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Vincalis the Agitator by Holly LisleDescription: THE REALM OF PAIN Series:
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The Hars Ticlarim was an empire built on the suffering of others. Its builders wanted it that way. They didn't want to take responsibility for their own spells; they didn't want to limit what they could do merely to defense. More magic use meant that they could expand the empire, or keep in line the parts of it already acquired. But what wizard would use magic if he had to take the cost of the spell from his own flesh and blood and bones and life? Why would he do that, when he could channel both the power to fuel his spell and the rebound from it into caged creatures that he had convinced himself were not truly human? Who was going to overturn three thousand years of "this is the way we do things"?
GLORY OF THE DRAGONS
Based on a science of sorcery called Dragon magic, the Hars Ticlarim is a miraculous place of mansions built on clouds and gardens blooming diamonds beneath canopies of captive stars. But this incomparable beauty hides a dark core: Dragon magic draws its power from the agony of slaves who are killed for sorcerous fuel. And for three thousand years, no one has dared question the empire's inhuman cruelty...until now.
Wraith, a boy with an uncanny power, seeks the art to foment a revolution within the Hars Ticlarim. Solander, a brilliant young mage, believes he has discovered a totally new form of magic. Luercas, a sadistic noble, will commit any crime that furthers his ambition. All three are clever, resolute, driven—and naïve. For they challenge the rulers of a globe-spanning power that has endured for millennia-rulers who will do anything to stay in power forever...