One of our most anticipated reads this year is Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep, which is out on the 2nd of October. It is the start of a brand new fantasy romance featuring a kick ass heroine in the amidst of political intrigue and danger. We are lucky enough to offer a chance to win a copy of the book, a gift certificate and to offer a teaser of a book which promises to be action packed and full of magical high stakes drama and a great romance!
The thrilling first novel in the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series combines magic, murder, and adventure when an unlikely member of the royal family suddenly becomes a contender in a clash for the crown . . .
In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.
But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.
Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of combat, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.out the book:
My duties, royal and otherwise, weren’t finished for the day. So I left my unease about Maeven behind in the kitchen and wound through the spacious hallways that made up the first-floor common areas of Seven Spire.
The palace was the crown jewel of Svalin, the capital city of the kingdom of Bellona. Seven Spire had originally been a mine, where workers had chiseled tearstone, fluorestone, and more out of the mountain. But thanks to Ophelia Ruby Winter Blair, a stone master who had been one of my ancestors, the mine had been turned into a marvel of marble, granite, and tearstone. Over the years, the palace had been enlarged and expanded until now it was practically a mountain and a city unto itself.
Seven Spire reminded me of one of Isobel’s elaborate, tiered cakes. A wide, sturdy base, with stone stairs and metal lifts climbing up both the inside and the outside, like strings of icing and ribbons of hardened sugar. The palace spiraled up and into the side of the mountain, with balconies and terraces adorning each level, before tapering to a series of seven tall tearstone spires that seemed to pierce the sky itself. Hence the name Seven Spire.
I stopped at one of the windows. Down below, the Summanus River glittered like a frothy carpet of sapphires and diamonds as it tumbled down from the surrounding Spire Mountains. Seven cobblestone bridges jutted out from the palace, spanned the river, and led into the city. Across the water, buildings of all shapes and sizes stretched out, most of them topped with smaller, metal versions of the palace’s spires. I loved the view at night, when the city lights reflected off the spires, making them gleam like gold, silver, and bronze toppers on yule trees.
A white paddlewheel boat with the name Delta Queen painted on its side chugged along the river, slowly approaching an enormous, round, domed arena near the edge of the city. I squinted, but I couldn’t make out the symbols on the white flags flying on top of the dome’s spires that would tell me which gladiator troupe called that arena home.
Gladiator troupes were all the rage in Andvari, Unger, Morta, and the other kingdoms. Ask anyone, and they would proudly tell you who their favorite gladiator was, which troupes they rooted for in the various leagues and championships, and which gladiators and troupes they utterly despised.
But gladiator troupes had an especially frenzied popularity and special meaning here in Bellona. Once upon a time, Bryn Bellona Winter Blair had been a lowly gladiator who had risen through the ranks to unite the disparate regions into one kingdom, which had been named Bellona in her honor. Bryn had also driven back the Mortan invaders and had defeated the Mortan king in one-on-one combat in true gladiator style. She had been crowned the first queen of Bellona for her strength, bravery, and cunning, both in and out of the gladiator ring.
The stories about Bryn were some of my favorites. When I was younger, I had tried to be as strong, brave, and fierce as she had been, although life at the palace had quickly turned me cold, bitter, and jaded instead.
I had never been to one of the gladiator shows, but I had heard plenty about them. Part circus, part spectator sport, part combat. Most of the bouts were rather tame, with gladiators only drawing first blood or battling gargoyles, strixes, and other creatures. But every once in a while, a black-ring match would be announced, either between two rival troupes or sometimes even between two gladiators in the same troupe, much to the delight of the masses, who would pay through the nose to see the warriors battle to the death.
A chance to win a copy of Kill the Queen and a $25 Amazon gift certificate! Enter below in the Rafflecopter link.
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Kill the Queen, book #1, will be released on Oct. 2.
The Crown of Shards series focuses on Everleigh Blair, a member of the royal family who is distantly in line for the throne of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. But when the unthinkable happens, Evie finds herself fighting for her life—both inside and outside the gladiator arena.
Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep (@Jennifer_Estep)
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