This is an extract from my first eBook and I am looking for reviews and constructive criticism. Kivas looked around the seedy tavern, feeling a mix of anger and revulsion at being surrounded by thugs, murderers, harlots, smugglers and con-men; base and violent people, with no ambition beyond making as much money as they could. The tavern was one of the few in Linao City that was frequented by outsiders and travellers, particularly those seeking a little privacy. While that made for rough establishments, the Ruling Council supported them because it kept many of their problems in one place where they could keep an eye on them. For Kivas, it was a convenient place where he could wait without attracting any undue attention. While the patrons had a lack of morals that he occasionally found useful, they were simply tools for him, nothing more. Even though the place was filled with scum and cut-throats who would think nothing of killing and robbing him, he had been left untroubled. Despite his rough clothes and casual appearance, he knew he had been recognised, which was what he wanted. Those who knew who he was wisely kept their distance, and those who didn't picked up on the reactions of their more enlightened fellows, realising that they were better off staying away. He shook his head, taking another swig of his ale. The world was falling apart, greed and petty interest ruling now. Still, it presented interesting opportunities, which a man with drive and vision could exploit. Yes, things could be very different. He was interrupted in his musings by the arrival of a man into the gloom of the tavern. Tall and muscular with a shaven head and a scar across one eye, he needed no reputation to make certain that nobody troubled him. Despite being dressed in the same rough clothes as Kivas, he stood out without any effort. He scanned the room, spotted Kivas and pushed his way through the crowd like a ox, people falling back hurriedly. He sat down, and there was a silent moment, before he extended his hand, which Kivas grasped firmly. 'Welcome, Annid.' He said, nodding respectfully to his old comrade. 'Kivas.' Annid replied, looking contemptuously around the room. 'Not much welcome to be had here, though.' Kivas nodded. 'True. They're suspicious of outsiders, to be sure. At least, they like to keep them where they can see them. Still, if you've got the coin, that doesn't seem to bother them too much. It's such a waste. The Linaoans have all this power, and they're just content to be at the beck and call of the other CityStates. With the money and resources that they have at their disposal, they could be a real player in this Age.' Annid looked pensive for a moment. 'Do you think that they could be any use to us? They are mercenaries, after all.' Kivas' face twisted with scorn, although it was not directed at his comrade. 'Forget them, alright? They're just treasure hunters and explorers, nothing more. They're no use to us. We need people with fire, with the strength to do what's necessary.' He stopped, glancing around for a moment, before continuing. 'Did you find what we needed?' Annid nodded. 'Lady Annissa was seen arriving on the Transport early this afternoon. Looks like your intelligence was right. She must know where it is, after all.' Kivas gave a harsh laugh. 'Intelligence! Such a romantic word for paying spies and low-life informants to gather information for us. What did she do?' 'She visited one of the smaller Wayfarer Cadres. My guess is that she's hiring some local experts to accompany her expedition. I assumed that she's intending to leave fairly quickly, so I took the liberty of setting things in motion. Kesh's unit is on standyby outside Linao airspace in a stealth dreadnought, awaiting your orders. According to our informant, there are no other expeditions scheduled for today, so we'll know when she departs.' Kivas smiled; he could always rely on Annid to take the initiative. 'Excellent. Tell Kesh that he's cleared to follow her when she leaves. If she finds what she's looking for, he knows what to do. Annid nodded. 'I'll make the preparations. Is there anything else?' 'Yes. What is the status at Orion?' 'I received a report yesterday. The repairs and reconfiguration are on schedule. All we need now are the SagaStones.' 'Excellent. When we're done here, we'll return. For now, check in with our agents. Remind them to keep a low profile. We can't afford to draw any attention to ourselves now. You can never know who's watching.' As he said this, he spun in his chair, grabbing the man seated behind them, hauling him out of his chair and slamming him down onto their table with a hand around his throat. Kivas leant in close, staring into eyes that were wide with fear, speaking softly. 'Spying is a very dangerous occupation, friend, especially when you do it so poorly. You never know when you might hear something that you will regret.' There was a silken sound, and the man's eyes rolled back into his head, slumping back onto the table, with a hand around his throat. Kivas straightened up, slipping the knife back into the sheath on his belt and turned to look at the bartender. He pulled a golden coin bearing an emblem of two overlapping circles from his pocket and tossed it towards him. The bartender caught it, looked at it for a frozen second, and then slipped into his pocket. He knew what it meant and had seen enough not to argue. He'd take care of the body, no questions asked. Kivas turned to Annid, resting a hand on his shoulder. 'This is the beginning, my friend. After this, everything changes for the better.' Thank you for taking the time for reading this extract. If you liked it, it is available on Amazon Kindle. A free sample is available for download. If you like it and feel compelled to buy it, I would appreciate you completing a review through the Kindle website. Either way, please reply to this post, so I can get some feedback.