After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada Dracul is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.
What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?
As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won…and souls will be lost.
Lest you think Now I Rise is just about Lada, I should hastily inform you that it alternates giving insights into both Lada and Radu's situations. There's an uneasy triangle here as Radu is also in love with Mehmed but it's a secretive forbidden emotion. Lada believes she needs Radu but he refuses her and instead finds himself acting as a spy in Constantinople, the jewel that Mehmed is determined to claim. Here Radu discovers that death will forever change him as he sees those who are good men fall through pride and blind obsession.
Oo this was good! The surviving Dracul siblings are so very different and yet at heart, both refuse to stand by and see the innocent abused. I loved that Ms White has clearly done her homework and has worked the historical facts into what is a piece of fiction. Both these characters change as this book progresses and they both experience personal growth. It's never going to be easy making a bloodthirsty character likable, but I did understand and empathize with Lada. No, she's not always right but she never shies away from doing what she feels needs to be done.
The lynchpin is clearly Mehmed and he's a mercurial, manipulative, deceitful character. As a lot of this book is from Radu's point of view we happily get to experience what the true cost of loving Mehmed really means. There's no doubt Mehmed is a born leader of men, it's his destiny to shine but as Radu realises, the cost is always high. The siblings might be on different paths but there is obviously going to be a showdown in the next book and I for one cannot wait.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from NetGalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair.