I am delighted to announce the digital publication of MAPPING WINTER, book 1 of the Riders Guild.
Cadoc Marubin, the tyrant lord of Dalmorat Province, lies alert, malicious, and dying in his castle at Sterk, and Kieve, his oathed Rider, waits eagerly for the freedom his death will bring her. But Cadoc’s dying affects more than his Rider, it affects a country poised on the brink of change. What happens in Dalmorat Province could chart a direction, for good or ill, for all of the country of Cherek.
Cherek is evolving from mounted messengers to semaphore telegraphs to “talking wires,” from carts to steam engines, from its own isolation to a world opening southward toward new-found lands. Dalmorat Province, northern, reclusive, and impoverished, is also in flux; the neighboring provinces wait to see whether Cadoc’s repressive regime will dissolve or pass intact to his heir. Cadoc has created a web of secret informers which reaches throughout the province and is made visible in one thing only: Kieve, the Lord’s Herald Rider, whose guild has taught her to carry messages and the news, to survey and map, and to obey her master. Cadoc requires that Kieve serve the warrants and escort the ferret’s victims to Sterk, where they disappear. Cadoc understands her value as the only public face of the web, and intends to use her to bend the succession to his will.
Fighting both Cadoc and her own barely contained anger, Kieve too balances on a cusp between trust and unbelief, between a future shaped by harmony or by bitterness. To truly escape from Dalmorat, she must explore and map the winter not only of her country, but of her own soul.
First published as The Sword of Winter in 1983, Mapping Winter has been extensively revised to fit the author’s originally intended vision. The sequel, The River South, will be available in 2020.