The Seventh Circle - A fantasy novel by Todd Cheney

The Seventh Circle is a tale of high adventure, fantasy and destiny.

An excerpt:

"Mal Tarsis laid the book on the ground before the altar. He then
knelt before it and opened it to a book-marked page. The bindings
creaked with age as they always did. He remembered long nights poring
over this tome just to decipher the ancient dialects within it. He
found it strange that he had slaved so many long hours over this book.
But he always knew there had to be something in it. Something that
would give him the power that was rightfully his. If he succeeded in
this ceremony tonight, then nothing could stand in his way.
As Mal Tarsis knelt before the altar, he laid the curved blade
atop the book so that it balanced over the curving pages. The first
part of the ceremony would imbue the blade with the proper powers and
Mal Tarsis read aloud from the book. He could hear nothing but
his own voice now. The man's cries and pleas were a distant dream. He
saw nothing but the aged, yellow pages and his hands as he followed
the lines of text. He must concentrate.
"With the soul of fire I consecrate you,
With the stone of earth I will create you,
Take from him his, which is not his,
Take from him life, and give him this."
Mal Tarsis rose from the ground after reading these words. The
knife took on a reddish hue. Everything went according to plan. Yet he
had barely begun. Sweat began to bead on his forehead. . .

. . . Mal Tarsis edged his way to the head of the altar. The
final, most important, cut neared. He laid the blade across the man's
throat. With a dark elation, the warlock drew the knife from one side
to the other. As he did so, he spoke again.
"I summon thee, oh timeless ones."
The warlock bolted from the center of the circles. To remain
within would be suicide. Soon the tortured souls would bridge the gap
between the Lands of Death and the mortal world. The outer circle of
herbs protected the summoner and any others present from the souls of
the damned.
As he reached the outer edge of the second circle of herbs, Mal
Tarsis quickly glanced at the red candles. The candles had not been
very tall to begin with. They were almost three quarters down now. He
must finish the spell quickly.