Editorial Reviews. Review. Kirkus Reviews, September 15, “Within its fantasy world, Neff makes this book a kind of in-depth consideration of war itself. Henry Neff. The Maelstrom. The world is at the brink of ruin or is it salvation? Astaroth has been weakened, and the demon Prusias is taking full advantage of . The world is at the brink of ruin or is it salvation? Astaroth has been weakened , and the demon Prusias is taking full advantage of the situation.
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Witch-fire burned at its prow, an oily plume of green flames that sputtered in the breeze and cast a spectral gleam on the dark swells. The witch was crouching near the fire like an old spider as she piloted the craft through a minefield of broken stone towers that jutted from the water. Max understood the need for caution. He was curious to see how such a ship would navigate the towers, but he was even more curious as to who was aboard and why they were here. It had been a darkly beautiful structure, a Gothic sculpture of black towers and battlements encasing gilded halls where demons held court, oversaw trade, and ensured that Rowan honored the terms of her surrender.
On May Day, Elias Bram had obliterated the embassy and fired a shot heard around the world. Max had witnessed the event, but even now it seemed a dream. It was difficult to believe that a single person was capable of such an astonishing act, much less a man who was supposed to have died centuries ago.
Max replayed the sequence in his mind. With a roar, the surrounding cliffs had broken, shearing clean away as though struck by a chisel. And during that surreal interlude, Max had realized—with awful, numbing clarity—that the world was about to change. There would be no more deliberations or debate. Shocked by this realization, a part of Max had clung to the absurd hope that the silence would continue indefinitely.
For as long as it held, they might pause to consider this momentous course. Seconds later those hopes vanished. The impact jolted people from sleep for miles around and shattered the windows in Old Tom and Maggie.
The awful din soon subsided, fading like a summer storm as the sea rushed in to swallow up the dead and dying. A shout and the sound of many footsteps snapped Max from his thoughts. They clanked along, carrying spears and lanterns as they threaded through the pines and sought to keep up with their leader, who skidded to a stop before him and promptly drew her sword.
Max merely stared, confused, as the others arrived, surrounding him and leveling their long spears, their breath fogging in the November chill. He failed to recognize a single one of the frightened, eager faces. For another, their clothes were mostly homespun and heavily patched—a ragtag array of leather jerkins, woolen leggings, and mismatched boots.
Refugees, Max guessed, and recently arrived by their appearance. She had coarse black hair and a sallow, ferretlike face. Max waited for the punch line, some clue that she was joking.
The Tapestry 4: The Maelstrom
This order was directed at a skinny youth with a tumble of red tangles peeking from beneath a worn leather cap. Glancing at the short sword and its owner, the maelstorm licked his lips like a scolded dog.
Now get his blade, Jack, and be quick about herny But I can assure you that I belong here and that none of you even wants to see this sword, much less touch it. These words exerted a powerful effect. Jack promptly backed away and stared at the weapon with superstitious awe.
But Tam remained undaunted. Pulling back his sleeve, Max revealed a tattoo upon his inner wrist. Inked in red, it necf an upraised hand wrapped with a slender cord.
Hehry twelve people bore such marks, and they were the most dangerous Agents in the world. I see his shine. I applaud your courage, but use your head. Would an intruder hang about in the open to watch the harbor?
Desiring a better view of the xebec, Max walked down to the very edge of the cliff and retrieved a weathered spyglass. His would-be captors trailed uncertainly after him, dragging their spears and muttering to one another.
Henry Neff. The Maelstrom
By now, the xebec was moored alongside the customhouse, and several remote figures could be seen hurrying about the pier. You can see her there—that dark shape by the mainmast.
The fire strengthens their weather magic. She scanned from stem to stern. The statement told Max a great deal about her. Brayma was a demon word, a title used for the lord of a fief. Some controlled vast territories and others small, but all enjoyed absolute authority over those who lived on their lands. While some braymas were indifferent to their subjects, Max knew most were tyrants whose appetites and cruelty far exceeded human norms.
Tam was undoubtedly a runaway slave.
Max had to respect anyone who had survived such a life, much less escaped and journeyed all the way to Rowan. The white pennon beneath is a sign of truce. Apparently, Prusias wants to talk. But keep your chin up. At the mae,strom, the demons fear Astaroth and each other far more than they do us. So do your duty, learn to handle that spear, and pray you never need to use it. You gotta pay a ransom or something.
With an amused grunt, Max dug into his pack and retrieved a leather pouch. Flushing pink, she studied the heartglass until Jack hooted and she threatened to brain him.
His captivity ended, Max turned for the Manse. The others followed along, peppering him with questions as his long strides took him past the academic buildings.
He was glad to see Maggie, stout and solid, her pale gray stone peeking modestly from beneath her ivy. Beyond her was Old Tom, stately and elegant with his tall clock tower and broad sweep of marble steps.
They had almost reached the Manse when Max noticed someone sitting on the edge of the fountain at its steps, watching their approach with a bemused expression. When their eyes met, the man tipped his cap. It was marlstrom to find Nolan outside the Sanctuary, but Max was glad he had.
The Maelstrom by Henry H. Neff | : Books
With a laugh, Nolan popped up and embraced him. Nolan scratched his graying side whiskers and cocked an eyebrow. Take a good look around this place, young lady.
I need a private word with him. They all want to help, but mostly they just get underfoot. Director asked me to keep a lookout for you. Been scrambling since the watchtowers caught sight of that ship. Half the Red Branch is already here. It was the largest of many additions made to the Manse as Rowan Academy evolved from a secret school of magic into an independent nation. It was engraved upon the doors: Hot water might have removed the dirt, but it could not wash away months of hard travel.
He still resembled his mother; they shared the same dark eyes and high cheekbones that had won him many an admirer. But as Max grew to manhood, the blood of his father told. Like other heroes before him, Max straddled the boundary between mortal and nenry.
Old Magic coursed in his veins—vast primal energies from ancient days when the world was shaped. During his first year at Rowan, Max shattered records that had stood for malestrom.
That very year, the Red Branch nerf inducted Max into their elite ranks while his peers were still studying basic combat. And no mortal—Red Branch or otherwise—possessed a weapon like the gae bolga. The awful blade hung at his hip, lurking in a dark scabbard gilded with wolves and ravens. The gae bolga had not always been a sword.
Many kings and warriors had tried to possess the legendary weapon, but the gae bolga screamed at their touch and would not suffer them to hold it. Centuries passed until one arrived whom the spear deemed worthy.
While Max had successfully claimed the broken artifact, he did not have the skill to mend it. With his friends, he sought the aid of his distant kinsman, the last of the ancient Fomorians. The giant confirmed what Max had feared ever since the weapon had called to him.
The gae bolga was a sentient thing, the living relic of a dark and terrible goddess. With great reluctance and difficulty, the Fomorian reforged the weapon. The gae bolga was now unbreakable, and neft gruesome blade could shear through flesh, bone, steel, and spirit with terrifying ease. The demons dreaded it.
While most mortal weapons could only cause them pain, the gae bolga could slay even the greatest among hehry. In battle, the blade keened like a banshee and the wounds it made would never heal. The Fomorian had warned that a warrior could never truly wield such a weapon; it would maelstrpm wield him. Even Max was frightened of it and kept it sheathed unless in dire need.
He had not drawn it since May Day.