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The Warrior within: Book Three of the Devan Chronicles Paperback – 9 Jan 2003

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More About the Author

Mark E. Cooper lives in a small town in the south of England, where he writes most mornings and evenings. His background is in mechanical engineering where he spent over thirty years working for Ford. He loves reading and writing about strong female characters and can often be found listening to a book on his iPod, while he types like a mad man.

His hobbies include Shelby Cobras--he built a V12 version of the classic car with with his best friend back in the early 90s. It still has pride of place in his garage. He reads science fiction and fantasy when he can, and likes urban fantasy too. He maintains a website and blog at http://www.markecooper.com and a fan page for the Merkiaari Wars series at http://www.impulsebooks.co.uk/facebook.html

He is now the author of more than ten titles in the genres he loves to read.

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The wind howled over the plain and brought the snow with driving force. It was a killer, that wind, but the warriors were prepared and dealt with it without complaint. Complaining was pointless. The task before them was necessary.

Shelim shielded his eyes and pulled his mask up over his face a little more. He staggered forward having to lean into the wind to stay on his feet. The wind was incredible. This must be the worst winter of his life. The wind howled over the plain and blasted everything with its fury. He was covered in frozen slush, but his concerns were all for the others. Just a few yards ahead, the warriors struggled with the frozen bodies. There were hundreds of dead families here. All were Lost Ones. Shelim had no idea why they had come, or why they had chosen this time, but whatever the reason it was a stupid thing to do. None outside the clans could survive the plains in these conditions, a fact these people should have known. Why hadn’t the fools left in the spring? Maybe it was so bad in their cities that they preferred death. He could understand that up to a point, but surely the monster Navarien could only be in one city at a time. Why hadn’t they made their way to one of the others?

Shelim shielded his eyes and watched the indistinct forms of Mazel and his warriors prying stiff bodies apart. The huddled forms had tried to protect their loved ones from the blizzard, and now Mazel was having trouble separating them. Although Larn had told him none lived here, Mazel could not accept it. He had ordered his warriors to check each one while he did the same. Shelim’s other sight showed him nothing when he turned it upon the Lost Ones. They were dead and had been for days. The children—the children had died last. The small forms were packed together in the centre shielded from the blizzard by their parent’s bodies.

"This is pointless!" Larn called to Shelim over the howling wind.

Shelim agreed, but he knew better than to try convincing Mazel. Mazel was chief of Horse Clan and would not take kindly to anyone trying to overrule him—especially not a shaman.

Shelim pulled the hide covering away from his mouth. "They’re nearly finished!" He shouted over the howling wind. "We could better use our time locating the next group!"

Larn waved a hand in agreement and they huddled around the mirror. Snow kept falling and obscuring the image as Larn called a view of two shamen huddling together around a mirror being obscured by snow. Shelim thought for a moment and grasped his magic. He warmed the air directly over the mirror to melt the snow and kept it that way. Larn nodded his thanks and tilted the glass slightly to allow the water to run away as it would.

"Which way?" Larn said through his mask.

"We know they’re all dead to the west. How about trying more to the north?"

Larn agreed with an exaggerated nod.

The image in the mirror blurred as Larn made it race northward. There was nothing but whiteness to see. The image slammed to a halt, but the shadow was simply a group of strays from the herd. Larn moved on. Nowhere could Shelim see signs that the Lost Ones were out there. The blizzard made it hard to see detail, but whenever the slightest doubt arose, Larn zoomed inward to make certain. They had found three groups like the one here almost straight after leaving the clan. Those people would have survived if they had kept moving for another half day, but they hadn’t. On average, they had found four groups a day, never more than five and never less than two. Twenty groups then, some with hundreds of dead, some with as many as a thousand. The scale of the disaster was staggering. Twenty thousand dead—at least twenty thousand and more on the way, Shelim saw as Larn zoomed into another huddled group.

"By the God, please tell me this isn’t happening!"

"I can’t Larn!" Shelim yelled. "You can see it as well as I can!"

Larn was silent as he widened the view, and widened it, and widened it, and widened it…

Shelim groaned. This group was by far the worst. Larn had to pull back so far to encompass it that the Lost Ones were reduced to dark spots against the snow. If Larn pulled back any further to fit them into the mirror, they would have disappeared into the whiteness.

"They’re all dead!"

"We can’t be sure," Shelim replied.

"All dead I tell you!"

"We have to check, Larn! Just think of a child in the middle of that—we have to check! Have to!"

"All right," Larn said unhappily. "I’ll tell Mazel." He put his mirror away and struggled through the snow toward Mazel who it appeared had finally acknowledged the worst.

The Lost Ones were all dead here.

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JULIA OPENED HER EYES TO LOOK AROUND, but nothing had changed. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Average and boring 4 Nov. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Most readers will be able to skip this book and their lives will be just as rich. The writing is amatuerish and the plot is a rehash of other stories that seem all to familiar. I generally try to find something good to say in each book I read, but I found that I was having a difficult time doing so here.
Go to the library or better yet pick up one of Terry Brooks books or Robert Jordan which are far more original. This is a clearly derivative work (I'm being generous.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Give yourself a break and don't buy it 9 Nov. 2003
By Jacktat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Having read the first two books in this series, I hung in there hoping things might get better---they didn't. The writing is so poor I found myself wondering how this book got published in the first place.
Basically, I found the plot contrived and unbelievable. The dialogue and imagery were equally as bed. It may be time for Mr. Cooper to consider looking for another career.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Ho Hum 6 Nov. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While it would be unfair to say that this book wasn't somewhat enjoyable, I was definitely not bowled over by it. The author still needs to work on his writing skills as there are some really awkward phrases and sentences that brought me up short, but overall it was a reasonable, if undistinguished effort.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Frustrating in places 11 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this book a little frustrating. Just as you begin to get into it, the author changes point of view to another character and you have to begin over. I would have preferred it if he had stuck with Julia or Keverin. Shelim's story is kind of interesting too. Overall it was okay, but as other reviewers have pointed out, the author did a much better job with book one.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not bad, just a middle book 12 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It was okay. I think the first one was best. sometime when I read fantasy I can't see whats happening in my head. I saw this one like watching tv. This book is the middle book in the set. They never as good as the first one. When more come out, I will get my brother to buy them for me.
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