Enemy mages and ships. An all-powerful organization gone rogue. One woman refuses to stand aside.
After the Divinity reveals its dark intentions, Rielle and her friends patrol the Shining Sea, doing all they can to stem the tide of gold flowing into Magehold and the dangerous goods flowing out. Facing Immortals and pirates at every turn, they wage battle after battle against clandestine Divinity ships in an effort to weaken its ability to grasp for power.
Meanwhile, Veris draws near and the Dragon King hunts Jon, whose life hangs in the balance as Olivia and Samara seek answers to heal his heart. As the werewolf presence in Emaurria escalates, Brennan is forced to confront both sides of his werewolf–noble identity and choose whether to reject it or embrace it. In a harsh and deadly wilderness, Leigh and Ambriel search for clues about the Sundering ritual, hoping to seal away the violent Immortals and save the land for good.
But the Divinity does not accept defeat — and when the Grand Divinus strikes back, it is not at Rielle but at Emaurria. Will she give up her war against the Divinity, or will Emaurria fall?
If you like the fantasy romance of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the dark intrigue of the Black Jewels series, the epic adventure of Game of Thrones, and a heroine who never gives up, you'll love this romantic epic fantasy series.
Preorder Queen of the Shining Sea this May and dive into a medieval world sensual and dark, full of magic and greed, love and blades, where factions vie for influence and there are no easy choices...
A fleet. An entire fleet.
Rielle gripped the Liberté’s railing tightly. So the Divinity of Magic either had something of worth… or had finally gotten wind of her attacking their ships. Either way, this fleet would meet its end.
She handed the spyglass to Liam, who fixed it on the horizon.
“I don’t see anything.”
Frowning, she took the spyglass back and looked again. The fleet was there. It was…READ MORE
She lifted the Sodalis ring from her skin, where it hung on a necklace. The sting of the Sodalis ring’s arcanir against her skin had almost become unnoticeable; she wore it at all times unless she needed to use her magic.
And just like that, no fleet.
Cloaked by magic.
She held the spyglass before Liam’s eye and touched the arcanir to his bare hand.
“Three galleons,” he murmured, “with at least half a dozen ships in escort.”
“Flying Magehold colors.” Half a dozen, a dozen—it made no difference. This was what she had been trained to do. And the Grand Divinus—no, Samanta Vota—would not get away with circulating sen’a anymore.
Liam collapsed the spyglass and rolled his eyes at her. “You’re missing the point. The heavier escort means the Divinity is aware of us. Those ships are prepared.”
“Or,” she said, with a tilt of her head as she leaned her elbows against the railing, “that galleon has something the others didn’t. Something more valuable.”
Something they could take from Samanta Vota.
In four months, they’d intercepted six ships heavily laden with sen’a. Sen’a belonging to the Divinity of Magic. What could be more valuable than that? A bigger shipment? Something more to sweeten the deal Samanta had made with sen’a barons?
“Or both,” Sterling’s monotonous voice remarked from behind them. His hands clasped behind his back, Liam’s quartermaster stood stiffly, his long, black coat battered by the wind, his sharp brown eyes shifting from her to Liam.
Even if it were both, between her, Liam, Marfa, Luca, and the rest of the crew, they could handle the Divinity ships. It was worth the effort to kick Samanta in the teeth.
“You don’t want to miss Sincuore’s execution in Courdeval, do you?” Liam asked.
Courdeval was complicated... But as much as returning to Courdeval made her hair stand on end, seeing Sincuore brought to justice wasn’t something she could ignore. “We’ll make it. I’ll make sure we do.”
He narrowed a light-blue eye at her.
“Come on… I can promise favorable winds.” She nudged Liam, and he rolled his eyes. “You know we can handle them.” After months of sailing together—intercepting slavers and Divinity ships, defeating pirates and taking their plunder, growing their own fleet and crew—by now he had to trust her. He had to.
He crossed his arms. “There has to be a mage aboard, given the illusion. At least one mage who knows an illusion magic incantation.”
