First-Fifty Spoiler Space

Posted: February 10th, 2012 under Spoiler Space.

I can see the bubbles of desire to talk about the book.  I deeply sympathize (yes, in that way) so here is a spoiler space for that purpose.  HOWEVER…those of you who got the whole book early may NOT mention anything past the end of what’s posted online.  OK?  We don’t want uncivil wars around here.

Spoiler Space Rules:  If you don’t want any spoilers, DO NOT READ below the break, and DO NOT READ any comments to this thread.  You  have been warned.  Spoilers are roaming around loose and unconfined on the other side of the fence,  so if you venture beyond the break, you will find some.   Those of you who don’t mind a bit, having read the first 50 pages online, or not, are free to have encounters with loose spoilers.

Still here?   Now you’re in Spoiler Space.   Here Be Spoilers.   Right out in the open, flaunting their Spoilerishness.   (Well, not actually.  I’m not going to put any spoilers in the original post–they’ll be in the comments.  Maybe.   But a final warning:  Comments to this post may and probably will contain spoilers.  If you slip up now, only the first 50 pages are likely to be spoilered.   But if you slip up week after next…you might run into any kind of Spoiler.   So don’t.  Practice in the shallow end.   Don’t read the comments if you don’t like spoilers.

I’ll post a Spoiler Space for the whole book  on the book’s release date.


  • Comment by Chris in South Jersey — February 10, 2012 @ 4:16 pm


    I just blew through the first 50 pages and cannot wait unit I get the rest of the book!

  • Comment by Mike G — February 10, 2012 @ 6:00 pm


    The first 50 made me want to preorder the book.

    Only problem is, I’d done that already 🙂

    But yes, definitely looking forward to the rest!

  • Comment by Richard — February 10, 2012 @ 6:28 pm


    My cue for the one I prepared months ago

    There’s a man from Verella wears black,
    Who free-stealers don’t want on their track,
    Though himself “not a thief”,
    In that Guild he’s a chief,
    And their ill-gotten swag he takes back.

  • Comment by Mike G — February 10, 2012 @ 7:02 pm


    Nice one, Richard!

  • Comment by Roberta — February 10, 2012 @ 7:29 pm


    I am so glad you gave us the 12 days of Christmas backstory that fed into the first 50 pages I read today. Too bad we don’t know how Arvid got into his enemies hands. This is a wonderful gift of a story and it’s just the beginning. How I can’t wait for the book and the others to follow.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 10, 2012 @ 7:47 pm


    Roberta: “At last it can be told”. Well…Arvid, you recall, was over in Fin Panir, and set out on the trail of the necklace with Dattur. They thought they might be catching up with the thief, and instead found a body, unrecognizable thanks to the killers and the, um, scavengers. (And just today I read an actual study of American black vultures and how they go after a human body. I guessed right. Love it when that happens.) They were on the south trade road, and when they came to Fiveway, Arvid took a chance that the second thief had taken the necklace to the Thieves’ Guild in Verella. Besides, he wanted to check in on his people. Everything seemed to be going pretty well, so he told his second (Arvid, lad, you should never have trusted someone with a Liart tattoo no matter what he said!) he was on the trail of the necklace for the Marshal-General. His second sent a courier to Valdaire, to the Guild there, telling that Guildmaster of the Marshal-General’s letter. So Arvid waltzed in, all Arvid-like and suave, surprised to see that Valdaire had a new Guildmaster but not worried, because he had the same kind of medallion himself. Only…it wasn’t that simple.

    Jenn: You’re welcome (and glad to hear the weird links vanished.)

    Xany: Good–my work here is done (until the 21st)

    Richard: LOVE the verse! Thank you!

  • Comment by Richard — February 10, 2012 @ 9:22 pm


    Elizabeth: LOVE the book! Thank you!

    I could not read through those fifty pages without stopping part-way to cry. I hope your tongue has recovered from when you had to bite it at Christmas (when everyone was cheering Vardan on but you knew what was coming).

  • Comment by rowanmdm — February 11, 2012 @ 1:31 am


    I was so upset when Vardan got killed! I really liked her and was looking forward to getting to know her better. ~Sigh~ I should have known better.

    I thought Arian’s concerns about being queen were interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she grows into the role and what duties she and Kieri figure out for her.

  • Comment by ellen — February 11, 2012 @ 3:13 am


    rowanmdm, I was really upset about that too. But we were warned: some people die, some don’t, (and it’s never those you don’t care about), not there are too many of them that I can think of…

    Can’t wait to read the rest, hope it arrives before our holiday, that will make for a perfect cruise. Thanks, Elizabeth, and for those Christmas snippets too.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 11, 2012 @ 8:31 am


    rowanmdm: I was upset, too. (Writers sometimes cry while writing, did you know?) But…she was what she was, and thus a person who would put herself in that danger, and would see it as her duty–which she was proud to do.

    ellen: I, too, hope it arrives before your cruise. A close thing, huh? Um…perhaps I should take care to kill some people you don’t care about? (fictionally only, of course.)

