Darri didn’t see the ghost until he was upon her, a solid weight that dropped from the branches above and threw her sideways off the saddle. Because he was solid, she didn’t realize at first that he was dead. She hit the ground with a thud and rolled to her feet, pulling her dagger from her boot. By the time she was standing, she had already thrown it.

The dagger plunged into the man’s chest with a thunk, and he laughed at her. He was a large, ruddy man wearing a fine set of riding clothes and a short cape. As he laughed, his body slowly faded, so that even in the torchlight Darri could see the trees through him. Her dagger dropped straight down through his body and disappeared into the dark mass of ferns that covered the forest floor.

Darri’s breath twisted in her throat. Her horse — a battle-trained stallion who could face a mounted charge without flinching — neighed shrilly in terror and reared. The dead man laughed louder. He became solid again, bent to pick up her dagger, and lunged at her.

Darri’s body reacted instinctively, whirling sideways as he rushed past her. She was poised to kick the dagger out of his hand, but her mind betrayed her. Terror burned through her chest, and by the time she swallowed it, the moment had passed. The spectre’s side was no longer unguarded. He turned and came at her again, and the scent of rotting flesh filled the air.

Her attacker jerked suddenly, an expression of surprise wiping the laughter from his face. And then he was gone. When his hand vanished, Darri’s dagger dropped again. With it fell another — the blade that had been hurled into the ghost’s back. That one gleamed with the unmistakable glint of silver before it disappeared into the ferns.

Darri took a deep breath and looked up at her brother, who was leaning back in the saddle to recover from his throw. His face wore its usual unruffled expression.

Darri willed her voice steady. It didn’t quite work. “I thought the terms of our invitation specified that we bring no silver weapons.”


About the book:

In a kingdom where the living walk with the dead, a warrior princess has come to rescue her sister — but what if her sister doesn’t want to be saved?

What people are saying:

“Swordfights, blood, and double-dealing pack the pages as this action-filled story races to a surprising conclusion.” –ALA Booklist

“[F]ans will recognize the poetic style and rich characterization…Transcendent and triumphant.” –Kirkus (starred review)

Released: May 31, 2011

About the author:

Leah Cypess used to be a practicing attorney in New York and is now a full-time writer in Boston. She much prefers her current situation. She is the author of the YA high fantasy novels MISTWOOD (a Kirkus Best Books for 2010) and NIGHTSPELL (HarperCollins, May 2011), as well as of numerous short stories. You can visit her at www.leahcypess.com.