The kingdom of Ile-Rien is in peril, menaced by magical threats and court intrigue. As the weak King Roland, misled by treacherous companions, rules the country, only his ruthless mother, the Dowager Queen Ravenna, truly guards the safety of the realm. But now Urbain Grandier, the dark master of scientific sorcery, has arrived to plot against the throne and Kade, bastard sister of the king, has appeared unexpectedly at court. The illegitimate daughter of the old king and the Queen of Air and Darkness herself, Kade's true goals are cloaked in mystery. Is she in league with the wizard Grandier? Or is she laying claim to the throne? It falls to Thomas Boniface, Captain of the Queen's Guard and Ravenna's former lover, to sort out who is friend and who is foe in a deadly game to keep the Dowager Queen and the kingdom she loves from harm.
Martha Wells was born in 1964 in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Anthropology. Her first novel, The Element of Fire, was published by Tor in hardcover in July 1993 and was a finalist for the 1993 Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Award and a runner-up for the 1994 Crawford Award. The French edition, Le feu primordial, was a 2003 Imaginales Award nominee. Her second novel for Tor, City of Bones, was a 1995 hardcover and June 1996 paperback release. Both novels were on the Locus recommended reading lists. Her third novel The Death of the Necromancer (Avon Eos) was a 1998 Nebula Award Nominee and the French edition was a 2002 Imaginales Award nominee. Her fourth novel Wheel of the Infinite (HarperCollins Eos) was a 2000 hardcover and 2001 December paperback release. The Wizard Hunters (HarperCollins Eos/May 2003) was the first book in a fantasy trilogy taking place in the world of Ile-Rien from The Element of Fire and The Death of the Necromancer. The second book in that trilogy is The Ships of Air (HarperCollins Eos/July 2004) and the third is The Gate of Gods, released in November 2005. She also has a media tie-in novel, Stargate Atlantis: Reliquary, released in March 2006.