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Locklands
Cover of Locklands
Locklands
Founders Trilogy, Book 3
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The jaw-dropping conclusion to the acclaimed Founders Trilogy, from the Hugo–nominated author of Foundryside and Shorefall
“It’s so rare to love every single book in a trilogy, to admire the aim, precision, and storytelling stamina this much.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, The Quill to Live
Sancia, Clef, and Berenice have gone up against long odds in the past. But the war they’re fighting now is one even they can’t win.
This time, they’re not facing robber-baron elites or even an immortal hierophant, but an entity whose intelligence is spread over half the globe—one that uses the magic of scriving to control not just objects but human minds.
 
To fight it, they’ve used scriving technology to transform themselves and their allies into an army—a society—unlike anything humanity has seen before. With its strength at their backs, they’ve freed a handful of their enemy’s hosts from servitude, and even defeated some of its fearsome, reality-altering dreadnoughts.
 
Yet despite their efforts, their enemy marches on. Implacable. Unstoppable.
 
Now, as their opponent closes in on its true prize—an ancient doorway, long buried, that leads to the chambers at the center of creation itself—Sancia and her friends glimpse a last opportunity to stop this unbeatable foe. To do so, they’ll have to unlock the centuries-old mystery of scriving’s origins, embark on a desperate mission into the heart of their enemy’s power, and pull off the most daring heist they’ve ever attempted.
 
But their adversary might have a spy in their ranks—and a last trick up its sleeve.
 
And to have a chance at victory, Sancia, Clef, and Berenice will have to make a sacrifice beyond anything that’s come before.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The jaw-dropping conclusion to the acclaimed Founders Trilogy, from the Hugo–nominated author of Foundryside and Shorefall
“It’s so rare to love every single book in a trilogy, to admire the aim, precision, and storytelling stamina this much.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, The Quill to Live
Sancia, Clef, and Berenice have gone up against long odds in the past. But the war they’re fighting now is one even they can’t win.
This time, they’re not facing robber-baron elites or even an immortal hierophant, but an entity whose intelligence is spread over half the globe—one that uses the magic of scriving to control not just objects but human minds.
 
To fight it, they’ve used scriving technology to transform themselves and their allies into an army—a society—unlike anything humanity has seen before. With its strength at their backs, they’ve freed a handful of their enemy’s hosts from servitude, and even defeated some of its fearsome, reality-altering dreadnoughts.
 
Yet despite their efforts, their enemy marches on. Implacable. Unstoppable.
 
Now, as their opponent closes in on its true prize—an ancient doorway, long buried, that leads to the chambers at the center of creation itself—Sancia and her friends glimpse a last opportunity to stop this unbeatable foe. To do so, they’ll have to unlock the centuries-old mystery of scriving’s origins, embark on a desperate mission into the heart of their enemy’s power, and pull off the most daring heist they’ve ever attempted.
 
But their adversary might have a spy in their ranks—and a last trick up its sleeve.
 
And to have a chance at victory, Sancia, Clef, and Berenice will have to make a sacrifice beyond anything that’s come before.
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  • From the cover 1


    Are you ready? whispered a voice.

    Berenice opened her eyes. The morning sunlight reflected brightly off the ocean, and her vision adjusted slowly, the forms of the city walls and the ramparts and the coastal batteries calcifying in the glimmering light. She’d been meditating so deeply it took her a moment to remember—Am I in Old Tevanne? Or somewhere else?—but then her senses fully returned to her, and she saw.

    Grattiara: a tiny fortress enclave balanced atop a thread of stone stretching into the Durazzo Sea, all ocean-gray walls and cloudwhite towers and wheeling gulls. It wasn’t quite a town as much as a residue of civilization clinging to the battlements, the homes and huts like barnacles spreading across the hull of a ship. She watched as the little fishing boats trundled up to the piers, their sails pale and luminescent. They reminded her faintly of bat wings catching the first rays of dawn.

    “Hell,” Berenice said quietly. “It’s almost pretty.”

    Almost. Claudia moved to stand next to her at the balcony, her eyes hard and sharp under her dark metal helmet. Her voice whispered in the back of Berenice’s thoughts, quiet but clear: How far we've fallen, to find a little shithole like this pretty.

    Yes, sighed Berenice. And yet, it's up to us to save it.

    Claudia picked her teeth with a length of wood. Or at least the people here, anyways. She flicked her toothpick away. So—you ready?

    I don't know. Maybe. How do I look?

    Like a grim warrior queen, said Claudia. She grinned. Maybe a little too grim. This is a Morsini fortress, mind. The governor might not take to an imtimidating woman.

    It's going to be a grim conversation. But I'll make sure to do a lot of smiling and bowing, she added acidly. She adjusted the way her cuirass hung on her shoulders, feeling the flex and bend of the pauldrons, then plucked at the leather shirt at her neck to let some of the humidity out. Their armor was a far sight from anything like a lorica, as it only covered critical exposures while leaving the joints free to move, but it was still hot as hell in the Grattiaran sun.

    It'll have to do, Berenice said. She slung her espringal over her back, then checked to make sure her scrived rapier was sheathed at her side. Are the espringals rigged up properly?

    We'll have to get within line of sight with them, said Claudia. She pointed to a small plate on her right pauldron, then the same on Berenice’s armor. But they'll come to us when we call them.

    Good.

    Still think it's wise to bring weapons to this chat? I mean—they're going to make us disarm before we see the governor, yeah?

    Oh, almost certainly, said Berenice. But being asked to disarm is a terrific opportunity to show off how many armaments you're packing.

    How cynical. Claudia’s grin flashed again. I approve.

    The winds shifted, and the reek of rot wormed into Berenice’s nostrils—undoubtedly from the refugee camp sprawling beyond the city’s fortifications. She slipped out her spyglass and glassed the camps on the hills to the northwest.

    It all made for a cruelly pointed contrast: the town of Grattiara remained more or less impeccable, its scrived coastal batteries huge and hulking along the sea, the towers of the innermost fortifications still tall and elegant; but mere yards from them lay field upon field of ragged tents and improvised shelters...
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 28, 2022
    Gods collide in the high octane finale to Bennett’s epic fantasy Founders Trilogy, set eight years after the events of Shorefall. The people of the former city of Tevanne have become a collective intelligence searching for a doorway that will allow it to restart reality. The resurrected hierophant Crasedes Magnus holds out, but barely, against joining this group mind while the scrappy spell designers of the Foundryside search for a haven for their refugee fleet. Wives Sancia and Berenice, senior scrivers, try diplomacy to unite the scattered surviving colonies against the mentally unified horde from their former hometown, even if this entails allying with Crasedes, their former archrival. Meanwhile, Clef, Sancia’s intelligent key, recovers his lost memories of how the world was once shattered by hierophants. Bennett advances the plot precipitously and raises his characters’ power levels to the “nigh-incomprehensible,” but the grounding themes of family and love as Sancia and Berenice risk their happiness to save the world, are what readers will take away. Fans will find this a satisfying end. Agent: Cameron McClure, Donald Maass Literary.

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Locklands
Locklands
Founders Trilogy, Book 3
Robert Jackson Bennett
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