Acclaimed author Jennifer A. Nielsen marks a return to the world of her beloved New York Times bestseller The False Prince in this highly anticipated fourth book of the Ascendance Series!
In a peaceful Carthya, Jaron leads as the Ascendant King with Imogen beside him -- but the peace he fought so long for is not destined to last.
On a routine sea voyage, Jaron's ship is brutally attacked, and he is taken hostage. The mysterious captors and their leader, Jane Strick, accuse Jaron of unthinkable acts. They are also in possession of some shocking items -- including the crown and sword that belonged to Jaron's older brother, Darius. The items unearth a past Jaron thought he had put behind him.
Though it seems impossible, Jaron must consider: Could Darius be alive? And what does Strick want from Jaron? Against his will, Jaron will be pulled back into a fight for the throne -- and a battle to save his kingdom.
Return to Carthya to uncover new secrets, high-stakes action, and Jennifer A. Nielsen's signature breathtaking twists.
About the Author
Jennifer A. Nielsen is the acclaimed author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Ascendance Series: The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne. She also wrote the New York Times bestselling Mark of the Thief trilogy: Mark of the Thief, Rise of the Wolf, and Wrath of the Storm; the stand-alone fantasy The Scourge; the historical thrillers A Night Divided, Resistance, and Words on Fire; the second book in the Horizon series, Deadzone; Book Six of the Infinity Ring series, Behind Enemy Lines; and The Traitor's Game series: The Traitor's Game, The Deceiver's Heart, and The Warrior's Curse. Jennifer lives in northern Utah with her husband, their children, and a perpetually muddy dog.
Read an Excerpt
The captain called out again, this time adding a new threat. "Surrender your ship, or we'll sink it!"
I called back, "Go ahead and sink it. We're all very capable swimmers here."
There was a short pause as the captain looked at her other crewmen on deck. Then she shouted, "I meant that if we attack, you all will die."
"No, I don't think we will," I replied. "But if you're so concerned, you could lower your cannons and we can talk. What is it you want?"
"We want Jaron."
Her tone was icy enough to send a chill through me. I glanced over at Erick, who was staring at the Shadow Tide with brows furrowed tight together. One hand was on his knife, but it was still sheathed. I said to him, "How difficult would it be for them to board this ship?"
Almost as if in answer, arrows were fired from their deck to ours, each one with hooks attached. Erick yelled for his crew to come up on deck as he and I raced to detach the hooks. They were embedded deeply into the wood, so prying them out was no small matter, and before I got one out, three more had attached. Groups of eight to ten men were at the other end of the ropes now attached to us and were pulling our ship closer to theirs.
The next set of arrows to be launched were fire tipped and these flew high, cutting through the sails and igniting them as they passed through.
"Lower the sails!" Erick cried. "Preserve what you can!"
Finally, our ships were so close that I could see the captain's piercing eyes, and she was certainly focusing on me.
"My name is Captain Jane Strick, in service of our monarch."
"Of what nationality?"
I squinted. "No, you're not. The Prozarians are extinct."
She widened her arms. "Do we look extinct?"
I scratched my jaw and looked over the great numbers of her crew. "Well, to be honest . . . a few of the people in back could pass as corpses."
If she enjoyed my joke -- which was reasonably accurate -- she didn't show it. "Your crew will fare no better, unless you turn over Jaron to me."