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In Astrid Scholte’s inventive and beguiling debut, Four Dead Queens, a mash-up of murder mystery and fantasy, the world of Quadara is a carefully divided realm in which technology and nature, commerce and beauty, reason and emotion are carefully sorted out among four wildly different regions, each with its own queen representing her people’s unique character. Teenaged thief Keralee Corrington is drawn into an intrigue that threatens to overturn the unique balance of this world—and Keralie’s cunning and professional skill may be crucial to untangling a deadly conspiracy—if she can survive the ordeal. Host Bill Tipper talked to Astrid Scholte by phone about her approach to worldbuilding, the Steven Spielberg film that inspired her career, and how she went about pursuing her goal of writing, in her words, a fantasy version of Agatha Christie.
Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.
With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.
An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.
The Barnes & Noble Exclusive edition includes a bonus epilogue and an original illustration.