Peter Brett: The Skull Throne

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Peter Brett The Skull Throne
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    The Skull Throne
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    Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York
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    Фэнтези / на английском языке
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The Skull Throne: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty. Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all. But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart. In the south, Inevera, Jardir’s first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing each other and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne. In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late. Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton--rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest. All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared...

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The Warded Man

The Desert Spear

The Daylight War

The Skull Throne


The Great Bazaar

Brayan’s Gold

Messenger’s Legacy

The Skull Throne is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 by Peter V. Brett

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.

DEL REY and the HOUSE colophon are registered trademarks of Random House LLC.

Published in the United Kingdom by Harper Voyager, a division of HarperCollins Publishers U.K., London.

The map by Andrew Ashton is reprinted here by permission of HarperCollins Publishers U.K., London.

The Krasian Dictionary was originally published in the paperback edition of The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett (New York: Del Rey, 2011), copyright © 2010, 2011 by Peter V. Brett

ISBN 978-0-345-53148-3

eBook ISBN 978-0-8041-7747-4

Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper

2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3 1

First Edition

For Lauren


I may have written this book, but there are many people whose patience and hard work on the completed work of art that’s made its way to you—in whatever form you’re enjoying it—deserve credit.

Cassie, my perfect daughter, whose care forced me to unplug regularly and live in the now, and who has helped me see the world in completely different ways. My mom, who does much of the copy editor’s and proofreader’s jobs without them ever knowing. My agent Joshua, the single most in-depth editor I have, and his amazing team at JABberwocky Literary, and their international affiliates.

Myke Cole, who reads all the versions and understands all the trials. Jay and Amelia, who always make time to read.

My assistant Meg, who does more than she realizes to keep me sane.

Larry Rostant, whose ability to capture my characters makes me feel they’ve stepped right from my mind. Lauren K. Cannon, who designed the wards, and Karsten Moran who made me look respectable in my new author photo.

My audio narrators, Pete Bradbury and Colin Mace, who make me feel like a kid listening to Grandpa reading me a story, and the cast and crew at GraphicAudio, whose productions bring it all to life.

My publishers all around the world—editors who have always believed in me and a small army of design, editorial, production, and marketing people who work behind the scenes to make me look more awesome than I deserve, and especially my translators, whose work is Herculean.

Coffee. You are my true friend.

But above all, thank you to Lauren Greene, who has been there for every moment, giving comfort and invaluable advice—both personal and professional. More important, thank you for showing by example how to be awesome and successful at life.




“No!” Inevera reached out, clutching empty air as the Par’chin pitched himself and her husband over the cliff.

Taking with them all the hope of the human race.

On the opposite side of the circle of combat, Leesha Paper let out a similar cry. The strict ritual laws of Domin Sharum were forgotten as witnesses from both sides rushed to the precipice, crowding together to peer into the darkness that had swallowed the combatants.

In Everam’s light, Inevera could see as clearly in darkness as brightest day, the world defined by magic’s glow. But magic was drawn to life, and there was little below save barren rock and dirt. The two men, glowing as fiercely as the sun a moment ago, had vanished into the dull gloom of ambient magic as it vented to the surface.

Inevera twisted her earring, the hora stone within attuned to its mate on her husband’s ear, but she heard nothing. It could be out of range, or broken in the fall.

Or there might be nothing to hear. She suppressed a shiver as a chill mountain wind blew over her.

She glanced at the others clustered at the edge, reading their expressions, searching for a hint of betrayal, a sign one of them had known this was coming. She read the magic that emanated from them, as well. The circlet of warded electrum coins she wore did not let her read spirits as fluidly as her husband did with the Crown of Kaji, but she was getting more and more skilled at reading emotions. Shock was clear throughout the group. There were variations from one to another, but this was not the outcome any of them had expected.

Even Abban, the smug liar, always hiding something, stood horrified. He and Inevera had been bitter rivals, each attempting to undo the other, but he loved Ahmann as much as an honorless khaffit could, and stood to lose more than any, should he prove dead.

I should have poisoned the Par’chin’s tea, Inevera thought, remembering the guileless face of the Par’chin the night he appeared from the desert with the Spear of Kaji. Pricked him with a venom-dipped needle. Put an asp in his pillows as he dozed before alagai’sharak. Even claimed offense and killed him with my bare hands. Anything but leave it to Ahmann. His heart was too true for murder and betrayal, even with the fate of Ala in the balance.

Was. Already she used the past tense, though he had been gone only seconds.

“We must find them.” Jayan’s voice sounded miles away, though her eldest son stood right beside her.

“Yes,” Inevera agreed, thoughts still spinning, “though it will be difficult in the darkness.” Already, the cries of wind demons echoed off the cliffs, along with the deep rumble of the mountain stone demons. “I will cast the hora to guide us.”

“Core with waitin’ on that,” the Par’chin’s Jiwah Ka said, shouldering Rojer and Gared aside as she dropped to her belly and swung her legs over the edge of the cliff.

“Renna!” Leesha grabbed for her wrist, but Renna was too fast, dropping quickly out of reach. The young woman glowed brightly with magic. Not so brightly as the Par’chin, but brighter than any other she had ever seen. Her fingers and toes drove into the cliff face like a demon’s talons, cracking stone to create her holds.

Inevera turned to Shanjat. “Follow her. Mark your trail.”

To his credit, Shanjat showed none of the fear that ran through his aura as he looked at the cliff. “Yes, Damajah.” He punched a fist to his chest and slung his spear and shield over his back, dropping to his belly and swinging over the edge, picking his way carefully down.

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