I'm absurdly excited today to be a part of the promotional tour for Nevernight, the newest release from author Jay Kristoff. I've been hearing great things about this one, mainly that it's dark and gritty and a bit unexpected, and I have to admit I am INTRIGUED. For those of you, like me, who are eagerly awaiting release day, I have the pleasure of bringing you a little special something to tide you over for the next few days. Below you'll find an extended excerpt from Nevernight, and be sure to check the bottom of the post as well for all the details on a fun giveaway. Enjoy, everyone!
The sky was crying.
Or so it had seemed to her. The little girl knew the water tumbling from the charcoal- colored smudge above was called rain— she’ d been barely ten years old, but she was old enough to know that. Yet she’ d still fancied tears falling from that gray sugar- floss face. So cold compared to her own. No salt or sting inside them.
But yes, the sky was certainly crying.
What else could it have done at a moment like this?
She’ d stood on the Spine above the forum, gleaming gravebone at her feet, cold wind in her hair. People were gathered in the piazza below, all open mouths and closed fists. They’d seethed against the scaffold in the forum’s heart, and the girl wondered if they pushed it over, would the prisoners standing atop it be allowed to go home again?
O, wouldn’t that be wonderful?
She’d never seen so many people. Men and women of different shapes and sizes, children not much older than she. They wore ugly clothes and their howls had made her frightened, and she’ d reached up and took her mother’s hand, squeezing tight.
Her mother didn’t seem to notice. Her eyes had been fixed on the scaffold, just like the rest. But Mother didn’t spit at the men standing before the nooses, didn’t throw rotten food or hiss “traitor” through clenched teeth. The Dona Corvere had simply stood, black gown sodden with the sky’s tears, like a statue above a tomb not yet filled.
Not yet. But soon.
The girl had wanted to ask why her mother didn’t weep. She didn’t know what “traitor” meant, and wanted to ask that, too. And yet, somehow she knew this was a place where words had no place. And so she’d stood in silence.
Six men stood on the scaffold below. One in a hangman’s hood, black as truedark. Another in a priest’s gown, white as a dove’s feathers. The four others wore ropes at their wrists and rebellion in their eyes. But as the hooded man had slipped a noose around each neck, the girl saw the defiance draining from their cheeks along with the blood. In years to follow, she’ d be told time and again how brave her father was. But looking down on him then, at the end of the row of four, she knew
he was afraid.
Only a child of ten, and already she knew the color of fear.
The priest had stepped forward, beating his staff on the boards. He had a beard like a hedgerow and shoulders like an ox, looking more like a brigand who’d murdered a holy man and stolen his clothes than a holy man himself. The three suns hanging on a chain about his throat tried to gleam, but the clouds in the crying sky told them no.
His voice was thick as toffee, sweet and dark. But it spoke of crimes against the Itreyan Republic. Of treachery and treason. The holy brigand called upon the Light to bear witness (she wondered if It had a choice), naming each man in time.
“Senator Claudius Valente.”
“Senator Marconius Albari.”
“General Gaius Maxinius Antonius.”
“Justicus Darius Corvere.”
Her father’s name, like the last note in the saddest song she’ d ever heard. Tears welled in her eyes, blurring the world shapeless. How small and pale he’d looked down there in that howling sea. How alone. She remembered him as he’d been, not so long ago; tall and proud and O, so very strong. His gravebone armor white as wintersdeep, his cloak spilling like crimson rivers over his shoulders. His eyes, blue and bright, creased at the corners when he smiled.
Armor and cloak were gone now, replaced by rags of dirty hessian and bruises like fat, purpling berries all over his face. His right eye was swollen shut, his other fixed at his feet. She’d wanted him to look at her so badly. She wanted him to come home.
“Traitor!” the mob called. “Make him dance!”
The girl didn’t know what they’d meant. She could hear no music.
The holy brigand had looked to the battlements, to the marrowborn and politicos gathered above. The entire Senate seemed to have turned out for the show, near a hundred men gathered in their purple-trimmed robes, staring down at the scaffold with pitiless eyes.
To the Senate’s right stood a cluster of men in white armor. Blood- red cloaks. Swords wreathed in rippling flame unsheathed in their hands. Luminatii, they were called, the girl knew that well. They’d been her father’s brothers-in-arms before the traitoring— such was, she’d presumed, what traitors did.
It’d all been so noisy.
