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The Straits of Galahesh Corrected15 - Bradley P. Straits of... · PDF file The Straits of Galahesh continues the breakneck pace of a fight for an entire world, touched by pas-sion,

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  • Praise for The STraiTS of GalaheSh

    “Reading Bradley P. Beaulieu’s The Lays of Anuskaya series is like traveling through grand undiscovered country, being in a place that is familiar enough to understand and different enough to amaze. […] The Straits of Galahesh continues the breakneck pace of a fight for an entire world, touched by pas- sion, love, and loyalty. As a reader, almost every chapter added to my sense of wonder and realization. I can’t recommend this fabulous fantasy series highly enough. Read it.”

    —Brenda Cooper, author of Wings of Creation and Mayan December

    “With The Straits of Galahesh, Beaulieu returns to the vibrant fantasy he introduced in The Winds of Khalakovo. A gritty book packed with big ideas and Byzantine politics, and inhabited by compellingly flawed heroes, Straits is the sort of fully realized epic one can sink into for days. It sings with action, magic, and heart—the perfect second act in a brilliant series.”

    —Rob Ziegler, author of Seed

    “The right combination of complex worldbuilding, compelling characters and supremely confident storytelling combine to produce this superb sequel to The Winds of Khalakovo...an exceptional series. Whether you’re a novice or a grizzled veteran of epic fantasy, you’re in for a wild, exhilarating ride.”

    —Gregory A. Wilson, author of The Third Sign

    Praise for The WindS of KhalaKovo

    “Sailing ships of the sky! Bradley P. Beaulieu’s The Winds of Khalakovo is an energetic, swashbuckling novel with a distinctive flavor, a lush setting, and a plot filled with adventure, interesting characters, and intrigue. Exactly the kind of fantasy I like to read.”

    —Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Saga of Seven Suns

  • Praise for The WindS of KhalaKovo (conTinued)

    “Overlaid with the rich feel of Cyrillic culture, Beaulieu’s debut intro- duces a fascinating world of archipelagic realms and shamanic magic worked primarily by women. Verdict: Strong characters and a plot filled with tension and difficult choices make this a good option for fantasy fans.”

    —Library Journal

    “Elegantly crafted, refreshingly creative, TWOK offers a compelling tale of men and women fighting to protect their world. Politics, faith, betrayal, sac- rifice, and of course supernatural mystery—it’s all there, seamlessly combined in a tale driven by intelligent and passionate characters whose relationships and goals a reader can really care about. A great read!”

    —C. S. Friedman, bestselling author of the Coldfire and Magister trilogies

    “…a page-turner with twists, turns and palpable danger…”

    —Paul Genesse, author of The Golden Cord

    “In The Winds of Khalakovo Beaulieu navigates through a web of complex characters… dukes, duchesses, lovers, and more, while building a rich and intricate world thick with intrigue. He plots the course of Nikandr Iaroslov Khalakovo, a prince laden with disease and courtly responsibilities, and deftly brings the tale to a satisfying end that leaves the reader hungry for the next installment. Beaulieu is a writer that bears watching. I look forward to his next novel.”

    —Jean Rabe, USA Today bestselling fantasy author

    “Bradley P. Beaulieu is a welcome addition to the roster of new fantasy nov- elists. The Winds of Khalakovo is a sharp and original fantasy full of action, intrigue, romance, politics, mystery and magick, tons of magick. The boldly imagined new world and sharply drawn characters will pull you into The Winds of Khalakovo and won’t let you go until the last page.”

    —Michael A. Stackpole, author of I, Jedi and At the Queen’s Command

  • NiGHT sHade BooKs saN fraNcisco

    B O O K T W O O F T H E L AY S O F A N U S K AYA

  • The Straits of Galahesh © 2012 by Bradley P. Beaulieu This edition of The Straits of Galahesh

    © 2012 by Night Shade Books

    Cover art by Todd Lockwood Cover design by Claudia Noble

    Interior layout and design by Amy Popovich Maps by William McAusland

    Author photo by Joanne M. Beaulieu

    Edited by Ross E. Lockhart

    All rights reserved

    First Edition

    ISBN: 978-1-59780-349-6

    Night Shade Books Please visit us on the web at

    http://www.nightshadebooks.com

  • This one is for Relaneve, my star, my bright and beautiful child. May you one day know the kind of love I hold for you.

