The Usurper's Crown: Book Two of the Isavalta Trilogy

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9780007114030: The Usurper's Crown: Book Two of the Isavalta Trilogy

A stunning new fantasy trilogy from US author Sarah Zettel, set partly on the shores of Lake Superior in the 19th century.

When Ingrid Loftfield follows her sister out of the house in order to discover the reason for her nighttime excursions, she has no idea that this short walk to the beach will lead her to another world entirely. As the daughter of a fisherman on the shores of Lake Superior, her life has so far been unremarkable – the most difficult problem she has faced is whether or not to marry the dependable but unexciting Everett Lederle.

But when a stranger releases her sister, Grace, from an enchantment by a dead sailor, Ingrid is initiated into a world of magic and intrigue she never could have imagined. For the stranger, Avanasy, is a native of Isavalta, a world which can only be reached by crossing the land of Death and Spirit. He has been exiled by his ruler, and erstwhile student, the young Empress Medeoan. But Avanasy remains loyal to his Empress, and only he is aware of the grave threat she faces from within her own court. If she needs his assistance he will return to her side without a moment’s hesitation – and Ingrid will go with him.

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Review:

Ingeniously, in The Usurper's Crown, Sarah Zettel shows us the tragic past events which led up to the plot of her first fantasy novel A Sorcerer's Treason, leaving her heroine Bridget a child of two worlds and an orphan in both. On the shores of late nineteenth- century Lake Michigan, Bridget's mother Ingrid becomes the lover of the exiled magician Avanasy and in the magical realm of Istavalta the partner in his enterprises. The young empress Medeoan, not yet the pathetic dangerous villainess of the earlier book, is in danger from her treacherous husband, and Avanasy, her teacher in magic, has to save her from the consequences of her actions. Part of the dark strength of this second book is that we already know how badly things will work out, and come to understand how they might have been even worse. Zettel has a sense of the nightmare side of magic and the irresponsible games of magical beings; these books draw eclectically on the legends of Russia, China and India and cherry-pick some of the darkest themes of all three. The Usurper's Crown has a sense of the price of everything and the moments of joy and victory that redeem tragedy; it is one of the most adult fantasies of the year. --Roz Kaveney

Review:

Praise for A Sorcerer’s Treason:

Zettel’s first fantasy novel is a triumph of story-telling…All the characters are powerfully drawn, especially Bridget, a strong and attractive heroine…A Sorcerer’s Treason is a magnificent fantasy novel, showcasing just how good this genre can be. Rich, compelling and exciting, this could be the best fantasy debut in years’ Amazon

‘A fresh and surprisingly exciting fantasy thriller…Zettel’s engaging writing style conjures up a gripping plot and some effective, three-dimensional characterisation. Even the magic system is well-thought out and inventive…this engaging and vivid slice of escapist fantasy will keep fans of Robin Hobb more than happy’ SFX

‘Sarah Zettel’s well-told and absorbing tale is full of original touches’ Starburst

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