New Series The story picks up in the aftermath of a devastating plague, which the healers guild were unable to cure without dying themselves. As a result, healers are not revered by society, but rather they are hunted drifters. Avry finds herself incarcerated; awaiting death, but then is captured by a motley crew who forcefully want her to heal their leader but will cost Avry her life. Magical, gripping, and brimming with excitement, Touch Of Power offers a tough heroine, multi-faceted characters, loads of action and takes readers into a whole new world of Fantasy. Fans of Graceling and the Poison Study will surely love to add this title to their bookshelf.
Date published: 2012-06-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from For die-hard Snyder fans We all have those books. You know what I’m talking about. Those books that everyone is raving about, those books that make you want to desperately see what all the fuss is about, those books that make you come *this close* to caving on your book-buying ban when the library wait list bodes to be a little too long. For me, that book was Touch of Power, the first book in Maria V. Snyder’s Healer series. According to reviews, it was one great book! Everyone loved it! Everyone was praising it to be just as good as Snyder’s book, Poison Study! Well, I’m sorry to say that I will not be joining these people. Touch of Power is about Avry, a healer who cures the wounded, taking the wounds to her own body, leaving the sick now cured. Avry heals fast, so it’s never long until she’s back up and ready to heal another. The problem is that the people don’t like healers — to them, the healers are who brought the plague — so she’s been on the run. That is, until she is found by a group of men who are looking to use Avry’s powers to cure a prince who has been infected by the plague. Now, don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed this book — the first half, at least. I really enjoyed Avry with her new band of gentlemen who took care of her and taught her to fight — but after the first half, I felt like I was visiting Snyder’s Fire Study book again, a book I couldn’t finish because I felt like nothing was actually happening. This was the same thing with Touch of Power — I felt like the characters were going through the motions of going somewhere and not much else. Yes, things did happen — there was action here and there — but for the most part, bodies traveled, slept in caves, and continued traveling in the morning. I did persist, continuing to read solely to see what the (predictable) end would be. The whole ending wasn’t predictable — I can’t claim to be that good, because Snyder does know what she’s doing when weaving a plotline — but it wasn’t as exciting as I wanted it to be. I also persisted with reading because of the romance, which was there, but not as prominent as I wanted it to be. Like I said, Snyder does tell a good story, but I felt that the whole thing happened so slowly and everyone was sort of … emotionless. The romance was a build up, which was nice (no insta-love here), but other than that, at least to me, not much else happened that was of too much excitement. What I wanted was more atmosphere, I wanted to picture the whole world in my head, I wanted to be on the edge of my seat, falling in love with the characters and their situations. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy anything that the book had to offer. I really liked the Death and Peace lilies, the romance (which is never a hard thing to win me over with), and the fact that the book did not end with a cliffhanger. I loved all of the magic within the book and the camaraderie between Avry and her traveling companions. The writing was frustrating for me because while Snyder knows her plot lines and can write a decent story (except for the lack of excitement), I was never sure of two things. One, was this a young adult book? I felt like the romance was more than YA, but the writing was so simple. Two, was the writing itself — the narration and the dialogue. I was never sure what time period the book was supposed to be in. Certain parts had rich sarcasm that didn’t really seem fitting for a historical type of book, with too much modern day slang, and the character’s dialogue seemed to simple. It was the kind of dialogue I could glaze over, not really missing much. I think that if you’re a die-hard Maria V. Snyder fan, you’ll like this book. If you managed to make it through the entire Study series and thought you read the most fantastic series ever (rather than just the first two books), then you will like this. I adored Snyder’s Poison and Magic Study books, but I think this might be the end for me.
Date published: 2012-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another Amazing Story From the first time I ever picked up any book by Snyder I haven't been able to put it down. I had been wary however to pick up touch of power because of the cheesy looking cover. Once again however my Snyder obsession overpowered me and I ended up totally enthralled with the world she created. Although most of the plot line is fairly generic, Snyder throws in a few of her own twists and turns to help you remember that there is far more to a book than just the plot outline. I can't rave enough about any of Snyder's books, and I promise you that picking up any of her books from the Poison Study series or the Storm Glass series will not leave you disappointed, and watch out for reading Touch of Power as you will be longing for the next one.
