Jimmy the Hand Part 34

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'Gerem Benton? For certs. What about him?'

'He was running a gang of thief-catchers for the old Baron of Land's End.'

The Daymaster sat back. 'Thought old Gerem was dead.'

Jimmy said, 'I think he wanted it that way when he left Krondor. Had his own little operation down there, and his thief-catchers were pretty much running things. They arrested anyone dodgy who came to Land's End, but ran their own dodges on the side, so the Baron's men thought they needed to keep Gerem around. I tumbled the new Baron to the scam and he rewarded me with the gold. So, I just put him and his mob out of business.'

Jimmy thought it best not to mention that the 'new Baron' was a farm boy who hadn't yet been approved by the King's court in Rillanon, and that the 'reward' had come without Bram's knowledge as Jimmy had pilfered quite a number of valuables from the unguarded manor house the night after everyone thought he had left Land's End. He had taken what he could carry and easily dispose of; a brace of silver candlesticks and a handsome dagger owned by one of Bernarr's ancestors; and he had agonized for a long time over which pieces of Lady Elaine's jewels to lift and which to leave behind for Bram to give to Lorrie. He was still puzzled by what Coe had told him about the dead lady's part in the events of that last night, but his sense of debt to her outweighed his greed and so he had stolen only a little from her. He had found eager buyers before reaching Krondor for the valuables, so by the time he entered the city he hadn't had to deal with any of the local fences.



He had ridden in wearing a fancy coat and clean shirt, and the guards at the gate were far more interested in ruffians and thieves trying to leave the city than in a well-to-do lad from Land's End arriving for a visit. He had sold the horse and saddle, so now all he had to show for his adventure was a fancy hat, coat, and another bag of gold he wasn't sharing with the Upright Man.

The Daymaster studied Jimmy for a long moment, then said, 'So what you're saying is Land's End is ripe for a well-spotted gang to move in?'

'Exactly,' said Jimmy, trying hard not to look too smug and failing miserably.

The Daymaster chuckled. 'Well, I'll speak to the Upright Man about it. Seems a good enough price for forgiveness if you brought us an entire town to run. Nicely situated, too, right there near the border with Kesh. You head out for your crib and lie low for a couple of days and if he says no, I'll send you word on how much longer you have to hide out. Another month or two, I reckon. But if he says "good enough", do you want to head back to Land's End with the gang and help set it up?'

Jimmy got up out of the chair swiftly. 'No, thanks,' he answered. 'I'll stick to Krondor. Here, there are only crushers, guardsmen, soldiers and the occasional merchant with a knife to concern myself with. Child's play. Country life is just a little too dangerous for my liking.'

With that, the boy thief turned his back on the Daymaster and returned to the sewers. Jimmy took a deep breath as he slogged down the filthy brick tunnel, and felt safely back in the place he counted as home. He knew the Upright Man would make him lay up for another week or so, just to ensure Jimmy didn't mistake who was running the city, but he knew that there were purses to cut, and rooms to burgle and the Guild always was hungry for its cut. Sooner or later the word would arrive and Jimmy the Hand would return to his trade. He'd had enough of aiding princesses and farm girls, battling dark agents of some unknowable horror.

As he vanished into the murk, he started to whistle.

AFTERWORD.

'Why collaborate?' I'm often asked.

This is the third book in the Legends of the Riftwar Legends of the Riftwar series. For the next few years I'm going to be concentrating on my solo works, but I plan on doing more collaborations in the future if I can. My reason for wanting to do them is twofold. series. For the next few years I'm going to be concentrating on my solo works, but I plan on doing more collaborations in the future if I can. My reason for wanting to do them is twofold.

First, for me, Midkemia has always been about 'other voices'. To understand what I mean, you have to remember that the world of Midkemia was developed as a role-playing campaign by a number of very bright people over a number of years while we were students at the University of California, San Diego, in the late 1970s.

To me, the personalities of those involved in creating the world had a profound effect on how I see Midkemia, its diversity and its unique qualities. When I choose a location in the world to place my work, the nature of that locale is often something that was decided by someone else years ago.

So working with other authors is a chance to bring 'other voices' into play. The first three, William R Forstchen, Joel Rosenberg, and the co-author of this book, Steve Stirling, are writers whose work I admire and enjoy. Their styles differ from mine in significant ways, but we all worked together easily.

The way we worked was remarkably similar, and very different from the way in which I worked with Janny Wurts on the Empire Trilogy Empire Trilogy. With Janny, we would pass chapters back and forth, rewriting several times until there were places I can't tell you who wrote what.

With Bill, Joel and Steve, we agreed upon a general storyline, then I'd turn them loose. When I got their rough draft, I'd rewrite it, trying to keep their 'voices' intact, while I made sure the work remained consistent with the world in which we were writing. We'd e-mail one another or talk on the phone, and along the way a blended voice would emerge.

For this book, Jimmy the Hand Jimmy the Hand, Steve Stirling chose this character as one of his favourites, and I was happy to do a story about Jimmy's 'first' solo adventure, long before he saved Arutha from the assassin on the roof tops of Krondor. I think it safe to say that after having written many books about Jimmy/Lord James, I would have been unable to return to that character without being burdened by what I knew lay before him. Steve managed to find the boy who perked up the last four chapters of the first half of Magician Magician and remind me who he was. and remind me who he was.

