Imperial Spy is the first book in the Imperial Series, and is already a hot hit across book shops.
In a world of magic and murder
Femke, a gifted and resourceful young spy, is entrusted with a vital foreign mission by the Emperor. Her adversary, Shalidar, frames Femke with responsibility for two murders while she is visiting their neighbouring court. Femke is isolated in an alien country, being pursued both by her enemies and by the authorities. Only her side-kick, Reynik, a young military trainee, can help. Together, they must outwit the evil assassin Shalidar and prove Femke’s innocence so they can complete the imperial mission. This is the first in a new series.
Imperial Spy is Mark’s first novel released by Simon & Schuster, and has received rave reviews.
Imperial Spy: Prologue
‘Seize that man! He’s to be held on charges of treason.’
For the slightest instant, Shalidar was off balance. He was expecting to meet the Emperor. Instead, General Surabar was standing inside the Emperor’s study, pointing at him with an accusing finger. The two guards who had entered the room with Shalidar were slow to react to the order. Survival instinct and a wealth of experience gave him the edge he needed. In the blink of an eye, Shalidar spun, hands flashing blows that felled both guards before they had a chance to move. Without pause, he drew a knife and hurled it at the General.
Time seemed to slow as he released the blade. As it left his hand, he saw the spy girl, Femke, draw a blade from her boot. Her face held a strange combination of pain and determination and her grey-blue eyes chilled him with their intensity. General Surabar swayed aside, avoiding the thrown blade in an astonishing display of agility for one so old. Almost simultaneously Femke threw her knife as Shalidar launched into a dive out through the open door.
The knife sliced past him so close that he felt it go by. It rammed home into the wooden doorframe with a juddering thud, leaving the assassin in no doubt that it had been thrown with deadly force. Nobody had come that close to killing him for many years. Worse, the blade had been thrown by a young woman who had barely crossed the threshold into adulthood.
Assassins were normally the unseen killers – unknown and unexpected. Hits were planned meticulously to avoid any chance of the assassin being caught. There were always random factors that defied the best planning, but Shalidar had a flair for improvisation. He was the best in the business and only the richest could afford to call on his services. No hit was planned today, but somehow, Femke had turned the tables on him. The young woman had set him up, for which he would exact a painful retribution in due course. For now, his focus was on a clean escape from the Palace.
Like a shadow fleeing from the light, Shalidar raced down the corridor. His footfalls made no sound and he ran so smoothly that he appeared to flow along the passageways. After a few turns the assassin paused to glance behind him and listen. There was no sign of pursuit, but he refused to take unnecessary chances.
Shalidar was known around the Palace, though few knew his profession. Most thought him a bodyguard or an advisor to the Emperor. The secrecy was essential, for if the truth of his role in the Palace became widely known, he would become useless as a weapon.
Thoughts flashed through Shalidar’s mind as he reviewed his situation. The complexities of his web of deceit and his history of meddling in Imperial affairs were now in tatters. It was most infuriating. Anger burned in his gut, but he clamped down on the emotion and concentrated.
It appeared that General Surabar was assuming power in Shandar, which was extremely bad news for all assassins. The General was well known for his dislike of hired killers. He believed that killing was what soldiers did out of necessity in battle, not a trade for those who looked to gain wealth at the expense of the lives of others. It made sense for Shalidar to get out of the capital as swiftly as possible. Maybe he should even consider leaving Shandar altogether.
Shalidar had always had an aloof disdain for what he saw as the oafish and obvious ways of the military, but he did respect General Surabar’s reputation for efficiency and thoroughness. With the huge numbers of troops in the city maintaining public order in the wake of the recent unrest, General Surabar had the power to make life difficult for Shalidar.
‘Time to move on,’ he whispered, unconsciously twisting a silver wristlet part hidden by his sleeve. ‘But first, one loose end to tidy up.’
Reviews of Imperial Spy
Teresa Edgerton/Madeline Howard – Author of The Hidden Stars
Mark Robson’s latest book plunges his readers immediately into the action and rarely lets up … Into a fast-paced and suspenseful plot, Robson manages to mix in espionage, assassinations, politics, enough peril and adventure to overwhelm a less dauntless heroine, and even a little romance. Fans of his previous books will find that he meets and exceeds all of their expectations, but with IMPERIAL SPY he is sure to gain many new and enthusiastic readers as well.
Read the full review here: Teresa Edgerton
This is the kind of book begging for a series – well written and engaging, with exciting, expansive and thoughtful plotlines, this could be the start of something big – watch this space!
Chrissi (31st January 2006)
See the full review here: Booklore
You don’t need to have read the previous books to immerse yourself into Femke’s world, because the plot is so thrilling that you can’t stop reading. In short, “Imperial Spy” is another excellent Mark Robson novel, which I loved reading.
Read the full review here: Authortrek
Imperial Spy is no doubt the harbinger of a fantastic new series for young readers. Mark Robson is a new talent to keep an eye on. His female spy is at once confident, strong and vulnerable.
Read the full review here: Chronicles Network
Femke was introduced in Robson’s Darkweaver Series, though not any great depth. In this story, we get to learn more about her complex life as a spy and I found her many personalities she’d created to spy for the Emperor both amusing and interesting.
Read the full review here: Fantasybookspot
The narrative is well constructed, with the many plot twists growing out of the unfolding design. It was nice to read something which didn’t lay down the plot threads like Trans Atlantic power lines so that you have worked out the whole book by page fifty. If you want to get the whole story then you’ll have to read to the end.
Read the full review here: Sci-Fi-Online
Imperial Spy makes entertaining reading for fans of derring-do; it is packed with precisely rendered descriptions of surveillance techniques, military tactics, armed and hand-to-hand combat and the politics of conflict.
Read the full review here: Achuka
Noor (aged 13-15)
I would just like to say that I thought your book ‘Imperial Spy’ was incredible! It was better than most of the over-hyped ‘Harry Potter’ books put together! It was so unpredictable- truly a breath of fresh air from all those other books in which you can either just guess the ending or lose interest half way through. To be honest, I started reading it when I went to bed, and I just couldn’t put I down and found myself still finishing it at sunrise! Thank you for writing such an amazing book!
PS. I look forward to reading ‘Imperial Assassin’!
Having heard Mark speak about his books in person, I decided to plunge in and bought one then and there, which he then signed for me (to my great excitement!). I thought, if his writing is as interesting as he is, then I’m in for a good read! And I was.
Drawing you immediately in, this book was almost perfectly paced and full of original ideas and brilliant character names. The inclusion of the “Dramatis Personae” – a list of all the main characters, was brilliantly helpful and something i have never seen at the start of a book before.
I read the book it two sittings, and only because I knew I had to be up early the next morning, otherwise I would have been up all night to finish it! A refreshing fantasy/adventure novel, I popped into Waterstones today and bought the next in the series! Thanks Mark! Keep up the great writing!
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