David B. Coe

Author of Fantasy Novels and the Occasional Short Story

Rules of Ascension

For centuries the Forelands were disputed by warring clans. Then came an invasion from the south -- the Qirsi, physically no match for their foes, but capable of mindsight, raising and controlling mists and winds, creating fire, and bending solid matter to their purpose. After a Qirsi traitor betrayed his race to save himself, the invaders were defeated and dispersed among the seven realms of the Forelands. Those specially endowed Qirsi capable of wielding the power of all Qirsi as a single weapon, the Weavers, were put to death.

In the centuries following the Qirsi Wars, the kingdom of Eibithar grew and prospered. Governed by its Rules of Ascension, an arcane but effective set of laws that allow the major houses of the realm to share the throne, Eibithar became one of the most powerful kingdoms in all the Forelands. But in the span of just a few years, the random act of a madman and the brutal murder of a young prince have upset the fine balance of power created by the rules, and placed the House of Curgh in line for the crown.

When Tavis, heir to the dukedom, is wrongfully blamed for the killing of a noble, it sets in motion a series of events culminating in civil war. The ensuing chaos threatens to topple the throne in Eibithar and bring ruin to all the seven realms of the Forelands. Tavis, thrust into the center of deadly controversy and stripped of the protection of his family's nobility, turns to the Qirsi, the mysterious white-haired, yellow-eyed sorcerers, who are, abruptly, his last remaining hope for redemption.

But a conspiracy of Qirsi traitors, secretly fomenting fear and distrust among the dukedoms, seeks to destroy Tavis. The young lord must survive long enough to clear his name and save an entire kingdom.

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*****

Praise for Rules of Ascension, book I of Winds of the Forelands:

"Gathers momentum like a runaway moving van. . . Absorbing. . . The reader can identify with the characters as they struggle to sort through the different levels of plotting and manipulation ensnaring them. The falsely accused young man's story is just one thread of a densely woven web. . . The novel turns out to be about how uncertain experience is and how people need to find truth in the world and themselves. After this impressive opening volume, one can only hope that Coe will keep up the high standard in the remainder of a projected four-book series." — Publisher's Weekly

"Coe's world is much more intricate than that of most similar fantasy writers, and he seems to have a deeper grasp than most of the complexities of interhuman relationships. There's plenty of action as well in this promising opening sequence." -- Science Fiction Chronicle

"The author of the 'LonTobyn Chronicle'. . . begins a new fantasy epic set in a world of rival nobles, sinister mages, and a few good men and women of courage and conviction. Well- developed characters and an intriguing political background recommend this title for most fantasy collections." -- Library Journal

"A large cast of well-realized, plausible characters and world building as good as that in all but a few similar fantasies. . . Mesmerizing, highly readable fantasy." -- Booklist

"Coe wields a good clear style devoid of cliches. . . A strong opening." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This is a technically accomplished novel; polished, elegantly conceived, tightly plotted without sacrificing characterization. Coe's writing . . . reveals the artistry of an accomplished story-teller at his craft." -- StrangeHorizons.Com

"War and politics, love and magic, all drawn in detail against a vividly imagined feudal background. A complex and excellent book." -- David Drake

"Rules of Ascension is a deft weave of shining magic and darkest intrigue, basest treachery and the sweep of human destiny, set against a richly developed historical background. From the mysterious tents of the exotic Qirsi fortune-tellers to the tumultuous fields of battle, loyalties are tested, strange alliances are forged, and old powers awaken. Amid the action and color of the clash of realms, Coe's characters capture your heart. Highly recommended!" --Terry McGarry, author of Illumination

"One of the things that delights me most when reading fantasy is being shown new worlds--vivid, fascinating new places to explore, and find new adventures. In Rules of Ascension, David Coe gives us a world to remember, a world one can't help but want to know more about. I eagerly await other tales of the Forelands!" --Ed Greenwood, author of "The Band of Four Saga"