The Fifth Sorceress: Volume I of The Chronicles of Blood and Stone by Robert NewcombThe Fifth Sorceress: Volume I of The Chronicles of Blood and Stone by Robert Newcomb

The Fifth Sorceress: Volume I of The Chronicles of Blood and Stone

byRobert Newcomb

Mass Market Paperback | June 10, 2003

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Not since Terry Goodkind unsheathed the Sword of Truth has there been such an epic tale of heroism and magic that so captures the imagination as this monumental new work by a master storyteller. In The Fifth Sorceress, Robert Newcomb conjures a time and place wrought with exquisite detail, characters vividly drawn and deeply felt, and a history rich in glory and horror, splendor and secrets. . . .

“We gave them a chance once, long ago. . . . We offered to share power equally, and in peace. But they refused and chose war. With them it was all or nothing. Wizard against Sorceress. Male against female. Light against dark.”

It is more than three centuries since the ravages of a devastating war nearly tore apart the kingdom of Eutracia. In its wake, those who masterminded the bloodshed—a quartet of powerful, conquest-hungry Sorceresses—were sentenced to exile, with return all but impossible and death all but inevitable. Now a land of peace and plenty, protected and guided by a council of immortal wizards, Eutracia is about to crown a new king. And as the coronation approaches, the spirit of celebration fills every heart. Except one.

Prince Tristan is a reluctant monarch-to-be. Though born with the “endowed” blood that will give him the power to master magic, and destined by tradition to succeed his father as ruler, he is a rebel soul. And when he discovers the ancient, hidden caves where strange red waters flow—possessed of their own mysterious magic—it only makes him yearn all the more to escape his future of duty . . . and succumb to the stirrings of enchantment within him.

But more than tradition compels Tristan to ascend the throne. The very existence of Eutracia depends upon it. For after these long centuries of peace, dreadful omens have begun to appear, heralding something too unspeakable to ponder. And if indeed the old evil has returned, hungry to wreak vengeance, Tristan’s role in an ages-old prophecy must be fulfilled—or the cost to his kingdom and his people will be beyond imagination.

It will be a battle like none ever known, against an enemy whose thirst for blood and domination is depthless and unyielding. And for Tristan, it will be the ultimate challenge: facing an adversary whose greatest weapon is the person he loves most—transformed into the instrument of his annihilation . . . and the catalyst that will doom Eutracia forever to darkness.
Robert Newcomb traveled widely in his youth as a member of the American Institute for Foreign Study, studying at the University of Southampton, England, and aboard a university-sponsored ship in the Mediterranean sea. After graduating from Colgate University with a B.A. in economics and a minor in art history, he enjoyed a successful c...
Title:The Fifth Sorceress: Volume I of The Chronicles of Blood and StoneFormat:Mass Market PaperbackPublished:June 10, 2003Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345448936

ISBN - 13:9780345448934

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Rated 1 out of 5 by from Do not waste your time Poor writing. Plot shows promise but the author is a horrible writer. Conversations are stilted and unrealistic, wizards are all knowing, but always in hind-sight and shock plot devices used constantly without furthering the story. Horrible Horrible Horrible
Date published: 2005-08-18