  • Comment by boballab — February 11, 2012 @ 11:18 am


    The thing about Vardan’s death that is resonating with us, is that we have read the backstory of all she went through. If you read those same passages but without knowing that backstory, Vardan’s death will not be that major.

    To the majority of readers that buy the book they will only see the little blurb of what she and her troops went through. So when she dies they wouldn’t have developed an emotional attachment to the character.

    Maybe ‘Vardan’s Tale’ could be turned into a short story that could end up in an anthology series sometime?

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 11, 2012 @ 12:22 pm


    boballab: I was planning to put the 12 snippets back together on the Paksworld website, but perhaps they should be a standalone e-release? Opinions on that?

    I have time to do the one, but not the other, in the next few weeks.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — February 11, 2012 @ 12:44 pm


    What a boring set of books 😉

    This from the history web page:

    “For the duration of the stories, the coinage of the Guild League and the northern states will not change. ”

    A great fantasy epic with no social economic upheaval? All the kings and kingdoms will survive intact. ….mmmmm…..


  • Comment by elizabeth — February 11, 2012 @ 1:03 pm


    Tch-tch-tch. That’s not exactly what I said.

    Anyway, predictions are always (almost always–see what I mean?) conditional on what the Story tells me when I write it.

  • Comment by Jenn — February 11, 2012 @ 3:06 pm


    Has anyone ever told Arvid you can’t out run the hound of heaven?

    I think that the stand alone e-release first would reach more readers. Most of us have read it here. That said, I think it would be great to have the small stand-alone stories attached to the web site for easy access. Will you ever write one about the Marshal-General’s first six months of yoemancy. I have always wondered what she was alluding to.

  • Comment by boballab — February 11, 2012 @ 3:33 pm


    Like Jenn @ 15 I would go with the e-release for same reasons:

    1) Probably most of the people that regularly check the blog all ready read it when it was posted. This way it would have a chance to reach a different audience that doesn’t read the blog.

    2) That different audience would probably be much greater.

  • Comment by tuppence — February 11, 2012 @ 4:56 pm


    e-release definitely. That way I could have it on the kindle to fondle it.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 11, 2012 @ 5:05 pm


    The problem is, that’s the version that I don’t have time to do anytime soon. I’m already “late” starting Book V, and I’ve got other writing-related chores that make my time nonexistent for the next month at least. Oh, well.

  • Comment by Kristen — February 11, 2012 @ 6:14 pm


    I have already read the released 50 pages twice and can hardly wait for the official release!

    I found it very interesting that Kieri could communicate with the dragon in such a similar fashion to the way Gird and Falk communicate with their followers

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — February 11, 2012 @ 7:52 pm


    @Kristen 19
    That just goes to show that Kieri IS important and he’s only just starting to come to understand the true extent of his talents as a true half-elven king.

    @Elizabeth 14
    I was just quoting you from the sentence above the “Money” section on the history page. I found that interesting. It’s why I posted it here. 😉 Didn’t think that was necessarily the case.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 11, 2012 @ 8:34 pm


    Yes, that’s a quote, and it was advice to myself. Back when I started on this group, I’d been reading a lot on medieval and Renaissance economics, trade routes, monetary policy, etc. and had been fascinated. But in every book I’ve had to scale that back (including in IV) because it’s so tempting to show off the research instead of Tell The Story. If I make changes in the background for the sake of showing off that I know how such changes occur, and what happens then, we’re dragged off The Story into Author’s New Fascination. Probably the coinage won’t change in the time of Book V because a) it takes longer if you don’t mint new coins for every change in government (and Tsaia, for instance, does not change the coins for every king), and b) if I do that, it will introduce little ripples of subplots that will bloat the thing until I need five more books. They will fascinate some people and annoy more. (And if I do it, Editor is likely to cut it. At least, FormerEditors did, like the one who said “You may be that interested in fly-fishing, but your readers aren’t.”)

  • Comment by ellen — February 12, 2012 @ 12:47 am


    I also rather enjoyed Arvid’s experience with Gird speaking to him.. Poor guy, beaten up, naked and unarmed and then Gird messing with his head.

  • Comment by Mollie Marshall — February 12, 2012 @ 5:15 am


    I thought having the first 50 pages to read, re-read and generally wallow in would tide me over till publication day, but no – the effect lasted only 24 hours, and I’m now just as itchy as before for the full book.

    It’s true that even the umpteenth re-reading will provide more insights and questions, even if you decide in the end that your original interpretation is correct.

    Arvid is going to have a trying time if Gird makes him the instrument of saving the Thieves’ Guild, especially with the voice in his head! What would a redeemed (not-a-)thief do for a living? Set up a branch office for minor crime in Lyonya?

    I’ve already spliced together Vardan’s story from the snippets and uploaded it to my e-reader. It hangs together very well as a short story, and I’m sure would be appreciated by a wider audience.

  • Comment by Richard — February 12, 2012 @ 6:28 am


    boballab (#11): The little blurb from Vardan in the book is enough without the backstory snippets. It is right that we mourn someone like her, doing what she’d done.

