Attention all R.A. Salvatore fans: the fantasy author will be returning to the world of DemonWars next year with a “sister series,” kicking off in April with Pinquickle’s Folly. Simon & Schuster’s Saga Press will be marking the occasion by re-releasing all seven previous DemonWars books with updated covers. Today, io9 is excited to share sneak previews of both the new book and the new covers.
Here’s more details on Pinquickle’s Folly, the first book in Salvatore’s new trilogy. It’s due out April 16, 2024.
In Pinquickle’s Folly, New York Times bestselling author R. A. Salvatore returns to his signature world of Corona, introducing a dynamic new part of the southern coast never written of before as a great starting place for readers in the DemonWars Saga: The Buccaneers.
The first adventure in the Buccaneers trilogy begins in the free sea outside of the control of the usurping Xoconai empire, where the dwarven powrie pirates and merchants sail. But the golden-skinned Xoconai have begun to encroach upon these waters behind the rapacious attacks of the frigate Crocodile, helmed by Captain Aketz. But when forced to submit, these sailors choose to live, free to do as they please, without some fool or another pretending to hold power over them.
Fantasy master R. A. Salvatore brings together a misfit band of Xoconai, powerie, and human sailors—once enemies, now fierce friends with a common enemy, and the spark of rebellion in this action-packed piratical adventure.
Here is the exclusive excerpt from Pinquickle’s Folly—followed by its cover, and then all the new covers (and their release dates) for the previous DemonWars novels. The new cover designs and illustrations are by Damonza.com.
THE SWORDFISH AND THE CROCODILE
Captain Aketz of the Cipac lowered his spyglass and looked to Ahmaddi, the skinny Behrenese man standing beside him.
Ahmaddi shifted nervously, which brought a little grin to the face of the Xoconai captain. Aketz Fiatl was not a tall and thick man, standing just over five feet. Few had expected him to survive his earliest days, so sickly was he, and never in his life had he been physically imposing. But he more than made up for that with the severe widow’s peak of his raven hair and the set of his small black eyes—too close together beside his thin, long, and hooked nose—which verily glowed bright red as if with unrelenting anger. The ability of Captain Aketz to shatter the nerves of those around him had only grown with his reputation as he sailed these eastern waters, offering no quarter to those who would impede the glory of the growing Tonoloyan empire.
Aketz tried not to laugh and break the spell, but the man’s appearance alone amused him. This one was so skinny indeed that his black hair and beard extended out beyond his shoulders!
“What is her name?” Aketz asked.
“And her captain?”
“Jocasta. Captain Jocasta. She hails from my village.”
“And she is a buccaneer? She sails her ship under the red ’n’ black?”
The small man shifted in a strange and jittery fashion but nodded emphatically.
“Or is she just a woman who scorned you?” asked Cayo, the Cipac’s first mate and high priest, who was standing just to the side.
“I would not lie to you. Why would I lie to you?” Ahmaddi stammered.
“For the reward, of course,” answered Cayo. “And for revenge.”
“No, no, she did not scorn me,” Ahmaddi said. “No, no. She dishonors my village, but only because she is a pirate.”
“If she is a pirate from a village within Behren, does she not sail with a Letter of Marque and Reprisal from Chezru Chief Brynn Dharielle?” Captain Aketz asked.
Ahmaddi swallowed hard, his obvious weakening his claim. He was turning in a pirate and he wanted the reward, and more than that, he wanted to stay in the good graces of the ferocious Captain Aketz.
“So how does that dishonor your village? Is she not in service to your queen?”
“Not all of Behren agrees with Chezru Chieftain Brynn,” Ahmaddi quietly replied.
“More likely, the reward of gold allows Ahmaddi to care less about such politics,” said Captain Aketz, and he snapped his telescoping spyglass closed and shook his head, starting away.
“But that does not take the name of Swordfish off her stern,” Ahmaddi pleaded.
“A name that means nothing to us,” Cayo answered as the captain walked away. The tall and broad-shouldered first mate hunched his golden-colored robes to make himself appear even larger, then leaned over Ahmaddi, making the man appear, and clearly feel, even smaller.
“Because she is new to the waters,” Ahmaddi sputtered. “She is just out . . .”
“Convenient,” said Cayo. “And you, of course, knew of her, and her intent, before the Tonoloya Armada had ever heard of the ship? Before a single report of a skirmish?”
“Sister ship to Port Mandu,” Ahmaddi blurted, and Cayo fell back.
“What did you say?” demanded Aketz, who was several steps away.
“Jocasta . . . now Captain Jocasta, who was first mate of Port Mandu,” Ahmaddi explained. “Captain Wilkie Dogears caught her a ship. That ship, the Swordfish. She is his second, his escort, his flank, his . . .” The man held up his hands, searching for a word to better explain in this language, Xoconai, which was not his native tongue.
Aketz came forward again and telescoped his spyglass, suddenly very interested once more. He had never heard of the Swordfish, but the Port Mandu was a different matter altogether.
“Who have we aboard who knows anything of Captain Wilkie and his crew?” Aketz asked Cayo.
“I will see,” the man replied, and rushed away.
“You believe me now?” Ahmaddi asked.
Aketz turned a scowl his way, sized him up and down without bothering to hide his contempt, then went back to his spyglass.
“I will be given the reward, yes?”
“If you do not shut up, you will get wet. Very wet, and very quickly.”
Ahmaddi swallowed hard yet again and shifted from one foot to the other, something he continued doing for some time, until First Mate Cayo returned to the captain’s side.
“The Port Mandu was known to have a Behrenese first mate,” Cayo confirmed. He turned to look at Ahmaddi as he finished, “A Behrenese woman named Jocasta.”
“Your fellow augurs would minimalize my efforts here to secure the seas,” Aketz remarked.
“They seek better ways to move the gold. They fear the pirates.”
“No, Captain Aketz,” Cayo answered, shaking his head vigorously. “They know that the buccaneers must be defeated fully and forever, and that Captain Aketz and Cipac are the spear to skewer the foul sidhe.”
It was a rehearsed line, Aketz recognized. There was a measure of truth to it, perhaps, but he knew that his superiors in Entel were growing frustrated by the continual nuisance of the buccaneers, particularly because of their alliance with the dangerous kingdom of Behren. In normal times, Aketz would have monitored the Swordfish, perhaps approached and boarded her to ensure that she had no ill-gotten loot aboard.
But these were not normal times. He needed a prize. A kill.
“Full sail,” Aketz ordered. “Keep us just to her starboard. Do not let her turn for the shallows.”
Aketz didn’t bother to look over at Ahmaddi anymore, but he didn’t try to suppress the grin on his face, even though he knew it would put the little snake of a man more at ease. He couldn’t deny the truth of this opportunity. Wilkie Dogears had finally been caught in an act of piracy, only a few weeks before— perhaps even the incident that had allowed him to acquire this ship. Ever had the Polite Pirate escaped Aketz’s wrath, and so he would again if Aketz allowed some time to pass, some time for Wilkie to once again charm with gold those Xoconai captains and merchants who listed the wanted buccaneer outlaws. The sister ship to Port Mandu would be a prize in this short window of opportunity, no doubt, and Port Mandu a bigger one still.
He considered the possibilities. He could shadow this square- rigged sloop and hope it would lead him to Wilkie—he had no doubt that the Cipac could sink them both in a single battle. But no, he decided. He’d take this ship alone and get his answers from any who survived the battle.
The Swordfish wasn’t going to see land again, he decided.
Excerpted from PINQUICKLE’S FOLLY by R.A. Salvatore. Copyright © 2024. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.