The Sacred Hunt
Michelle’s comment: I wrote this after the Sundered Books. It’s the first of two, and I wrote it over fifteen years ago. Authors have an ambivalent relationship to their older work, because over time, we learn how to do things better. Every book is the best book we could write at the time that we wrote it…but with each book, that best grows a little more distant. Hunter’s Oath is not, perhaps, as polished as the later books set in the same universe, and it’s possible that if you haven’t read any of the Michelle West novels, you might want to start at a different entry point, such as The Hidden City.
Back Cover: Hunt Magic–
When the covenant was made with the Hunter God, all who dwelt in Breodanir swore to abide by it. The Hunter Lords–and the hunting dogs to which their minds were specially attuned–would seek out game in the God’s woods to provide food for their people, and the Hunter God would ensure that the Hunters, the land, and the people prospered.
But in payment, once a year the Sacred Hunt must be called, the God’s own Hunt in which the prey became one of the Lords, or his huntbrother. This was the Hunter’s Oath, sword to by each Lord and his huntbrother–the comanion chosen from the common folk to remind each Lord of his own ties to humanity. It was the Oath pledged in blood by Gilliam of Elseth and the orphan boy Stephen–and the fulfillment of that Oath would lead them to the kind of destiny from which legends were made…
Mass Market Paperback: DAW books, October 1995, 0-88677-681-3, 427 pages. Cover artist: Jody Lee (yay!)
Michelle’s Note: If you are reading Hidden City and if you are adverse to spoilers, it’s very important that you do not read the sample chapter here. There are pretty much huge spoilers within the first few pages. They weren’t spoilers at the time that I wrote them, of course, so as a first chapter, it was fine, then.
I am not a reader or viewer who is adverse to spoilers, but so many of my friends are. So, just in case: This chapter is not one you want to read yet.
Back Cover: Averalaan–
that most ancient of cities, had long been the home of magics both dark and bright. For the site where this most civilized city of mortals now stood had once been a dread place indeed, a citadel of evil ruled by the Lord of the Hells. Only through the greatest of sacrifices had he been contained and cast back into his own dimension. And though the passing centuries had all but obliterated the memories of that terrible time, trouble was once again stirring in the hidden byways of Averalaan.
The first warning that the Dark Lord’s minions were at work came from a pack of street rats led by a young woman gifted with the ability to see the truth even when it was hidden behind carefully spell-crafted illusions. And as she carried her warning to The Terafin, head of one of the most powerful families in the land, others, too, were rallying to Averalaan’s aid.
Blessed or cursed by their Hunter God and gifted with his most unique creation, the Hunter Lord Gilliam and his huntbrother Stephen were about to do the unthinkable. Guided by the seer Evayne, they would journey beyond the borders of their kingdom, something no Hunter Lord had ever done. For only in Averalaan could they find their true destiny, even it meant facing the Dark Lord himself…
Mass Market Paperback: DAW books, June 1996, 0-88677-706-2, 670 pages. Cover artist: Jody Lee