Date published: 2012-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful start to new series Once renowned for their abilities to cure the sick and wounded, the healers of the Fifteen Realms now stand accused of spreading, and perhaps even causing, the plague that has decimated the population. The governments have fallen and the Realms stand on the brink of anarchy. Avry of Kazan has been in hiding for three years, always staying ahead of those who would kill her, for she is a healer - perhaps the last one in all of the realms. Caught, and ready to be executed, Avry finds herself rescued by an unlikely crew whose singular focus is to have Avry heal their leader of the plague - something Avry knows will cost her her life. I have thoroughly enjoyed Snyder's previous Study and Glass series, and was not at all disappointed with this first book in her new Healer series.The characters are human, fragile, and real, and the world's are richly imagined and thoroughly original. Fans of traditional fantasy novels will enjoy reading in Snyder's unique worlds, as well as her detailed yet fast-paced writing. An absolutely engrossing read.
Date published: 2012-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Amazing! I was attached to this book from beginning to end! It was kind of surprising, I had tried reading Maria's Poison Study a long time ago, but could never really get into it, so I was really unsure about this novel but thought I'd give it a whirl anyway. Seriously, best book EVER! Well, least that I've read lately! This book was such an adventure, there's always something going on or happening. Avry is one of my most favorite characters, she never complains, even when she's close to dieing. She cried a few times but I cried right along with her! She starts off on her own, running for her life, healing children and babies when she can. Then she gets caught by the people and is to be executed the next day. This and a few other things all happen within the first chapter! Right away it's a whirlwind all in itself. The rest of the book never slows down, it was such a ride, I loved every minute of it. I especially loved how Kerrick started out as a cranky, no-fun, stick-in-the-mud, then slowly turns around and there may or may not be a little somethin' between Kerrick and Avry. This book is definitely at the top of my fav book list, for sure.
Date published: 2012-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Predictable but Still Good! I really enjoyed the concept of Avry's powers. Because as far as I'm concerned, people shouldn't be able to heal others without some sort of price. It's just too good to be true. I found that Snyder's first book to be a bit predictable. Well, actually... Very predictable. I kind of enjoyed being able to predict the plot before I read it since it made me feel like a fortune teller or something. Haha. But at the same time it kind of took away from the excitement of the book. And yet. Yet... I still found this book to be really great! The romance plot line has been one that's been done many times, and I was quite surprised that Snyder decided to write it the way she did, but it was a nice form of the old classic. Although, I kind of felt like Avry was too modern of a character to fit with the medieval setting Snyder was portraying. I really enjoyed Belen, Flea, and the two monkies characters, though. Kerrick was just okay. Nothing about him really stood out to me. With that said, this was a great book to finish off the year with, I would easily recrommend this to any Snyder fan or anyone who likes a good fantasy story.
Date published: 2012-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Series Starter What. A. Ride. Before I get going, let me tell you about Maria V. Snyder’s adult books. They are not paranormal romance. Nor are they urban fantasy. They are straight up fantasy…with a bit of romance thrown in. Subtle romance. PG-13 romance if you will. The worlds are exquisite and the characters are outstanding. At least for me. I look forward to each book she comes out with because they are so different than what I usually read and because I know I will be meeting characters that will stay with me for a while after I’m done with the book. Touch of Power is the first book in Maria’s newest series. It’s essentially the story of Avry, a Healer. There are eleven types of magic that can be gifted to the people in this world and Healing magic is one of them. But right now, there is only one Healer left – and that’s Avry. You see, there was a plague that hit a couple years past and it killed many people. Ugly painful deaths too. Healers were eventually blamed for the plague, even though Avry knows this isn’t true. Because of their supposed part in the plague, all healers have been executed. Avry has been in hiding…until now. Since the mass disease hit, the Fifteen Realms have been a bit of a mess. Many of the leaders died leaving power hungry people who want to rule over all the realms. Ryne is one of the leaders who is believed to hold enough influence to stop these crazy people from taking over. Unfortunately Ryne has the plague but has been sort of magically frozen so that the disease doesn’t kill him before someone who can heal him is found. Kerrick has taken on the task of finding a Healer. He has been feverishly seeking for two years and finally finds Avry but only one little hurdle stands in his way: By the time he finds Avry, she’s in a dungeon awaiting execution. See? Just a little problem. Avry is a fantastic heroine. She is strong and is a survivor. She does what she needs to do to survive without being heartless. In fact, her caring character was one of the things that really drew me to her. That and her little snarky mouth! She is a very clever girl with a wit to match. Kerrick. What to say about Kerrick? Maria’s heroes tend to be