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Praesidium is the most prosperous city-state in the world, due not only to its location at the mouth of a great bay but also to its strict laws, stringently enforced. Ordinary criminals become bond-slaves, but the worst punishment—to be suspended in a dreamless frozen state known as Stasis—is doled out by the wizard and reserved for only the most serious of traitors.
Ennek is the youngest son of Praesidium’s strict Chief. Though now a successful portmaster, Ennek grew up without much of a purpose, unable to fulfill his true desires and always skating on the edge of the law. But he is also haunted by the plight of one man, Miner, a prisoner for whom Stasis appears to be a truly horrible fate. If Ennek is to save Miner, he must explore Praesidium’s deepest secrets as well as his own.
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Stasis: a state or condition in which things do not change, move, or progress.
Thank you, Merriam-Webster. Stasis is also the title of the first novel in the Ennek trilogy. It just released from DSP Publications in a new edition, complete with a gorgeous new cover by Reese Dante.
Within the book, stasis carries several meanings. First and foremost it’s a punishment inflicted on those who commit the most serious crimes. The prisoner is suspended in a magical state in which he can’t breathe, the world moves on without him, and when he’s released—decades or centuries later—he’ll spend the remainder of his life as a slave. Miner was placed in stasis three hundred years ago, but due to the anger of a wizard, his punishment has been especially cruel. He’s rescued by Ennek, the son of a tyrant; but that doesn’t even begin to solve their problems.
Ennek is also in stasis, but in his case, it’s an emotional state rather than a magical punishment. Because he’s the tyrant’s younger son, nothing much is expected of him. Because he has a forbidden attraction to men, he has nobody to love. Even after he rescues Miner and discovers his own powers, Ennek finds himself stuck in a terrible situation.
Stasis also refers to Praesidium, the city-state in which Ennek and Miner live. Ruled by generations of despots, Praesidium has changed very little. Maybe it’s time for something new.
The second book in the series, Flux, will release this summer, with the final book, Equipoise, scheduled for November. Someone has pointed out that these titles are all SAT exam words, so vocabulary augmentation is included at no extra charge!
The dream started as it always did. He was very small, and he was descending an endless stairway that circled and twisted like an insane snake. He didn’t want to go, but his feet wouldn’t stop, and he knew that if he didn’t walk, he’d tumble down the stairs instead. At the bottom of the stairway was a long corridor in which pale spiders lurked in enormous webs. He was frightened of the spiders and tried to hurry past them. And then there was a door, tall and so narrow he could barely slip inside.
The wizard was in the shadows at the edge of the room. He was gray—gray hair, gray shirt and trousers, a long gray coat, gray skin. His face was as bloodless as death, and his lips were peeled back to expose long, yellowed teeth. His hands had too many fingers, each multijointed and much too long. One of the hands rested on the shoulder of the boy beside him, a youth with hair like tasseled silk and a face that might have been smirking or caught in a rictus of fear. The boy’s mouth was smeared with sticky scarlet, and more of the stuff coated his outstretched palm. “Sleeping potion,” he whispered. “Just what a restless sleeper needs.”
At the center of the floor was a hole. If he looked into it—and Ennek always did; he couldn’t help it—he saw empty space and, beneath that, the sea. The waves boiled and tumbled, and Ennek could tell they were rising and would soon enter the room, filling it.
At this point in the dream, Ennek would whirl around and try to find the door, but it would be gone. The shape of the room itself would shift, like lungs moving in and out, and Ennek would realize he was actually inside the Chief, and the Chief was the keep. Thelius and the boy would watch silently as Ennek ran around, trying desperately to find his way out, until he began screaming. He’d awake hopelessly tangled in the bedsheets, sweaty and feverish. If he tried to speak, his voice would be hoarse.
He still looked down into the hole, and the waters were still getting nearer, but now he could see a hand—a pale human hand—sticking up through the waves. It was attached to a skinny arm. Another arm breached the surface, and then so did a head, bald as an egg. The head turned and looked upward. The man’s eyes were the exact color of the sea around him, as if the ocean was inside him too. He blinked with lashless lids and choked a little on a wave that washed into his mouth. “Help me,” he said, not a shout but a quiet plea. “Help me, please.”
Ennek woke up then. And when he did, he remembered.
Meet the author:
Kim Fielding is very pleased every time someone calls her eclectic. Her books have won Rainbow Awards and span a variety of genres. She has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full time. She also dreams of having two perfectly behaved children, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others.
Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.