A fragile period of peace between the eternally warring kingdoms of Oakharn and Langmyr is shattered when a surprise massacre fueled by bloodmagic ravages the Langmyrne border village of Willowfield, killing its inhabitants—including a visiting Oakharne lord and his family—and leaving behind a scene so grisly that even the carrion eaters avoid its desecrated earth. But the dead lord’s infant heir has survived the carnage, a discovery that entwines the destinies of Brys Tarnell, a mercenary who rescues the helpless and ailing babe, and a Langmyr peasant, a young mother herself, whom Brys enlists to nourish and nurture the child of her enemies as they travel a dark, perilous road.
As one infant’s life hangs in the balance, so too does the fate of thousands, while deep in the forest, a Maimed Witch practices an evil bloodmagic that could doom them all.
“[An] impressive epic fantasy debut….Mercial has constructed an inspired new world where unexpected plot twists bedevil strong, clearly visualized characters, in a story that glints with intelligence and hums with life.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Merciel's fantasy debut imbues standard motifs of the hero's tale with passionate intensity, bringing her characters vibrantly to life and creating a realistic setting for her story. Strong storytelling makes this a good choice for adult and YA fantasy fans.” (Library Journal)
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