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Surrender to the Will of the Night

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Surrender to the Will of the Night

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Author: Glen Cook
Publisher: Tor, 2010
Series: The Instrumentalities of the Night: Book 3

1. The Tyranny of the Night
2. Lord of the Silent Kingdom
3. Surrender to the Will of the Night
4. Working God's Mischief

Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
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Piper Hecht's first and greatest secret is that he knows how to kill gods. What's not a secret is that he knows how to win wars

Piper Hecht's secrets make him dangerous, but his skill and his reputation put him in danger-from his enemies, who fear what he might do, or who want revenge for what he has already done; and from his friends, who want to use his military gifts for their own purposes. His sister Heris and his living ancestor Cloven Februaren, the Ninth Unknown, have made Hecht part of their fight against the return of the dark god Kharoulke the Windwalker. At the same time, the half-mad Empress Katrin wants him to lead the armies of the Grail Empire eastward on a crusade against his old coreligionists the Praman.

Meanwhile, all around them, the world is changing. The winters are growing longer and harder every year, and the seas are getting shallower. The far north and the high mountain ranges are going under the ice, and fast. The Wells of Power, everywhere, keep getting weaker. And the old evils, the Instrumentalities from the Time Before Time, have begun to ooze back into the world. As ever, the genius of Glen Cook's storytelling lies in his common touch: in soldiers who are like real soldiers, in men and women who love and laugh and sweat, with real hopes and real fears, united only in their determination to face the oncoming night.


1. The Grail Empire: Forest of Night

Eighteen remained of the seventy Chosen who had departed chill Sparmargen, holy hunters headed south. Most had been injured or were wounded. Five had to be kept tied into their saddles. Once they stopped outside the gateway they discovered that Drengtin Skyre had been dead so long his corpse was cold. His pony was in a state of su­pernatural angst.

There was nothing remarkable about the gateway. It was an open­ing in a rail fence. On this side there was ice and a frosting of hard snow.akes. A manic wind hurled dead leaves about aimlessly. The world beyond the fence might be warmer. The leaves there were sodden. The wind could not pick them up.

The ragged, pale pilgrims with the bones and small skulls in their hair stared at the wintered wood. Something built of gray stone could just be discerned through the skeletal trees. Each sacred assassin hoped their quarry was there, so this harsh quest could be brought to an end.

From among them came Krepnight, the Elect. He wore somewhat human form. He was a divine artifact. His left hand had seven .ngers. His right bore six. His toes matched that pattern. He had no hair on him anywhere. His skin seemed impossibly taut and shiny and shone a sickly snot green with irregular patches of deep reddish brown. His cheek­bones were exaggerated. His eyes were those of a great cat. His teeth were sharp and numerous and serrated at their back edges.

Krepnight, the Elect, had sprung forth full- grown from the imagi­nation of Kharoulke the Windwalker. He existed for one purpose. Its target lay just a bit more than an arrow’s .ight ahead.

Krepnight, the Elect, urged his frightened mount forward. He ig­nored the sign beside the gateway, beware the wolves and were, in faded Brothen capitals. He could not read, anyway.

Nor could many of his companions. None, the language of this land.

Krepnight, the Elect, paused after a four- hundred- yard advance. He faced a small castle from barely a hundred feet. Its drawbridge was down, spanning a wet moat eight feet wide.

Krepnight, the Elect, could not cross running water without help. The water in the moat was in motion.

Water was not relevant.

An arrow slammed into the artifact’s chest. It drove through till fourteen inches protruded from his back. The shaft was thick, oak, tipped with armor- piercing iron. Krepnight, the Elect, rocked back af­ter the impact, then just sat petri.ed in his saddle.

Brittle cold air swirled round him. He felt every breath.

He could do nothing.

Two old men came across the drawbridge. One carried an iron shovel, the other a rusty bill. Shovel man took the reins of the divine ar­tifact’s mount and led him away, the horse quaking in terror. A hun­dred yards on, at the brink of a gully, the bill man used his tool to unseat the rider, who tumbled into the little ravine.

Both old men shoveled and dragged dirt, sticks, stones, and fallen leaves onto the immobile body.

The light went away. A long time passed. Ravens watched quietly from the trees. Wolves came to consider the fallen artifact and be amused by his misfortune.

In time, the pilgrim’s companions found the divine artifact. They dug him out. One broke the heavy arrow and drew the shaft. Krepnight, the Elect, shook off the dirt and leaves and got his feet under him. The crows above chattered eloquently about this grand practical joke. The wolves kept their distance but their body language bespoke cruel con­tempt.

There were shamans among the Chosen. They stayed close as Krep­night, the Elect, resumed his advance on the castle. They suppressed the power of the water. A dozen men were within touching distance as Krep­night, the Elect, crossed that drawbridge and carried his god’s will into the rustic citadel.

A blinding .ash. A vast roar. A thousand needles of agony. An ir­revocable death for Krepnight, the Elect, and all who walked with him.

While the corpses still shook and twitched wolves hit every man who had passed the warning sign.

Three younger riders, left outside by their captain, .ew off to re­port the disaster.

Ravens followed. Mocking.

The Night knows no special love for those who consider them­selves its own. Of the three, two fell victim to ruthless minor Instru­mentalities. The last was too mad to report anything useful when he did win through.

His return was information enough.

His god rewarded him as gods do. It devoured him.

Copyright © 2010 by Glen Cook


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