In the midst of the senators stood a beautiful dark- haired man, with eyes of piercing black. He wore fine robes dyed with deepest purple—consul’s garb. And the girl who knew O, so little knew at least here was a man of station. Far above priests or soldiers or the mob bellowing for dancing when there was no tune. If he were to speak it, the crowd would let her father go. If he were to speak it, the Spine would shatter and the Ribs shiver into dust, and Aa, the God of Light himself, would close his three eyes and bring blessed dark to this awful parade.
The consul had stepped forward. The mob below fell silent. And as the beautiful man spoke, the girl squeezed her mother’s hand with the kind of hope only children know.
“Here in the city of Godsgrave, in the Light of Aa the Everseeing and by unanimous word of the Itreyan Senate, I, Consul Julius Scaeva, proclaim these accused guilty of insurrection against our glorious Republic. There can be but one sentence for those who betray the citizenry of Itreya. One sentence for those who would once more shackle this great nation beneath the yoke of kings.”
Her breath had stilled.
“. . . Death.”
A roar. Washing over the girl like the rain. And she’d looked wide- eyed from the beautiful consul to the holy brigand to her mother— dearest Mother, make them stop— but Mother’s eyes were affixed on the man below. Only the tremor in her bottom lip betraying her agony. And the little girl could stand no more, and the scream roared up inside her and spilled over her lips
and the shadows all across the forum shivered at her fury. The black at every man’s feet, every maid and every child, the darkness cast by the light of the hidden suns, pale and thin though it was—make no mistake, O, gentlefriend.
Those shadows trembled.
But not one person noticed. Not one person cared.
The Dona Corvere’s eyes didn’t leave her husband as she took hold of the little girl, hugged her close. One arm across her breast. One hand at her neck. So tight the girl couldn’t move. Couldn’t turn. Couldn’t breathe.
You picture her now; a mother with her daughter’s face pressed to her skirts. The she- wolf with hackles raised, shielding her cub from the murder unfolding below. You’d be forgiven for imagining it so. Forgiven and mistaken. Because the dona held her daughter pinned looking outward. Outward so she could taste it all. Every morsel of this bitter meal. Every crumb.
The girl had watched as the hangman tested each noose, one by one by one. He’d limped to a lever at the scaffold’s edge and lifted his hood to spit. Th e girl glimpsed his face— yellow teeth gray stubble harelip gone. Something inside her screamed Don’t look, don’t look, and she’ d closed her eyes. And her mother’s grip had tightened, her whisper sharp as razors.
“Never flinch,” she breathed. “Never fear.”
The girl felt the words in her chest. In the deepest, darkest place, where the hope children breathe and adults mourn withered and fell away, floating like ashes on the wind.
And she’ d opened her eyes.
He’d looked up then. Her father. Just a glance through the rain. She’d often wonder what he was thinking at that moment, in nevernights to come. But there were no words to cross that hissing veil. Only tears. Only the crying sky. And the hangman pulled his lever, and the floor fell away. And to her horror, she finally understood. Finally heard it.
The dirge of the jeering crowd. The whip- crack of taut rope. The guh-guh-guh of throttled men cut through with the applause of the holy brigand and the beautiful consul and the world gone wrong and rotten. And to the swell of that horrid tune, legs kicking, face purpling, her father had begun dancing.
Daddy . . .
“Never flinch.” A cold whisper in her ear. “Never fear. And never, ever forget.”
The girl nodded slow.
Exhaled the hope inside.
And she’ d watched her father die.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Jay Kristoff is a New York Times and international bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.
His LOTUS WAR trilogy was critically acclaimed in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, nominated for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards and won the 2014 Aurealis Award. Jay’s new series, the SciFi thriller THE ILLUMINAE FILES, was co-authored with Amie Kaufman. Book 1, ILLUMINAE, became a New York Times and international bestseller, was named among the Kirkus, Amazon and YALSA Best Books of 2015 and won the 2016 Aurealis Award and an ABIA Book of the Year award. ILLUMINAE is currently slated to be published in twenty five countries, and film rights have been acquired by Brad Pitt and Plan B Entertainment.
Jay’s new fantasy series, THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, commences with book 1, NEVERNIGHT, from St Martins Press/Thomas Dunne Books and Harper Voyager in 2016. A new YA series, LIFEL1K3 has also been acquired by Knopf/Random House Kids, and commences publication in 2018. Jay is as surprised about all this as you are. He is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.
Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13,030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.
He does not believe in happy endings.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Five lucky winners will each receive a finished copy of Nevernight! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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