Requested by Joshua, an excerpt from my award-winning novel, Bell Mountain.
“[I]n a very nicely appointed private study with thick rugs and rich hangings on the walls, the First Prester, Lord Reesh, angrily rattled a sheet of paper in his hand.
“Do you know what this is?” he said. “It’s a letter from the burned fool who’s the prester at the new chamber house in a place called Ninneburky. It’s almost all the way up the river.”
“I know the town, my lord,” said the other man in the room–an unremarkable-looking fellow with a sad face and a little pointed beard.
“Good. Because you’re going there,” Lord Reesh said. “As soon as I explain this.
“Two children from Ninneburky have run away to climb Bell Mountain. You are to find them. If they are still on their way to the mountain when you overtake them, don’t interfere. Follow them. See to it that they get there. I want to know every single thing that happens to them, Martis. If they climb the mountain, climb after them. If they get to the top and find a bell, you are to prevent them from touching it, and no one is ever to see or hear from them again.”
The people of Ninneburky, even the prester himself, would have been appalled to learn that the First Prester had a confidential servant whose duties included killing people. For that is what Martis did, in addition to ferreting out secrets, spying, stealing, and arranging for certain persons to be accused of and punished for crimes they hadn’t committed. Not even the other oligarchs knew about Martis. To everyone in the city, he was only a clerk in the Temple. He even looked like a clerk.
But to Lord Reesh–who considered himself the first oligarch as well as the First Prester–he was a very necessary tool. And because he had served Lord Reesh for years, and never failed him, Martis enjoyed a certain liberty in speaking to his master.
“Do you think a pair of children might actually climb the mountain, my lord?” he said…
To find out how Martis the assassin fared in his mission, read Bell Mountain, the first book in the series, with 11 titles in print–so far. No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever, is currently being prepared for publication.
To order any of them, visit the blog’s home page and click “Books,” or visit http://www.chalcedon.edu and The Chalcedon Store.