mysterious, intelligent, powerful and sexy. But not in your face sexy. I mean they don’t tend to be described as having bulging muscles or bulging other parts. You are drawn to her heroes because they are a whole package and Kerrick definitely fits in this category. He was wonderful. How he fought his attraction to Avry, how he leads his men, his loyalty to his friends and to his cause…all of it. He was a great read. Tohon was one creepy dude. He’s the kind of villain who is that special kind of crazy. You know the type – he thinks he’s doing what is best for the world and he honestly thinks this because he has rationalized it in his head. His twisted-up little head. I am very curious to see where his character goes and where his actions and decisions will take the story since he is one of the characters that seems to be driving this series. The sidekicks were amazing in this series, just as they are in Maria’s other Fantasy books. They are as memorable as the main characters. And yes, there is a sad scene that involves one of them and I may have cried a little. And to make a reader tear up over a supporting character you’ve only just begun to get to know…that takes writing chops. The action in this book is almost subtle in its nature. It’s not in your face run run run – it’s almost psychological. But don’t think that means you are not in for a ride. After all, I started this review with “What. A. Ride.” The whole time you are wondering what will happen? Will they get caught? Will the flowers eat them? Oh damn, the flowers did eat them… There was one point where I found myself thinking “okay, if she gets captured one more time it’s going to bother me…” but she didn’t so I didn’t get bothered. The world is just plain neat in Touch of Power. The magic and how it’s used yet not in your face, the plants, the wildlife…all of it really clever. After reading so many stories set in dirty and almost futuristic cities, it’s nice to just escape into a place where it’s all about what your imagination can conjure up with the words the authors feeds me. A fantastical journey that is as plain or as complicated as your mind lets it be. In my case, I saw lush forests with beautiful yet deadly vegetation. I loved the use of magic. Again, like the action, almost subtle in its uses. If you are a fan of Maria’s works, you have to read this book. Heck, if you are a fan of pure fantasy tales, even though I have not read any other fantasy books by another author, I feel confident to say that you will enjoy this book. The world is marvelous and the main characters are so charming. You can’t help but cross your fingers and wish them well. Well, except for Tohon. Him, he’s just creepy.
Date published: 2011-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun, Exciting Adventure I loved Maria Snyder's Study books and was so excited when I saw Touch of Power. Snyder has a way of creating vivid new worlds and intriguing plots and this book is no exception. I enjoyed the chatty feel and quirky humour in the book - that combined with the adventure and twists made for a page turning read. The story captured me right away. I liked how exciting it was and the mystery around Avry and her healing powers. Avry is a strong character, surviving on her own, but still has lots of room to grow. She is stubborn and smart. She does need some physical protection, especially at first, but she even grows this way as well. The other characters in the book really made it for me, the band of rogues who kidnapped her were great and diverse and endearing. Kerrick is also good, the leader of this band - I like how he develops, though some of this is predictable. The tension between him and Avry was fun. One of the things that really made this book good is the dilemma that Avry faces. I won't give this away, but I like that kind of moral dilemma being explored in a book. Like the Study books, I found this one blurred that line between young adult and adult fantasy. I honestly wasn't sure how to classify this one, though it is probably adult. I really recommend this book to those who like fantasy adventure stories with some romantic tension.
Date published: 2011-12-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another great book by Maria Snyder Pros: strong female protagonist, fast paced, lots of plot twists, minor romance elements/ Cons: limited emotional punch, simplistic world building/ Avry of Kazan is a healer in a post plague world where healers have been hunted and killed for spreading the disease that decimated the populace of the Fifteen Realms. After three years of hiding, her cover is blown when she heals another child. Too ill from the aftereffects of the child's illness (which must be taken into herself in order to heal it) for her to run, she's taken by the authorities and sentenced to death. / Kerrick of Alga finds her there, and frees her with the condition that she heal his friend. But his friend has the plague, and healing it means dying herself./ Touch of Power is reminiscent of Snyder's first novel, Poison Study. The protagonist is a feisty young woman, the romance creeps up on you towards the end (with many clues, but no acknowledgement until the climax), and fast paced story telling with lots of plot twists to keep you turning pages. / Tragedy didn't make my connect with the characters as I would have liked, until the final scene. I wanted to feel their losses as well as their joys, and didn't quite get there./ The world was interesting, some aspects (like the events surrounding the plague and the death lilies) were well detailed and others (differences in customs between Realms) were ignored. In other words, it's a very tight story, with no digressions for elements unconnected to the plot, even if a few side details wouldn't have been amiss./ This somewhat open ended book is a solid beginning to a new trilogy.
