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435 pp • ISBN: 978-1-61614-980-2
Trade Paperback • $18
Cover Illustration © Raymond Swanland
Possessed by a ghost who feeds on death, the undying assassin Ahjvar the Leopard has been captured by the Lady of Marakand, enslaved by necromancy to be captain of her Red Masks. His shield-bearer Ghu, a former slave with an uncanny ability to free the captive dead, follows Ahjvar into the war-torn lands of the Duina Catairna to release him, even if that means destroying what is left of Ahj’s tormented soul.
Deyandara, the last surviving heir of the Catairnan queen, rides into a land ravaged by disease and war, seeking the allies she abandoned months before, though they have no hope of standing against the army led by the invulnerable Red Masks of Marakand and the divine terror of the Lady.
In the city of Marakand, former enemies ally and old friends seek one another’s deaths as loyalists of the entombed gods Gurhan and Ilbialla raise a revolt, spearheaded by the Grasslander wizard Ivah, the shapeshifting Blackdog, and the bear-demon Mikki. The Lady’s defenses are not easily breached, though, and the one enemy who might withstand her, the Northron wanderer Moth, bearer of the sword Lakkariss, has vanished.
Praise for The Leopard (Marakand, Volume One):
“An involving and deftly written novel of escape and capture, love and loss, and battles both mental and physical…. Fans of C. J. Cherryh, Elizabeth Bear, and George R. R. Martin will find the same intelligence, wit, and mastery of language…. Johansen has written a winner.”
“The Leopard [draws] on a legacy of pulpy, swords and sandals-style tales…with a classic edge…..”
Praise for K.V. Johansen:
”Johansen’s characters project believability, and her world is full of rich and vivid detail. High fantasy for lovers of mythology and of powerful beings in human form….”