The Silver Rose

The Silver Rose

3.8 26
by Susan Carroll

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From Brittany’s fog-shrouded forests to the elegant dark heart of Paris’s royal court, one woman must challenge a country’s destiny–and her own dangerous fate.

France, 1585. She is the youngest and most powerful of the “Sisters of Faire Isle,” women known far and wide for their extraordinary mystical abilities. Skilled in


From Brittany’s fog-shrouded forests to the elegant dark heart of Paris’s royal court, one woman must challenge a country’s destiny–and her own dangerous fate.

France, 1585. She is the youngest and most powerful of the “Sisters of Faire Isle,” women known far and wide for their extraordinary mystical abilities. Skilled in healing and able to forecast the future of those around her, Miri Cheney has returned to her ancestral home to take refuge from a land devastated by civil war–and to grieve for her family, driven to exile. But she cannot hide from the formidable new power threatening to seize control of France from the dread “Dark Queen,” Catherine de Medici–a diabolical woman known only as the Silver Rose. Miri has no choice but to turn to the one man she distrusts as much as she desires: Simon Aristide, the charismatic witch-finder who is now himself the hunted, and who has reluctantly made an unholy pact with Catherine. Miri must defy throne and family to save all that she loves most–and command a future greater than she could ever imagine.

Vibrant with stunning historical detail, alive with characters as richly passionate as they are compelling, The Silver Rose is a sweeping, exquisitely wrought tale from a mesmerizing storyteller.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Dark Queen Saga Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.95(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The storm hovered in the distance, the gathering clouds like a herd of wild gray stallions about to rampage through Port Corsair and steal away the serenity of the summer afternoon. As Miri cantered her pony into the small harbor town, she straightened in the saddle, her nostrils flaring as she scented the air. The storm was one, perhaps two hours away at most by her reckoning. The rocky coast of Faire Isle usually took the brunt of the tempests hurled from the sea, but not even the heart of the small island would be immune to the force of this one.

The brisk wind blowing leeward threatened to wreak havoc with her hair, but her pale blond tresses were tightly bound in a braid that fell to the small of her back. Hair so severely confined might have left another woman’s face too harshly exposed, but it only served to emphasize the striking mold of her cheekbones. There was something a little fey in her expression, the reflection of a woman who kept mostly to herself, more comfortable with the creatures of the forest than she was with her own kind.

Tall and thin, she wore a belted, ankle-length gown, the soft gray hue adding to the ethereal illusion that she was a lady who could easily vanish in a puff of mist. Her skirts and petticoats bunched uncomfortably about her knees as she rode astride. The fashion for sidesaddles had never been adopted by the practical women of Faire Isle. Miri would as soon have dispensed with a saddle altogether and donned a comfortable pair of masculine breeches as she had been wont to do as a child. But she feared that she already created enough of a stir when she ventured into town these days.

As Miri slowed her pony to a walk, she braced herself for the familiar onslaught of faces peering at her over cottage fences. Some simply stared; others nodded their heads in uneasy recognition. An apple-cheeked woman weeding her garden ventured to wave, but as Miri went by, the woman immediately turned to whisper to her daughter.

Miri held her head high, but the whispers, the stares thrust her back through the years to another gloom-ridden summer day . . .

The drum beat out a relentless tattoo and her heart seemed to thud in tempo as she was dragged toward the town square by the grim-faced witch-hunters in their black robes. The halter they had fastened about her neck abraded her skin raw, but she tried to keep her chin up, remember who she was, the daughter of the brave Chevalier Louis Cheney and the Lady Evangeline, one of the wisest women Faire Isle had ever known. But she shrank from all those staring eyes, the faces of people she’d believed were friends and neighbors.

She was a true daughter of the earth. How could they think that she was a witch who had made an unholy pact with the devil? Why would anyone want to hurt her? She twisted her head and directed a pleading glance toward the youngest of the witch-hunters. Although he swallowed hard, his dark eyes growing moist, Simon kept marching and doggedly beat the drum . . .

