Sing the Midnight Stars by C.M.J. Wallace is the latest book to feature on One Thousand Worlds. Please take a look at the first one thousand words and see what you think!
Sing the Midnight Stars-
This is not a stand-alone book but is the first volume in the Rift series.
A cold-blooded killer lusts for others’ magic. A drug-addicted detective vows to thwart him. Dragged into a dangerous homicide investigation, Andrin Sethuel alone stands between the killer’s murderous desires and his future victims’ salvation, a kingdom’s freedom and its enslavement.
Andrin has survived a childhood that should have destroyed him. Slavers brutally murdered his parents in front of him, ripped him away from everything he knew, and addicted him to drugs. The aftermath leaves him warring against hostility, prejudice, and suspicion on every front. And it leaves him entrenched in self-loathing. Yet despite the odds, he becomes head of the Torvian kingdom’s criminal investigative forces.
Andrin speculates that the killer scythes magic from his victims to reap power and augment his burgeoning might, but such a capability is unthinkable. And wielding spells without a catalyst should be impossible. Yet irrefutably, the killer is wrenching his victims’ craft away with his own unimaginable sorcery, growing more powerful and treacherous with each successive murder.
While Andrin struggles to expose the murderer and his search for the killer turns into a fight for his life, lies and duplicity threaten to rip his only friend from him—and she’s keeping a secret that could be the key to solving the murders. Andrin is forced to choose between his friend and his duty, and ultimately between his king and a betrayal that will save his country from a ruthless conqueror’s invasion.
The sound wafted from the night-shadowed Hall once again like fervent hands scrabbling against a windowpane, devoting themselves to the task of violation.
Sparrel checked his boot, digging into the slit he’d carved in the leather and retrieving the talisman tucked inside it. It was black now, a harbinger as dark as his fear. Pushing it back inside its hiding place, he tightly cinched the cloak he’d been wearing as proof against the sudden feverish chills that had taken him that day and threw the hood over his head for good measure, as if the heavy cloth were a ward against both illness and intruder. Then he took a deep breath for fortitude and left the safety of the room to investigate.
Moving silently through the gloom that the lanterns barely dispelled, he stole into the Hall and paused beside tall bookcases laden with scrolls, parchments, and books, using them to conceal himself while he perused the enormous chamber. The shape by the huge sphere was familiar, not an interloper at all but someone he trusted completely. Sparrel sighed his relief and stepped into the room.
In a rasping whisper dictated by the rawness of his throat, he said, “You scared me. I thought you were someone else.”
Quiet laughter greeted his declaration. “Who?”
Sparrel felt the blood tiding into his face and was glad of the concealing hood. “No one. I’ve just been on edge lately.” His offhand reply was self-deprecation as he tried unsuccessfully to quell his strong sense of unease.
The figure slowly mounted the dais steps and stopped inches away from the orb, perusing it hungrily and turning that same ravenous gaze on Sparrel, trying to see his face within the folds of material. “For good reason. Someone wants to kill you.”
Sparrel swallowed hard, a kernel of apprehension lodging in his gorge. He climbed the steps and stood in the dimness beside his friend. “What do you mean? Have you heard something?” This time there was a timbre in the answering laughter that chilled him, and he stepped back involuntarily.
“Heard? No, planned is more like it.”
To Sparrel’s astonishment, his companion began forming sigils in the air, impossible magic that simultaneously amazed and terrified him. His body willed him to run, but his mind was captivated by the dance of light and color that drifted into his friend’s hands and coalesced there like congealing blood. The air pressed in as tumultuous power swelled in response, a freight of dread squeezing the breath from him.
And at last, but far too late, he heeded the imperative that screamed for him to flee. Before he could move, heat and darkness blasted toward him and drove into his arm. Inky bolts exploded from him in sharp retort and scorched the dais in patterns as crooked as a crone’s spine.
Sparrel thudded to the stone floor at the center of the black rays, the cloak now a shroud.
His murderer slid a hand into the dead man’s boot and removed what was hidden there, examined it indifferently, and replaced it. A ghost of the same quiet laughter floated through the Hall and vanished with the killer.