The REIGN of the DEPARTED
A young man looking for death finds purpose in a world beyond our own in this sweeping fantasy from Greg Keyes (The Briar King, Newton’s Cannon).
Errol Greyson hadn’t intended to commit suicide. Or so he told himself. But waking up after his “cry for help” in the body of a wood-and-metal construct magically animated by Aster—the strange girl from school—was not a result he could have imagined.
Aster’s wild explanations of a quest to find the water of health that would cure her father seemed as unreal as her description of Errol’s own half-dead existence, his consciousness stuck in an enchanted automaton while his real body was in a coma from which it might never wake. And of course, they would need to recruit a girl—a virgin, no less—who had been dead for thirty years, to lead them through something called the Pale, beyond which a bunch of magical kingdoms existed. Plus, the threat that Aster could turn him off like a light switch, sending him into a hellish oblivion, was a convincing incentive to cooperate.
It all seemed quite mad: either Aster was nuts or Errol was hallucinating. But if it meant a new chance at life, he reckoned it was worth playing along.
KINGDOMS of the CURSED
Three young friends must navigate dangerous magical worlds—and their own inner selves—in this sweeping fantasy from Greg Keyes, the sequel to The Reign of the Departed.
Errol Greyson is awake and back in his own body, thanks to his friends Aster the witch and Veronica the half-dead girl. Unfortunately, due to the attempted suicide that led to his months-long coma and temporary reincarnation in Aster’s wooden automaton in the first place, he’s also in a mental hospital.
But when the last person Errol expects breaks him out and forces him back to the magical Kingdoms, he has no other option but to attempt to undo a deadly curse threatening reality itself, in hopes of returning the realm to equilibrium. It’s dangerous business, especially in Errol’s merely-human form, weakened from months in bed.
Fearing for their friend’s life, Aster and Veronica follow, but are quickly separated. Aster is captured by an ancient evil—the source of the curse—while Veronica confronts a mysterious admirer, her own evolving nature, and the dark spirit that murdered her years earlier.
As vast armies collide and dragons take wing, the friends must find each other—and themselves—again.
KINGDOMS of the CURSED
The Curse shaped Aster’s life from birth. At first, she believed her father was its only victim, and determined to save him from it. In doing so she learned that the Curse had stricken everyone in the magical realms known as the Kingdoms – and that, in an attempt to protect her, her father had himself created it. Now he is dead, a victim of his own sorcery. But the Curse has not ended with him. Her father’s actions, his dread spell, were only the shadows cast by a much deeper, older conflict, which is now unwinding the universe itself.
As the sun fades and the stars wink out, Aster must follow a clue from her dead father to the highest, furthest domain – beyond the fairy-tale kingdoms, through fantastic and terrifying realms of gods and demons, to the very source of reality, the beginning and ending of everything. There she might finally set things right. Her path is narrow, and the sacrifices necessary for even a tiny chance at success are unacceptable.
For the Curse has also released a rot at the very heart of the High and Faraway, an evil more ancient than time itself. It is against this unwavering malevolence that Aster, Errol, Billy, Dusk and Delia must pit themselves. They must do so without their friend Veronica, a girl murdered decades before and brought back to life by Aster’s magic. For as Veronica discovers her own vast power, she stares into the face of the enemy and sees in it her true self . . .