Date published: 2011-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Touch of Power is definitely a Maria Snyder book. It's similarities to her Study series only endeared me more to it. The strong characters whose bonds grow as the novel progresses, the fantastical use of magic, an intriguing mystery and a seriously manipulative villain make for a fantastic read. If you're already a fan of her Study series, I think you'll really like this as well. In any case, give it a read if you can! ~~~ Touch of Power revolves around Avry, a Healer. She values nothing more than to help the injured; it's something her soul calls for her to do. But after rumours spread that the Healers were responsible for spreading a deadly plague, her kind are looked down upon and cast away rather that welcomed and revered for their help. She has to resort to hiding out in towns before she gives in, heals a child, and is forced to flee again. A particularly close call sees her travelling with a group of rogues, who need her to heal a prince in order to save the kingdom from a ruthless king. They grow closer as they spend more and more time together, but it doesn't take long before they run into trouble. Reading Touch of Power I was immediately reminded of Snyder's Study series, a personal favourite of mine. It was almost like a sense of deja vu, reading about a world where magic existed, there were divided kingdoms, two warring powers, and a special girl in the middle who had the power to change things. It seems even more uncanny the more I think about it. I didn't have a huge problem with the similarities though, because I was a huge fan of The Study series. Avry was a sweet, sympathetic, caring individual who could stand up for herself when the situation arose. I admired her independence and fierce protective nature. I liked Kerrick though his attitude didn't do much for first impressions. He'd been burned in the past, and keeps his emotions and heart well guarded, but I was happy when he was finally able to open up. The romance that develops between these two is very much slow burning. They pretty much hate each other's guts at first, a fact they don't try to hide. Their stubbornness keeps them from acting on any impulses and it takes a pretty serious moment for one to finally crack. Thank goodness for that! 'Poppa bear' Belen, Flea, Vinn and Quain make up the rest of the rogues, and this tight knit group quickly warmed to Avry and she to them. Watching them grow closer and accepting of each other was probably my favourite part of the book. They've become a family by the end of the book and watch each other's backs, whether they like it or not. Another exciting aspect of Touch of Power are the thrilling fighting and escape scenes. Snyder has such a way with them! Running away from mercenaries, breaking out a prisoner, escaping a heavily guarded castle. Sometimes there was careful planning and other times it was just run like hell away from the bad guys. The extra use of magic added an even more interesting element. I'm a huge fan of books with magic, and Touch of Power didn't disappoint. There were many types of different magicians, though only a few make a direct appearance, so I'm hoping that changes in book 2. The mystery surrounding the plague and the research into Death and Peace lilies was also fascinating, and these two plants become the center of something bigger than I would've imagined. Great setup for more discovery in the sequel. Original review here:
Date published: 2011-12-07

Read from the Book

The little girl wouldn't stop crying. I didn't blame her. She was dying, after all. Her lungs were so full of fluid she'd drown in another few hours. Tossing and turning on my thin mattress, I listened to her cries as they sawed through the floorboards and through my heart, cutting it in two.One piece pleaded for me to save her, urging me to heal the girl with the bright smile and ginger curls. The other side pulsed a warning beat. Her family would thank me by turning me in to the town watch. I'd be hanged as a war criminal. No trial needed.The horrors from the dark years of the plague were still fresh in the survivors' minds. They considered those times a war. A war that had been started by healers, who then spread the deadly disease, and refused to heal it.Of course it was utter nonsense. We couldn't heal the plague. And we didn't start it. But in the midst of the chaos, no one listened to reason. Someone had to be blamed. Right?The girl's screams pierced my heart. I couldn't stand it any longer. Three years on the run. Three years of hiding. Three terrible years full of fear and loneliness. For what? My life? Yes, I live and breathe and exist. Nothing else.Flinging my blankets off, I hurried downstairs. I didn't need to change since I would never sleep in nightclothes or without my boots on. When you were on the run, the possibility of being surprised in the middle of the night was