    (Do that many “snippets” together make a “snip”?) Elizabeth, if an e-release means you can get paid (however little) for it then go ahead, you deserve it. Even though, if it hadn’t already appeared in the blogs, then a Kindle-less dinosaur like me would never see it. (No, that’s not right – if I’m a dinosaur, then what does that make my aunt, a wonderful woman, who has and wants no internet?) Is there a missing 13th part you can now release – if you ever get the time – about something that happened on Vardan’s last day’s march, after the farm, to join Kieri?

  • Comment by LouiseH — February 13, 2012 @ 2:50 am


    I missed the 50 pages online, but I did already get the book here in Holland last Friday. I rushed through the book till 4AM on Saturday morning and will start a leisurely reread. I really, really hated Vardan dying (having read the 12 parts and faithfully copy pasted them into one doc to print and put in book III), I thought she had great potential as a character, was certainly in for promotion, but that’s life. Death never only touches the ones you do not care for but also the ones you’d like to keep forever and ever.

    Elizabeth, thanks for another wonderful book (you were not kidding when you said something like the book was a hinge, boy is it ever!).

    The only problem is, there’s another year to wait to see how it goes on.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — February 13, 2012 @ 7:59 am


    Upon further reflection I realized that we now have a better idea of what may have occurred deep in Blackbone Hill when the gnomes asked Gird to lead the mages there.


  • Comment by elizabeth — February 13, 2012 @ 9:34 am


    Yup. Next week I’ll open the main SpoilerSpace thread for those of you with the whole book, remember.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 13, 2012 @ 9:42 am


    LouiseH: That’s so true about characters the writer “loses” but had hoped to keep. Years before I wrote the first Paks book, I read one of Madeleine L’Engle’s books of essays. She commented on this very difficulty. The work, she insisted, made demands that the writer had to meet or falsify the whole. She had tried to explain that to her kids when she’d killed of a character they really liked. I remember in Sheepfarmer’s Daughter trying to figure out a way to save Saben and Canna…who were two of my favorite secondary characters as well as Paks’s friends. Finally realized that no, I couldn’t–the story would’ve been weakened. Barranyi was another–I wanted her to change, so I could keep her–but I couldn’t.

  • Comment by lance_work — February 13, 2012 @ 7:42 pm


    Where can I find the 50 pages?

    Thank you!

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 13, 2012 @ 7:51 pm


    That was in an earlier post. I don’t know how long they leave ’em up, so if you don’t see it, the publisher has taken it down. Release date is Feb 21, a week from this Wednesday. For those in easy driving distance of Austin, there’s an event at BookPeople (6th & Lamar) on Friday, Feb 24, at 7 pm.

  • Comment by tuppence — February 13, 2012 @ 11:12 pm


    Authors who *never* let sympathetic characters die loose points with me. They inevitably have to distort the story into a pretzel to keep all the people that they have fallen in love with alive. I destroys the secondary reality of a well told tale.
    That said, I have been known to gnash my teeth and even scream when one of my favorites dies. The last book by Tamora Pierce did that. It was right for the plot, but so sad….
    I’m counting the days.

  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — February 14, 2012 @ 8:13 am


    One of the saddest things Dickens ever wrote, and he even said it in the book, was when Dombey lost his son. I would not like to see Paks or Keiri die, but few of the other characters ought to be immortal.

  • Comment by Genko — February 14, 2012 @ 10:07 am


    I missed the first 50 pages when it was first posted — confusing the title with one I had already read, I think. But I did go back and find it, and have read it twice already. Book is supposed to arrive here next week, and I’m looking forward to it.

  • Comment by NancyNew — February 14, 2012 @ 12:00 pm


    I’ve been re-reading the initial trilogy and vols I and II in prep. I’ll be travelling through Monday–but I don’t suppose my copy will have arrived on Tuesday, since Monday is a USPS holiday. I have the PC Kindle application–I’m thinking I may have to actually purchase my first commercial Kindle ebook–to go with all the Project Gutenberg ones I’ve downloaded.

  • Comment by Richard — February 15, 2012 @ 9:55 am


    Echoes sighted in UK

    … in my local Waterstones, so I guess it is out in all of them nationwide.

  • Comment by s.e. — February 16, 2012 @ 6:32 pm


    Those 50 pages were still up today:) I downloaded them yesterday and then sent my dh the link today. I finished them already, far too quickly. My dh didn’t read the holiday snippets about Vardan, he doesn’t read blogs very often, so he won’t know the backstory on that. I can’t wait to read the entire book.

  • Comment by Jenn — February 16, 2012 @ 8:18 pm


    Late entry question.

    One my second reading I was struck with the thought. Do the bones ever argue among themselves? What if a Mother and daughter were always at odds in life. Would they be at odds in death or in bones?

  • Comment by Jennifer — February 16, 2012 @ 11:10 pm


    Regarding the Christmas snippets and ebooks – if you don’t have time to format an ebook version, I’d be happy to do it. I’ve been reformatting project Gutenberg books for my Kindle recently, to get the table of contents to work properly, and I can easily prepare multiple format versions.

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