Snippet from Kings

Posted: May 11th, 2010 under Contents, Kings of the North, snippet.
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With thanks for your patience in the past week as I worked on the copy edits,  here’s a snippet (again, if you don’t want any spoilers at all, don’t read beyond the “read more” link.)    This is maybe 1/5 to 1/4 of the way through the book.

The location is Cortes Vonja; the characters are Stammel and Groj, a blacksmith in Vonja and a member of the grange where Stammel has been staying.    Stammel has been going for walks with Suli, “Stammel’s Eyes,” as his guide, and he’s done indoor drill with the grange.  Now he’s marched out to the grange-field with the others…

“I’m Groj,” a voice said in front of him.  “I’m one of the smiths.  Marshal says I’m not to kill you.”

“I’d prefer not,” Stammel said.

“I’m a head taller,” Groj said.  “He said I should tell you that.”

“I could tell from your voice,” Stammel said.  He could feel his body’s adjustments, the same as always.  For a taller man, this shift.  Around him he heard other pairs moving into position.

“But I won’t let you win,” Groj said.  “I told ‘m I wouldn’t, and he said that was all right.”

“I won’t let you win, either,” Stammel said.  Just as he wondered whether pairs signaled each other some way or the Marshal started it, he heard the command.

All the pent-up emotion of the past tendays exploded as he charged.  He heard the rasp of Groj’s boots on the grass as the man tried to swing aside, but he was faster, and his arms, reaching wide, caught the man’s belt.  Pivot, yank–Groj’s big hand on his shoulder, but he already had the leverage, and Groj went down.  He rolled up quickly, caught Stammel’s arm, and then they were in grip, hands and elbows and knees, struggling for mastery.


  • Comment by Mike Andrews — May 11, 2010 @ 8:25 pm


    Awesome, Dear Captain. “Stammel’s Eyes”, indeed. Having had to be eyes for a (much beloved) wife who lost her sight, I appreciate this enormously.

    “I won’t let you win, either.”

    You caught Stammel in one marvelous sentence.


  • Comment by elizabeth — May 11, 2010 @ 8:40 pm


    The suggestion of Suli getting the nickname “Stammel’s Eyes” (later, “Eyes”) was DRW’s. I was reading that scene in Oath where she first helps him, and he said “You know what will happen–they’ll start calling her ‘Stammel’s Eyes'” and I leapt on that with all speed.

    Stammel in POV is fascinating. Paks saw him only from outside (and that one brief scene in his POV in Sheepfarmer’s Daughter where she’s in trouble unfairly.) I sort of knew, by the end of that group, that Stammel and Kolya had an understanding–but she’s on the town council and he’s active duty. I’m not sure what the understanding is.

    It’s fascinating now, when I’m watching the Pentagon Channel and there’s an interview with a sergeant in a combat unit, that I can see Stammel in some of them–not in all. Also interesting that Stammel could fit into Perez-Reverte’s Alatriste books. Quite a lot of the original Stammel came from several NCOs I knew in the Corps.

  • Comment by Rachel — May 11, 2010 @ 11:25 pm


    Stammel! I am so excited to see how he handles the blindness, and I’m happy to see that once again you don’t take the easy way out and have the problem magically whisked away. It’ll be really interesting to see how Stammel handles this huge change in his life.

    Oh, and I am so happy to be right that there is something going on between Stammel and Kolya.

  • Comment by David R Campbell — May 12, 2010 @ 7:08 am


    Blindfighting: One of my fellow sword students has made it a study topic for himself for six months. He’s actually very good.

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 12, 2010 @ 7:23 am


    Rachel: I don’t know where the “something” will lead, yet. If anywhere. Stammel is one of those characters who, though not a primary, will do what he will do and there’s nothing the writer can do about it. Similar in that way only to Barranyi–if he chooses to jump in front of a truck (or this world’s equivalent) I won’t be able to stop him. And I just can’t see him settling into the life of a blind apple-sorter in Kolya’s orchard.

    David: There will be things you like later in the book. OTOH, I wish I’d had a chance to talk with your fellow student.

  • Comment by Mike G. — May 12, 2010 @ 1:12 pm


    Speaking of Kolya, this story I saw in the news today made me think of her:

    Not exactly the same, of course, but interesting.

  • Comment by Robin S. — May 13, 2010 @ 7:05 pm


    I am so glad to know that Stammel works through the blindness. He always seemed to me to be strong caring guy. Looking out for his cohorts best interest kind of thing. Kolya, I remember her but I didn’t catch that idea that something was between them. Can’t wait till King is ready for reading by peeps like me.


  • Comment by elizabeth — May 13, 2010 @ 9:05 pm


    He’s not a quitter. But he’s also a bit of a fatalist…only he’s also been around a paladin. Lots going on inside him now. I understand from those who’ve faced traumatic changes (loss of sight, hearing, limb, mobility, etc.) that there’s always a very turbulent period, of indeterminate length, and it’s a serious challenge.

  • Comment by Elizabeth D. — May 17, 2010 @ 10:40 pm


    Awesome! Stammel is one of my favorite characters, and I was disappointed that he didn’t have captain’s training. But, even in his condition, I see great things for him. I fear for Arcolin though.

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