Thiago Abdalla returns with A Twist of Faith, the third volume of his Ashes of Avarin epic dark fantasy series. We are delighted to provide an excerpt from Abdalla’s latest novel below.
In his debut novel, A Touch of Light, Abdalla introduced us to Lynn, a Sentinel warrior from the Domain, the northern kingdom whose people are blessed with unnaturally long lives from their god, the Seraph. Lynn is fighting against the resurgence of a plague known as the Madness, which threatens to disrupt the peace and longevity of the Domain.
Sentinels such as Lynn can enhance their physical powers by making emotion-based bonds with partner griffins. Lynn’s bond with her griffin, Vedyr, is formed through their shared anger. By combining her own anger with Vedyr’s power, Lynn can gain superhuman strength and swiftness. However, Sentinels risk losing their minds if their powers are overused.
Thiago Abadalla’s second book of the series, A Shade of Madness, ends on a cliffhanger threatening the life of Lynn’s friend, Ferrin. This excerpt from the third volume, A Twist of Faith, starts immediately after the end of A Shade of Madness. As such, the excerpt below comes with a massive spoiler alert. We are very excited by this passage and look forward to reading A Twist of Faith soon in its entirety.
Exclusive excerpt of A Twist of Faith
“Hold on, Ferrin!” Lynn said it without looking down. Vedyr had brought them to the door of the temple where the wounded were treated, but too many blocked their path.
“Move!” she yelled, but it seemed the threat of violence wasn’t as great as the violence already suffered by the soldiers crowding the entrance. She shouldered her way to the front where a line of guards kept the injured back, and glimpsed the space within.
All around, priests tended to wounds. Most of them holding ruin-stone, trying to heal what they could, muttering prayers to the Seraph under their breath. They were answered by the wails of the ailing soldiers and the stink of the dying. The floor was taken by victims of the battle. Too many without a healer beside them. More guards within tried to keep the space ordered, wary of the unattended injured.
The press moved forward, some soldiers breaking through and hobbling toward what healer they could find. They were ignored or pushed back by the guards within.
“Move!” she yelled again—at the guard in her way this time. She let the Bond fill her with energy and her eyes burned. If the guard hadn’t recognized her as a Legion general, the silver irises of a Sentinel did the trick.
As Lynn pushed through, an agonized cry turned into a growl, and calls for aid. Priests of the Blood backed away from a weakened soldier who couldn’t move a moment ago, but was now strengthened by the Madness taking over. The guards were ready. A dagger found its way into the transforming man’s skull and he went limp.
That gave some of the injured at the door pause, but most of the others seemed to fear the same fate and pushed harder against the line trying to hold them back. Any other day Lynn would have helped at the door, tried to find more priests, but Ferrin had no time.
“I’m not losing you too,” she said in a quiet voice.
I told you! Alren said. I told you you’d kill him!
Roki only laughed, a desperate, broken laugh between mockery and helplessness. Maybe it was her own voice laughing in her mind, Lynn couldn’t tell.
She rounded on the priest who’d backed away from the turning madman. “Help him,” Lynn said. “Now.” Her eyes still burned, and she felt a flare with every word, almost as if her own taint, the Madness High Bishop Reznik had infected her with, was taking its toll—speeding up the drain of her Bond with Vedyr and threatening to hollow her out.
Priests of the Blood were used to dealing with Sentinels, but the situation had this one shaken. “I-I. . .”
“In the cleansing room!” The voice came from behind them, but Lynn didn’t need to see Rel to recognize him. “Go!”
The priest reacted and Lynn rushed Ferrin into the room and closed the door. They laid him on the stone slab in the center, and Rel immediately went to work, pointing along the open wound on Ferrin’s side where madman’s claws had dug into his skin. Ferrin coughed, but Lynn was too numb to move. She stood back, looking as if from far beyond while Rel and the priest tried to save what was left of Ferrin. What was left of her hope and the belief that she could fight the Madness, fight death.
It’s the same as always, Cara said. He’ll turn, and you’ll kill him.
Just like Lynn had killed his brother—her brothers—Alren, Roki, Cara, Dentos. She could almost hear Ferrin’s voice in her mind, blaming her beside Alren for not saving his sister. For killing his brother and now leading him to his death. All of them taken by the Madness.
The burning in Lynn’s eyes was joined by hot streaks of tears rolling down her face. Her body moved without conscious thought, and through the haze of her motions, Lynn found herself standing over Ferrin, hand on the ruin-stone shard she’d dug into his heart.
“I am the Sentinel who keeps Her faith,” she whispered. “I am the blade that cleanses the land. I am the gaze that burns the night away.”
A gentle hand fell onto hers and Lynn’s tear-blurred vision took a moment to make out Rel. “We’ll do all we can,” he said softly. “Look.” He pointed at the shard. Only a half-finger’s length stuck out of Ferrin’s chest. It pulsed erratically and a lot slower than it should. “It’s found his heart. He’s fighting. You need to give him some space. Go rest.”
Lynn looked at Rel for a long while. Too numb to react.
She turned away, unable to muster a resistance, and walked out of the temple.
A Sentinel’s training took years, but it wasn’t to build up strength to resist the shard of ruin-stone stabbed into your heart. It was to build up faith, to be sure you were ready for the battle to come. To be sure your mind would survive the touch of the Bond, the connection to the griffin’s well of power, one far greater than any normal person could imagine.
The shard had been Nerida’s, the griffin that had belonged to Deria. Deria had been killed at the Skygate, but the Pontiff had somehow trapped the power of Nerida’s ruin-stone heart in a new shard, ready to induct a new member into the Sentinel order. Lynn didn’t know if Ferrin had the strength—if Nerida had the will for another connection. All she had was faith in the Seraph, faith that death would not win the day.
This can’t happen again. This won’t happen again. She looked up at the Seraph’s mark. Please.
A shriek answered from above. Vedyr was with her, giving her strength even if their Bond would soon take it away twice over. She let go of it for now, mind working. If Ferrin was fighting, she would help him. The power of a Bond might be able to hold the Madness at bay, but if she could find a cure, he would be fighting one less enemy. There had to be prisoners in the dungeons by now. Lynn would take a cure, save Ferrin. She adjusted her path, aiming toward the Othonean palace.
Read A Twist of Faith by Thiago Abdalla
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