The Tainted City

Publication date: October 2, 2012 (Night Shade Books)

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The Tainted City

Dev is a desperate man. After narrowly surviving a smuggling job gone wrong, he's now a prisoner of the Alathian Council, held hostage to ensure his friend Kiran - former apprentice to one of the most ruthless mages alive - does their bidding.

But Kiran isn't Dev's only concern. Back in his home city of Ninavel, the child he once swore to protect faces a terrible fate if he can't reach her in time, and the days are fast slipping away. So when the Council offers Dev freedom in exchange for his and Kiran's assistance in a clandestine mission to Ninavel, he can't refuse, no matter how much he distrusts their motives.

Once in Ninavel the mission proves more treacherous than even Dev could have imagined. Betrayed by allies, forced to aid their enemies, he and Kiran must confront the darkest truths of their pasts if they hope to save those they love and survive their return to the Tainted City.


"Courtney Schafer has exceeded all my expectations...The Tainted City is bigger, better, richer, more complex, and more exciting than The Whitefire Crossing." (Read the full review)
-Seregil of Risingshadow

"In every way more robust and assured, [The Tainted City] doubles down on grand stakes while keeping the pressure on personal ones. And yes, I'll admit it: the tension was such that I checked the final pages in advance, to spare my stomach some clenching...Schafer's definitely a writer to watch, and I for one look forward to doing so." (Read the full review)
-Liz Bourke at Tor.com

"Courtney Schafer takes her story in a slightly different direction whilst never compromising on the positives that made her debut such a stand out one. This book is another excellent book from this very talented lady and I for one can't wait to see how it all goes down in The Labyrinth of Flame." (Read the full review)
-Mihir Wanchoo of Fantasy Book Critic

"Crisp prose, strong storytelling, intriguing and well-developed characters, a good narrative voice, and excellent world-building with logical consistency throughout. Quite simply, I loved The Tainted City, highly recommend it, and cannot wait for the sequel." (Read the full review)
-Kristen Bell of Fantasy Book Cafe

"The Tainted City is a fantastic follow-up to The Whitefire Crossing, going deep into the culture of Ninavel, expanding the overall mythology, and giving a sense of breathless adventure on each page." (Read the full review)
-J.R. Vogt at Examiner.com

"I truly enjoyed The Whitefire Crossing, and I approached [the] sequel with that peculiar mix of anticipation and dread that I often have when returning to a new author whose first book I enjoyed. Will this second book meet my expectations and response to the first? Has the author grown and developed since their initial effort? Is the magic still there? Happily, for me, The Tainted City lived up to my expectations..." (Read the full review)
-Paul Weimer of SF Signal

"The Tainted City lives up to its predecessor and more...One of the best reads this year as well as last, Courtney Schafer has delivered again. Not only with engaging characters and compelling plot, but with something new and diverse that I can't wait to come back to in The Labyrinth of Flame, book three in The Shattered Sigil Trilogy." (Read the full review)
-Bryce of Only the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy

"The Tainted City takes everything I love about The Whitefire Crossing, particularly in terms of characterization, and turns it up a notch creating a tense, emotional novel...With her subtle worldbuilding and unique setting Courtney Schafer is definitely an author that deserves your attention, particularly if you enjoy character driven fantasy." (Read the full review)
-King of the Nerds

"...I never once doubted Dev and Kiran's actions as anything but their own. Schafer doesn't work her characters to fit her plot; she lets them go, to find the solutions for themselves. The result isn't just a fun novel, but a composed and interesting one." (Read the full review)
-Justin Landon of Staffer's Book Review

"I love the characters in this book...even though I rarely read high fantasy now, I'm sorely tempted to track down the first book so I can fill in the gaps and background of this story - I already know I will be checking book 3." (Read the full review)
-Fangs for the Fantasy