David B. Coe

Author of Fantasy Novels and the Occasional Short Story

The Sorcerers' Plague

From the jagged, snow-capped peaks of the Aelind Range and the Djindsamme Mountains, to the verdant woodlands of Tordjanne and the Berylline Forest; from the frothing currents of the Silverwater Wash, to the crystal waters of the great Ofirean Sea; from the hard, open plains of the Fal'Borna, to the fertile farmlands of Qosantia, the Southlands are a place of dramatic landscapes and hardworking, industrious people. But for nearly a thousand years, the Southlands were known less for their rivers and hills than for their wars.

Century after century, the Qirsi, white-haired, yellow-eyed, sorcerers who possess powerful magic, fought a series of deadly wars against the Eandi. The cost to both sides was great. Their battles scarred the land and left a residue of suspicion and prejudice that persists to this day. But finally, a hundred and fifty years ago, the war-weary leaders of both races agreed to a peace that, though fragile, has lasted ever since.

Into this world of both beauty and tension come Grinsa jal Arriet, Cresenne ja Terba, and their daughter, Bryntelle. They seek a new home, a chance to begin their lives again, after having survived a war in their native Forelands -- a war in which they both played substantial roles, a war that could not have been won without them. But they soon find that peace and happiness are difficult to find in a land that seems to be searching constantly for its next conflict, and they are drawn into politics and rivalries they only barely understand.

In the northern reaches of Stelpana, one of the Eandi sovereignties, live the Mettai -- Eandi farmers and traders who are skilled in the ways of blood magic. They are feared by other Eandi and mistrusted by the Qirsi, and so they live their lives quietly, on their own.

Lici, an old Mettai woman, has lived her life in solitude. Twisted by a dark tragedy from her youth, she is an outcast in her village of Kirayde. But when she suddenly leaves her village without explanation, strange things start to happen. A terrible pestilence begins to spread through the Southlands, striking only at Qirsi villages, and though it seems unlikely, one man in Lici's village believes that the old woman's disappearance and this outbreak of the sorcerers' plague are related. This man, Besh, begins to delve into Lici's past seeking an explanation for her disappearance and a way to combat the pestilence she has created.

Grinsa and Besh, though they have never met, soon find themselves pursuing the same goal. They must find Lici and undo her terrible curse before the people they love most in the world are destroyed by it.

The Sorcerers' Plague is the critically acclaimed first volume of Blood of the Southlands.

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*****

Praise for The Sorcerers' Plague, book I of Blood of the Southlands

"Coe follows the Winds of the Forelands series with this absorbing trilogy opener set across the sea in the Southlands.... Fans will cheer on Forelands series hero Grinsa, a powerful but pacifist Qirsi, who ties the two series together....." -- Publishers' Weekly

"The Southlands are as highly detailed as the Forelands of Coe's five-volume Winds of the Forelands. The characters, especially the old searcher, are extremely well drawn. Those who enjoyed Coe before should like him again, and since one need not have read Winds to figure out anything in the first book of Blood of the Southlands, newcomers can jump right in." -- Booklist

"Book one of Coe's Blood of the Southlands series is set in a fascinating world. Characters explore issues of magic, prejudice and ignorance with extraordinary frankness. He manages to bring in characters beloved from his Winds of the Forelands series without forcing them to carry the plot. An entertaining read! Four Stars" -- Romantic Times

"...Coe weaves another saga of high drama and personal heroism that should please fans of epic fantasy. A good choice for most fantasy collections, particularly where the first series had a following." -- Library Journal

"Coe's new series is his best yet: appealing characters, twisty plot, and absorbing world....The thing that struck me while reading this book was that Coe does not settle for the comfortable fantasy archetypes that have really become stereotypes. His main character, Besh, is not young or handsome, he's old and ordinary, but he's smart, subtle, he's wise because he's experienced at life. The antagonist in this story is no Dark Lord, but someone with good reason to be twisted, who is the hero of her own story. This juxtaposition makes for the best kind of intrigue and twistiness. Add in magic, interesting cultures, and you've got a promising series. Coe just keeps getting better. " --Sherwood Smith

"The Sorcerer's Plague satisfies with sharply-drawn characters and an intense, intelligent plot. I eagerly await the next book of the Southlands." --Kate Elliott, author of Spirit Gate