Read The Bone Doll's Twin Online

Authors: Lynn Flewelling

The Bone Doll's Twin

BOOK: The Bone Doll's Twin

The Bone Doll’s Twin

The Bone Doll’s Twin
is a thoroughly engrossing new fantasy. It got its hooks into me the first page and didn’t let loose until the last. I am already looking forward to the next installment.”


“Lynn Flewelling’s
The Bone Doll’s Twin
outshines even the gleaming promise shown in her three earlier books. The story pulled me under and carried me off with it in a relentless tale that examines whether the end can ever completely justify the means.”


“Fresh and original. I found the world exceptionally well realized and coherent. I think you have a winner here! My congratulations to Lynn. Books like this are too good not to share.”


The Bone Doll’s Twin
is a great read. Lynn Flewelling has outdone herself with this vibrant tale of dark magic, a hidden child, and the demon ghost that haunts it. She builds a convincing, colorful world with carefully chosen details, and her characters are memorable because their dilemmas are vividly drawn and heartbreakingly believable. This is exactly the kind of fantasy novel that will keep you up long past your bedtime.”


“A fascinating read, both intellectual and haunting.”


“A dark and twisting enchantment of a book, a story of deception and loyalty and heroism that will magick its readers along with its characters.”


“Lynn Flewelling is one of the best at creating complicated stories peopled by diverse characters, each with his own agenda and each absolutely believable. This tale of a girl disguised by magic and brought up as a boy is engrossing and compelling as it explores the honorable reasons behind dishonorable deeds-and the dark consequences that follow a single desperate act. Flewelling accompanies her skill at storytelling with an exquisite level of detail that brings her entire world to life. A most satisfying tale for readers already familiar with her Nightrunner series—for others, an excellent introduction to the joys of a Flewelling fantasy.”


“You liked Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series? This novel is even better.
The Bone Doll’s Twin
is a sharply honed, powerful story where good and evil are as entwined as two children’s lives, and salvation carries a very high price. Highly recommended.”


“An intriguing prequel to Flewelling’s splendid Nightrunner series and a solid beginning to a new triad of fantasy from a most generous and skilled fantasist,
The Bone Doll’s Twin
will satisfy old fans and capture many new.”


Luck in the Shadows

“Memorable characters, an enthralling plot and truly daunting evil … the characters spring forth from the page not as well crafted creations but as people … the magic is refreshingly difficult, mysterious, and unpredictable. Lynn Flewelling has eschewed the easy shortcuts of cliched minor characters and cookie cutter backdrops to present a unique world … I commend this one to your attention.”


“Part high fantasy and part political intrigue,
Luck in the Shadows
makes a nice change from the usual ruck of contemporary sword-and-sorcery. I especially enjoyed Lynn Flewelling’s obvious affection for her characters. At unexpected moments she reveals a well-honed gift for the macabre.”


“A new star is rising in the fantasy firmament … I am awed by the scope of the intricate world … it teems with magic and bustles with realistic people and spine-chilling amounts of skullduggery.”


“A splendid read, filled with magic, mystery, adventure, and taut suspense. Lynn Flewelling, bravo! Nicely done.”


“An engrossing and entertaining debut … full of magic, intrigues, and fascinating characters. Witty and charming, it’s the kind of book you settle down with when you want a long, satisfying read.”


“Exceptionally well-done and entertaining.”


“Lynn Flewelling has written a terrific first novel, a thrilling introduction to this series … Highly recommended.”


Stalking Darkness

“Flewelling is … bringing vigor back to the traditional fantasy form. In this highly engaging adventure novel, the most powerful magic is conjured out of friendship and loyalty. The author has a gift for creating characters you genuinely care about.”

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror
, Eleventh Annual Collection

“Events move forward in this second adventure … it’s up to four companions to stop Mardus’s schemes. Things get very violent and there’s also a strong emotional undercurrent … an amusing twist on the old ‘damsel in distress’ scenario.”


“While fans … will find enough wizardry, necromancy, swords, daggers, and devilishly clever traps here to satisfy the most avid, this book also provides entry to a complete and richly realized world that will please more mainstream readers.”


Traitor’s Moon

“What most fantasy aspires to,
Traitor’s Moon
achieves, with fierce craft, wit and heart. It is a fantasy feast-richly imagined, gracefully wrought and thrilling to behold. An intoxicating brew of strange and homely, horror and whimsy, lust and blood, intrigue and honor, great battles and greater loves. It is a journey through a world so strange and real you can taste it, with companions so mysterious and memorable you won’t forget it. Lynn Flewelling is a fine teller of tales who delivers all she promises, cuts no corners and leaves us dazzled, moved and hungry for more.
Traitor’s Moon
is a wonderful book.”


