Excerpt Reveal: Traitor of Redwinter by Ed McDonald




Excerpt Reveal: Traitor of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

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traitor of redwinter by ed mcdonald

Traitor of Redwinter is the second in Ed McDonald’s Redwinter Chronicles, full of shady politics, militant monks, ancient powers… and a young woman navigating a world in which no one is quite what they seem.

The power of the Sixth Gate grows stronger within Raine each day—to control it, she needs lessons no living Draoihn can teach her. Her fledgling friendships are tested to a breaking point as she tries to face what she has become, and her master Ulovar is struck by a mysterious sickness that slowly saps the vitality from his body, leaving Raine to face her growing darkness alone. There’s only one chance to turn the tide of power surging within her—to learn the secrets the Draoihn themselves purged from the world.

The book can teach her. She doesn’t know where she found it, or when exactly, but its ever changing pages whisper power that has lain untouched for centuries.

As the king’s health fails and the north suffers in the grip of famine, rebellious lords hunger for the power of the Crown, backed by powers that would see the Crowns undone. Amidst this growing threat, Raine’s former friend Ovitus brings a powerful new alliance, raising his status and power of his own. He professes support for the heir to the throne even as others would see him take it for himself, and desperately craves Raine’s forgiveness—or her submission.

But the grandmaster has her own plans for Raine, and the deadly training she has been given has not been conducted carelessly. In Raine she seeks to craft a weapon to launch right into her enemy’s heart, as Redwinter seeks to hold onto power.

Amidst threats old and new, Raine must learn the secrets promised by the book, magic promised by a queen with a crown of feathers. A queen to whom Raine has promised more than she can afford to give…

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Traitor of Redwinter by Ed McDonald, on sale 10/24/23

Just a dream…

I am dreaming. I will not try to pretend otherwise. I am me, but I am also not me. I am Raine, but I am the Queen of Feathers. It is her dream, and I am merely a presence along for the ride, a burr latched onto her raven wing cloak. We are the same here. I don’t think she’s aware of me. I don’t exist yet. It’s long ago, but this is where I am, dreaming, so it’s today. Time doesn’t seem to mean so much here.

Why should it? Everything is one. That’s what the Draoihn say.

There is a woman standing nearby. She looks drawn, exhausted. Her gown is a mass of gold and silver. If there was ever a dress like it before, there will never be one like it again. A great arc of spines rises out from the back like a banner. Perhaps it is a banner. The majesty of her gown, of her bejewelled rod of office, seems to dwarf the woman that stands surrounded by these treasures, as if she fell through the neck of the gown and found herself wrapped in them. This is what it feels like to be grand, to become mighty, to become apart. She is part of nothing. Only the Queen of Feathers stands beside her, I stand beside her, and together the two, or three of us, are watching the final day of a war.

‘They betrayed me,’ the Riven Queen says, for that’s who she has to be. ‘I raised them on high, and they bring me ruin.’

‘You betrayed them first,’ I say, and I feel the petty meanness in my words. She’s looking to me for succour, for forgiveness maybe. I am not going to offer her any.

We look out, us two, or three, across the field where the Riven Queen’s army is being driven into the earth by the forces the last Draoihn have scraped together to match her. They are small in number, but they are strong, and they cut a path through the Riven Queen’s army, an implacable, vengeful advance of steel and magic and death. Their enemies are not all human. Many are not even alive. They fall beneath the scythe just the same.

‘All this time, all the help you gave,’ the Riven Queen says. ‘Everything I learned from you. How did it come to this?’

‘They have all said this, at the end,’ I tell her. The Queen of Feathers tells her. We both tell her. ‘I don’t have an answer. I just have to keep trying.’

‘You already know how it ends,’ the Riven Queen says. She tosses her sceptre down into the mud. For all that it’s a fortune, it’s worth nothing to her now. There is no running from this. She has marshalled the most terrible forces the world has seen in centuries. But she is going to lose nonetheless.

‘I know what happens,’ we say. I say. The Queen of Feathers says. ‘But I don’t know how. I thought you would be the one. But I appear to have made an error of judgement. This isn’t it. But maybe it’s a start.’

I wake from the dream now. I remember it piecemeal thereafter. The fear is what lingers, a trapped memory I’m unable to release. It is not the hideous nightmare things that Hallenae, the Riven Queen has summoned. It is not her alliance with the Faded Lords, who despite their terrible power are being brought down one by one, banished back to their nether realm. It isn’t even the legion of corpses that fight at her behest.

It’s that when we look at her, when the Queen of Feathers looks at her, when I look at her, the tired woman wrapped in a dress of gold and spines is me.

Copyright © 2023 from Ed McDonald

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