My entry in Mark Lawrence’s Flash Fiction contest

It had to include the words liar and key. This is set in the The Fallen Crown series. Enjoy!

(For details  of the competition, in which you could win an ARC of his latest novel, The Liar’s Key, head on over to

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The Noose


Muriel Bonnet smiled. “I can’t. It’s just my style, you know? My mystique.”

“No, tell me,” Rowan said, prodding the fire with a stick. “How did you know?”

“Look, if I explained every trick I employ, where would the mystery be?”

Rowan mumbled something about being unfair and continued to push at the fire.

Muriel looked up. The night sky was so clear she could watch the smoke from the fire rise up in to the stars. She sighed. “Alright. But only because we’ve got three hard days of travel to Bredge and I can’t stand you having a face like a smacked arse the whole way.”

“Oh?” Rowan looked up, hopeful. “Go on then . . .”

“I knew Lord Kirt’s servant would betray him because when you’re dealing with a chronic liar, the key to playing them at their own game, is simply in getting them to tell the truth.”

Rowan frowned. “I don’t get it. You’re telling me you exposed the servant by . . . provoking him to tell the truth?”

“That’s it. His whole charade was a lie. All of it. The moment I got him to talk about his past, about how he’d come to work for Lord Kirt in the first place, I knew I had him. It was the most truthful thing out of his mouth, because it revealed his true intentions.”

“Murder,” Rowan said with a delicious grin, savouring the word. “The oldest story in the book.”

“That and revenge,” Muriel said. She lay back, dark face lit by the fire, eyes burning bright. “The servant hanged but, the truth of it is, sometimes a man hangs himself through his own near-sightedness. You only have to show him the rope. Do that and he’ll tie his own knot.”

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