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The gods have slept for more than seventeen centuries and are due to wake up in twenty years. When that happens, Kumulhan, High Priest of the Sky Father among the nomads of the Tagashai steppe wants his god to be supreme over the other gods. To ensure that, he launches an army of elite nomad cavalry in a brutal campaign to conquer the world.
Tochwyatis, a young sailor born into a poor family but with an aptitude for sorcery, finds himself playing an important part in the efforts to defeat Kumulhan.
At a mere 66,000 words this novel should come as a welcome relief to anybody fed up with multi-volume series of doorstops.
the white cloaks the sailmaker had sewn for camouflage. "I went to the archon's office," he said, "and told him about our adventures and about Niariti's oracle. He said that there were no soldiers available to try to kill Ugude, they're all away preparing to fight the nomad army, so it's up to us to get Ugude. He also said that the nomads have taken most of the cities of the Nikangir plain by now, but exact information about their doings isn't available. Their patrols control the Melindor
fire, she had had an oracular dream making it clear that she was urgently needed at home. It had been agreed that, as soon as Tochwyatis was at all capable of traveling, an expeditionary force of fifteen thousand soldiers of the Bird People would fly north to Maimo, carrying Toch with them. In the meanwhile, the Erchen would take Niariti back home to Lyoth. Since nobody in the crew of the Erchen had participated in the Lievenn's voyage, finding Lyoth might be problematic, but at least she
happened. Then some of the advance scouts preceding the enemy column came back out of the forest, riding as hard as they could. Shortly after they reached the head of the column, trumpet signals sounded and flags were waved. The head of the column, already beginning to debouch from the pass, started to spread out. The leading troops formed a line, then some of the men dismounted and began moving toward the forest, then into it, while others held their horses. A shout from somewhere in front
moment were some thirty paces downslope of him, advancing toward a small group of nomads that was retreating slowly, loosing arrows at the Maimonese all the time. Two of the Maimonese had been wounded, then a third was hit. The remainder of them went down on their knees and crouched behind their shields. Tochwyatis couldn't shoot from where he was without running the risk of hitting some Maimonese, so he began scrambling downslope toward them. A nomad aimed an arrow at him. He ducked just in
infantryman in the right side of his throat. The soldier screamed and clapped his hand to the injured spot, where most of the rear end of the arrow was still sticking out. "Let me see if I can help," Tochwyatis said. Still trying to stay behind the infantryman, he grasped the arrow and tried to pull it out. It wouldn't budge, and the soldier screamed even harder. Bright red blood was gushing from his throat. What can I do? Tochwyatis thought. I can't get the arrow out, can't bandage the wound