In Murder in LaMut, Murder in LaMut, Joel and I got to 'clone' three of my favourite characters from his universe, changing them just a little bit to make them Midkemian, yet echoing their well-chronicled history in Joel's Joel and I got to 'clone' three of my favourite characters from his universe, changing them just a little bit to make them Midkemian, yet echoing their well-chronicled history in Joel's Guardian of the Flames Guardian of the Flames series. My original idea for that story went back years ago to a notion I once had of doing a solo book about Roald, the mercenary friend of Laurie, who was featured in series. My original idea for that story went back years ago to a notion I once had of doing a solo book about Roald, the mercenary friend of Laurie, who was featured in Silverthorn, Silverthorn, set in a blizzard-strangled city where murder was done. This worked out better, I think. set in a blizzard-strangled city where murder was done. This worked out better, I think.

Bill wanted to write Xenophon's retreat through Persia as a fantasy and I wanted to write a Sharpe's Rifles Sharpe's Rifles-style story, so we came up with Honoured Enemy. Honoured Enemy. Bill's strong background in military history and his familiarity with historical figures gave me strong characters that I cherish along with those I've developed; but I could never have imagined them on my own. Bill's strong background in military history and his familiarity with historical figures gave me strong characters that I cherish along with those I've developed; but I could never have imagined them on my own.

All three authors were fun to work with, and as always I learned from getting to peek inside another author's head. I hope my readers find these books as much of a treat as I do. I look forward to working with other talented writers in the future.

Raymond E. Feist San Diego, CA 2003

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.

As always, my first thanks must go to the mothers and fathers of Midkemia, who taught me the wisdom of listening to other voices.

To every fine writer who taught me how it should be done; I'm still trying.

To Jonathan Matson, again, and as always.

To Jane and Jennifer, two fine editors and better friends.

And to the usual suspects for all the love, support, humour and the richness of friendship.

And most of all, to my daughter Jessica and my son James for keeping it real.

About the Authors

RAYMOND E. FEIST's previous novels include the Dark War Saga: Flight of the Nighthawks Flight of the Nighthawks, Into a Dark Realm Into a Dark Realm, and Wrath of a Mad God Wrath of a Mad God, as well as the Conclave of Shadows: Talon of the Silver Hawk, King of Foxes, Talon of the Silver Hawk, King of Foxes, and and Exile's Return; Magician; Silverthorn; Faerie Tale; Prince of the Blood; Exile's Return; Magician; Silverthorn; Faerie Tale; Prince of the Blood; and and The King's Buccaneer The King's Buccaneer; the four books of the New York Times New York Times bestselling Serpent War Saga: bestselling Serpent War Saga: Shadow of a Dark Queen, Rise of a Merchant Prince, Rage of a Demon King, Shadow of a Dark Queen, Rise of a Merchant Prince, Rage of a Demon King, and and Shards of a Broken Crown; Shards of a Broken Crown; and the three books of his Riftwar Legacy: and the three books of his Riftwar Legacy: Krondor: The Betrayal, Krondor: The Assassins, Krondor: The Betrayal, Krondor: The Assassins, and and Krondor: Tear of the Gods Krondor: Tear of the Gods. Mr. Feist lives in Southern California.

S.M. STIRLING was born in France in 1953, to Canadian parents-although his mother was born in England and grew up in Peru. After that he lived in Europe, Canada, Africa, and the United States and visited several other continents. He graduated from law school in Canada but had his dorsal fin surgically removed, and published his first novel (Snowbrother) in 1984. Stirling went fulltime as a writer in 1988, the year of his marriage to Janet Moore of Milford, Massachusetts, whom he met, wooed, and proposed to at successive World Fantasy Conventions. In 1995 he suddenly realized that he could live anywhere and they decamped from Toronto, that large, cold, gray city on Lake Ontario, and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Stirling became an American citizen in 2004. His latest books are In the Courts of the Crimson Kings In the Courts of the Crimson Kings from Tor and from Tor and The Sunrise Lands The Sunrise Lands from Roc books. His hobbies mostly involve reading-history, anthropology, archaeology, and travel, besides fiction-but he also cooks and bakes for fun and food. For twenty years he also pursued the martial arts, until hyperextension injuries convinced him he was in danger of becoming the most deadly cripple in human history. Currently he lives with his wife, Janet, also an author, and the compulsory authorial cats. from Roc books. His hobbies mostly involve reading-history, anthropology, archaeology, and travel, besides fiction-but he also cooks and bakes for fun and food. For twenty years he also pursued the martial arts, until hyperextension injuries convinced him he was in danger of becoming the most deadly cripple in human history. Currently he lives with his wife, Janet, also an author, and the compulsory authorial cats.

Visit www.AuthorTracker.com for exclusive information on your favorite HarperCollins author.

ALSO BY R RAYMOND E. F E. FEIST.

Flight of the Nighthawks Into a Dark Realm Wrath of a Mad God

Exile's Return King of Foxes Talon of the Silver Hawk

Magician Silverthorn A Darkness at Sethanon

Faerie Tale

Shadow of a Dark Queen Rise of a Merchant Prince Rage of a Demon King Shards of a Broken Crown

Krondor: Tear of the Gods Krondor: The Betrayal Krondor: The Assassins

With Janny Wurts Daughter of the Empire Servant of the Empire Mistress of the Empire

With William R. Forstchen Honored Enemy

With Joel Rosenberg Murder in LaMut ALSO BY S. M. S S. M. STIRLING.

Island in the Sea of Time Against the Tide of Years On the Oceans of Eternity

The Peshawar Lancers Conquistador

Dies the Fire The Protector's War A Meeting at Corvallis The Sunrise Lands The Scourge of God

The Sky People In the Courts of the Crimson Kings

Ice, Iron and Gold

Jimmy the Hand Part 34

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