King of FoxesBook - 2004
Young Tal Hawkins was the only survivor of the massacre of his village -- rescued, recruited, and trained by the mysterious order of magicians and spies, the Conclave of Shadows. Already exceptionally skilled in swordsmanship, he has since developed into one of the secret society's most valuable agents, keeping ever alert for the opportunity to arise when he can avenge the craven slaughter of his family and friends.
That time is now.
Posing as a nobleman from the distant Kingdom of the Isles, he gains entrance into the court of the Duke of Olasko, the bloodthirsty and powerful despot whose armies put Tal's village to the sword. But the enemy is cunning and well protected -- in league with the foul necromancer Leso Varen, dark master of death-magic -- and to gain the Duke's trust and confidence, Tal Hawkins must first sell his soul.
Only by swearing an oath of allegiance to his hated nemesis can Tal hope to get close enough to kill the Duke and bring his empire crashing down. But the tyrant demands that his new acolyte prove his loyalty with blood. Sent off to do his "master's" malevolent bidding -- each depraved mission more odious than the last -- the Talon of the Silver Hawk faces a spirit-crushing dilemma. Only through evil can his vengeance succeed, yet his alternatives are more terrible still: madness, torture, damnation, and a slow, lingering death in the Fortress of Despair.
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Talon, last of the Orosini tribe has been transformed by the Conclave of Shadows from a trusting young boy to the dashing young nobleman Talwin Hawkins, now Roldem's premier swordsman. The title, won at the Masters Court, before the King, brought him a step closer to his desire - to avenge the massacre of his family. Two participants in the slaughter are dead by his hand; Lieutenant Campaneal fell under his blade during the Master's Tournament and the other, Raven, died whilst attempting to butcher an Orodon village, just as he destroyed Tal's people.
But Tal's desire for vengeance will not be satisfied until the reason for the massacres has been uncovered and their architect revealed and punished. The Conclave demands its membership price from Tal: he must gather information on Laso Varen, a magician of terrible power and subtle craft, dangerous beyond contemplation. And to do this means service with the sorcerer's master, Duke Kaspar of Olasko - and swearing loyalty to the very man who ordered the destruction of everything Tal loved.
Tal must now face the dilema of serving two masters, two deadly enemies: Kaspar Olasko and the Conclave of Shadows
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