“You watch my back, and I’ll watch yours?” With a faint smile, she stared at him until at last he whooshed out a breath.
He handed Sterling the spyglass and patted him on the shoulder. “We’re going after them.” He looked over his shoulder back at her. “Give us those favorable winds, but mind my ship’s masts, little bee.”
“Aye aye.” She saluted, earning a crooked grin from Liam before he headed up to the helm with Sterling.
Tucking the Sodalis ring back against her skin, she turned back to the Shining Sea. The Divinity ships were nothing more than specks on the horizon—specks she could prime for boarding without the crew having to break a sweat.
As for the extra security… It had been over four months since the Magister Trials, four long months since her last duel against another mage. Since… Since everything.
It was time to break her fast.
The sting of arcanir abated as she removed the Sodalis ring from its chain around her neck, and placed it on her thumb. In the long months since the Magister Trials, the Sodalis ring had given her the silence she’d needed from the bond… the blood bond with Brennan. Olivia had written that the preserved blood had worked to keep his Wolf controlled. Thank the Divine.
That measure had given her space to gather her thoughts, to reflect, to become herself again.
And no doubt he’d needed this space, too, enough to devote to his—to his new family.
Taking a deep breath, she rubbed the ring on her thumb, its arcanir face out of contact with her skin. It was time to work.
Liam gave her a nod from the wheel while signal flags with orders were hoisted for the Peerless, the Daniela, the Criselda, and the Fiore sailing with them.
“Loose all sails!” he bellowed to the crew, receiving a ripple of ayes.
She undulated her fingers, gradually pulling a gale from the south, slowly filling the sails until the Liberté took as much wind as she could bear. When her eyes met Liam’s, he nodded gravely. It was time. The Divinity fleet had to be subdued before their own sailed within firing range.
Two black-haired heads emerged from the hatchway—Luca and Marfa, and with a hungry smile, Marfa approached the railing.
“We hunt the mad Coven,” Marfa crooned, her deepest-brown eyes fixed on the fleet as she Changed her fingers to claws. Her werewolf eyes could see through the cloaking.
“We hunt,” Rielle agreed. Although she’d been zealous—perhaps even a bit overzealous, just a bit—when it came to the Divinity, no one matched her zeal like Marfa. But considering the torture she’d survived at the hands of Magehold’s sadists, that zeal was well placed.
Maintaining the gale with one hand, Rielle turned back to the horizon, where she’d seen the ships, now nothing but the never-ending teal of the Shining Sea and the cerulean of the sky.
She raised her other hand, and out on the sea ahead, the waters agitated to a rough chop, unsettled, as she churned the waves, building them and building them. Feeding the wave spell more and more anima, she pulled a wave high, unnaturally high, rising like an iridescent cliffside—
A cliffside that slammed against where the Divinity fleet would have been.
Raging waters crashed over now-visible ships, tipping some and capsizing others. Sails tore off into the sea. Masts bent and broke under the force, and sailors were ripped away into the merciless waves.
If the ships were visible, then the Divinity mage that had cast the illusion spell had to have broken his focus. Good.
As the Liberté and its fleet moved in, she dispelled the aeromancy while some of the Divinity ships righted themselves. Grapnels hooked into those remaining, and the crew waited near the railing while chaos reigned amid the cacophony of shouts and cries.
After her hydromancy, they had a short window of opportunity before the Divinity ships’ crewmen could properly muster a response.
The weather decks were empty, drenched in seawater. The Criselda’s crew already boarded a carrack, charging down its companionway, while the Peerless closed in on one of the three-masted galleons.
Liam shouted orders as the crew heaved the grapnels, with a few climbing the ratlines high enough to meet the four-masted galleon’s forecastle and aft castle. As the gap between the ships closed, Marfa got a running start and was the first to leap over. She made for the hatchway while others laid boards, jumped, and swung from the Liberté.
Checking for Thorn clipped to her side, she darted across a board with the crew onto the four-masted galleon’s weather deck. Yells and the clash of blades already came from below.
The deck burst before her.
Planks and splinters exploded into the air, throwing her back against someone. Hands secured her shoulders, righted her. Liam’s.