high. There was no time to waste when escaping, so I wore my black travel pants and black shirt to bed every night. The dark color ideal for blending into shadows.Another trick of being on the run involved finding a second-floor room with both front and back doors and no skeletons. They were hard to find as most towns had burned the plague victims' homes in the misguided attempt to destroy the disease. And many victims died alone. My current hideout was above the family with the dying child.I knocked on my downstairs neighbors' door loud enough for the sound to be heard over the child's wet wails. When it opened, her mother, Mavis, stared wordlessly at me. She held the two-year-old girl in her strong arms, and the knowledge that her child was dying shone in her brown eyes. Her pale skin clung to her gaunt face. She swayed with pure exhaustion.Underneath the sheen of tears and red flush of fever, the little girl's skin had death's pale hue. In a few moments, she wouldn't have the breath to scream.I held out my arms. "Mavis, go to sleep. I'll watch Fawn." Finally, I remembered her name. Another rule to being on the run was to avoid getting close to anyone. No friends. But I needed to earn money, and I had to make a few acquaintances in order to keep up with the gossip. I'd stayed with Mavis's children on occasion, which helped with both.Panicked, Mavis pulled Fawn closer to her."The rest of your family needs you, as well. You should rest before you collapse or get sick." She hesitated."I will wake you if anything changes. I promise."Mavis's resistance crumpled and she handed me Fawn. Well beyond lucidity, the little girl didn't notice the change in the arms around her, but my magic sprang to life at the touch, pushing to be released from my core. Fawn's skin burned and her clothes were damp with sweat. I cradled Fawn as I sat in the big wooden rocking chair in the living room. The lantern burned low, casting a weak yellow light over the threadbare furniture. This family hadn't looted from their neighbors, which said much about them.Next to the window I had a clear view of the street. A half-moon illuminated the burned ruins of buildings huddled along a dirt road. Rainwater had filled the holes and ruts. The plague had killed roughly six million people—two-thirds of the population—so there was no one left to attend to minor tasks like fixing the roads or clearing away the debris. The fact that this town.. Jaxton? Or was it Wola? They all blurred together. Either way, having a local government town watch, basic commerce, no piles of skeletons and a tiny—a few hundred at most—populace was more than many other towns could claim.I rocked Fawn, humming a tune my mother had sung to me years ago. Tendrils of my magic seeped into Fawn's body. Her cries lost the hysterical edge.Mavis watched us for a few minutes. Did she suspect? Would she take her child back? Instead, she heeded my advice and went to bed. Waiting for Mavis to fall into a deep sleep, I rocked and hummed. Once I was certain enough time had passed, I stopped the chair. Concentrating on the girl in my arms, I allowed my full power to flow into Fawn until she was saturated with it. The release of magic sent a ripple of contentment through me. This was my area of expertise. What I should be doing.Then I drew it back into me, cleaning out the sickness inside Fawn. My lungs filled with fluid as hers drained. I broke into a fever as hers cooled.She hiccupped a few times, then breathed in deep. Her body relaxed and she fell into an exhausted sleep.The sickness nestled in my chest, causing me to suck in noisy wet breaths. I couldn't pull enough air into my lungs. Goose bumps raced across my skin as a sliver of fear touched my heart. I hadn't healed anyone this sick before. Would I be strong enough? Had I waited too long to help Fawn? My own cowardice would kill me. Fitting.The effort to breathe consumed my energy. Black and white spots swirled in my vision as I fought to stay conscious. Even though my body healed ten times faster than a regular person's, I was quite aware that it might not be fast enough.Luckily, this wasn't that time. The crushing tightness around my ribs eased a fraction. I concentrated on the simple act of breathing.Mavis woke me in the morning. I had fallen asleep with Fawn still in my arms."How did you get her to sleep? She hasn't stopped crying in days," Mavis said.Still groggy, I searched for a good explanation. "My tuneless humming must have bored her." My voice rasped with phlegm and set off a coughing fit."Uh-huh." She peered at me with a contemplative purse on her lips."Her fever broke last night," I tried between coughs.Unconvinced, Mavis gently lifted Fawn and transferred the girl to her crib. "You should rest, as well. You look"I waved off her concern. "Nothing a couple of hours of sleep won't cure." But my legs betrayed me as I staggered to my feet. Moving with care, I headed toward the door.When I