  • 1

    A SummAry of The Winds of KhalaKovo, Book one of the LAyS of AnuSkAyA

    as the story opens, the islands of the Grand Duchy are under siege from a blight to their crops and a deadly wasting disease that strikes royalty and peasants alike. A prince of the islands, Nikandr Khala- kovo, is set to be married to Atiana Vostroma, a princess from a neighboring Duchy. A pall is cast against the nuptials, however, when a fire spirit attacks and murders the Grand Duke.

    The gathered royalty demand justice, and Nikandr is sent to investigate. All signs point to a young autistic savant named Nasim, and it is this boy’s mysterious past that Nikandr becomes entangled with. Nikandr believes Nasim is not to blame for the attack. He believes instead that he was used as a tool by the Maharraht, a ruthless sect of the peace-loving Aramahn that want nothing less than the destruction of the Grand Duchy. As escalations rise over the murder of the Grand Duke, Nikandr and Nasim escape to the island of Ghayavand, a place that holds many secrets from Nasim’s past.

    Meanwhile, Atiana is pressed into service as a Matra, a woman who sub- merges herself in ice-cold water and enters the astral realm of the aether, where she can project herself to tend to the defense of the Grand Duchy and to communicate with other Matri. While doing so, Atiana comes face to face with Rehada, Nikandr’s Aramahn lover. Atiana later learns that Rehada has only been posing as Nikandr’s lover, and that in reality she is a spy for the Maharraht. Not only has she been feeding the Maharraht information about the Grand Duchy for years, she’s been in league with Soroush, a sworn enemy of the Grand Duchy who hopes to open a rift that hangs over Khalakovo. Tearing open the rift would cause untold destruction to Khalakovo and the other islands of the Grand Duchy, but Soroush cannot do this alone. He must

  • 2 • Bradley P. Beaulieu

    use Nasim and his unique abilities to tear the rift open. Rehada’s loyalties, however, are not so resolute as they seem at first. She has come to doubt the path of violence that Soroush and the Maharraht are following, and it is through this doubt that she begins to question her place in the Maharraht.

    Nikandr learns more of Nasim’s past and returns with him to Khalakovo, hoping to heal the rift, but before he can do so, Soroush steals Nasim away. Nikandr is forced to return home to Khalakovo without him, and he finds that tensions among the nine dukes of the Grand Duchy have reached the boiling point.

    A battle between the duchies ensues, providing the perfect cover for So- roush, who takes Nasim to a small keep on the nearby island of Duzol. There he begins the ritual he’s been planning for years. Using Nasim as a conduit, he will summon five elder spirits, and when all five have been summoned, the rift will be torn wide.

    Soroush doesn’t count on Rehada, however, who turns away from the path of violence. She warns Nikandr of what Soroush is planning, and together, Nikandr, Atiana, and Rehada move against Soroush and the Maharraht. So- roush completes his ritual, but Nikandr has come to understand his bond with Nasim intimately. He and Atiana use this knowledge to draw Nasim fully into the material world, an act that heals not only the blight, but Nasim as well. Nasim is now as whole as he has ever been in his life, and he may finally find it possible to learn and grow. The cost, however, is heavy. Nikandr’s father is captured by the traitor dukes.

    As the story closes, the Khalakovo family cedes control of their Duchy to the new Grand Duke, and Nasim is taken away by his people for his own safety. Nikandr, however, knows that the rifts are not permanently closed, and he vows to find Nasim and complete what they have begun.

  • 3

    ProLoGue

    in the southern gallery of the capital’s sprawling kasir, Hakan ül Ayeşe, the Kamarisi of Yrstanla, stood at a marble balcony. The day was warm. Gardeners below tended to the rows of trees—lemon and fig and plum— that filled the southern acres. Far to the south, beyond the gardens, was a tall stone wall that had never been touched in battle. The wall was exactly three leagues long, and it separated Kasir Irabahce from the vastness of Alekeşir.

    From beyond the wall, if the winds were calm and the noise from the palace was low, Hakan could hear the calls of hawking and barter that came from the spice market to the east, or the bazaar to the south. Today, however, was not such a day. Today, he heard the sounds of industry. Beyond the walking paths and the ordered rows of the vineyard, a dozen masons were spending their sweat on a gazebo that would house a bronze statue being made in his honor. He would not have wished it, but the city they’d taken in the ceaseless war with the Haelish barbarians to the west demanded celebration, even if the victory had been hollow. In weeks, perhaps months, the Haelish would have it back, for the Empire’s resources there were too thin, spread too far along their border with the lands of the Haelish kings.

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