The Shade of the Soul
Publication date: May 2007
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)
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This is a novella of our deepest fears. No one knows where the noki came from, or how they got here, but they are terrible fiends. Black as night, drifting, floating wraiths which can drift through any substance as if they were ghosts, but their claws can be as sharp and as solid as the sharpest blade, when they want them to be. The tentative civilisations have survived only because the noki have a deadly aversion to jade; jade posts keep them at bay, jade weapons will kill them, jade walls are impenetrable to the noki, but the noki are growing in number, and now they even have men helping them. Posts moved to let them in, prisoners taken, these are new and troubling times, and nowhere is safe - not any more. He has spent his life hunting them. His name is Rigel, he who abandoned the priesthood, and lived to tell the tale. He flits through the jungles like his quarry, hounding them as they have hounded the rest of humanity for centuries. He dabbles in the black arts of sorcery, and pacifies angry Gods with succinct rhymes. Everything is simple, until he finds the smouldering remains of a village, which tells him of these troubling new times. Talyin who is destined to be a priestess, her cousin Asli, a warrior monk from the island of Chiku who calls herself Emma but is not quite what she seems, a man called Thuan from the furthest east, and Rigel are thrown together and parted again amidst the staggering backdrop of three civilisations, each of which is affected by the noki, each of which will fall unless someone can solve the mystery and rid the world of the noki. Is ever anything so simple?