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Authors: Alison Sinclair

Shadowborn

BOOK: Shadowborn
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Table of Contents
 
 
Praise for the Novels of Alison Sinclair
Lightborn
 
“[An] engaging mix of chaos, angst, and manners . . . including genuine surprises.”

Locus
 
“This story world is highly complex and certainly unique. . . . Readers should find the plot and players fascinating. . . . What will the imaginative Alison Sinclair come up with next?”
—Romance Reviews Today
 
Darkborn
 
“Alison Sinclair’s unique world of two societies, mortally divided by sunrise and sunset, provides a fascinating backdrop for a fast-paced thriller of politics and intrigue. Delightful!”
—National bestselling author Carol Berg
 
“Alison Sinclair’s
Darkborn
plays like a sweeping historical novel in a teeming preindustrial city whose residents are divided into those who can only tolerate light and those who can only exist in darkness. A sprawling cast of characters argue and scheme and practice magic in secret—until a calamitous chain of events reveals the whole city to be under siege from a mysterious and ruthless enemy. Despite swift action, broad conspiracies, and monumental life-and-death stakes, the heart of the book is a delicately rendered love triangle that tracks the human cost of any grand adventure. I can’t wait to read the next book about these complex and engaging characters.”
—National bestselling author Sharon Shinn
 
“[A] wonderful read, with an intriguing setting populated by appealing and memorable characters.”
—Lane Robins, author of
Kings and Assassins
 
“Intriguing paranormal romance.”

Publishers Weekly
 
“Sinclair’s descriptions are vivid. . . . The magical world building and great characterization make this the kind of book you hate to see end.”

Romantic Times
 
“A complex book with many layers. . . . The best part of the book is the characters and their relationships with each other.”
—The Book Smugglers
Books by Alison Sinclair
Darkborn
Lightborn
Shadowborn
ROC
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
First published by Roc, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
First Printing, June 2011
 
Copyright © Alison Sinclair, 2011
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:
 
Sinclair, Alison, 1959–
Shadowborn/Alison Sinclair.
p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-51561-7
I. Title.
PR9199.3.S5324S53 2011
813’.54—dc22 2011003185
 
Set in Garamond
 
 
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
 
PUBLISHER’S NOTE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
 
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

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Author’s Note
Darkborn
concluded with Telmaine, Balthasar, and Ishmael beginning separate journeys.
Lightborn
tells the story of Telmaine’s return to Minhorne to face further Shadowborn intrigue and the consequences of her own and others’ secrets.
Shadowborn
begins with Balthasar and Ishmael on their mission to the Borders to avert a Shadowborn invasion, and continues the story past the end of
Lightborn
, to its conclusion.
One
Ishmael
T
hese riders are good,
Ishmael di Studier thought, ruefully. Otherwise he would have heard them before they were almost on him, even on the pleated and twisting old post road. And then he would have been behind the wall on the far side of the field, well out of range of sonn, rather than crouched in a dip behind a boundary marker a mere twenty yards from the road, impersonating a rock. The riders—however many there were—were traveling with muffled hooves and carefully wrapped metalwork, on horses trained to be silent and easy in darkness. They had crept up on him. His inability to tell their numbers—six? eight?—was testament to their quality.
If
they were friends, he knew how they would be riding: in two staggered lines, spacing precisely maintained, each one listening and casting sonn to his or her own side. It was an order and discipline he had developed with them. They might well be friends, since the ducal order to raise the Borders for possible invasion should have the entire Stranhorne troop turned out on alert for Shadowborn. Perhaps even with instructions to find him as well.
But they might also be enemies, search parties ordered out on the archduke’s warrant for his arrest. Worst of all, they could be soldiers from Minhorne, sent to the Borders on that same warrant. Ish had no doubt that the warrant had included instructions that he was to be brought back unharmed; equally, he had no certainty that those instructions would be followed, not for a fugitive charged with a lady’s murder and sorcery.
He sensed diffused sonn, scattered back from the tall grass and tares around him, and thought rocklike thoughts. Midnight damp seeped through his steadying knee and a painful cramp settled in his calf muscles. He dared not shift his weight. The riders would have hearing as acute as his own, and some of the veteran border troopers had intuition that seemed akin to magic. And if his profile broke that of the marker, a bowed spine did not echo like stone.
A horse stamped and blew, and despite himself, he twitched. He could have sworn that he made no sound, but a woman’s voice carried clearly through the night. “Ishmael, is that you there?”
He knew the voice; a held breath went out of him in a sigh. “Yes,” he said. “I’m here.”
Gloved hand on the boundary marker, he pushed himself up. He had hiked and jogged upwards of thirty-five miles in the latter part of the previous night and the earlier part of this one, carrying a pack and weapons, and he was no longer twenty, as his knees were informing him. A little stiffly, he made his way back to the party on the road.
The woman on one of the two lead horses grinned triumphantly down at him. “I
thought
I caught a movement. You’re slipping, Ishmael.” She was not that much past twenty herself, a leggy young woman, long hair braided and wound around a broad brow, features too marked and mouth too wide and mobile for conventional beauty. She wore a practical jacket and a divided riding skirt, had a rifle slung over her shoulder, a revolver and a knife at her hip, and another knife in a boot sheath. Hers was hardly the typical attire of an heiress, even in the Borders, but she was a delight to sonn, nonetheless. He returned her grin with one of his own. “You’re good, Lavender—you’re all of you good—and y’well know it.”
Smiles widened around him. He did not recognize any of the six men and one woman with her, but they’d all know him by reputation as Ishmael di Studier, Baron Strumheller, hunter of Shadowborn, and mage. For all he was no longer most of these things.
“Nicholas,” Lavender di Gautier said, “give him your horse, and mount up with Thalia. The two of you will be easier on a horse than the baron and I.” The youngest and lightest of the troop swung down and dutifully handed over the reins. Ishmael took a moment to free his rifle from his pack and strap his pack behind the trooper’s provisions. The horse tried to sidle; he cuffed it, growling at it for taking him for a novice.
As he climbed into the saddle, she said over her shoulder, “You want we should head back, or finish the loop round the Pot?”
Back would be to Stranhorne Manor, her family seat, and his destination since he had jumped off the southbound coastal train just before Stranhorne Crosstracks. The Pot was a small, perfectly round lake at the bottom of a steep-sided pit, immediately recognizable on any relief model. Almost certainly it had been made by magic.
“Back,” he said, though not without thought. But after spending yesterday in the open, in a day-blind pitched in shadows, he would feel much happier with stout walls around him.
“Come up by me.”
His lips quirked with amusement at the confident command in her voice, even toward him. The others smoothly rearranged themselves as he eased his horse forward. They were good; neither the baron, her father, nor her twin sister would have allowed her out with anything else.
BOOK: Shadowborn
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