The holidays are swiftly approaching, which means it's crunch time around the Paizo offices as we race to get a bunch of awesome new products out the door before all of us take time off to spend with our loved ones (parents, spouses, Fallout 3).
The upside? We've got some quality books coming out just in time for the gift-giving occasion of your choice! It's especially true of Planet Stories—in addition to Henry Kuttner's The Dark World and Leigh Brackett's masterful Hounds of Skaith, December will see the release of Gary Gygax's Death in Delhi, the final of the three standalone novels featuring Setne Inhetep, magical magistrate in the service of Pharaoh himself. This time, Setne takes us east on an adventure through the heart of an ancient India analogue filled with castes, corruption, and bloodthirsty gods. We'll talk more about Delhi in weeks to come, but for now, check out this scene snippet from Setne and Rachelle's treacherous journey to the lands of the Peacock Throne:
When it occurred, though, the attack didn't come in a creeping manner. It was heralded by a wailing cry which froze the blood of any victim not asleep. There was a silent rush of menacing figures. It was impossible in the confusion of moonlight and shadow to tell how many thugs were there. More than half a hundred, perhaps twice that number, and one at least was capable of using potent heka. Whatever casting he sent at them, both Inhetep and Rachelle were suddenly themselves again. That is, their Hindi disguises were gone, and for the few heartbeats' time the change required, neither could do aught but stand dazed, feeling the effects of the transformation.
"Thugs!" he managed to should to Rachelle. "Stranglers of Kali!"
There was no free passage for the attackers, however. In a mere matter of heartbeats after the time the practitioner among the crazed strangers activated his casting, Magister Inhetep had triggered one of his own dweomers. There appeared a sudden smoke arc as a hundred separate sparks winked into being. For a second these motes glowed, in the next they brightened into a multi-hued array of blossoming fires, and but a second after that each began its dance.
A flight of them whizzed high in angry amber lines, making sounds as hornets do. Others fluttered like butterflies with wings of flame. There were a dozen bright blue serpentine paths traced along the ground, and violet arcs as if grasshoppers were alight and on the move. Bright green embers jumped toward the onrushing attackers as might insane frogs bent on meeting the assailants in midair. Some spiraled aloft to spin and spit scintillating jets, which whirled crazily as their erratic flight carried them outward from the wizard-priest who had invoked them, while silvery and golden balls bounced and rolled forth in a determined fashion. Then, finally, all hell broke loose...