Publisher : Tor Books (May 11, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 544 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250175674
ISBN-13 : 978-1250175670
“Lyons has cleverly taken the epic fantasy tropes of prophecy and lineage and stood them on their heads, all while delving deep into her multidimensional characters and spinning great battles with high body counts.” ―Booklist, starred review
For fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, The House of Always is the fourth epic fantasy in Jenn Lyons’ Chorus of Dragons series that began with The Ruin of Kings.
What if you were imprisoned for all eternity?
In the aftermath of the Ritual of Night, everything has changed.
The Eight Immortals have catastrophically failed to stop Kihrin’s enemies, who are moving forward with their plans to free Vol Karoth, the King of Demons. Kihrin has his own ideas about how to fight back, but even if he’s willing to sacrifice everything for victory, the cost may prove too high for his allies.
Now they face a choice: can they save the world while saving Kihrin, too? Or will they be forced to watch as he becomes the very evil they have all sworn to destroy.
Galen’s wife, Sheloran, was also present, whom Kihrin had met exactly once.3 Lastly, two people with highly suspect loyalties: Qown, who still worked for Relos Var; and Talon, who only worked for chaos and mischief.4
Senera knew it was an odd tableau; a situation where analogies of kindling and matches might yet prove apt (even if her “guests” were soaking wet). The Lighthouse’s arrival room was circular, large, and devoid of windows. Ascend- ing and descending staircases led to other floors, while a small passage joined the Lighthouse to the manor beyond. Painted black glyphs lined the stone inte- rior. Most of the people she’d kidnapped wouldn’t consider them strange only because most of the people she’d kidnapped had never been to Shadrag Gor before.5 If they had, they’d have recognized those glyphs as new.
But none of them, not even Thurvishar, understood their purpose.
There was considerable irony to her scrambling, desperate fight for time, here, in this place, where time seemed in infinite supply. Yet she rushed for each precious second, for a chance to explain.
“You can’t expect us to believe—” Janel had already gone for her sword. “Just hear me out!” Senera cried. If she could just explain . . .
But she had even less time than she’d believed. The Lighthouse at Shadrag Gor wasn’t a safe place anymore. Senera had no one to blame but herself; she’d made it that way.
In that moment, Vol Karoth struck. The world changed.
Inside Vol Karoth’s prison. The arrival.
I’m not sure how many times Vol Karoth and I fought or for how long. It seemed like forever.
We fell into a routine. He always found me. No matter how far I ran or how well I hid, he eventually arrived with a sword in his hand and hate in his heart. Time had no meaning, so I couldn’t be certain how long it took him each time. It was forever, and it was instant.
Then we would fight until I became so exhausted I stumbled or he slipped a blow past my defenses. Then I would find myself somewhere else. At which point, the whole game would start up again, a cycle I hadn’t figured out how to break, let alone defeat.
Vol Karoth had just finished a swing powered with so much energy it had shattered one of the buildings behind me, when we felt the others arrive.
I couldn’t tell you how I knew.
It’s not like people appeared out of thin air. But I felt them. Twelve souls, several of which meant so much—everything—to me.6
3 Twice. I forget he’d technically run into Sheloran a second time when Kihrin returned to the Capital and was captured by Gadrith.
4 Talon was the Yoran woman. Yes, I brought her, but in my defense, would you have let her out of your sight?
5 Here I am forced to acknowledge that a shocking number of them had, in fact, been to Shadrag Gor before.
6 You have no doubt noticed by this point that the math doesn’t work. That’s because we didn’t know about our stowaway.
T H E H O U S E O F A L W A Y S 19
“No,” I whispered. What? How? We were inside Vol Karoth’s prison, weren’t we? Nothing should have been able to get to us here. The one thing I had been able to count on was that no matter what happened to me, at least the others would be safe.
You brought friends.
“No.” I ducked away from the slash before charging him. I flipped, dodged the blow I knew he’d aimed at my legs, tagged him along the arm instead. It was a meaningless act of defiance, but I wanted him focused on me. “Leave them alone. It’s just you and me. And we don’t have to be enemies.”
Oh? You’re ready to surrender, then?
“Have it your way. I guess we do have to be enemies.” I jumped up as he slammed his sword down on the ground, fracturing the stone paving under- neath.
You don’t want me hurting your friends. But they aren’t your friends. You don’t have friends. Friends are a lie.
“They’re not. You used to have them too, you know.”
Vol Karoth laughed at me.
No, I never did. That was a lie too. But what you call friendship ah, what
a joke. After how you hurt them. Shall I show you?
I felt a sweep of panic. “No, you don’t have to—”
Let’s look at the lies we tell ourselves.
The world changed.
Jenn Lyons’s childhood was spent in the safe havens of local libraries and bookstores, where even as her artistic talents began to develop she continued to nurture her love of science-fiction, fantasy, and noir detective stories. Being pale, not a friend of sunlight, and not much of a morning person, she set her sights on a career that would allow her to stay indoors or work at night (her favorite career pick was ‘cat burglar’) but she was devastated when she discovered that she would not, in fact, ever be able to marry Batman. Older but wiser, she turned from the life of a jewel thief to tackle a career as a graphic artist and illustrator, spending the next 20 years working in print media and advertising. A woman with too many hobbies (a list that included video games, fountain pens, table-top RPGs, LARPing, comic books, and costume design), Lyons was irresistibly drawn to making things up storytelling.
After making a dramatic shift in careers from graphic artist to video game producer, Jenn Lyons dedicated herself to writing. The Ruin of Kings and the Name of All Things, the first two books in Lyons’s five-book debut epic fantasy series from Tor Books, A Chorus of Dragons, are available now. The third book in the series, the Memory of Souls, arrives August 2020.
Jenn Lyons lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Michael Lyons (who is also a writer — and may or may not be Batman), a bunch of cats, and a whole lot of tea.