Seven years ago, reeling from a curse in the wake of battle, Gael sought sanctuary and found it in a most perilous place.
The citadel of a troll warlord—haunt of the desperate and violent—proves a harsh refuge for a civilized mage. But Gael wields power enough to create an oasis of order amidst the chaos.
Now master of the metals that flow to the citadel's weapon forges, Gael rules his tally room unchallenged, until he discovers a theft within its vaults.
Gael loves the quiet certainty of black ink tally marks on smooth parchment, but his search for the thief leads to a maze of unexpected answers, putting his hard-won sanctuary—and his life—at risk.
Set in the Bronze Age of J.M. Ney-Grimm's North-lands, The Tally Master brings mystery and secrets to epic fantasy in a suspenseful tale of betrayal and redemption.
EXCERPT FROM THE TALLY MASTER
The tally chamber was his retreat and sanctum, perfumed by the flat odor of ink threaded with a warm hint of game from the parchments.
But now . . . ?
Now an ingot of tin had gone missing. Eighty-two ingots rested in their coffers in the tin vault. There should have been eighty-three.
There remained a chance the discrepancy could be innocent. Perhaps he'd mistakenly inked one tally too many in the morning, when he released the tin ingots to the blade smithy, the armor smithy, and the privy smithy. Perhaps—in the evening—he'd omitted one tally, when he locked away the new-minted ingots from the smelters into their guarding vaults.
It could still be innocence.
But Gael didn't think so.
There was evil intent at work in this missing ingot of rare tin.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J.M. Ney-Grimm lives with her husband and children in Virginia, just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She's learning about permaculture gardening and debunking popular myths about food. The rest of the time she reads Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and Lois McMaster Bujold, plays boardgames like Settlers of Catan, rears her twins, and writes stories set in her troll-infested North-lands. Look for her novels and novellas at your favorite bookstore—online or on Main Street.