Miri shuddered and thrust the memory back into the dark recesses of her past where it belonged. She was no longer that frightened and bewildered child, but a woman of six and twenty, all too familiar with the ignorance and cruelty to be found in the world. So much had changed in her life since that dark summer day she’d survived her arrest for witchcraft, except perhaps for one thing. Many still suspected her of practicing sorcery.

“Filthy little witch!”

Miri flinched in spite of herself at the shrill cry. She shifted in the saddle, glancing about her for the source of the angry outcry only to realize that the epithet had not been hurled at her.

A group of some half-dozen women was clustered near the common well, engaged in a heated conflict. Miri’s first instinct was to ride swiftly on by. She hated altercations of any sort and Ariane had warned Miri when she had returned to Faire Isle six months ago. On the morning they had parted, Ariane had cupped Miri’s face between her hands, her sister’s rich gray eyes worried and solemn.

“I know how badly you need to return home, but oh, please be careful, Miri. You were never convicted of treason and witchcraft as Gabrielle and I were. Give them no excuse to do so now. Live quietly on Faire Isle. Remember that even after all this time, our family still has powerful enemies.”

Enemies like Catherine de Medici, the dowager queen of France, but far better known as the Dark Queen and a suspected sorceress, and her son, Henry, the present king of France, an irrational and vindictive man. But the enemy uppermost in Ariane’s mind had been the one they did not speak of, the mere mention of his name enough to afford Miri pain. The witch-hunter, Aristide.

Just as Miri was no longer that innocent child, Simon was no longer that tenderhearted boy, apprenticed to the terrifying Vachel Le Vis, a fanatical witch-hunter. Over the years Simon had grown into a hardened and dangerous adversary, far more to be dreaded than his long-dead master who had first arrested Miri.

Hugging Ariane fiercely, Miri had pledged to do her best to heed her advice.

“Do nothing to draw undue attention to yourself, dearest.”

“I won’t, Ariane. I swear it.”

Recalling that promise, Miri nudged Willow away from the square, trying to blot out the sound of the furious, upraised voices. But out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of the victim of this wrath, a sandy-haired girl, who looked not much older than fourteen. She clutched the ends of a shawl about her frail shoulders, the cloth a bright weaving of many dyed hues like the biblical Joseph’s coat of many colors. Her freckled face blazed defiance although she held her other hand protectively in front of her abdomen. Miri drew rein, shocked as she realized the reason for the gesture. The girl was heavy with child, her thin frame appearing far too frail to bear the burden swelling beneath her gown.

Her chief opponent appeared to be an angular woman, sleeves shoved up to reveal red, work-roughened arms. Miri recognized Josephine Alain, the local potter’s wife. She advanced toward the girl, shrieking, “Slut! We’ve warned you for the last time. We don’t want you showing your face in our town ever again.”

Madame Alain was reinforced by an irate chorus of agreement from her neighbors, only timid little Madame Greves appearing to make an appeal for calm. The girl muttered some furious retort, her face streaked with defiant tears.

Madame Alain stepped closer, spluttering more insults, shaking her finger under the girl’s nose. The girl stumbled back a step and struck Madame Alain’s hand away. To Miri’s horror, the woman set upon the pregnant girl, slapping her and pulling her hair.

Forgetting all she had promised her sister, Miri scrambled off of Willow. Seizing the pony’s bridle, she peered directly into one of his large soft eyes.

“Wait,” she commanded, then raced toward the group of women.

By the time Miri reached the conflict, the girl had sought refuge at the base of the statue in the square. She curled herself in a protective ball with her multicolored shawl drawn over her head as Madame Alain pummeled her back. The other women crowded about, urging her on, only Madame Greves holding back, wringing her hands in her apron.

Miri charged in, shoving women out of her way. She locked her arm about Madame Alain’s neck and hauled her back from the fallen girl.

“Stop it,” Miri grated in the woman’s ear. “Have you completely lost your mind?”

Madame Alain grunted, fighting to break free of Miri’s grip. Miri spun the woman about with a strength born of desperation and hurled her away. The woman staggered and landed hard on her rump. Spitting furious curses, she fought her tangled skirts in an effort to rise.

Although her heart thudded hard in her chest, Miri stepped in front of the sandy-haired girl, clenching her fists. “Stay back. All of you. The next person who lays a hand on this child will answer to me.”

