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The Tainted City (The Shattered Sigil) Paperback – September 25, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Courtney Schafer was born in Georgia, raised in Virginia, and spent her childhood dreaming of adventures in the jagged mountains and sweeping deserts of her favorite fantasy novels. She escaped the East Coast by attending Caltech for college, where she obtained a B.S. in electrical engineering, and also learned how to rock climb, backpack, ski, scuba dive, and stack her massive book collection so it wouldn’t crush anyone in an earthquake.

After college she moved to the climber’s paradise of Boulder, Colorado, and somehow managed to get a masters degree in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado in between racking up ski days and peak climbs. She now works in the aerospace industry and is married to an Australian scientist who shares her love for speculative fiction and mountain climbing. She’s had to slow down a little on the adrenaline sports since the birth of her son, but only until he’s old enough to join in. She writes every spare moment she's not working or adventuring with her family.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Shattered Sigil (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597804037
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597804035
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,579,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A voracious reader, Courtney Schafer took up writing when she found that fantasy books weren't published fast enough to satisfy her craving for new worlds full of magic and wonder. When not writing, Courtney figure skates, climbs 14,000 foot peaks, squeezes through Utah slot canyons, and skis way too fast through trees. To support her adrenaline-fueled hobbies and writing habit, she received a degree in electrical engineering from Caltech and now works in the aerospace industry. She lives with her husband and son in the climber's paradise of Colorado.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
Also, the magic system worldbuilding is well done.
The heart of the story, though, is his friendship with Kiran, and here it's tested in a way neither could have expected.
Maine Character
The minor characters also have their own feelings, actions and motives, which is nice.
"Seregil of Rhiminee"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jvstin VINE VOICE on October 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
In her debut novel The Whitefire Crossing, Courtney Schafer introduced us to The Whitefire Mountains, the perilous mountain border between the Painted Desert, with Ninavel, the city of Mages, and Alathia, a prosperous country with a tight rein on its magic users. The Whitefire Crossing is the story of Dev and Kiran. The latter a mountaineer and caravaners with a love of the mountains who is asked to smuggle a perilous cargo-Kiran, a mage who is fleeing his master. And both men are soon caught in events and plots much larger than they realize.

In The Tainted City, we pick up their story some months later. Both are prisoners of the Alathians, Dev in a work camp, and Kiran asked to use his magical abilities and research on behalf of Alathia's protection. Neither is really trusted, especially Kiran, given his training in the art of blood magic. But when an opportunity comes for them to accompany an expedition back to Ninavel to find out more about a series of earthquakes and disruptions that threaten the integrity of Alathia's protections, Dev and Kiran find themselves again caught in plots and events larger than they first realize. Plots upon which not only hang their fates, and those they care for, but the entire city of Ninavel, and beyond.

I truly enjoyed The Whitefire Crossing, and I approached sequel with that peculiar mix of anticipation and dread that I often have when returning to a new author whose first book I enjoyed. Will this second book meet my expectations and response to the first? Has the author grown and developed since their initial effort? Is the magic still there?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Maine Character on October 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was a little unsure about this one, since what brought me to the first book was how it involved mountain climbing, and this one takes place almost entirely in the city of Ninavel, a sort of desert Sin City where mages have free rein in return for keeping the water flowing.

The great thing is that it's even better than the first book in that not only does it have the same streetwise outlook of Dev, and Kiran's emotional journey back to the city he fled, but it's a crack mystery, with turn on turn of events as they all try to solve the attacks on the city's source of power and also its water supply. Attacks that are not only baffling to the darkest of mages, but which threaten to destroy the entire city.

As with the first book, you never know what will happen next, or who can be trusted, and you're taken along for a ride as Dev tries to navigate both the backstreets he grew up in and the world of mages and their power plays at the highest levels of the city.

The heart of the story, though, is his friendship with Kiran, and here it's tested in a way neither could have expected. I won't give it away, but it's gripping in how the events unfold from it as Kiran struggles with being a blood mage with strong bonds to his fellow assistant and their master, Ruslan, who'd like nothing more than to wipe out Dev and his companions.

Working with Dev are the Alathians, the more refined mages from the neighboring kingdom, who have held Kiran hostage and are using Dev to help them save the power source that protects their border. They have no trust of Ruslan, and even fight within themselves in how to fulfill their mission.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Zarzyczny on October 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, it's definitely a great follow up to the Whitefire Crossing. However, I think that I probably liked this one a little less than the first book, mainly because I didn't love the new villain, and parts of the story feel a little like a rehash. Still, I'm really looking forward to the third entry of this series. For this story, other than the beginning plot device to get Kiran and Dev back into Ninavel, I loved the plot in this book. It's really nothing I've seen done in a fantasy novel, where what would happen if everything a character did in the first book of the series (and what led up to the beginning of the first book), events that completely changed who the character was, were wiped from the character's mind? This creates some really cool events, where you get to see Kiran with his Blood Mage family of Ruslan, Lisaveta, and Mikhail in a facsimile of what they were like before. You also get to see what Kiran could become, if he embraced the murderous power of being a Blood Mage. There were only two things I didn't love about the story, and that was how it relied a little too much on putting people in danger for Dev to save them, or Zelda/Princess Peach Syndrome. The second being that by the end of the story, the characters are at a relatively similar place as the beginning of the book, there isn't too much conflict resolution.

For the characters, I loved everything that was done with them. The character development of Kiran is really interesting, where he has much of his memory missing, and this new version of himself is developing in a tangent to where he developed in the first book.
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