Furyborn, one of the biggest new YA fantasies of 2018, is ready for its encore.
Author Claire Legrand is putting the finishing touches on Kingsbane, the second book in her Empirium Trilogy. Furyborn emerged as an instant New York Times best-seller, tracing the journeys of two young women who existed centuries apart, but together held the power to save the world from evil forces. In book 2, the journeys of Rielle and Eliana continue — and intensify, as they face new deadly plots.
Here’s the synopsis of Kingsbane: “Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien — but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist. Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption — fear of becoming another Rielle — keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted — by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.”
In other words, Kingsbane looks to deliver more of what hooked fans earlier this year. And for a taste, Legrand has shared an exclusive preview of the book with EW, in the form of its official cover and an excerpt. You can see the cover at the top of this post, and check out the excerpt below. Kingsbane publishes May 21, 2019, and is available for pre-order.
Excerpt from Kingsbane, by Claire Legrand
A TRAVELER AND A STRANGER
“The dangers of threading through time are many, but one often overlooked is the danger it poses for the traveler. The mind is fragile, and time is pitiless. Even powerful marques have lost themselves to the ravages of their temporal experiments. Perhaps it is best, then, that over the course of recorded history, only a few hundred beings have ever possessed this power, and that, now, most of them are dead.”
– Meditations on Time
by Basara Oboro
renowned Mazabatian scholar
When Simon awoke, he was alone.
He lay flat on his back, on a scrubby brown plain veined with brown rocks and white ribbons of ice. The sky above him was the color of slate, choked with sweeping clouds that reminded him of waves, and from them fell thin spirals of snow.
For a few moments he lay there, hardly breathing, the snow collecting on his lashes, and then the memories of the last hours returned to him:
Queen Rielle, giving birth to her child.
Simon’s father, mind no longer his own, throwing himself off of her tower.
Rielle thrusting her infant daughter into Simon’s arms, her face worn and her eyes bright and wild—green rimmed with gold.
You’re strong, Simon. I know you can do this.
Threads glowing at his fingertips—his threads, the first ones he had ever summoned on his own, without his father’s guidance, and they were strong, and solid. They would carry both him and the child in his arms to safety.
The queen, behind him in her rooms, fighting the angel named Corien. Her voice, distorted and godly. A brilliant light, exploding outward from where she knelt on the floor, knocking Simon’s threads askew, and summoning forth new ones—dark and violent, overtaking the others. Threads of time, more volatile than threads of space, and more cunning.
He’d tightened his arms around the screaming child, wound his fingers in the blanket her mother had wrapped around her, and then, a rush of black sound, a roar of something vast and ancient approaching.
Simon surged upright with a gasp, choking on tears, and looked down at his arms.
They were empty.
The only thing left of the princess was a torn piece of her blanket—slightly singed at the edges from the cold burn of time.
He understood at once what had happened.
He understood at once the immensity of his failure.
But perhaps there was still hope. He could use his power, travel back to that moment on the terrace, the baby in his arms. He could move faster, get them both away to safety before Queen Rielle died.
He pushed himself to his knees, raised his skinny arms into the frigid air. His right hand still clutched the child’s blanket. He refused to let it go. He could summon threads with a cloth in his hand, and if he released the blanket, something terrible would happen. The certainty of that tightened in his chest like a screw.
He closed his eyes, his breaths coming shaky and fast, and remembered the words from his books:
The empirium lies within every living thing, and every living thing is of the empirium.
Its power connects not only flesh to bone, root to earth, stars to sky, but also road to road, city to city.
Moment to moment.
But no matter how many times he recited the familiar sentences, the threads did not come.
His body remained dark and quiet, the marque magic with which he had been born, the power he had come to love and understand with his father’s patient tutelage, in their little shop in me de la Terre—it was gone.
He opened his eyes, staring at the stretch of barren rocky land before him. White peaks beyond. A black sky. The air held nothing of magic inside it. It was pale, tasteless. Flat where it had once thrummed with vitality.
Something was wrong, in this place. It felt unmade, and clouded. Scarred.
Once, his marque blood—part human, part angel—had allowed him to touch the empirium.
Now, he could feel nothing of that ancient power. Not even an echo of it remained, not a hint of sound or light to follow.
It was as if the empirium had never existed.
He could not travel home. He could travel nowhere his own two feet could not take him.
Alone, shivering on a vast plateau in a land he did not know, in a time that was not his own, Simon buried his face in the scrap of cloth and wept.
He lay curled in the dirt for hours, and then days, snow drawing a thin carpet across his body.
His mind was empty, hollowed out from his aching tears. Instinct told him he needed to find shelter. If he lay for much longer in the bitter cold, he would die.
But dying seemed a pleasant enough thought. It would provide him an escape from the terrible tide of loneliness that had begun to sweep through him.
He didn’t know where he was, or when he was. He could have been thrown back to a time when there were only angels living in Avitas, and no humans. He could have been flung into the far future, when there were no flesh-and-blood creatures left alive, the world abandoned to its empty old age.
Wherever he was, whenever he was, he didn’t care to find out. He cared about nothing. He was nothing, and he was nowhere.
He pressed the scrap of blanket to his nose and mouth, breathing in the faint, clean scent of the child it had once held.
He knew the scent would soon dissipate.
But for now, it smelled of home.
A voice woke him—faint, but clear.
Simon, you have to move.
He cracked open his eyes, which was difficult, for they’d nearly been frozen shut.
The world was thick and white; he lay half-buried in a fresh drift of snow. He couldn’t feel his finger or toes.
The voice was close to him, and familiar enough to light a weak spark of curiosity in his dying mind.
An age passed before he found the strength to raise his body from the ground.
“On your feet,” said the voice.
Simon squinted through the snow, saw a figure standing nearby, wrapped thick with furs.
He tried to speak, but his voice had disappeared.
“Rise,” the figure instructed. “Stand up.”
Simon obeyed, though he didn’t want to. He wanted to tuck himself back into his snow-bed and let it take him the rest of the way to death.
But he rose to his feet nevertheless, took two stumbling steps forward through snow that reached his knees. He nearly fell, but this person, whoever it was, caught him. Their gloved hands were strong. He peered into the folds of furs over their face, but could see nothing that told him who they were.
They wrapped an arm around Simon, bolstering him against their side, and turned into the wind.
“We have to walk now,” they said, their voice muffled in the furs and the snow, but still somehow familiar, though Simon’s mind couldn’t place it. “There’s shelter. It’s far, but you’ll make it.”
I will. Simon agreed with their words. They slipped into his mind, firm but gentle, and gave him the strength to move his legs. A sharp gust of wind sliced across his face, stealing his breath. He turned into the furs of the person beside him, seeking warmth in their body.
He wanted to live. Suddenly, passionately, he wanted to live. He craved warmth, and food. He clutched the baby’s blanket in his trembling, half-frozen fist.
“Who are you?” he asked, finally able to speak.
The person’s arm was a firm weight around his shoulders, their gait steady even in the snow. For a strange moment, so strange it left him feeling unbalanced, and not quite within his own body, it seemed to Simon that, perhaps, this person was not even truly there.
But they answered him nevertheless: “You may call me the Prophet,” they said, “and I need your help.”