Josephine Alain regained her feet, ready to launch herself at Miri but she was restrained by two of her neighbors.

“Great heaven, Josephine. Don’t you see who that is? The Cheney woman.”

Miri’s name buzzed through the cluster of women, their faces reflecting varying amounts of fear, wariness, and awe. Although Madame Alain shrugged free of the hands restraining her, even she hung back, glaring.

Miri found the sudden silence unnerving. She was relieved when Madame Greves found enough courage to come forward to help. Taking the girl gently by the elbow, Madame Greves aided her to her feet. As soon as the girl had regained her balance, she thrust the woman’s hands away.

“Leave me alone, damn you. I’m fine.”

Madame Greves’s eyes rounded in shock and she beat a hasty retreat. The girl looked shaken, but otherwise unharmed. Miri blew out a deep breath. Having thrust herself into the middle of this situation, she was uncertain what to do next. She was painfully aware of having neither Ariane’s calming aura nor her other sister Gabrielle’s regal manner.

She was more disquieted by the prospect of addressing this crowd of hostile women than she had been battling her way through them. Folding her arms defensively in front of herself, she demanded, in what she hoped was an authoritative tone, “Would someone care to explain to me what is going on here?”

“It is no concern of yours, Miribelle Cheney.” Strands of gray hair escaped from Madame Alain’s chignon, the wind blowing them about a face that had once been pretty. Bitterness had soured her visage into a shrewish expression.

“I am afraid I must make it my concern, when grown women run mad enough to attack an innocent girl. One moreover who is far gone with child.”

“Innocent?” Madame Alain snorted. “Carole Moreau is nothing but a little whore, spreading her legs for every sailor who comes into port.”

“Oh, are you worried I won’t leave any for you?” Carole snapped.

“Why, you—you salope.” Madame Alain lunged at her again, but Miri blocked her path, stopping her with a fierce look.

Madame Alain shouted at the girl past Miri’s shoulder. “We have warned you time and again not to come around here, flaunting that bastard growing in your belly before decent women.”

“I have as much right to be here as anyone else,” Carole blazed, but her lip quivered.

“You ought to stay at home, keep your shame hidden away.”

“I would say the shame belongs more to the men who took advantage of such a young girl,” Miri said icily.

“Oh, no, Mistress Cheney,” another woman piped up, a buxom blonde. “Carole truly is a wicked creature. Always muttering curses against us. She made my milk curdle the other day. Her eyes radiate pure evil.”

Several of the other women nodded in agreement and crossed themselves.

Miri shook her head at them incredulously. “Since when did the women of Faire Isle start believing in such nonsense as evil eyes? My God! I have seen my share of folly and cruelty in the rest of the world. But this island was once a place of refuge, especially for women who met with misunderstanding and abuse elsewhere. We were wont to treat each other with respect. What has happened to your kindness, your compassion?”

Miri appealed to each woman in turn, peering deep into their eyes. Most hung their heads or looked away. Only Madame Alain spoke up.

“You have been gone a long time, Miri Cheney. Nothing has gone right for this island since the raids of Le Balafre and his witch-hunters. People from the mainland fear to come here anymore, our trade has fallen off to nothing. My own family has been particularly hard hit, our pottery business failed, and my husband dead of grief, leaving me six children to keep from starving. And it is all the fault of your sisters for bringing the wrath of that accursed witch-hunter and the French king down upon our heads.”

Miri felt the heat rise in her cheeks, but she replied calmly, “My sisters are neither traitors nor witches. I am deeply sorry for your troubles, madame, but if you want to blame anyone, blame me. It was my fault for placing too much faith in the wrong man, for not stopping Le Balafre when I had the chance.”

Although Miri despised herself for it, even now she could not think of him as the dreaded Le Balafre, but only as Simon . . . Simon Aristide.

“Oh, I do blame you,” Madame Alain said. Although the other women stole wary looks at Miri, and Madame Greves tried to hush her friend, Madame Alain stepped closer. Miri could feel the animosity pouring off the woman like a hot, dark wave.