Bantam Books
by Lynn Flewelling


For I.e. and the knapp kids
up the magic staircase a long time ago


Thanks as always to my husband, Doug, and our boys for their love, support, and feedback. Matt pronounced this one “Disturbing, but in a good way.” Quite apt, I think.

Thanks also to my parents, because. To Pat York and Anne Bishop for their feedback on the early chapters. To Anne Groell and Lucienne Diver, for their help and patience. To Nancy Jeffers, for her boundless enthusiasm for this project. To all the good folks at the Internet Fantasy Writer’s Association, for their always swift and valuable replies to last-minute research questions. To the late Alan M., for being a good friend to writers, too briefly known.

To Mike K. wherever he is, for being.

The Skalan Year

I. W
—Mourning Night and Festival of Sakor; observance of the longest night and celebration of the lengthening of days to come.

1. Sarisin: Calving

2. Dostin: Hedges and ditches seen to. Peas and beans sown for cattle food.

3. Klesin: Sowing of oats, wheat, barley (for malting), rye. Beginning of fishing season. Open water sailing resumes.

—Festival of the Flowers in Mycena. Preparation for planting, celebration of fertility.

4. Lithion: Butter and cheese making (sheep’s milk pref.) Hemp and flax sown.

5. Nythin: Fallow ground ploughed.

6. Gorathin: Corn weeded. Sheep washed and sheared.


7. Shemin: Beginning of the month—hay mowing. End and into Lenthin—grain harvest in full swing.

8. Lenthin: Grain harvest.

9. Rhythin: Harvest brought in. Fields plowed and planted with winter wheat or rye.

—finish of harvest, time of thankfulness.

10. Erasin: Pigs turned out into the woods to forage for acorns and beechnuts.

11. Kemmin: More plowing for spring. Oxen and other meat animals slaughtered and cured. End of the fishing season. Storms make open water sailing dangerous.

12. Cinrin: Indoor work, including threshing.

Part One

Document Fragment Discovered in the
East Tower of the Orëska House

An old man looks back at me from my mirror now. Even among the other wizards here in Rhíminee, I’m a relic of forgotten times.

My new apprentice, little Nysander, cannot imagine what it was like to be a free wizard of the Second Orëska. At Nysander’s birth this beautiful city had already stood for two centuries above her deep harbor. Yet to me it shall always and forever be “the new capital.”

In the days of my youth, a whore’s cast-off like Nysander would have gone unschooled. If he were lucky he might have ended up as a village weather-caller or soothsayer. More likely, he would have unwittingly killed someone and been stoned as a witch. Only the Lightbearer knows how many god-touched children were lost before the advent of the Third Orëska.

Before this city was built, before this great house of learning was gifted to us by its founder, we wizards of the Second Orëska made our own way and lived by our own laws.

Now, in return for service to the Crown we have this House, with its libraries, archives, and its common history. I am the only one still living who knows how dear a price was paid for that.

Two centuries. Three or four lifetimes for most people; a mere season for those of us touched by the Lightbearer’s gift. “We wizards stand apart, Arkoniel,” my own teacher, Iya, told me when I was scarcely older than Nysander is now. “We are stones in a river’s course, watching the rush of life whirl past.”

Standing by Nysander’s door tonight, watching the lad sleep, I imagined Iya’s ghost beside me, and for a moment it seemed as if it was my younger self I gazed at; a plain, shy nobleman’s son who’d shown a talent for animal charming. While guesting at my father’s estate, Iya recognized the magic in me and revealed it to my family. I wept the day I left home with her.

How easy it would be to call those tears foreshadowing—that device the playwrights are so enamored of these days. But I have never quite believed in fate, despite all the prophecies and oracles that shaped my life. There’s always a choice in there somewhere. I’ve seen too often how people make their own future through the balance of each day’s little kindnesses and cruelties.

I chose to go with Iya.

Later, I chose to believe in the visions the Oracle granted to her and to me.

By my own choice, I helped rekindle the power of this good strong country, and so may rightly claim to have helped the fair white towers of Rhíminee rise against this blue western sky.

But on those few nights when I sleep deeply, what do I dream of?

An infant’s cry, cut short.

You might think after so many years that it would be easier to accept; that one necessary act
of cruelty could alter the course of history like an earthquake shifts a river’s course. But that deed, that cry, lies at the heart of all the good that came after, like a grain of sand at the heart of a pearl’s glowing nacre.

I alone carry the memory of that infant’s brief wail, all those years ago.

I alone know of the filth at the heart of this pearl.

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