Special Agent Pendergast and Constance Greene have been called to Exmouth, a small town on the wild Atlantic coast of Massachusetts, to investigate a seemingly innocuous theft. But what they discover at the crime scene changes the course of their investigation: a sealed burial chamber, complete with rusted leg irons, fragments of bone and claw marks on the inside-face of its bricks. Then a historian is found murdered in the desolate salt marshes that surround the town, his face mutilated, his body carved with arcane symbols. Exmouth has a grim history dating back to the aftermath of the Salem witch trials. And now a dark secret, centuries old, is rising to the surface.
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The return of the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard, could not have come at a worse time for a Malazan Empire exhausted by warfare and weakened by betrayals and rivalries. Indeed, there are those who wonder whether the Empress Laseen might not be losing her grip on power as she faces increasing unrest as conquered kingdoms and principalities sense freedom once more. Into the seething cauldron of Quon Tali--the Empire's heartland--marches the Guard. With their return comes the memory of the Empire--and yet all is not well with the Guard itself. Elements within its elite, the Avowed, have set their sights on far greater power. There are ancient entities who also seek to further their own arcane ends. And what of the swordsman called Traveller who, with his companion Ereko, has gone in search of a confrontation from which none have ever returned? As the Guard prepares to wage war, so Laseen's own generals and mages, the 'Old Hands', grow impatient at what they see as her mismanagement of the Empire. But could Laseen have outwitted them all? Could she be using the uprisings to draw out and finally eliminate these last irksome survivors from the days of her illustrious predecesor, Kellanved? At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Havgan of Corania knows he is different from others, but he does not know why. He does know, however, that he adamantly hates the witches of Kymru. When he becomes Warleader of Corania, he sets the might of his empire against them and their country. Gwydion the Dreamer and his friend Rhiannon travel to Corania to spy on Havgan after Gwydion?s dream reveals Havgan?s imperialistic desires. In their frantic attempt to save Kymru, they risk everything. But when a thoughtless action threatens to doom them all, Gwydion and Rhiannon must fight not only to discover Havgan?s secret but also to understand why Havgan seems so hauntingly familiar.