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Deathbringer: The Spellswords Saga: Book One

by Blake Carpenter

Deathbringer: The Spellswords Saga: Book One:  

Inga Alenir is a Swordbearer. She is the latest in a long line of women to inherit a magical weapon called Deathbringer. She’s also dead, murdered on her wedding day by the ruthless and covetous noblewoman Yenda Avard, who steals the sword after killing Inga and her entire family.

And yet, some secrets won’t stay buried. Deathbringer has a will and a consciousness of its own, and even has the power to raise Inga from the dead for a short time. It warns her that she has one week to find and retrieve the sword before death reclaims her—permanently. With each day bringing her doom and final demise ever closer, Inga will have to see just how far she’s willing to go to achieve her vengeance.

Deathbringer: The Spellswords Saga: Book One is a compositional mix between the violent, grisly hunt for revenge in the film THE NIGHTINGALE and the tale of Vasher and his talking sword Nightblood in Brandon Sanderson’s WARBREAKER. Fans of dark fantasy, of tragic love stories and tales about seeking revenge against long odds will enjoy this debut novel by Blake Carpenter in the world of Agareth where a scorned, young widow fights back against the powerful elites that wronged her, and begins a journey that might turn the entire world against her.

 

Deathbringer: The Spellswords Saga: Book One was a winner of Upstream Reviews “Best of 2023” Golden Raygun Award. “Those who like tales of revenge with protagonists who do not lose their humanity or become permanently obsessed by it will enjoy this book. Anyone who wants to see other cultures portrayed in new settings and new ways will find it entertaining as well.”

 

Excerpt:

I felt every eye on me. I hated being the center of attention, even on my own wedding day. Fighting against every instinct and the screaming voice in my head, I swallowed and forced myself to let my mother take my hand while we both stepped away from Pyotr. “Here we are,” I said.

Yenda motioned to me, beckoning impatiently. “Come here, child,” she said. “You and your mother.”

Now, I didn’t really want to obey—Yenda couldn’t have been much older than I was, and talking to a new bride in such a manner on her own wedding day was downright insulting. Even so, I bit my tongue. We walked together, even though Mother was much calmer about it than I was.

We stopped together, several steps from Yenda’s horse. “I’m Ilyan Ivanova,” my mother said, still radiating calm and composure.

“And your daughter?” the noblewoman said.

“Inga,” Mother said. “First Daughter of our family.”

I blinked at her choice of title: a First Daughter had authority, influence. Women like Yenda Avard, who bore such titles, carried the prestige of an entire family or clan behind her, enough to command the whole group of soldiers who’d accompanied her. I had no such upbringing or influence to speak of. Of course, after what she’d said about our family, a family I hadn’t even known existed until a short while ago—

“And what family is that?” Yenda said. Behind her, one of the soldiers’ horses nickered.

Mother’s smile was small. “Ivanova is our family name. We’re lowly farmers, with little to lay claim to besides that.” A day ago—an hour ago—I would’ve believed my mother’s words without a second’s hesitation. But what sort of family would own such a weapon as the one I’d seen? The look on her face was one of total control, unblinking in the face of Yenda Avard’s intensity.

“…Quite.” Yenda seemed to ponder my mother’s words for a moment, then reached into one of her saddlebags and pulled out a small item in her gloved hands, a pendant or necklace of some kind. I watched her open it, then as she looked at whatever was inside, back at me, then back and forth several times. “You,” she said to me, “come here.”

I hesitated. “Why?”

Yenda’s look was flat and unfriendly. “Come. Here.”

At that, I pressed my lips tight together and blew out a long, slow breath as I stepped up next to Yenda’s horse. “What is it?”

“Let me take a look at you,” Yenda said as she pulled off one of her gloves; her skin looked clammy, like she’d been sweating inside the snug leather. When she reached out towards me, quick as a thought I grabbed her by the wrist and squeezed, stopping her before she could grab my chin—it was instinctive on my part, more reaction than conscious thought. I did not want this woman touching me, that much I knew.

I saw her eyes narrow, heard the sound of voices gasping in surprise and the noise of horses grunting and nickering in complaint as several riders reached for a weapon. Yenda and I never moved—instead, we stared at one another for a long moment as the clearing went quiet, save for a whistling spring wind. I was the first to flinch as I let her hand go before taking a half-step back again, holding my hands up in a show of surrender; even though she hadn’t truly touched me, I felt a surge of consternation and anger all the same.

But then, Yenda Avard showed me the pendant she was carrying. The piece of jewelry appeared to be very old; the metal was tarnished and stained from regular handling, showing its age. “Do you see this?” she said, still watching me with those fierce, intense eyes.

