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Henghis Hapthorn is the foremost penetrator of mysteries and uncoverer of secrets in a decadent, far-future Old Earth, one age before Jack Vance's Dying Earth. A superb rationalist, he has long disdained the notion that the universe has an alternative organizing principle: magic. But now a new age is dawning, overturning the very foundations of Hapthorn's existence, and he must struggle to survive in a world where all the rules are changing.
Hapthorn is on the trail of an unknown killer who collects body parts from his victims. The search leads him off-planet, into the Ten Thousand Worlds of The Spray, then turns in an unexpected direction as the freelance discriminator learns that an ancient and evil power is plotting to reassert its dominion over Old Earth.
It was bad enough when Henghis Hapthorn, Old Earth's foremost discriminator and die-hard empiricist, had to accept that the cosmos was shortly to rewrite its basic operating system, replacing rational cause-and-effect with detestable magic.
Now he finds himself cast forward several centuries, stranded in a primitive world of contending wizards and hungry dragons, and without his magic-savvy alter ego.
Worse, some entity with a will powerful enough to bend space and time is searching for him through the Nine Planes, bellowing "Bring me Apthorn!" in a voice loud enough to frighten demons.
As magic begins to reassert its ancient dominion, Old Earth's foremost freelance discriminator, Henghis Hapthorn, and his intuition (now a separate person named Osk Rievor), are living apart, though they remain on good terms. But now there comes between them a woman of alluring mystery.
Who is Hespira? Does she truly want either of them? Or has she come to destroy them both?
Here are nine tales of Henghis Hapthorn, foremost freelance discriminator of Old Earth in the planet's penultimate age.
Included are the six stories that ran in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (and were previously collected in The Gist Hunter and Other Stories), leading up to the events that began the first Hapthorn novel, Majestrum, plus three more.
About the e-Book Formats
You can purchase these electronic editions in several formats: mobi (for Kindles and some other readers), ePub (for iPads, Nooks and many other readers), and PDF, which is readable by almost anything else.
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- Excerpt from ‘To Hell and Back: The Damned Busters’
- Excerpt from ‘The Other’
- A Little Learning
- Excerpt from ‘Black Brillion’
- Excerpt from ‘Fool Me Twice’
- Excerpt from ‘Fools Errant’
- Excerpt from ‘Hespira’
- Excerpt from ‘Majestrum’
- Excerpt from ‘The Spiral Labyrinth’
- Excerpt from ‘Template’
- Excerpt from ‘To Hell and Back: Costume Not Included’
- Excerpt from ‘Downshift’
- Excerpt from ‘To Hell and Back: Hell to Pay’
- Excerpt from ‘Quartet and Triptych’
- Excerpt from ‘The Yellow Cabochon’
- Excerpt from ‘Paroxysm’
- Excerpt from ‘Old Growth’
- On Writing
- About the Author