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LR Saul

Emme, illegitimate daughter of a woman who hates and beats her, longs to run away
from her primitive, barbaric village.

When a stranger appears in her forest and entices her to run away with him to his home, the great city, she agrees. Abruptly a black portal opens up. Thrust into the portal, she finds herself in an alien city on the other side of the world.

Realising she has been tricked, Emme flees into the vast grey maze and finds a world
full of enemies – relentless enemies who would turn her in for the hefty price on her

Alone, vulnerable, and longing for the reason she is here, Emme does not know who to
trust. Can she trust the cunning street rats and their secretive gentleman leader? The
deadly magic-wielding priests who long ago lost their innocence when they enacted a
sinister ritual of human sacrifice? The stranger who risked everything to bring her here and has put the price on her head? The powerful, corrupt underground organisation of the Black Bands? Or maybe, in a bleak wintry city of strangers and a dark past, Emme can only rely upon herself and her quest for the truth.

ISBN 9781921479168

Glass House Books

Release date: 15.05.09

RRP: AU $32.95
402 pp, paperback
NZ $36.95  
US $22.95
CAN $25.95
UK £15.95

“She does it to me every time! LR Saul gets her hooks into you in the first few pages and you just have to keep going . . . She draws you into the mystery and you can’t escape until the last page.”

“This book will teach you to hope again. Read it and you will feel what the characters feel; you can’t help it. A fantastic book that is different to other fantasy novels because it is brimming with humanity and our imperfections, but also with the inner strength that can drive us. LR Saul shows us just how beautiful that inner strength can be in this unforgettable and enduring tale of powerful forces and mere mortals.”

“It was so easy to immerse myself in this book. The characters were so realistic; the book full of all the elements that make a great fantasy. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. The suspense kept me going right to the last page. I found myself desperate to get to the end, to find out what was going to happen, and yet when I got there, I was sad to say goodbye to the characters. The sequel, I can assure you, is eagerly awaited.”




Following a Bachelor of Arts English Literature and Diploma of Journalism, LR Saul has been involved in just about every form of writing, editing and journalism in the ten years since. Her greatest writing passion has always been fantasy novels, and she has been writing fantasy for the pure love of it since she was eight years old.

She lives in Melbourne with her husband and son.



Emme knelt cautiously to the soil, traced a fingertip around the fresh imprint. The unusual footprints appeared frequently now and closer to the village. Whoever circled had not yet found what he or she looked for.
   He, Emme decided. The footprints were too large, too heavy, to be a woman’s.
    Emme stood, scanned the area, eyes narrowed. Although the forest looked recently disturbed, the source remained illusive. How could anyone carelessly leave an imprint and trail, yet be so hard to find?
   Emme followed the trail onward. It led to an aged tree trunk, the roots spreading with a partial rise from the earth. There the prints stopped as though the owner had been absorbed into the tree. The cinnamon tang of bark and acorns filled the air, but no remnant of a campfire or cooking.
   Emme tilted her head back, strained eyes upward. Surely the mystery man had not climbed the enormous oak and stayed there. No scuffle marks on the trunk indicated boots had clambered up the tree, and no recently displaced leaves carpeted the grass, felled from human movements within the expansive, solid branches.
    Emme peered around the tree, careful to note all signs of recent movement. Only animal trails, some fresh, others long abandoned, spread from the shadowed side of the tree. Again she knelt. She selected a small piece of grassless earth from inside the footprint and raised it to her nose, sniffed once. An unknown animal-skin boot had made the print, and the tread remained unfamiliar to her. This stranger came from no village nearby.
   A squirrel shot past her boots and up the trunk of the tree. Halfway it stopped, peered at her curiously, then scampered into
the thick of the leaves.
    Emme frowned, deeply puzzled. The trail could not possibly have just vanished, yet it always did. No matter how far she followed it, eventually it ended in a void.
    Damn him. Emme scowled, kicked the trunk of the tree.
   She turned to go home and flicked a glance at the sun. The end of the day neared, and Wendaya would berate Emme for their lack of supper. Not unusual; Wendaya would always find something to abuse Emme for. If not for a lack of food, it would be the first thing that came to mind, perhaps even some lie Wendaya had been fed.
   Emme broke into a run and flew down the forest trail. Summer perspiration cooled on her brow as she ran. Her long, thin legs carried her with ease beyond denser woodland to the edge of the slope that fell gently to the clearing. At its base the village sat, smouldering in the summer twilight.
    Emme stopped to observe the pattern of traffic. Nothing seemed untoward. The inhabitants drifted home for meals before most would leave to commune in the village drink-house. Three hunters returned from the eastern forest border, recent kills in hand, and strode to the smokehouse. Others ambled in from tending outland crops and herds.
   Tiny huts, scattered throughout the clearing, lay beneath several tree huts connected by suspension bridges. The early summer foliage of the mighty oaks and hornbeams shifted slightly, sighed in the tranquil breeze. Evening light danced between the leaves before drifting down through them to speckle the soft forest floor. It was a pretty village, spoilt only by its inhabitants.


[Read more on GoogleBooks]


to LR Saul's previous book: Bloodline: Alliance
to her website

to an extended interview about the author's books and her philosophy of writing in Terrouge magazine

eNews 42: Jeremy's interview with Lisa Saul about Sacrifice.