I looked. The pendant was made of bright-steel, similar to the barrette in my hair, but the pendant’s illusion showed the image of a blonde woman’s head in profile. She looked forward with a strong, decisive manner, her jaw set, focused on whatever task awaited her. In spite of how the image flickered, it still seemed looked so real that I half-expected the woman to turn and lock eyes with me.

“Who do you see there?” Yenda said, voice quivering with anticipation of my answer.

It wasn’t an exact match—the figure had her hair pulled tight against her scalp, and a slightly-longer nose; she was dressed in dark-grey finery, with a black cloak and a hood lined with thick fur draped on her shoulders, as well as an iron circlet set with pearls upon her brow—but the resemblance was uncanny. “She looks…almost like me,” I said, unable to contain my surprise. Then I felt Yenda’s hand in my hair before I could get away, felt the sensation of unwanted fingertips behind my ear and the sting of lost hair as my barrette was roughly ripped away. “Ow! Hey!”

There was a new humming in the crowd, sounds of surprise and bewilderment as the illusion faded away; even Pyotr’s eyes got a little wide as he watched my hair turn back to its natural, golden hue. I gave the noblewoman a glare that should’ve set her on fire. “Who do you think you are?”

Yenda tossed the absconded accessory away. She looked at my mother. “The girl is the uncanny image of her ancestress. The pendant and her hair color mark her as a descendant of Mad Katarina Alenir. Don’t bother denying it.” There was another, louder murmur in the crowd, sounds of fear and surprise. The noblewoman leaned in closer towards us; the shine in her eyes and the smug grin on her face made her seem like a mad thing. She lowered her voice: “Katarina’s Sword—I want it. Now.”

I looked at Mother, trying not to react even as the image of that black blade came back to my memory. I felt exposed, and had the irrational wish that I could put on a spare barrette without anyone noticing, like that would be enough to wipe everyone’s memory clean. I also wondered who Katarina Alenir was—was she the great-grandmatron Mother spoke of?

“You’re mistaken,” Mother said, still keeping a brave face. “We have nothing to admit to or deny. This is a farmstead, Mistress. You’ll find no weapons here.”

Give me the Sword,” Yenda said, leaning in even closer, lowering her voice further while putting every bit of authority she had into it. She was breathing heavily, as though ready to leap from horseback and attack us. “I won’t ask again.”

“Ask as many times as you like,” my mother said, jutting her chin out. “We cannot give what we don’t have. You’ve wasted your time by coming here.”

Yenda’s eyes got wide for the span of a heartbeat. When she sat up, she looked stiff and angry, glaring down at my mother. “Think so, do you?” Then she looked at me, rubbing the same wrist I’d grabbed; she seemed to turn thoughtful for a moment, as though considering what to do next. When she spoke, it was to the soldier sitting next to her: “Are your men prepared?”

The Avardi soldiers were shifting in their saddles, rolling their shoulders and tightening the grip on their reins. The man who appeared to be their leader took a look over his shoulder, and then turned back. “Yes, Lady,” he said, his face smooth, eyes hard.

“Good.” She looked me in the eyes. “Kill them all.”

Are you ready to see the new cover for Deathbringer: The Spellswords Saga: Book One

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I think that’s enough scrolling, don’t you? Here we go! I’m happy to present Deathbringer: The Spellswords Saga: Book One

INFO

Book/Author: Deathbringer by Blake Carpenter
Cover Artist: Miblart Book Cover Design
Genre: Dark fantasy, Gaslamp fantasy
Available formats: Paperback, eBook

Deathbringer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Blake CarpenterAbout the author

Blake Carpenter is an American author living in the southern United States. His day job is in Information Technology—mostly dealing in bits and bytes—when he isn’t helping to raise five kids or pretending to be a home contractor in order to keep his wife happy.

It is his intention to keep writing until they pry the keyboard out of his hands and nail the coffin shut. Maybe even longer, if they seal him up with one.

If this book caught your interest, be sure to add it to your Goodreads TBR or buy it from one of the links below.

Boe Kelley

By day, Boe is a seasoned Platforms Engineer, wielding his technical prowess and problem-solving acumen to tackle complex challenges. After the sun sets, he transforms into an avid reader, perpetually embarking on literary journeys to far-flung corners of the imagination. When he's not traversing fictional realms, Boe channels his creativity and pushes his physical and mental limits through his passions for cars, music, and martial arts. Boe's infectious positivity and cheerful demeanor infuse everything he does, making him a beacon of enthusiasm and expertise. His unwavering support for Indie Authors has earned him a well-deserved reputation as a champion of the literary underdog.

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