Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Quartz (The Sunless World, Book 1) by Rabia Gale

Release date: September 13, 2015
Subgenre: Epic fantasy, science fantasy

About Quartz


A sunless world. The lost Tower of Light. And the race to find it.

Rafe Grenfeld, diplomat and spy, has problems.

He’s just learned of the discovery of a legendary quartz pillar: his world’s most precious resource. But his informer died before revealing its location, and Rafe’s on the run in the hostile state of Blackstone.

Once, quartz powered magical devices, but the mages who created them are long gone. Now, veins of quartz give light to a dying world, and Rafe has competition.

Karzov, the notorious chief of Blackstone’s secret police, is also hunting for the pillar. Determined to claim it for his own country, Rafe forms an uneasy alliance with the mysterious and maddening Isabella. As dangerous magical artifacts resurface and dark forces close in, Rafe must tap into the lost powers of the mages to find and secure the quartz—before his world is torn apart by famine and war.



“Here!” shrieked Morvis. “He’s over here!”
“Halt! I order you, in the name of the Protector, to halt!”
Rafe, crouched over, ran blind towards the stage. Unknown things jabbed into his thighs and stomach, caught his ankles, pinched his toes. Something twanged as his foot hit it. Curses filled the air behind him.
“That way!” Morvis, shrill and indignant. “He went back…” Gunshots cracked. Rafe hunched, making himself a smaller target, and slammed into the stage. He grabbed the edge, scrambled up, and ran across. He half-fell, half-rushed down the stairs at the back.
Good thing he’d memorized a map of this place.
A headlong flight down a corridor, then down some more stairs. Acid air rasped down Rafe’s throat and scoured his lungs. His muscles burned.
Rafe tripped, rolled down the last flight of stairs and clanged into metal. Pipes—huge, rusty, long disused. Water pipes, sewer pipes, heating pipes.
The way underground.
Rafe groped, following the tangle of pipes to where they sprung out from the ground. A large grate was set in the floor. Rafe tried the latch but it was rusted shut. He jiggled the grate, but the weakened hinges still held. He found he still held the paper Berlioz had given him in one slick hand and thrust it into a pocket.
Footsteps on the stairs, light and confident. Only one person. Rafe pounded on the grate in renewed frenzy, clawed at the latch and hinges. Then he turned and rose in one swift movement, lunging at his pursuer, committing his whole body to the tackle.
He found empty air. Rafe took the fall on his shoulder and crashed into a pipe. His temple clanged against metal. Fireworks exploded in his head.
“Very good.” The voice was female, low and amused. “Now that you’ve proven you’re still full of vinegar, Grenfeld, shall we get out of here?”
Rafe fought to see past the swirl of pinprick lights in his vision. Faint light came from tiny windows set high in the wall. He made out a hand extended to help him. He took it.
A strong pull brought him to his feet. Rafe had only an instant to note that the woman was almost as tall as he was before she dropped to her heels by the grate. Four snaps and the grate protested as she shoved it aside.
“How do you know my name? Why are you helping me?” Rafe rubbed his aching shoulder.
“You really want an explanation now?”
He heard distant crashing and the sound of running footsteps. “No.”
“Then follow me.” She slipped down with boneless grace, unhesitating. Rafe took another mouthful of burning breath, hissed as pain flared in his abdominal muscles, and clambered down the iron ladder after her.
Of course, it had to crumple under his weight halfway down.


About Rabia Gale:

I break fairy tales and fuse fantasy and science fiction. I love to write about flawed heroes who never give up, transformation and redemption, and things from outer space. In my spare time I read, doodle, eat chocolate, avoid housework, and homeschool my three children.

A native of Pakistan, I grew up in hot, humid Karachi. I then spent almost a decade in Northern New England where I learned to love fall, tolerate snow, and be snobbish about maple syrup and sweet corn. I now live in Northern Virginia.


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