Read from the Book

The Tome shall be read first by a seed of the victors who, years later, shall become the sworn enemy of those same victorious ones. The sire of this seed shall, having abandoned the victor's cause, live as an outcast. The six of the craft who remain shall select one from their midst to lead them in peace for sixteen score and seven years, choosing, in turn, many who shall wear the stone. From the seed of one of those who wear the stone shall come the Chosen One, first preceded by another.The azure light that accompanies the births of the Chosen Ones shall be the proof of the quality of their blood . . .--PAGE 478, CHAPTER ONE OF THE VIGORS OF THE TOMETrue peace of mind comes only when my heart and actions are aligned with true principles and values. I shall forsake not, to the loss of all material things, my honor and integrity. I shall protect the Paragon above all else, but take no life except in urgent defense of self and others, or without fair warning. I swear to rule always with wisdom and compassion.The succession oath played over and over again in his head like abad nursery rhyme. He couldn't get it out of his mind no matter whatelse he thought about. No matter how hard he tried. That was why hehad come this morning to his favorite place.To be alone in the Hartwick Woods.He reached behind his right shoulder for another throwing knife,gripping its handle automatically and smoothly bringing his right armup and over in a swift circle, releasing the blade in yet another trajectory.It twirled unerringly toward the target he had carved in the huge oldoak tree. And as he now stood looking at the blade that lay buried nextto the others he had thrown, he knew that the fact it would accuratelyfind its mark had been a foregone conclusion.He had been doing this all morning. His right arm was sore, hisbody and face were covered in a light sheen of sweat, and he was dirtyfrom head to toe.He didn't care.He pushed the comma of longish black hair back from his foreheadand ran his hand through it to where it grew long down the back of hisneck. Looking down at his clothes, he suddenly realized just how filthyhe really was. He was wearing what he always wore when he came uphere: the black leather knee boots and trousers, with the simple blackvest that laced in the front across his bare chest. The vest that always allowedplenty of free arm movement for his practice with the knives.True peace of mind comes only when your heart and actions are aligned with true principles and values. I shall forsake not, to the loss of all material things . . .He watched the next knife wheel toward the target, swiftly buryingPrince Tristan the First of the House of Galland, heir apparent tohis father, King Nicholas the First of the kingdom of Eutracia, stoodalone in the woods, practicing with his knives and thinking over whathis future was about to bring. In thirty days he was to become king ofEutracia, succeeding his father to the throne at the occasion of his father'sabdication ceremony. It always occurred on the thirtieth birthdayof the king's firstborn son, and had been a joyous custom of Eutracia forover the last three hundred years, ever since the end of the Sorceresses'War. But there were no more sorceresses in Eutracia to fight, and peaceand prosperity had reigned ever since--in no small part due to the continualguidance given to the reigning king by the Directorate of Wizards.But there was just one problem.He wasn't looking forward to his thirtieth birthday.And he didn't want to be king.He also did not wish to be counseled by wizards for the remainderof his life. No matter how he tried, he just couldn't get the truth of hisfeelings out of his head. Nor could he forget the oath that the old oneswould make him take at the ceremony when he succeeded to thethrone. He would then be forced to follow in the footsteps of his fatheruntil his firstborn son turned thirty years old. He sighed. He didn't haveany sons yet.He didn't even have a wife.Another throwing knife whistled through the air, clanking intoplace alongside its brothers in the battered and gnarled old tree.Panting lightly, he reached over his shoulder for one more from thespecially designed quiver that lay across his right shoulder blade, butfound it empty. His face sullen, he walked slowly to the oak to recoverhis knives. He had chosen this tree because it was the one closest to thesheer rock face of the cliff, its branches reaching out into space overthe valley. That meant that whenever he missed, his knives would flyover the steep precipice and be lost forever. Proper punishment fora bad throw, he thought. And he had been throwing for over threehours now.None of them had gone over the side.Now standing at the very edge of the cliff, he took the time towipe the sweat from around his eyes and slowly leaned one arm againstthe nearest branch of the tree. He looked down toward Tammerland,the city of his birth, and to the Sippora River, which snakedthrough the city on its way to the Cavalon Delta at the east coast, wherethe great river lazily released itself into the Sea of Whispers. Tammerland,the capital city of Eutracia, lay peacefully along either side of theSippora's banks. He could see the royal palace easily from here becauseof its strategic placement upon higher ground and because of thebrightly colored flags that flew from its towers and ramparts. And hecould also pick out the markets and squares of the city that surroundedit. They would be teeming with life this time of day. He smiled, imaginingthe mothers and daughters at market, haggling with the vendorsfor the ingredients of their families' evening meals. But his smile faded.His evening meal would be taken as usual with his parents, twin sister,and brother-in-law in the great dining hall of the palace. He loved themall very much, but they would be angry with him tonight--and theircriticisms were something he would rather avoid. Perhaps he would takea simple evening's meal tonight in the kitchen with the staff, as he wasso fond of doing these days. Somehow those people always seemed somuch more real to him.He had defiantly ignored his requisite daily classes with the wizardsto come here today, and to be alone. They were all probably out lookingfor him right now, but they would be wasting their time. This placewas almost impossible to find. He sighed in resignation as he pulled theknives from the tree. Unstrapping the quiver from around his chest, hedraped it over his left shoulder, replacing the dirks one by one until theywere arranged to his liking.This art of the knives, at least, was his and his alone. He had designedthe quiver himself, along with the throwing knives. The palaceleathersmith and blacksmith had only been too happy to help the princewith their construction. The black leather baldric went comfortablyaround and under each of his armpits, and the quiver joined to his vestin the back with a silver buckle, securely holding up to a dozen of thespecial throwing knives just behind his right shoulder.Then had come the hours and hours of practice, which at first hadbeen very defeating. He had