Clariel, the long-awaited fourth book in Garth Nix’s bestselling Old Kingdom series, arrives this October! For a sneak peek of Clariel, here’s an extract from within the first third of the book, where Clariel has joined forces with several Charter mages who are trying to hunt down a Free Magic creature and things haven’t gone as planned …
A human shout, followed by the rush of footsteps on stone. Roban came charging up the steps, sword in hand, silver fire leaping along the blade. At the same time something else rose up out of the very rock, almost under Clariel’s feet. Seen at night, from a distance, it might be confused for a woman, for it was vaguely feminine in shape. But this close, it could be seen that the slender legs ended not in feet, but narrowed to become sharp, bony blades the colour of yellowed teeth; its arms had two elbows a handsbreadth apart; and its spadelike hands too many fingers each ending in a curved-back claw. Its hair was not hair, but a mass of brilliant tendrils of white light that flowed around its head and cascaded down its shoulders and back, and its face, if it had one, was an absence of light in the middle, a dark, oval void without features of any kind.
Below its shining head, its skin was entirely the colour of old, dried blood.
Claws raked at Roban. He parried, Charter marks blazing on his sword, sparks flying. But the creature was far stronger. Roban was forced back and then flung down the steps. Swatted like a fly, he disappeared into the shadow as if he had never been.
As Roban fell, Clariel swung her falchion two-handed at the creature’s back. But the steel did not even break that strange, bloodred skin. It melted as it hit, the metal roiling away in molten drops, as if Clariel had cast a cup of quicksilver against the creature rather than struck it with a finely tempered blade.
The creature turned, and tilted its head quizzically.
‘Not even an ensorcelled sword? But true, you do not need such things. Let me show you how to find the power within yourself. I will guide you, but first let me dispose of this small Abhorsen … ’
Clariel goes on sale October 14th! Haven’t read the series yet? Visit frenzyfirsts.ca to find out how you can get started on Sabriel.
*Excerpt from Clariel by Garth Nix © 2014. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.