To Rule This Broken Earth
The trouble with the various rulers of the earth is that they're nearly all wizards, and the trouble with wizards, if you ask Dave Valdman, is that every one of 'em is crazier than a two-headed ferret. Dave is plenty happy staying beneath their notice, staying on the move, and delivering mail and the occasional cart of potatoes. But when Dave rescues a fugitive priest from the soldiers of an infamous warlord, he finds himself drawn into the kind of conflict he's spent his whole life avoiding.
The priest, Father John Mallory, knows that war is brewing. As the local despots gear up for a surprise attack on the city of Crosse, Dave is in a position to get Mallory and his knowledge into the hands of people who could save some lives with them. That only draws him deeper into the conflict, and before long Dave finds himself acting as a go-between among the various kings, rulers, and military leaders, desperately employing any stratagem he can come up with to keep his friends alive and the body count low.
Magister Patricia Larsen, the instigator of the coming conflict, doesn't view herself as a warlord. Her domain lies out at the edge of the habitable lands, in a place where, without magic and sacrifice, the corn grows backward into the ground and the cattle speak in strange tongues. She has united the local wizards to strike at Crosse, in the hope of carving out a livable section of territory for her people. But Magister Larsen's new alliance is unsteady, and she's had to partner with some of the nastiest magic users on earth, leaders with their own ambitions and unholy desires.
As the land boils over into war, Dave finds his wit and his loyalty tested to the limits, and Magister Larsen begins to learn the steep cost of trying to rule this broken earth.