reached for the knob, Mavis said, "Avry."I froze and glanced over my shoulder, waiting for the accusation."Thank you."Nodding, I hurried from the room. The climb to my place drained all my strength. I hacked up blood as the sweat poured from my body. I needed to grab my escape bag and leave town. Now. But when I bent to retrieve the knapsack from under the bed, a wave of dizziness overwhelmed me. Instead of fleeing, I collapsed on the floor.A part of my mind knew I only required a few hours of sleep to recover, while another part planned the quickest route out of town. A third part still worried. With good reason.A fist pounded on the door hard enough that I felt the vibrations through my cheek. Waking with a jolt, I scrambled to my feet. A male voice ordered me to surrender. Darkness filled the room and pressed against the windowpane. I had slept all day.Unfortunately, this situation wasn't new to me. I scooped up my escape bag and exited through the back door. Pausing on the landing, I scanned the area. Moonlight lit the wooden steps. No one blocked them. Hurrying down, I shouldered my pack and ran through the empty alley that reeked of cat urine.A figure stood at the alley's southern exit so I turned around. Except the northern route was also blocked. The only way out was through the tight space between buildings to the street where there would no doubt be more town watchmen.The crash of a door echoed off the bricks. Upon my landing, a man called, "Do you have her?"The two in the alley closed in. Guess I would take my chances. I darted through the narrow opening and right into a waiting town watchman's arms.Voices yelled, "Don't touch her skin.""Take her pack.""Cuff her quick."The drowning sickness had rendered me too weak to put up much of a fight. In mere seconds, my hands were manacled behind my back. My three years on the run had ended. It was hard to tell if fear or relief dominated. At this point, both had equal sway.The captain of the watchmen yanked my shirt off my right shoulder, exposing my healer tattoo to the crowd. It appeared as if the entire town had gathered to witness my arrest. As expected, they gasped at the proof of the monster in their midst. And to think, I had once been proud of the symbol of my profession—a simple circle of hands. From a few feet away, it resembled a daisy with hand-shaped petals.I scanned faces as the watchmen congratulated themselves on their catch. Mavis and her husband stood among the gawkers. He glared and approached me, dragging Mavis along. She wouldn't meet my gaze. Little Fawn clung to her mother's leg."It doesn't matter that you saved my girl's life," the husband said. "Your kind is responsible for millions of deaths. And the gold your execution will bring this town is sorely needed."True. Tohon of Sogra placed a bounty of twenty golds for every healer caught and executed. I suspect the plague killed one or more of his loved ones. Otherwise, why would a powerful life magician care? The disease certainly didn't care, eliminating people without rhyme or reason.Right before I was escorted to the jail, Fawn waved bye-bye to me. I smiled. My empty, pointless life for hers. Not bad.Inside the town watch's station house I endured endless rounds of questions. They wanted me to turn over my healer cohorts. I almost laughed at that. I hadn't encountered another healer in three years. In fact, I'd guessed they had been smarter than me and had found a nice refuge to hide in while they waited for this current madness to pass.I refused to answer their ridiculous queries, letting their voices flow past me as I concentrated on Fawn's healthy face. Eventually they removed the manacles, measured me for my coffin and locked me in a cell below ground level, promising tomorrow would be my last day. I had an appointment with the guillotine. Lovely.At least the guards left a lantern hanging on the stone wall opposite my cell—a basic cube with iron bars on three sides and one stone wall. Equipped with a slop pot and metal bed, I had the space to myself. And no neighbors in the adjoining cells. The bedsprings squealed under my weight. My lungs wheezed in the damp air thanks to Fawn's stubborn sickness.I wasn't as terrified as I had imagined. In fact, I was looking forward to my first solid night's sleep in three years. Ah, the little things in life.Too bad, I didn't even get my last wish.

Editorial Reviews

"Fans of high-spirited adventure, intrigue and romance will celebrate."-Publishers Weekly on Fire Study"This is one of those rare books that will keep readers dreaming long after they've read it."-Publishers Weekly Starred Review on Poison Study"The rare sequel to live up to the promise of its predecessor, Magic Study is a wonderful combination of romance and fantasy." (Editor's Pick: Best of 2006-Romance)"Snyder delivers another excellent adventure."-Publishers Weekly on Fire Study"...a compelling new fantasy series."-SFX Magazine on Sea Glass