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Return to Honor

by Brian McClellan

Publication Date—Jan 06, 2015

Captain Vlora is a powder mage in the Adran army. Once the favored, adopted daughter of the field marshal, she is now a pariah amongst those she called her family. Her superior officers would like nothing more than to send her to a far off posting and forget about her, but no one is exempt when there is a war – and powder mages are desperately needed.

When a traitorous guard captain goes on the run with information that could harm the war effort, Vlora is sent on his trail. She has three days to find him; she will have to make new friends and test the limits of her skills. Fail, and good soldiers will die. Succeed and maybe, just maybe, she can begin to work her way back into the field marshal’s good graces.

A new story set in the world of the Powder Mage trilogy, the most acclaimed and action-packed new epic fantasy series in recent years. RETURN TO HONOR takes place directly following the events of book one, Promise of Blood.

Word count: 12,000.


Captain Vlora stood the first honor watch over the grave of her fallen comrade. She could feel the cool breeze of a summer storm blowing away the heat of the day. The small graveyard with its high brick walls cast deep shadows in the moonlight, but a sprinkling of black powder on her tongue gave her cat-like vision. Powder mage sorcery enhanced her senses, calmed her nerves, sharpened her reflexes, but right now she just wished it would help her forget. Vlora wore her dress uniform–dark Adran blues with silver buttons, red trim, and a silver powder keg pin. Her rifle rested on her shoulder, a pistol and sword at her belt, and arms and shoulders at attention. The breeze tugged at her black hair, pulled back in a tight braid. The gravestone was a marble monolith nearly six feet tall, tapered to be slightly thinner at the top. It bore a stamp in the likeness of her own powder keg pin and the name Special Commander Sabon. She felt a grimace cross her face. Sabon. The man who, nine years ago, had first noticed her as a little orphan girl with an unnatural inclination toward guns, and had directed Field Marshal Tamas to seek her out. The man who had been like an uncle to her–a little distant, like Tamas himself, but always willing to show her a new trick with gunpowder or step between the roles of a friend or a superior officer as was needed. She could still remember looking out the window of her carriage and seeing the first shot of the ambush blow Sabon’s brains across the gravel drive of Charlemund’s villa. She could close her eyes and hear the screams of soldiers caught in the initial volley, remember how her heart had thundered in her ears as she fled, dragging a wounded soldier toward cover. She wished that Charlemund had not been captured. That he was still out there so she could find him and wrap her fingers around his throat and make him suffer for all the lives his betrayal had cost.

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