The ensorceled gems that once held all humans in sway now power a hundred small kingdoms, but the monarchy of Mountfalcon is suddenly in dire peril. For the Queen has unwittingly lost the realm-sustaining, jeweled Chaos Machine—a castastrophe that could tear the kingdom apart. Captain of the Queen's Guard, Wilrowan Blackheart has been entrusted with the Machine's recovery—an undertaking that slowly reveals a horrific conspiracy spreading far beyond Mountfalcon's borders, as the deposed Maglore plot to reduce the unsuspecting human world to rubble and flames. But unbeknownst to him, another has also embarked on the same mission: a determined crusader of strength and substance...the only woman Blackheart has ever loved, but can never possess.
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About the Author
She lives in an obscure little town in California with her husband, John, the oldest and youngest of their four children, and assorted dogs, cats, plants, and books.
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Hawkesbridge, Mountfalcon -- 1 Niviôse, 6538
(Midwinter Solstice / New Year's Day)
It was a raw morning, with a chill on the air that bit like steel and went all the way through to the bone. But a large crowd gathering in the long shadow of the Theomorphic church seethed with excitement. Word of a duel about to be fought had brought them together on a level stretch of ground between the church and the frozen River Zule, and every man of them anticipated bloodshed.
Yet one of the seconds appeared to be reconsidering. He stood arguing with his principal in low, urgent tones.
"Will, Will, I beg you to stop and think before this goes any further. That fool Macquay, so eager, so insistent about pressing a quarrel, when all the world knows you are the better swordsman. He can't be so ready to die as it seems, and I thought more than once during the night he was not so drunk as he pretended. There is mischief afoot. If you have any sense you'll refuse to meet him. As the injured --"
"As the injured party, I intend to do nothing of the sort," Will Blackheart replied, grinding his teeth. He was a small man in a rough soot-colored coat many sizes too large for him and a widebrimmed hat of black beaver, pinned up at one side with some draggled turkey feathers and a large brooch in the shape of a scarab beetle. His long auburn hair had been loosely tied back with a piece of frayed ribbon, and in the cold light of morning he looked pale and dissipated.
Despite his slovenly appearance, despite that of hiscompanions, there was a certain something about them -- inbred and entirely unconscious -- which marked them all for exactly what they were: rackety young aristocrats who had spent the night just past celebrating the New Year in taverns and gambling houses. The watching tradesmen, the shipwrights, caulkers, and carpenters from the docks and shipyards, even the handful of Ouphs and Padfoots hovering on the edge of the crowd, moved a few steps closer to hear what was being said.
"By the Shades of the Damned, Blaise, what Macquay said was unendurable!" Will gestured in the direction of his opponent, who was holding a heated conference with one of his own seconds -- while Finn and Pyecroft, the other two men involved, met in the center of the field to inspect the weapons and make the final arrangements. Will lowered his voice to a hiss. "The fellow spoke disparagingly of Lili. Am I to allow a man to insult my wife without demanding satisfaction?"
Blaise released a heartfelt sigh. His appearance, in a patched blue coat and a big tricorn hat, a dirty yellow handkerchief knotted round his throat, and a pair of thin steel hoops piercing his left ear, was almost as villainous as Will's, though he was actually the steadiest of all young Blackheart's friends.
"God love you, Wilrowan, it seems to me your entire existence is an insult to your wife. Your wild behavior, your numerous love affairs, the way you go from scandal to scandal -- Lilliana can scarcely be ignorant, even if she does live in the country thirteen months out of the year. And having endured so much, can you really suppose she cares what a drunken fool like Macquay says at a private gathering?"
"No." Will clenched a small fist under thedeep cuff of his sleeve. "But if she knew I was present to hear and I took no action, she would care about that."
"That makes no sense. I wish you would explain to me --"
"I can't explain to you." Will turned even paler than before; his hazel eyes went uncommonly bleak. "Not without touching on things that are neither decent nor right for me to discuss."
His friend looked away in patent disgust. Such scruples were not remarkable -- but they did seem curiously out of place in Wilrowan, who otherwise treated Lili with so little consideration.
In any case, it was too late to draw back now. Pyecroft and Finn had already reached an agreement and Finn came back with Will's rapier.
"I tried to hold out for first blood, but Macquay refused. He means to make this a killing affair. Or at least to do you some serious injury."
"He can't." Will spoke curtly as he shrugged out of his coat, doffed his hat, unknotted his fringed neckcloth, and began to unbutton his ratskin waistcoat. He took the hilt of his rapier, made a few experimental passes with the blade.
The observers were quick to notice that his figure -- now that he had stripped down to a loose-fitting white shirt, tight satin trousers, and thigh-high boots -- possessed the wiry, muscular grace appropriate to a swordsman.
"I've no mind to accept first blood either," he said, showing his teeth. "I mean to teach Macquay a sharp, unforgettable lesson."
A flock of glossy black ravens had settled on the roof of the old limestone church, up among the stone sphinxes and the lionheaded women, as though they, too, took an interest in the proceedings. As the duelists met and saluted in the center of the field, the earthbound onlookers, Human and Goblin, moved in closer. After a few preliminary feints, there was a clash of steel as the two men engaged, then a rapid series of attacks and counterattacks.
Wilrowan was swift and relentless, his swordplay dazzling, while the tall, loose-limbed Macquay fenced with a dogged determination, a lack of daring and imagination, which made him look slow and awkward, if only by comparison with young Blackheart's reckless brilliance. Despite the advantage of his extra inches, he remained purely on the defensive, which fact Will noted with grim satisfaction as he forced him back and back.
Seeing a chance when Macquay clumsily shifted his weight, Will lunged forward, beat the other...The Queen's Necklace. Copyright © by Teresa Edgerton. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This author is a gem. Although things get disappointing in the end...a lot of stuff left unfinished. I think its because the author planned a sequel eventually. In any case its well worth the read. Edgerton creates a fantasy world that is so rich in detail and history. Her characters are very well drawn. This is an author to keep your eyes on!
Interesting read. Georgian feeling period piece. A good mixture of politics, action and romance. I was first annoyed with the main characters and then came to like both Will and Lili, I both understood and empathised with the issues and problems they had. It was a different experience to see how the pair dug themselves further and further into misunderstanding with lies and half-truths. What happens when they start finding out the truth about each other and the real feelings they have for each other makes this a very compelling read.
Rich details and fine characterization make this novel a worthy read. Fans of Teresa Edgerton's work will not be disappointed. From the swashbuckling start to the heart-racing ending, Goblins and Humans battle for supremacy. This is a book that should be read again and again.
For millenniums the Magore ruled the world with humanity serving as slaves to whatever whims the Goblins had. The power rested in jewels that enabled the Goblins to rule with an iron fist. Mankind, tired of its servitude finally overthrew their oppressors. Almost every Magore was killed and the few survivors fled in exile into the shadows. Fifteen hundred years after the successful uprising, the world consists of a hundred or so kingdoms, duchies, and principalities while the Magore have become mythical creatures that never existed. However, those who endured the purge plan to regain what they lost by having a Goblin princess marry a human king in order to recover the jewels of power. Only a brave few including Captain Wilrovan Krogan (he converses with ravens and his wife Lillian (a sorcerer-physician), stand in the way of success. The world of this epic fantasy is Renaissance Europe complete with intrigue, political infighting, and scholarly learning. The characters are three dimensional and believable within a colorful complex story line. The numerous subplots cleverly tie back to the main theme yet leave some threads so readers can expect a sequel from Teresa Edgerton, a future force within the fantasy genre. Harriet Klausner