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Kindling by Traci Chee

A gut-wrenching, introspective fantasy about seven lost soldiers searching for the peace they once fought for

Start Reading Kindling and enter for the chance to win a copy! On Sale February 27, 2024. Discover this book and more at harpercollins.ca

Part 1: The Restless

Leum

The war took you many places on the Kindar Peninsula (and in the years since the war ended, you’ve pretty much seen the rest), but you’ve never been to the northlands until now.

Too remote. Nothing up here but rocks and cattle—

Cowpies and dust—

It’s a harsh land, without a doubt, but that’s why it appeals to you. The ruggedness of it, the relentlessness of it. The plains rising and falling like waves while the wind howls across the countryside—

Pine, sage, rabbitbrush, stone—

The sun blazing, the heat rising from the road—

A few days in the high desert, and you’re parched and sunburned, with new holes in the soles of your sandals (though, to be fair, they were already wearing thin weeks ago when you set off for the north). But you’re almost there now, almost to the mountains—

The mighty Candiveras, where the Kindar Peninsula kisses the continent—
And the nation of Amerand ends.
Ahead of you, that vast and jagged border looms—sharp, immense, severe. The fortresses of gods or the gods themselves, at the tail end of summer and still capped with snow.

The Candiveras are all that stand between you and the kingdom of Ifrine beyond—
The rest of the world beyond.
You pause. You kneel. Scratch your dog behind the ears and adjust the tiny silver medal you wear around your neck.

If you had to take one last look at your country, you couldn’t ask for a better view than this.

*

The Kindar Peninsula had been tearing itself to pieces long before you entered the war. Amerand and Vedra. North and south. For a hundred years, those titans raged, back and forth on the fields, the beaches, the steep mountain slopes—

The flash of steel, the sound of the drums—

And us—

Kindlings. A force of elite, magic-wielding warriors, pink flames rippling from our balar weapons as we carved great swaths through the ranks of our enemies. We fought for Amerand. We fought for Vedra. For a hundred years, we were swept up in two violent, inexorable tides, ebbing and expanding, swallowing cities, villages, outposts—

You can still remember how it felt, fighting on the vanguard, there in the thick of it with a squad of your kin—

The weight of your armor. The give of the earth. The magic sparking wildly inside of you and rushing out through your blade—

But it’s been two years since you conjured fire from your fingers, two years since Amerand won the war—

The Vedran royalty slipping quietly into exile—

All the old maps redrawn—

As a testament to the Great and Harmonious Reunification, the Queen Commander (Long May She Reign) outlawed magic on the entire Kindar Peninsula, deemed it too cruel, too inhumane, unthinkable in peacetime. No more child soldiers. No more kids burning out by eighteen.

And the ones who remained?

The ones who survived?

We were given a choice.

Surrender our balar weapons for land and a stipend, or be turned loose, to live and fight and be put down if we ever dared to disturb the new and uneasy peace.

Excerpt from Kindling, Copyright © 2024 by Traci Chee. All rights reserved.

Kindling will be available in bookstores across Canada and online on February 27, 2024

Enter for your chance to win a copy of
Kindling by Traci Chee

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