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512 pages, Paperback
First published August 21, 2018
No matter the cost, Sancia will do what it takes to survive. She's carved out an existence in one of the most inhospitable places in the city.
The soles of her boots touched earth, and she started to run.
"But the fire was you as well?"She takes on odd jobs - often stealing items from one merchant house and selling it to another...though the latest adventure might just take a cake.
Sancia shrugged. "Shit got out of hand."
"You're a . . . a . . .Now that she's added talking-key-guardian to her job description, she now has to deal with the consequences - which includes having the entire world trying to kill her.
"A . . . " She swallowed. "A key."
I'm a key. Yes. I didn't really think that was under dispute.
That's what scriving is. Reality doesn't matter. If you can change something's mind enough, it'll believe whatever reality you choose.If a skilled scriver writes "something" on an object, the object will believe that it can do that "something"
I don't know what the hell to do, Clef. I want to run, but I've nowhere to run to.Wow. Seriously. WOW.
"I want your client," he said. "Very much so. If you can give him to me."Also, the magic felt so fresh and interesting - I actually looked forward to the exposition scenes so I can puzzle out all the intricacies of the world.
"In what condition? You want his name, his head, or what?"
“All things have a value. Sometimes the value is paid in coin. Other times, it is paid in time and sweat. And finally, sometimes it is paid in blood.
Humanity seems most eager to use this latter currency. And we never note how much of it we’re spending, unless it happens to be our own.”
“One day I’ll live a life that doesn’t force me to make such cold-blooded decisions, she thought. But today is not that day.”
“Any given innovation that empowers the individual will inevitably come to empower the powerful much, much more.”
“Foundryside. The closest thing Sancia had to a home.”
“Four walled-off little city-states, all crammed into Tevanne, all wildly different regions with their own schools, their own living quarters, their own marketplaces, their own cultures. These merchant house enclaves—the campos—took up about 80 percent of Tevanne.”
“But if you didn’t work for a house, or weren’t affiliated with them—in other words, if you were poor, lame, uneducated, or just the wrong sort of person—then you lived in the remaining 20 percent of Tevanne: a wandering, crooked ribbon of streets and city squares and in-between places—the Commons.”
“He could tell which one of them was Antonin right away, because the man’s clothes were clean, his skin unblemished, his thin hair combed neatly back, and he was hugely, hugely fat—a rarity in the Commons.”
“Gregor took stock of the situation. The taverna was now mostly empty except for the moaning guards—and the large, fat man trying to hide behind a chair.”
“Tevanne, a huge dome that reminded her of a fat, swollen tick, sitting in the center of the Candiano campo.”
“Gregor stared at the painting—especially at the woman in the chair, and the fat infant. His gaze lingered on the baby. That is how she still thinks of me, he thought. Despite all my deeds and scars and accomplishments, I am still a fat, gurgling infant to her, bouncing in her lap.”
“She was not like Torino Morsini, head of Morsini House, who was hugely fat and often hugely drunk, and usually spent his time trying to stuff his aged candle into every nubile girl on his campo.”
”The foundries did that first," said Sancia. "Apparently that was where they first experimented with gravity, just so they could get all their machines to move around and work better."
"Kind of. I hear it didn’t go totally flawlessly at the start, and a few scrivers accidentally quintupled their gravity or something."
"Meaning they got crushed into a vaguely flesh-like object about as thick as an iron pan."
"Okay, maybe not so clever.”
"...And I have come home to bring to this city the very thing I am delivering you to."
"And what is that?"
"Justice," he said simply.
Her mouth fell open. "What? Are you serious?"
"As serious," he said as the carriage turned, "as the grave."
Sancia laughed, incredulous. "Oh, as simple as that? Just like dropping off a package? 'Here, friends--have some Justice! That's the dumbest damned thing I've ever heard!"
And whoever made that thing is . . . good.”
“Damned good,” said Orso. “Amazingly good. That’s top-rate work, there! I feel sure if someone was that good in this city, we’d all know about it. Everyone would be lining up to lick his candle, I’ve no doubt!”
The wall spoke to her. The wall told her of foundry smoke, of hot rains, of creeping moss, of the tiny footfalls of the thousands of ants that had traversed its mottled face over the decades. The surface of the wall bloomed in her mind, and she felt every crack and every crevice, every dollop of mortar and every stained stone. All of this information coursed into Sancia’s thoughts the second she touched the wall. And among this sudden eruption of knowledge was what she had really been hoping for. Loose stones. Four of them, big ones, just a few feet away from her. And on the other side, some kind of closed, dark space, about four feet wide and tall. She instantly knew where to find it like she’d built the wall herself.
“But that’s what scriving is. Reality doesn’t matter. If you can change something’s mind enough, it’ll believe whatever reality you choose.”
“To put it plainly, they were the people who invented scriving, long, long, long ago. Though no one’s even sure if they really were people. Some say they were angels, or something a lot like angels. They were also called hierophants, and in most of the old stories they’re regarded as priests or monks or prophets. The first of them—the most notable of them—was Crasedes the Great. They used their scriving to do some very, very big things.”“Like what?” asked Sancia.“Like move mountains,” said Claudia. “Carve out oceans. And annihilate cities, and build a massive, massive empire.
“Remember—move thoughtfully, give freedom to others, and you’ll rarely do wrong…”