Today I have an excerpt from Steven Erikson’s new novella The Wurms of Blearmouth—and three copies of it to give away! I haven’t read this book yet, but I have read and enjoyed the first two novellas set in the universe of Malazan Book of the Fallen. I hope you enjoy the excerpt, and you can fill out the form at the end to enter to win a copy!
The Wurms of Blearmouth
By Steven Erikson
Excerpt: Pages 7-10
“Behold!” Arms spread wide and braced against the wind, Lord Fangatooth Claw the Render paused and glanced back at Scribe Coingood. “See how this bold perch incites me to declamation, Scribe?” His narrow, hawkish features darkened. “Why are you not writing?”
Scribe Coingood wiped a drip from his nose, worked his numb fingers for a moment, and then scratched out the one word onto the tablet. Here atop the high tower, it was so cold that the wax on the tablet had chipped and flaked beneath the polished bone point of his scribe. He could barely make out the word he had just written, and the biting ice in his eyes didn’t help matters. Squinting against the buffeting wind, he hunched down, pulling tighter his furs, but that did nothing to ease his shivering.
He cursed his own madness that had brought him to West Elingarth’s Forgotten Holding. He also cursed this insane sorcerer for whom he now worked. He cursed this rotting keep and its swaying tower. He cursed the town below: Spendrugle of Blearmouth was a hovel, its population cowering under the tyranny of its new lord. He cursed the abominable weather of this jutting spur of land, thrashed by the wild ocean on three sides on most days, barring those times when the wind swung round to howl its way down from the north, cutting across the treeless blight that stretched inland all the way to yet another storm-wracked ocean, six days distant. He cursed his mother, and the time when he was seven and looked in on his sister’s room and saw things—oh, what was the point? There were plenty of reasons a man had to curse, and with infernal intimacy he knew most of them.
His dreams of wealth and privilege had suffered the fate of a lame hare on the Plain of Wolves, chewed up and torn to bits; and the wind had long since taken away those tattered remnants: the tufts of blood-matted fur, the wisps of white throat-down, and the well-gnawed splinters of bone. All of it gone, scattered across the blasted landscape of his future.
Chewing on the end of his graver, Coingood considered setting that description down in his secret diaries. A lame hare on the Plain of Wolves. Yes, that’s me all right … was that me or my dreams, that hare? Never mind, it’s not like there’s a difference. Not when he was huddled here atop the tower, miserably subject to his lord’s whim, and Hood knew, a manic, eye-gleaming whim it was.
“Have you written it down now, Scribe? Gods below, if I’d known you were so slow I would never have hired you! Tell me, what did I say? I’ve forgotten. Read it back, damn you!”
“M-m-master, y’said … er … ‘Behold!’”
“Is that it? Didn’t I say anything more?”
“S-s-something ’bout a bold p-p-perch, M-m-milord.”
Lord Fangatooth waved one long-fingered, skeletal hand. “Never mind that. I’ve told you about my asides. They’re just that. Asides. Where was I?”
The lord faced outward again, defiant against the roaring seas, and struck a pose looming ominously over the town. “Behold! Oh, and note my widespread arms as I face this wild, whore-whipped sea. Oh, and that wretched town directly below, and how it kneels quivering like an abject slave. Note, too, the grey skies, and that fierce colour of … grey. What else? Fill the scene, fool!”
Coingood started scratching furiously on the tablet.
Watching him, Fangatooth made circular, tumbling motions with one hand. “More! Details! We are in the throes of creativity here!”
“I b-b-beg you, m-m-milord, I’m j-j-just a s-s-scribe, n-n-not a poet!”
“Anyone who can write has all the qualifications necessary for artistic genius! Now, where was I? Oh, right. Behold!” He fell silent, and after a long, quivering moment, he slowly lowered his arms. “Well,” he said. “That will do for now. Go below, Scribe, and stoke up the fires and the implements of torture. I feel in need of a visit to my beloved brother.”
Coingood hobbled his way to the trapdoor.
“Next time I say ‘Behold!’,” Fangatooth said behind him, “don’t interrupt!”
“I w-w-won’t, M-m-milord. P-p-promise!”
Copyright © 2012 by Steven Erikson
Courtesy of Tor Books, I have three copies of The Wurms of Blearmouth to give away! Residents of the US are eligible to win.
Giveaway Rules: To be entered in the giveaway, fill out the form below OR send an email to kristen AT fantasybookcafe DOT com with the subject “Wurms Giveaway.” One entry per person and three winners will be randomly selected. Those from the US are eligible to win this giveaway. The giveaway will be open until the end of the day on Friday, July 18. Each winner has 24 hours to respond once contacted via email, and if I haven’t heard from them by then a new winner will be chosen (who will also have 24 hours to respond until someone gets back to me with a place to send the book).
Please note email addresses will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winners. Once the giveaway is over all the emails will be deleted.
Update: Now that the giveaway is over, the form has been removed.