In what would be A.D. 600 in our history, the Empire still stands, supported by the Legions and Thaumaturges of Rome. Now the Emperor of the West, the Augustus Galen Atreus, will come to the aid of the Emperor of the East, the Augustus Heraclius, to lift the siege of Constantinople and carry a great war to the very doorstep of the Shahanshah of Persia. It is a war that will be fought with armies both conventional and magical, with bright swords and the darkest necromancy. Against this richly detailed canvas of alternate history and military strategy, Thomas Harlan sets the intricate and moving stories of four people. Dwyrin MacDonald is a Hibernian student at a school for sorcerers in Upper Egypt, until he runs afoul of powerful political interests and is sent off half-trained to the Legions. His teacher, Ahmet,undertakes to follow Dwyrin and aid him, but Ahmet is drawn into service with the queen of Palmeyra. Thyatis is a young female warrior, extensively trained by her patron in the arts of covert warfare. And Maxian Atreus is Galens youngest brother, a physician and sorcerer. He has discovered that an enemy of Rome has placed a dreadful curse on the City, which must be broken before Rome can triumph. Woven with rich detail youd expect from a first-rate historical novel, while through it runs yarns of magic and shimmering glamours that carry you deeply into your most fantastic dreams
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About the Author
Thomas Harlan is the author of the highly regarded "Oath of Empire" fantasy series, as well as being an internationally-known game designer. He lives in Salem, Oregon.
Thomas Harlan is the author of the highly regarded “Oath of Empire” fantasy series, starting with The Shadow of Ararat, The Gate of Fire, and The Storm of Heaven. An internationally-known game designer, he lives in Salem, Oregon.
Read an Excerpt
The Shadow of AraratBook One of 'The Oath of Empire'
By Harlan, Thomas
Tor FantasyCopyright © 2000 Harlan, Thomas
All right reserved.
delphi, achaea: 710 ab urbe condita (31 B.C.)
The Greek woman raised her arms and her face, pale and regal, was revealed as the purple silk veil fell away. Deep-blue eyes flickered in the dimness of the narrow room. A mass of raven hair cascaded down over her pale shoulders. The smokes of the crevice rose up around her as she stood in supplication. Far away, behind her, the low beat of a drum echoed in the sun-baked little plaza in front of the temple. She waited, patient and calm.
Finally, as the irregular drumming settled into her blood and she grew light-headed in the haze of bitter-flavored smoke, a figure stirred in the darkness beyond the glow of the brazier. Strands of long white hair gleamed. Withered fingers brushed against the lip of the corroded bronze tripod. A face appeared in the smoke, and the queen barely managed to keep from flinching back. Unlike the gaudy display at Siwa, here there was no grand chorus of priests in robes of gold and pearl, no vaulting hallway of Stupendous granite monoliths, only a dark narrow room in a tiny building on a steeply slanted Grecian hillside. But at Siwa, when the oracle spoke, there had been no stomach-tightening fear.
Here the Sybil was ancient and wizened, her eyes empty of all save a sullen red echo of the flames now leaping in the pit below. The mouth of the crone moved, but no sound emerged. Yet the airtrembled and the queen, to her utter horror, felt words come unbidden to her mind, forming themselves pure and whole in her thought. She flinched and staggered back, her hands now clawing at the air in a fruitless attempt to stop the flood of images. She cried out in despair. The empty face faded back into the darkness beyond the tripod and the crevice. The fire sputtered and suddenly died.
The Queen lay, weeping in bitter rage, on the uneven flagstones as her guardsmen entered the chamber to see what had befallen her. The vision had been all that she desired, and more.
Copyright 1999 by Thomas Harlan
Excerpted from The Shadow of Ararat by Harlan, Thomas Copyright © 2000 by Harlan, Thomas. Excerpted by permission.
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