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The shadow of Ararat

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Excerpt

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 air trembled 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

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312865436
Subtitle:
Book One of 'The Oath of Empire'
Author:
Harlan, Thomas
Publisher:
Tor Fantasy
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
History
Subject:
Fantastic fiction
Subject:
Fantasy - Epic
Subject:
Fantasy - Historical
Subject:
Rome
Subject:
Rome History Fiction.
Subject:
Alternative histories
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series:
Tor Fantasy
Series Volume:
No. 1 of 4
Publication Date:
20000515
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
816
Dimensions:
9.6 x 6.1 x 1.575 in 1.8 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Historical

The shadow of Ararat Used Hardcover
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Product details 816 pages Tom Doherty Associates,1999. - English 9780312865436 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
In what would be A.D. 600 in our history, the Roman Empire still stands, supported by the twin pillars of 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 necromantic sorceries.

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