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The Cutting Edge

A Handful of Men: Book 1

Dave Duncan

Beautiful Queen Inos married the loyal stableboy Rap and made him her king. They were very much in love, and they lived happily ever after. Fifteen years went by. Rap and Inos were comfortable, secure, and truly happy, raising their family in the little backwater kingdom of Krasnegar, well removed from the hurly-burly of great affairs...

But in far-off Hub, the old Imperor's health--and, some said, his sanity--deteriorated inexorably. The borderlands were seething. Prince Emshandar--or Shandie, as Rap knew him--found himself leading his grandfather's armies into terrible battles where victory and justice hung in gravest doubt.

And now the end of the millennium was at hand, ushered in by prophecies of cataclysmic upheaval on a scale never before imagined. All across Pandemia, sensible people tried to dismiss a growing sense of unease as superstitious nonsense.

Then a God appeared to Rap and warned him that the prophecies spoke the least of the truth. Devastation was a certainty; total destruction loomed. The very fabric of the world was at risk. And it was all Rap's fault. The last thing in the world Rap had wanted was another adventure. And it might be the last thing he would ever get.

Upland Outlaws

A Handful of Men: Book 2

Dave Duncan

The power-mad dwarf-sorcerer Zinixo had driven Emshandar V from his throne. He had shattered the ancient Protocol that kept tenuous peace among Pandemia's warlocks. And his conquest had only begun.

Somehow the deposed Imperor had escaped his clutches--so far--but Shandie would soon be found. Then the Impire would be Zinixo's alone. Outlying countries would fall beneath his fist. And at long last, he could wreak fabulous revenge upon Rap of Krasnegar. For Zinixo wielded the greatest magic ever imagined: an army of slave-sorcerers bound to serve his every whim--to the death.

No one could stop him: Shandie had scarcely an ally in the world; Rap's magical powers were a shadow of their former strength; and there was hardly a free sorcerer to be found in all Pandemia. Where could any resistance effort find even...A Handful of Men?

The Stricken Field

A Handful of Men: Book 3

Dave Duncan

Paranoid but almighty, the sorcerer Xinixo had seized control of the Impire. But ruling the imps and most of the world was not enough. He would never feel safe until he was universally loved, so he would smash everything and then rebuild the whole world in his own insane image. Who could resist him? King Rap of Krasnegar and Shandie, the rightful Imperor, were still at large and determined to resist the evil, however slender their chances. Their one, faint hope was to enlist the help of the remaining free sorcerers of the world, those not already spellbound by Xinixo. Their quest soon ran into disaster. Their messengers were betrayed or ensnared. A rampaging goblin army had captured Shandie and was about to torture him to death. Rap was mired in tropical jungle, hoping his wife and children were safe, back home in Krasnegar. They were not in Krasnegar and certainly not safe. As the flames of war raged across Pandemia, news of the disasters penetrated even into Thume, the Accursed Land. Outsiders believed that the pixies had been extinct for a thousand years, but they still lived there, hoarding their magic. Their ruler, the Keeper, adamantly refused to meddle in events outside her borders, but one young pixie girl was prepared to rebel against the ancient order.

The Living God

A Handful of Men: Book 4

Dave Duncan

The sorcerer Zinixo had declared himself the Almighty, and none could doubt that the end of the era was at hand. Not in the thousand years since the War of the Five Warlocks had the world known upheaval on such a scale. Goblin hordes ravished the Impire. Dragons incinerated entire legions in the space of a heartbeat. The slave-sorcerers of the Covin practiced whatever barbarities Zinixo required --and the chorus swelled with each victory: "Almighty!"

Soon would come midsummer, and the Nordland Moot, and the smell of blood upon the air. Soon the mad dwarf-sorcerer would truly reign supreme--unless Rap of Krasnegar could conjure a miracle at the end of the millennium. Rap and his rebels were recruiting any magic-users the Covin had not yet perverted. And when the time came to move against Zinixo--if it came--they would aim one single, killing blow against the tyrant.

It wasn't much of a plan. But it was all they had.