the smuggler’s bible


The second floor of the library juts out over the lower shelves, twenty feet in the air. The balustrade creaks under Dorian’s hand. Dust an inch thick coats the floor. The judge waits cross-legged in a low-backed chair. A glass and a crystal decanter rest on a table at his elbow, both stained deep, deep red.

“This is one of the oldest parts of the house,” the judge says, waving a hand. “I hoped to give you a sense of scale.”

“And I should be intimidated?”

“Be whatever you like, but consider that this might not be my first rodeo.”