4:00 pm EST, February 26, 2020

‘Lightbringer’ cover, excerpt kick off the end to the Empirium Trilogy

Lightbringer, the final book in the Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand, now has a cover! Plus, read an excerpt.

Furyborn and Kingsbane will soon by joined by Lightbringer, which will bring us the conclusion to the epic story full of magic and assassins that Legrand has been telling over the last couple years.

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‘Lightbringer’ cover reveal

The first book in the series is black and gold in color and features a sword piercing two crowns.

The second book features those same two crowns set against a bold red background. Only this time, a scepter replaces that sword as the first crown began to shatter.

Lightbringer dutifully brings us a bright white-and-red cover. The crowns are placed opposite each other now, each pierced by a separate sword, which are crossed in the middle of the image.

It’s exactly the perfect depiction of what we can expect in this final installment. Check it out below:

lightbringer cover reveal

‘Lightbringer’ exclusive excerpt

A Beast and a Liar

“You who fight for your fallen loves, your ravaged countries, listen closely: There may come a time when the Emperor appears before you. Perhaps your beauty will catch his eye, or your talent will do it, or your strength. He will smile and seduce. He will flatter and promise. Do not trust him. Fight him until your very last breath. Fight for those you have lost. Fight for the world that might have been, and yet still could be.”

—The Word of the Prophet

Simon crouched near the ice-frosted rock, knife in hand, lips chapped with cold, feet scabbed and callused in his worn boots, and watched with hungry eyes as the hare approached.

It was a gangly white thing, not yet fully grown, and Simon knew that it would be more fur than decent meat, but he also knew that he was hungry and would devour anything he could kill.

He knew little else besides that.

The hare paused, close enough that Simon could see its whiskers twitch. It stared with dumb fear at the world, waiting for death to come. Around them, the broad brown plateau stretched for cold, solitary miles, glimmering white with morning snow. Flakes drifted silently from a thick gray sky. Soon, the real snows would come. Simon knew it. The hare knew it.

Only one of them would survive to see it happen.

The hare crept closer. It had caught the scent of a hunter, its pale nose quivering, but could not find him.

Simon had always been good at hiding, and since landing in this awful, unfamiliar wilderness almost a year ago, he had grown even better at it.

The hare crept closer. Simon could smell its musk. He could feel the heat of its frightened body. He leapt for it, fell hard upon it, slashed its throat before it could run.

Too hungry to make a fire, he skinned his kill with a few quick strokes of his knife and then tore at the haunches with his teeth. He ate. He did not drop his knife.

He had learned, over the past year, never to drop his knife.

Then, strings of bloody meat hanging from his teeth, the hare half-eaten, Simon heard a sound. He dropped his supper and whirled, ready to either kill or run.

Instead, he stared through the snow.

A figure stood not far away, watching him. Simon squinted. It was a man. He wore a long black coat trimmed with fur. The coat had square shoulders and a high collar and fell to the ground in sweeping folds that matched the jet of his softly curling hair. He cut a beautiful figure there, sharp and clean against the wintry brown vastness of the plains Simon now knew as home.

Behind him, the world hushed. He could no longer hear the distant crack of shifting ice, or the harsh mountain wind. He could hear nothing but the wild beat of his own heart and the footsteps of the man coming toward him.

For Simon knew this man. He had once feared him, even hated him. But so much time had passed since those last terrifying moments in Âme de la Terre that even the sight of an enemy was welcome.

The man placed a gloved hand on Simon’s bowed head. A soft cry of longing burst from Simon’s lips. Groping blindly upward, he found the man’s hand and grasped it desperately with one of his own.

“It’s you,” he whispered. He was no longer alone. An animal ecstasy overcame him. He let out a harsh, croaking laugh.

“It’s me,” said the angel named Corien. He knelt and looked closely at Simon.

Simon stiffened, his other hand tightening on his knife. Black eyes, lightless and endless. He had never seen such a thing. He bared his teeth, poised on the balls of his feet.

But Corien only smiled. “What is your name?”

Simon’s mind was a whirl of confusion. Here was the man who had invaded his home, who had killed hundreds of his neighbors and thousands of Celdarians.

Here was the angel who had slipped inside the mind of his own father and urged him to jump off a tower to his death.

For a wild moment, Simon considered leaping on Corien as he had on the rabbit, opening that smooth white throat the same way. But Simon had seen the swiftness with which angels could attack. Corien would stop him before he could even raise his knife.

He could run, but that was unthinkable. For a year, he had lived alone in the wilderness, his body worn to mere bones and mangled skin. For a year, he had spoken only to himself and to the beasts.

His furious tears spilled over. “You know my name, don’t you?” he whispered fiercely. “Can’t you see?”

Corien was quiet for such a long time that Simon felt a cold drip of fear down his back and prepared himself to run. Always, he was preparing himself to run.

“I do know you,” Corien said softly, but he seemed puzzled. “I know you, and yet I don’t.”

A swift, seeking presence entered Simon’s thoughts, as if sly fingers were pulling aside the folds of his mind to see what lay beneath. He knew what was happening even though he had never felt it before. Dark stories had rippled through Celdaria in the months before and after King Audric’s death. Terrible stories about humans driven mad, humans left pale and broken in the ruins of sacked villages.

This was what it was like to be invaded by an angel.

Simon held still, hardly breathing, quaking in the snow, as Corien moved through his mind. A voice slid against Simon’s ears, kissed his neck, traced the lines of his scars. The voice hissed words Simon did not understand, and they spiraled louder and faster until his mind was an unbearable din. He felt as if he were being shaken, held above an abyss and flung to and fro as whatever ravenous thing lived in the abyss howled.

Simon cried out and tried to run, but Corien grabbed his arm and his chin and pushed him against the ground with his cold gloved hands. A pressure filled Simon, from his skull to his toes, until he feared his body would burst open. Words rose inside him, pulled by a great force. Soon they would spill out and scatter like insects, hissing Simon, Simon, Simon, and they would devour the world.

Then, at last, there was quiet.

“I am sorry, Simon.” Corien smiled down at him, watching him writhe in his arms. “The world is a strange place, and there is no stranger part of it than the twists and turns of time. I must know for certain that you are mine and mine alone. I must know I can trust you.”

Then he pressed his cheek to Simon’s brow and whispered, “We have much work to do, you and I.”

It was the last sound Simon heard before his mind shattered.

About the book

lightbringer

Queen Rielle, pushed away from everything she loves, turns to Corien and his promises of glory. Meanwhile, whispers from the empirium slowly drive her mad, urging her to open the Gate. Separated from Audric and Ludivine, she embraces the role of Blood Queen and her place by Corien’s side, determined to become the monster the world believes her to be.

In the future, Eliana arrives in the Empire’s capital as a broken shell of herself. Betrayed and abandoned, she fights to keep her power at bay — and away from Corien, who will stop at nothing to travel back in time to Rielle, even if that means destroying her daughter.

But when the mysterious Prophet reveals themselves at last, everything changes, giving Rielle and Eliana a second chance for salvation — or the destruction their world has been dreading.

Lightbringer by Claire Legrand hits store shelves on October 13, 2020. In the meantime, you can pre-order it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and Book Depository, or you can add it to your Goodreads list.

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