A new fantasy series from Ankaret Wells and Irene Headley.
Coming in 2018: The Duke Is Dead
It is seven years since the Cousins’ War ended. King Roald has brought peace to the Three Kingdoms and driven the last heirs of the king he deposed into exile. His brother Thomas, Duke of Wharram, is a man for whom loyalty is the greatest virtue and family the highest cause. So when his sister Josiane, Duchess of Bergomance, finds herself widowed, her beloved stepdaughter Ambrosia beleaguered by suitors and her late husband’s coffers mysteriously empty, who better to send than Thomas?
But the ghosts of old wars are waiting in Bergomance, and new threats are rising. Some see heresy everywhere, and others look to an Empire in the east that has suddenly begun seeking allies.
And into it all, a ship driven off course by storms brings a young man fleeing King Roald’s mercenaries and throws him into Thomas’s path. Nicolas ás Ithel, a man with dark eyes and a love of numbers, and an inheritance in his veins that could reignite the Cousins’ War.
“What happens to all soldiers, in the end? They find a battle they can’t win.”
Bethilie of Ambion is sick to death of soldiers. Her grandmother started a war, and the other side finished it, even if her elder brother won’t accept that. Bethilie knows, though. Her kingsblood– the mark of God’s favour towards those destined to rule– lies silent in her veins, and there is no clearer sign than that.
When the Duke who has given them shelter in their exile invites Bethilie, her brother, and their three rambunctious younger siblings, to celebrate Christmas in his glittering court, it’s an invitation they can’t turn down. Bethilie’s main hope for the season is that they leave with the resources they started off with.
Lel Tass is a mercenary. He’s only in Briège because his best friend wants someone to stand between her and her obnoxious ducal relatives, and he’s nothing better to do until the campaigning season starts. He hasn’t seen his family– or his native land– in ten years, and he doesn’t really want to.
Christmas is a season of peace, but not everyone in the city looks towards it. When the Great Christmas Feast is disrupted by witchcraft, only Lel, Bethilie, and Bethilie’s little sister Josiane escape the spell, and it’s up to Lel and Bethilie to end the curse…before someone takes advantage.
A prequel to The Duke is Dead, set some 20 years previously.