This vividly rendered novel is like HBO's Game of Thrones if it were set in the Ottoman Empire. Ambitious in scope and intimate in execution, the story's atmospheric setting is rife with political intrigue, with a deftly plotted narrative driven by fiercely passionate characters. Fans of Victoria Aveyard's The Red Queen, Kristin Cashore's Graceling, and Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes won't want to miss this visceral, immersive, and mesmerizing novel, the first in a trilogy.
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who's expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he's made a true friend - and Lada wonders if she's finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against - and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
From New York Times best-selling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled, and hearts will be broken.
"Full of sword fights, assassination plots, and palace intrigues, this novel is ambitious in scope and concept and reveals a fascinating, important, and somewhat obscure slice of history...the novel is breathtakingly good." (School Library Journal)
"White deftly weaves historical fact into this complex concoction of love, war, politics, homosexuality, religion, loyalty, and friendship." (Booklist)
"A dark jewel of a story, one that gleams with fierce, cunning characters - absolutely riveting." (Alexandra Bracken, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Passenger)
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Narration lacked flow but story was perfect
- Georgina Hollaway
Brilliant retelling of the Vlad the Impaler story
- Lyndsey T.