House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) (77 page)

BOOK: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City)
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EPILOGUE

T
he white cat with eyes like blue opals sat on a bench in the Oracle’s Park and licked his front paw.

“You know you’re not a true cat, don’t you?” Jesiba Roga clicked her tongue. “You don’t need to lick yourself.”

Aidas, Prince of the Chasm, lifted his head. “Who says I don’t enjoy licking myself?”

Amusement tugged on Jesiba’s thin mouth, but she shifted her stare to the quiet park, the towering cypresses still gleaming with dew. “Why didn’t you tell me about Bryce?”

He flexed his claws. “I didn’t trust anyone. Even you.”

“I thought Theia’s light was forever extinguished.”

“So did I. I thought they’d made sure she and her power died on that last battlefield under Prince Pelias’s blade.” His eyes glowed with ancient rage. “But Bryce Quinlan bears her light.”

“You can tell the difference between Bryce’s starlight and her brother’s?”

“I shall never forget the exact shine and hue of Theia’s light. It is still a song in my blood.”

Jesiba studied him for a long moment, then frowned. “And Hunt Athalar?”

Aidas fell silent as a petitioner stumbled past, hoping to beat the crowds that had filled the Oracle’s Park and Luna’s Temple since
portals to his world had opened within the quartz Gates and the beasts of the Pit had taken full advantage of it. Any who had managed to return were currently being punished by one of Aidas’s brothers. He would soon return to join them in it.

Aidas said at last, “I think Athalar’s father would have been proud.”

“Sentimental of you.”

Aidas shrugged as best his feline body would allow. “Feel free to disagree, of course,” he said, leaping off the bench. “You knew the male best.” His whiskers twitched as he angled his head. “What of the library?”

“It has already been moved.”

He knew better than to ask where she had hidden it. So he merely said, “Good.”

Jesiba didn’t speak again until the fifth Prince of Hel had stalked a few feet away. “Don’t fuck us over this time, Aidas.”

“I do not plan to,” he said, fading into the space between realms, Hel a dark song beckoning him home. “Not when things are about to get so interesting.”

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

T
his book has been such a tremendous labor of love from the very start, and because of that, I have far too many people to thank than can possibly fit within these few pages, but I shall do my best! My endless gratitude and love to:

Noa Wheeler, editor extraordinaire. Noa, how can I even begin to thank you? You transformed this book into something I’m proud of, challenged me to be a better writer, and worked your ass off at every single stage. You are brilliant and just a joy to work with, and I’m so honored to call you my editor.

Tamar Rydzinski: Thank you for having my back through each step of this (long, long) journey. You are a badass
queen
.

To the entire team at Bloombury: Laura Keefe, Nicole Jarvis, Valentina Rice, Emily Fisher, Lucy Mackay-Sim, Rebecca McNally, Kathleen Farrar, Amanda Shipp, Emma Hopkin, Nicola Hill, Ros Ellis, Nigel Newton, Cindy Loh, Alona Fryman, Donna Gauthier, Erica Barmash, Faye Bi, Beth Eller, Jenny Collins, Phoebe Dyer, Lily Yengle, Frank Bumbalo, Donna Mark, John Candell, Yelena Safronova, Melissa Kavonic, Oona Patrick, Nick Sweeney, Diane Aronson, Kerry Johnson, Christine Ma, Bridget McCusker, Nicholas Church, Claire Henry, Elise Burns, Andrea Kearney, Maia Fjord, Laura Main Ellen, Sian Robertson, Emily Moran, Ian Lamb,
Emma Bradshaw, Fabia Ma, Grace Whooley, Alice Grigg, Joanna Everard, Jacqueline Sells, Tram-Anh Doan, Beatrice Cross, Jade Westwood, Cesca Hopwood, Jet Purdie, Saskia Dunn, Sonia Palmisano, Catriona Feeney, Hermione Davis, Hannah Temby, Grainne Reidy, Kate Sederstrom, Jennifer Gonzalez, Veronica Gonzalez, Elizabeth Tzetzo. It is a privilege to be published by you. Thank you for all of your support, and thank you especially to Kamilla Benko and Grace McNamee for their hard work on this book!

To my foreign publishers: Record, Egmont Bulgaria, Albatros, DTV, Konyvmolykepzo, Mondadori, De Boekerij, Foksal, Azbooka Atticus, Slovart, Alfaguara, and Dogan Egmont. Thank you so much for bringing my books to your countries and to your amazing readers!

A giant hug and round of applause for Elizabeth Evans, the audiobook narrator who so faithfully and lovingly brings my characters to life. It’s a delight and privilege to work with you!

Thank you to the incredibly talented Carlos Quevedo for the cover artwork that so perfectly captured the spirit of this book, and to Virginia Allyn, for her fantastic map of the city!

I literally would not have gotten through writing this book without my friends and family.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart to J. R. Ward, for sharing your wisdom when I needed it most, for your unbelievable kindness, and for being an inspiration to me (and not minding that we both have a Ruhn!).

To Lynette Noni: You are the actual best. The BEST. Your clever feedback, your generosity, your general awesomeness—girl, I love you something fierce.

Jenn Kelly, I don’t know what I would do without you. You have become a part of my family, and I am grateful for you every day! To Steph Brown, my dear friend, fellow hockey fan, and the person who never fails to make me laugh—I adore you.

Thank you to Julie Eshbaugh, Elle Kennedy, Alice Fanchiang, Louisse Ang, Laura Ashforth, and Jennifer Armentrout, for being true rays of light in my life. As always: thank you, Cassie Homer, for everything! A massive hug and thank-you to Jillian Stein, for all
your help. A heartfelt thank-you to the immensely talented and cool Qusai Akoud, for your kickass vision and unparalleled website-building skills. And a
huge
thank-you to Danielle Jensen for reading and providing such vital feedback!

Endless gratitude to my family (both by birth and through marriage!) for their support and unwavering love. (And to Linda, who prefers chocolate croissants on her birthday.)

To my brilliant, lovely, and marvelous readers: How can I begin to thank you? You guys are the reason I do this, the reason I get out of bed each morning excited to write. I will never stop being grateful for each and every one of you.

To Annie, who sat by my side/at my feet/in my lap while I worked on this book for years, and served as the inspiration for Syrinx in so many ways. I love you forever and ever, babypup.

To Josh: I don’t think I can convey everything I feel for you even if I had another 800 pages to write it out. You are my best friend, my soul mate, and the reason I can write about true love. You held me together this past year, walking alongside me through some of the hardest moments I’ve ever encountered, and I have no words for what that means to me. The luckiest day of my life was the one when I met you, and I am so blessed to have you as my husband—and as such a wonderful father to our son.

And lastly, to Taran: You truly are the brightest star in my sky. When things were hard, when things were dark, it was you I’d think about—your smile, your laugh, your beautiful face—and it carried me through. You probably won’t read this for a long, long while, but know that you give me purpose, and motivation, and joy—so much joy that my heart is full to bursting every single day. I love you, I love you, I love you, and I will always be so proud to be your mom.

 

BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP, UK

BLOOMSBURY, BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

First published in Great Britain 2020

Copyright © Sarah J. Maas, 2020

Map by Virginia Allyn

Sarah J. Maas has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as Author of this work

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: HB: 978-1-4088-8441-6; TPB: 978-1-5266-1012-6; eBook: 978-1-4088-8440-9 exclusive: 978-1-5266-2345-4; special: 978-1-5266-2571-7

To find out more about our authors and books visit
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, including news about Sarah J. Maas.

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