“Though no one else here has the courage to tell you this, you are no more welcome on this island than that little slut you are protecting.”

“I regret that you feel that way, madame. But Faire Isle is my home as it is Mademoiselle Moreau’s. Neither of us is going anywhere.” Miri met the woman’s glare without flinching.

Madame Alain was the first to look away, muttering. “We’ll see about that.” She stalked off across the green, the other women trailing after her.

Only Madame Greves lingered. Tugging at her kerchief strings, she gazed earnestly up at Miri. “You must not mind Josephine, milady. She has had a hard time of it and she often says things she doesn’t mean.”

“Madame Alain only said what everyone else is thinking.”

“Not everyone.” Madame Greves ventured to touch Miri’s sleeve. “You probably believe that we have all forgotten the good that your family once brought to Faire Isle. But many of us remember the old days and we rejoice to have our lady back amongst us.”

“Oh, no, madame,” Miri cried. “I am not the Lady of Faire Isle. That was my sister, Ariane.”

“I know that, my dear. Such a kind and wise woman, the Lady Ariane, a true healer. I pray she might someday be restored to us. But your gift for curing the poor beasts is just as great as hers for helping ailing folk. We have all heard how you brought the Pomfreys’ cow back from the dead.”

“No, no! It wasn’t dead, only very ill. It—it was—”

“A miracle!” Madame Greves beamed at her. “You have a very powerful magic. Your reputation is spreading even as far as the mainland.” The little woman whispered in a conspiratorial tone. “We have taken to calling you our Lady of the Wood.”

Miri’s heart sank in dismay. The Lady of the Wood? Oh, wonderful. So much for her promise to Ariane to draw no attention to herself and she’d barely been home six months. Before she could attempt to convince Madame Greves that her curing of the cow had been nothing more than sensible animal husbandry, they were interrupted by Madame Alain’s shrill voice ringing across the green.


Having noticed her friend’s defection, she beckoned imperiously. Madame Greves drew back from Miri, sketching a deep curtsy. “Well, I—I just wanted you to know all that, milady.”

“Thank you, madame. But I am not milady. I am only—”

But Madame Greves was already gone, scurrying after the other women. Miri sighed. Despite Laurette Greves’s kindness, she was not sorry to see her go, as uncomfort- able with the woman’s adoration as she had been with Madame Alain’s hostility.

