On the world of Zaria, Elves, magic and mythical beasts coexist beside rifles and railroads. The futures of two nations hang in the balance as rebels and revolutionaries trade gunfire with loyalists and tyrants.
Eadric Garrard was raised to believe that as the rightful King of Ansgar, his loyal nobles and fearful subjects answered to his every whim, no matter the cost or consequence. His decision to send his troops thousands of miles away will test that fear, and loyalty.
Raedan Clyve was ordinary until an Elven ritual involving a griffin’s heart turned him into something more. Twenty years later, he still struggles with the magics that rage through his body. His mentor holds him back from his full potential and he faces pressure to find a suitable wife and father an heir.
Hadrian Clyve has picked up where his father left off and works to expand his family’s influence amongst the Ansgari nobility. His aggressive negotiation of alliances and shrewd choice of marriage agreements has earned him respect, and resentment. When his King calls his troops to arms, Hadrian has other things in mind.
After a century of scheming and decades of preparation, Magnus Jarmann is ready to bring his family’s plans to fruition by launching a war of independence that will free his people and return his country to its rightful place among the nations of Zaria. The King’s call to arms creates an opportunity that Magnus cannot afford to miss.
In a war, little is held back; in a revolution, nothing is safe.
He found the door exactly where Auberon had said it would be: plain oak, set in an unremarkable arch. Raedan dismounted and pressed his right hand to the door; he could feel the magics that held the door closed.
The particular spell that had been bound to the archway was different from one magic-user to another, but there were only a handful of spells that could be used on something as plain as the door that stood between Raedan and the library beyond.
He touched the onyx at his throat with his left hand and began whispering the first spell. It was the most common of binding spells, and Raedan very much doubted that it would work. He was right. The magic in the door pulsed, but did not dissipate.
Raedan found the spell on his fifth attempt. It was an obscure spell that Damon had only mentioned once in passing; Raedan had studied it more in his own time. Had he tried to force the door, he would have found himself unconscious.
There was a small, dark room on the other side of the entrance. Raedan left the door open, so the faint glow from the moon would give him some light. Dust covered every surface in the small room. The bookshelves were largely empty, but one contained several thick tomes. Raedan pulled them off of the shelf.
He traced the inlaid title on one of the books and smiled. He returned to his horse, tucked the books into his saddle bags and climbed back into the saddle.
Raedan turned back toward the gatehouse. The wagons would be arriving soon.
Joshua Johnson is the author of "Gunpowder Fantasy" The Cerberus Rebellion (due to release in early July) and the creator of the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. When he isn't working or spending time with his family, he writes novels, short stories and novellas.
He currently lives in Northern Illinois with his wife and young son.