Kristen Ciccarelli’s Iskari series comes to a captivating end with this final companion novel to The Last Namsara. The Sky Weaver is out on November 12th from HarperTeen (US) and 14 November from Gollancz (UK)—read an excerpt below!
At the end of one world, there always lies another. Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the king of Firgaard—helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.
Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as the Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman power to move between worlds.
Now Safire and Eris—sworn enemies—find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara. From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Star Isles, their search and their stories become woven ever more tightly together as they discover that the uncertain fate they’re hurtling toward just may be a shared one. In this world—and the next.
Eris had never met a lock she couldn’t pick.
Lifting the oil lamp, she peered into the keyhole, her wheat gold hair hidden beneath a stolen morion. Its steel brim kept slipping forward, impeding her vision, and Eris had to shove it back in order to see what she was doing.
The wards inside the lock were old, and from the look of them, made by a locksmith who had cut all possible corners. Any other night, Eris would have craved the challenge of a more complicated lock. Tonight, though, she thanked the stars. Any heartbeat now, a soldat would round the corner. When they did, Eris needed to be on the other side of this door.
The lock clicked open. Eris didn’t let out her breath. Just slid her pin back into her hair, rose to her feet, and wrapped her slender fingers around the brass knob, turning slowly so as not to make a sound.
She glanced back over her shoulder. The hall lay empty. So Eris pushed open the door and stepped inside.
Holding up the lamp, its orange glow alighted on a simple desk made of dark, scuffed wood. An inkwell, a stack of white parchment, and a knife for breaking wax seals were neatly arranged on top.
Eris shut the door gently behind her. Her gaze lifted from the desk to the object hanging on the wall: a tapestry woven of blue and purple threads. The very thing she’d come for.
Eris knew this tapestry by heart. It depicted a faceless woman sitting at her loom. In one hand, she held a silver knife curved like the moon. In the other, she held a spindle. And on her head sat a crown of stars.
The god of souls.
But it wasn’t just the image that was familiar. It was the threads themselves—the particular shade of blue. The thickness of the wool and how tightly it was spun. The signature way it was woven.
The moment Eris glimpsed it from the hall two days ago, she nearly stumbled. Every morning for years, this tapestry stared down at her from stone walls flanked on either side by the sacred looms of the scrin—a temple devoted to the Skyweaver.
What was it doing here, in the dragon king’s palace, all the way across the sea?
Someone must have stolen it, she thought.
So Eris decided to steal it back.
She had some time, after all. Her captain—a heartless man named Jemsin—was currently meeting with the empress of the Star Isles. It was why he sent Eris here, to steal a jewel from the dragon king’s treasury. Not because he needed the money. No. He needed Eris out of sight while the empress and her Hounds came aboard his ship—for his sake as much as hers. If it was ever found out that Jemsin harboured the very criminal the empress had been hunting these seven long years, it would mean death for both Eris and her captain.
But Eris had already stolen the king’s jewel. And she still had a day before needing to report to Jemsin’s protégé.
She had some time to waste.
So here she was, wasting it. Eris pushed herself away from the closed door and set the oil lamp down on the dark wood of the desk. The moment her gaze lifted to Skyweaver, there was that sharp shock she’d felt two days ago. Memories of warmth, friendship, and belonging flooded her . . . quickly followed by feelings of terror, grief, and betrayal.
She narrowed her eyes.
“I’m not doing this for you,” she told the god as she reached to untie the tapestry from where it hung on the wall. “As far as I’m concerned, you’re a traitor and a fraud.” She kept her voice low, knowing the security had been doubled since the king’s jewel went missing two nights ago. “I’m doing this for the ones you betrayed.”
Eris no longer believed in Skyweaver, god of souls. But the one who’d woven this tapestry believed in her—and he’d died for that belief. So, lifting it down from the wall, Eris rolled it up tight, then tucked it carefully under her arm. As she did, she plucked the gray, spiny scarp thistle from the pocket of her stolen uniform. Careful not to prick herself on its thorns— which were poisonous—she set it down on the desk.
In some ways, the signature was more for Eris than the ones she stole from. A way of proving to herself that she did, in fact, exist. She might live an invisible life, but she was still here. Still alive.
Excerpted from The Sky Weaver, copyright © 2019 by Kristen Ciccarelli