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Silver Rose 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the entire Dark Queen series, including The Huntress that was published not long ago. I would have to say that after the first two novels, there was a loss of capturing the audience. In the first two novels, I was hooked, I couldn't put the books down. With The Silver Rose and The Hunteress, however, were easy to set down. It took me a week to finish these books. I wasn't disapointed, but I wasn't as captivated. I just thought that Miri deserved a better story. Though, The Bride Finder series was wonderful form start to finish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the book very much. I did not enjoy it as much as the Dark Queen. I however thought susan carrol captured the emotion of simion very well. I could see the characters clearly in my mind. I would have liked to hear much much more about Ariane and Renard. They were the main characters of the whole series acording to me. This book to me turned out as another one of those cheesy Romances books rather than a historical thriller to me like the first book in the trilogy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
def not as good as the courtesan or the dark queen, there is romance but not like the other 2 books where it is at the beginning and all through i feel like she held back alot adn could have added alot more too
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting story! I'm glad to see a new threat introduced besides The Dark Queen herself. It's also nice to see Miri finally 'grown up' and I enjoyed watching her character develop throughout the three novels. She still maintains a bit of her naivete, yet most of it is gone because of what went on between her and Simon in the previous book. I was so glad to see Martin Le Loup was back for this book! I loved him as the comic relief, and he gets even more comical when he squares off with Simon. The pace of the novel was good and the mystery behind The Silver Rose was also well done. I was hoping to see the return of the older two Cheney sisters, but it seems Miri is just the main feature for this book. The plot has a more paranormal magical feel to it, it's still in a historical setting, but you don't really see famous royalty as much as before. I suppose the book was to take a break from the usual setting, to give the series a good break and to try something new. It's good because not only does the plot take a turn for the more interesting, but a new setting is nice to see. I liked seeing Miri and Simon together. There is a lot of tension and passion between the two of them. The reader does not feel that much intensity between Miri and Martin but they're also nice together as well. It's hard to choose between Martin and Simon as they both have their good qualities, but it just seems Martin is the more fun of the two men. His charm and his ability to get a laugh or a smile from the reader just seems to come naturally. There was only one thing I did not like: there was a love scene, but what annoys me is during that particular point in the book the characters were being followed with the intent to kill or harm. Yet the couple in question feel it's all right to take the time to do the deed. This is what I can't stand. Really? couples do that? when they're in danger they feel the need to do the horizontal dance and not care there's a band of men ready to kill them? why? is that necessary? we already know they're in love what's the point?! it just annoyed me and I don't like seeing this in novels I'm reading. To me, this does not make sense. All this aside though, I did enjoy reading this book. The ending opens more possibilities for future books which I will pursue. I have become too attached to the characters to just give up (plus, I'd really like to know what's in store for Le Loup!) It's a great book and written with the same quality of writing as the other two, so fans will not be disappointed. Those just getting started would also enjoy reading this although it would help at least reading The Courtesan. Characters from the previous book are carried over to this one.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I though that the plot had too many parts and she resolved all the conflicts too fast. The other two books were much better, but this was defenitly not a bad book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best thing about this novel is that it finished the Cheney sister trilogy. The Dark Queen and the Courtesan were fantastic books that were able to weave history, intrigue, and romance into the tale of 3 sisters struggling to shoulder their legacy. The Silver Rose attempts to tie up the dangling plotlines and continue the intrigue, however, Ms Carroll doesn't use all of her available resources. Ariane, Renard, Gabrielle and Remy do not really appear in the book, and weakens it considerably. Miri's predicament was the most intriguing, as she was inexiplicably drawn to the one man who seemingly could never accept the entire Miri. Unfortunately, things resolve themselves in typical romance book fashion (remorse, redemption and happily ever after). The potential resistance from her family is glossed over, and it if Carroll was going for a happily ever after, she should have returned Faire Isle to the place it was at the beginning of the Dark Queen. While it's satisfying to see Miri and Simon together, it's disappointing to realize what this novel could have been.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Ten years ago, Simon Arisitide the witch hunter thought he did the right thing when he brought justice to Faire Isle, but now has doubts as the evil Silver Rose and her minion use infant sacrifice to conjure spells. He is tired and needs help to stop the unknown Silver Rose his last hope lies in Faire Isle, which he destroyed a decade ago by betraying his beloved Miri Cheney. Still she can lead him to her sister Ariane who he by his actions sent into hidden exile (see THE DARK QUEEN), but needs the Lady of Faire Isle even if she and her two sisters are witches. --- Miri wants nothing to do with Simon, who understands her loathing of him just by looking around the once thriving Faire Isle that he devastated. Still with the France's 'Dark Queen' Catherine de Medici demanding she and or her siblings help stop The Silver Rose before further demonic practices occur, Miri reluctantly agrees to assist Simon on a quest between the good wise women and the malevolent devil worshipper. --- The final tale in the Faire Isle trilogy (see THE DARK QUEEN and THE COURTESAN) is a fine romantic historical fantasy starring two individuals in love with a past that makes teaming even against a malicious common foe difficult. The relationship between Miri and Simon supersedes the action as each tries to do the right thing for the good of people yet the events of a decade ago that led to the destruction of her home hangs heavily between them especially in light of his losing his target, the lethal sinister Book of Shadows. Susan Carroll¿s fans will appreciate this fine climax to an enchanting series. --- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have not read Susan Carroll's books in this series prior to this one, then be advised, The Silver Rose is not a good place to begin. The first time reader gets the immediate impression that they have landed in the middle of something. This tells the story of the third and most gifted sister of the Cheney family, Miri, who holds what could be a fatal attraction for a witch hunter, Simon Aristide. However, she will need his help to stop the Dark Queen, Catherine De Medici, no matter what his profession is. Together, they battle the forces of evil and claim a great prize. ................... Lacking the background of the first two books, I felt lost. Miri did seem a terribly weak heroine to command such power. However, Ms. Carroll does have a beautiful use of prose.