The Tainted Realm
The Tainted Realm is the story of the remote island nation of Cythe, brutally colonised two thousand years ago by the Hightspallers, and of a realm forever tainted by the means they used to take the land. Cythe's history, art and culture were erased and its clever native people were reduced to despicable degradoes, on the verge of extinction when, without warning, they vanished.
For fifteen hundred years they have lived underground in Cython, served by their Pale slaves, the descendants of noble Hightspaller children once given as hostages to Cython but never ransomed. For all this time, the Cythonians' lives have been shaped by the alchymical books called the Solaces, sorcerously bestowed upon them by an unknown benefactor.
Now Hightspall is struggling under the weight of one natural disaster after another; its people feel that the very land is rising up against them. Then the last of the Solaces appears in Cython, the iron book called The Consolation of Vengeance, and the Cythonians know that it is time to take back their land.
Only one person can prevent Hightspall from running with blood - a Pale slave called Tali who has just come of age. But Tali's four female ancestors were killed in the same brutal way and she knows she's next to die. To survive, and gain the justice she so desperately craves, she must escape Cython, though no slave ever has.
And now the creator of the Solaces is hunting her.
November 2011, Australia (UK and US editions, April 2012)
The Tainted Realm
Book 1 - Vengeance
Ten years ago, two children witnessed a murder that still haunts them as adults.
TALI watched as two masked figures killed her mother, and now she has sworn revenge. Even though she is a slave. Even though she is powerless. Even though she is nothing in the eyes of those who live underground, she will find her mother's killers and bring them to justice.
RIX, heir to Hightspall's greatest fortune, is tormented by the fear that he's linked to the murder, and by a sickening nightmare that he's doomed to repeat it.
When a chance meeting brings Tali and Rix together, the secrets of a kingdom are uncovered and a villain out of legend returns to throw the land into chaos. But before Tali and Rix can save the realm – and themselves – they must learn to trust each other.
"Irvine is a veteran storyteller who excels in sustaining complex plots with well-rounded characters. Here, he delivers a compelling tale of vengeance, loyalty, and the search for a place in the world." Starred review, Library Journal (US)
"That Grand Master of the vast epic is with us again! The first gripping volume of what promises to be a vintage Irvine treat. More please!" Crisetta MacLeod, Aurealis Express
"Incredibly exciting. The end will have you eagerly anticipating the next book." Good Reading (Aus)
"He knows how to spin an epic yarn and tell it with real gusto ... ambitious in scope and tirelessly action-stuffed." SFX
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October 2012, Australia (UK and US editions, March 2013)
The Tainted Realm
Book 2 – Rebellion
Magery is failing, the war has been lost and Hightspall has fallen. The Cythonian enemy, led by their reincarnated sorcerer-king, Lyf, are determined to wipe it off the map and build their ancient realm of Cythe anew.
RIX, now known as Deadhand, was once heir to the greatest fortune in all Hightspall. Now he's disgraced, dispossessed and is running for his life. Rix is determined to redeem himself and save his beloved country, but an obsession with his brutal ancestor Axil Grandys, the legendary founder of Hightspall, is leading him on a one-way path to catastrophe.
TALI, an escaped slave who bears the master pearl within her, is held captive by the embittered chancellor of Hightspall so he can rob her of her healing blood. But when she discovers that her enslaved people face genocide at the hands of the enemy, Tali conceives a desperate, impossible plan. To sneak into the enemy's underground city of Cython, the most heavily guarded place in all the land, rouse the slaves to rebellion and use her master pearl to attack the enemy from within.But before she can hope to save her people, Tali has to confront her own darkest fear – a return to slavery.
"This stunning sequel surpassed all my expectations and left me in awe of Irvine's writing and world building skills. Rebellion is a great book that builds upon the foundations that Vengeance laid out beautifully." Speculating on SpecFic, speconspecfic.com.
'Exquisitely written. Even better than the first.' Katherine Stubbs, sentientonline.net.
"Irvine does the guilty burdens that his characters carry so well! Credible, flawed characters, splendidly nasty baddies and a richly interwoven story. Great stuff!!" Crisetta MacLeod, Aurealis Express.
Also available as an Ebook and Also available as an unabridged audiobook.
Out Sept 24, 2013, Australia (UK and US editions, June 2014)
Book 3 – Justice
THE FINAL BATTLE—THE ULTIMATE PRICE
The once beautiful land of Hightspall is being carved up by warring armies led by figures out of legend. One army is headed by the charismatic brute Axil Grandys, and the other by Lyf, resurrected sorcerer-king and Grandys' ancient nemesis.
Only the escaped slave Tali and her unreliable magic stand in their way – but Tali's gift grows more painful every time she uses it. As the armies converge on the fateful peak of Touchstone, Tali and her ally Rix must find a way to overcome Lyf and prevent Grandys from using the Three Spells that will destroy Hightspall forever.
Justice is the shattering finale to Ian Irvine's fantasy epic the Tainted Realm trilogy.
Praise for The Tainted Realm trilogy:
'Incredibly exciting. The end will have you eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.' – GOOD READING on VENGEANCE
'A compelling story of vengeance, loyalty and the search for a place in the world.' – Starred review, LIBRARY JOURNAL (USA) on VENGEANCE
'Credible, flawed characters, splendidly nasty baddies and a richly interwoven story. Great stuff!' – AUREALIS EXPRESS on REBELLION
Also available as an ebook. Australian and NZ ebook edition out now (US and UK, June 2013).
Also available as an unabridged audiobook (worldwide from iTunes, Audible.com, etc from 28 October 2013).