Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.
Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer--she's a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne's ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.
Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect…
This is an early review so I can't give much away but Dafne has survived being under a despotic King since her family were killed but she's canny and cunning. Possibly the cleverest at court and whilst not the kind to seek adventures there's a streak of steel down her spine a mile wide. Resigned to being single as her fertility is surely declining with age, she thoroughly enjoys being the new Queen's trusted scribe and librarian.
Yet the magic that surrounds the thirteen kingdoms is slightly off kilter and Dafne is called to travel to the Islands most likely affected by the changes. She isn't the typical ambassador and bound to be underrated. Her arrival sees Dafne being manipulated into a bizarre courtship of sorts. King Nakoa claims her but he's a barbarian who doesn't even speak the same language so how on earth can Dafne get through to him that she really doesn't belong?
I loved Dafne! Okay, she isn't kickass or even the feistiest heroine but she is determined to do the right thing and is so loyal. Nakoa is well, frankly almost perfect. Gorgeous, patient, and did I say sexy? The sexual tension racketing through this story completely blindsided me. I wasn't expecting it to be so sensuous!
What can I say? The world building is very intense and the characters jump off the page. It's a rich, enticing world Ms Kennedy has created and I can't wait to be engrossed by more of her stories. If fantasy and romance call to you then best check this author out. Oh and never underestimate a librarian!
I was gifted a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.