The Emperor's Hound

Alyn is a page serving in Fourth Star Court, going to lessons with the others in her year and learning what is required of a noble in the Nine Star Courts. One day, to her surprise, she is summoned to attend her assigned patron, Lord Miervaldis, on a mission from the Sun Emperor himself; to investigate a murder in Fifth Star Court. A scribe has been killed, and the only suspect is the lord he served, one Lord Cassian.

Upon arrival at Fifth Star Court, Miervaldis commences his investigations and Alyn works hard in following up the leads available; the bullying Lord Cassian himself, his disgruntled heir, and the son of the man Cassian killed in a duel, among others. In the midst of the tangle of suspects and their motives, it becomes apparent to Alyn that there is far more going on behind the scenes. Lord Miervaldis has secrets of his own; he may not be the harmless eccentric she thought at first. Where should her loyalties lie? How exactly is the Sun Emperor involved? What is really going on?

Alyn will find her loyalty tested to the limit as Miervaldis' investigation turns up more trouble than he bargained for.

Chapter 1 In which Alyn meets Lord Miervaldis for the first time, is warned to keep an eye on him by a person unknown, and accompanies him to Fifth Star Court at the command of the Sun Emperor himself.

Chapter 2 In which Alyn and Lord Miervaldis discuss a murder, examine a body, talk to witnesses and suspects, and form opinions.

Chapter 3 In which Alyn begins lessons at Fifth Star Court, fails to get on with the other pages, and makes discoveries related to inheritance.

Chapter 4 In which Alyn makes a friend - maybe - attends Jaquan's funeral, and tails her lord when he goes to town in disguise.

Chapter 5 In which thoughts are marshalled, leads are followed up, suggestions are made and clues are obtained.

Chapter 6 In which Alyn attends Miervaldis at a formal dinner and a casual trip to town. Many things are overheard at both events.

Chapter 7 In which a letter from Alyn's brother prompts the multiplication of suspicions and suspects alike, much to Alyn's discomfort.

Chapter 8 In which Miervaldis and Alyn visit Cathecassa, meet Lord Cassian's wife and daughter, and return with more questions than answers.

Chapter 9 In which Miervaldis stirs up trouble while Alyn watches and worries.

Chapter 10 In which entirely the wrong people are arrested.

Chapter 11 In which Alyn discovers what Miervaldis has been accused of, and makes a decision.

Chapter 12 In which Alyn gives evidence, much to Miervaldis' dismay.

Chapter 13 In which Miervaldis and Alyn breakfast with the Sun Emperor, return to Fifth Star Court, visit Cathecassa, and make significant progress in their enquiries.

Chapter 14 In which Miervaldis and Alyn research census records and the local cuisine, after which an accusation is made and answered.

Chapter 15 In which a second trial is held, Alyn claims a favour from the Sun Emperor, and matters are brought to a close. is copyright Sergei and Morag Lewis