foolishly begun in the military trainingyards, in full view of the Royal Guard. He had realized immediately thatthis was a mistake, as he had watched so many of his early throwsbounce harmlessly off their target. So, to avoid embarrassment, he hadtaken his practice to the woods. That had been seven years ago, and hehad come to the forest virtually every afternoon since, after his dailyclasses with the wizards were over. No one had seen him throw a dirksince that day he left the courtyard, and know one knew the expert thathe had become.Sometimes instead of just practicing, he walked through the woodsquietly in search of game. Bringing down larger animals was difficult,and meant a well-thrown head shot was usually needed. It was somethingthat required even greater skill if the animal was moving, but noweven moving targets had become little challenge for him. The largestgame he had ever killed had been a hugely antlered stag. After killing itwith a single throw to the head, he had neatly quartered the animal inthe woods and given the meat to the townspeople living at the edge ofthe forest--the forest that had become his second home.But his most dangerous quarry had been a large, charging wildboar. They were prevalent in the Hartwick Woods, and it was not uncommonto hear of the occasional hunting party that had lost a memberto the awful cloven hooves and sharp, curved tusks before it could bekilled. He had come upon the creature unknowingly, and the kill hadbecome necessary rather than voluntary. Tristan's boar had stood acrossan open field from him, snorting and glaring with enraged eyes. Theprince had remained motionless until the awful thing had begun itscharge. His right arm had then become a curved blur of speed as thewhirling dirk cleaved the boar's skull directly between the eyes, stoppingit dead in its tracks only ten feet from where Tristan held his ground.He had left the carcass to rot in the field, thankful that he had made agood throw. He probably wouldn't have gotten another.Still gazing down at Tammerland, once again leaning against theoutstretched tree branch and lost in his memories, he didn't hear thething that came up behind him before it was too late. Without warning,he was violently pushed forward from behind.Out into the air and over the cliff.Instinctively, his right arm wrapped around the tree limb while hisleft arm held the quiver to his shoulder. He frantically hung by one arm,swinging crazily in the air, at least a thousand feet above the valley floor.He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to shut down the fear, tryingnot to look down.Someone had just tried to kill him, and looking down would be thecompletion of a death sentence.Using his left hand, he placed the quiver strap around his neck. Hewas then able to bring both hands to the limb. His strength was beginningto ebb, but the old limb, at least for the time being, was holding hisweight.I thank the Afterlife, his terrified mind shouted.Carefully, one hand after the other, he began to reverse direction onthe limb to face his attacker. As he came around, he wondered if hewould be able to hold on with only his left hand and secure and throw adirk with his right at the same time. He would without question kill theperson who was standing there before he swung himself back to thecliff.If he could swing himself to the cliff.As his body came around, he managed to hang on with his lefthand and take a dirk with his right, praying he would be able to throwit without losing his grip. The limb bending and straining under hisweight, he quickly finished the turn, bringing both his weapon and hiseyes up to kill whoever it was that had tried to murder him.It was his horse.Pilgrim, his dappled gray stallion with the white mane and tail,stood at the edge of the cliff, looking at him with spirited, huge blackeyes. The horse pawed the ground twice with his left front hoof andsnorted softly at him, as if he had already put up with quite enough ofTristan's foolishness and was more than ready to go back to the stables.Nudging Tristan from the back had been one of his favorite habits eversince he was a colt. But this spot had definitely not been the place for it.Tristan hung in stark terror a thousand feet above the surface ofthe valley from a lone tree branch, slowly losing his strength. Carefullymanaging to replace the dirk in his quiver and his right hand upon thebranch, he looked tentatively to the left where the limb joined thetrunk, trying to see if it was dried or decayed. He groaned inwardlywhen he saw the dry crack, and there was no way to tell if it was strongenough for what he had planned. He couldn't simply stretch his legs tothe cliff. It was too far away. He would have to swing his body back andforth to gain the momentum to reach the ledge. It was the only way.Slowly, his eye on the crack, he began to swing from his arms the sameway he had seen the court acrobats do so many times before, the barkstarting to painfully twist off in his hands. Each time he swung his outstretchedlegs a little harder. Each time a little more bark came off in hisnow-raw palms. Each time a little more sweat began to flow into hiseyes. And each time he had a little less strength.The crack split open another inch.Just two more swings should do it, he prayed. I beg the Afterlife, justtwo more.His release from the branch on the second swing came at the precisemoment the crack split all the way open, the shards of the joint becominga twisted, tortured rope of exposed wood. He flew through the airtoward the cliff, his face finally striking the end of Pilgrim's muzzle asthe horse bolted backward in surprise. Tristan went down hard on oneknee, the momentum carrying him over on his back, finally hitting theback of his head hard upon the ground.Moments later, dazed, his eyes out of focus and his face strangelywet, he raised his hand to check his face for blood. There was none. Thetwisted and torn tree limb lay innocently upon his lap, and he tossed it toone side.He wanted to kiss the ground.Pilgrim's lips once more nuzzled his master's face. The stallion haddefinitely had enough of this and wanted to go home. Tristan sat up,looking at the impatient Pilgrim, and began to laugh softly, then harder,finally bursting with the sheer joy of being alive. He laughed at himselfharder still, imagining the looks on the faces of all six wizards of the Directoratewhen they realized they had no king to fill the throne at theabdication ceremony. He still didn't want to be king, but there had to bean easier way out of it all than this. And in truth he loved to tease them,but he didn't want to die doing it. At least he had temporarily forgottentheir ridiculous oath.He slowly stood, wondering if anything was broken, and collectedthe scattered dirks. He was all right, but he would be sore for a week.When he placed his hands to either side of Pilgrim's muzzle, the horseflinched his head to one side in pain. The stallion's nose would be sorefor a while, also. Served him right. Putting his arms around the horse'sneck and his mouth against the animal's ear, he smiled.From the Hardcover edition.