Princess Alyrra’s strength lies in silence. Scorned by her family, she avoids the court, spending her time with servants. When her marriage is unexpectedly arranged with the prince of a powerful neighboring kingdom, Alyrra feels trapped. As the court celebrates her match, dark rumors spread about the unexplained deaths of the women of her new family. Alyrra begins her journey with mounting trepidation. Betrayed while traveling, she seizes an opportunity to start a life away from court.
Walking away from a prince whom she doesn’t know should have been easy. But from the moment she sets eyes on him, Alyrra realizes that her freedom could cost him his life. Without any magical defense of her own, she is plunged into a lethal game of sorcery and deceit. Now Alyrra must decide whom she can trust and what she’s willing to fight for—before her silence proves fatal.
Read an excerpt from the book:
“Well, Alyrra, you are off. Are you worried?” I incline my head in assent. “With good cause,” Mother agrees, her voice relaxed, sleepy. “I have devised some help for you against the sorceress, if she is truly a danger. It is a simple but potent spell.”
I nearly choke—magic? Since when has my mother dabbled in magic? And how abysmally little I know her if I do not know this! She unfolds a square of white silk no larger than a kerchief.
“What spell is that?”
She smiles a slow cat smile. “Watch.”
She picks up a needle that glints gold in the lamplight and pricks her finger. As the first drop wells up and falls to spread on the silk she begins to chant:
“Heart’s blood, ruby drop
Bind my love to you;
Mind’s blood, dark drop,
Bind my knowledge to you;
Soul’s blood, last drop,
Bind all strength to you.”
A wave of dizziness passes over me. I stagger sideways, bumping into the edge of the desk. When I raise a hand to my face it comes away damp with sweat.
“What have you done?”
About the Author:Over the years, I’ve considered different occupations based on how my name, Intisar, has been mispronounced. There’s “Intistar” (Galactic Space Commander?), “Interstar” (Lowly Space Shuttle Captain?), and “Inastar” (Nuclear Fusion, here I come!), just to list a few. So how is my name really pronounced?
Pretty much how it’s written: In-ti-sar Kha-na-ni.
I was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and have grown up a nomad, with multiple stints living in Saudi Arabia, boarding school in New Hampshire, and college split between Minnesota and Colorado. My family is from Pakistan, and I still have extended family there. My husband, young daughter and I live in Cincinnati, Ohio where I work with the Cincinnati Health Department on projects to improve community health, which is as close as I can get to saving the world. We’ve lived in Cincinnati longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere in one go—over five years.
Writing fantasy has been a lifelong passion. I wrote my first novel, Thorn, during my senior year in college. I had always wanted to write a novel, so I challenged myself to write a chapter a week. I decided to use one of my favorite Grimm’s fairy tales, “The Goose Girl,” as the basic storyline and optimistically set to work writing. How hard could it be if I already had the plot? I remember sitting down to read my completed first draft and nearly falling asleep. Suitably chastened but undaunted, I spent the next ten years on revisions and rewrites. I worked through about 13 drafts before deciding to publish.
My website: http://www.thornthenovel.com