Taking up a dueling stance next to her, he snapped his fingers, spelling flame in his palm.
She was about to do the same when he gave a subtle shake of his head.
“Sword,” he hissed, and she groaned but drew Thorn.
Liam had been teaching her swordsmanship for months. It was time to put those lessons to use yet again.
Cautiously, they approached the section of missing deck as Liam unleashed a torrent of fire, surging at the lower deck.
Behind a blurry repulsion shield, two men in master mage coats stood.
One conjured a fiery blade. Which meant the other was the enforcer.
Cannon fire blasted into wood somewhere; one of the Divinity ships had to be mustering a defense. Liam had work to do.
Casting a fire shield at her left arm, she leaped to the lower deck, Thorn raised. With a slash of its arcanir blade, the repulsion shield dispelled.
“I got this!” she shouted at Liam, and the torrent of fire faded with his footsteps.
Battle raged behind her, the Liberté engaged with the galleon’s crew, while she advanced on the mage pair.
The conjurer swung his fiery blade at her wildly, and each time she met it with Thorn, his magic dissipated. Objects flew at her from around the ship, forcing her back as she raised her fire shield against them.
A knife flew her way as she dodged, but she parried it with Thorn.
The enforcer wasn’t an enforcer.
He wasn’t a real person.
She ducked a slash from the conjurer. No—the illusionist. He hadn’t used an illusion magic incantation to cloak the fleet; he was an illusionist himself.
Ignoring the enforcer apparition, she blocked the illusionist’s fiery blade, dispelling it yet again. With a gesture of cold, she dropped her fire shield as she grabbed his neck.
Frost radiated from her fingers while she held Thorn’s pointed tip to his chest, pressing it hard to enough through his clothes to prick his skin. His hands shot up at his sides in surrender.
“No more tricks,” she said to him quietly, and the whites of his eyes grew as he nodded gravely. “What are you hiding? Why was the fleet cloaked?”
He trembled in her grasp, his breath quick.
A man flew past them, cracking against a drenched twelve-pounder. He fell to the floor and didn’t move, hemorrhaging from his neck.
In her periphery, Marfa took a few steps forward, dragging a sleeve across her bloodied mouth. She grinned with red-stained, sharp Changed teeth. “Need help?”
Rielle angled the illusionist’s wide-eyed, blue-tinged face to Marfa’s direction. “He won’t talk about why the ships were hidden.”
Marfa flexed her gore-strewn claws. “I make talk.”
Those wide eyes only widened further. “I-I-I d-don’t r-really know who sh-she is, just that we’re t-taking her to the V-vault.”
“What’s the Vault?” She’d never heard of such a place. And who was this she he referred to?
The illusionist drew his eyebrows together, looking from her to Marfa and back again. “It’s the Divinity’s most secure p-prison.”
Prison? The Divinity had long “disappeared” those who it had deemed irredeemable. For the protection of the public, of course.
Those prisoners had to include those who’d taken a stand against the Divinity. Like her. Like Leigh. Prisoners who might join her and Liam’s crusade against the Divinity.
The charts mapping the route to this Vault would be in the captain’s cabin. They had to be.
“Show us to this prisoner,” she bit out to the illusionist.
“Sh-she’s in the h-hold.” He pointed to the companionway.
As Marfa grabbed him, one clawed hand to his neck, he cried out. She shoved him ahead of them both.
If they could find a way into the Vault, it would mean allies. Powerful allies.
She watched the illusionist tremble as Marfa pushed him along, claws still to his neck. He and this entire fleet had been on their way to the Vault.
She grinned. There was no reason why these ships shouldn’t make it there. And as long as she used her aeromancy, they’d still be in Courdeval in time for Sincuore’s execution.
Distant cheers rose up, rippling closer.
Liam bolted down the ladder, his gaze wild until it landed on her. “What are you doing?”
Could she sell this plan to him? He’d known what it had meant to be locked up, held against his will. And the Divinity was doing the same to objectors, perhaps innocent of everything but mere disagreement with the Divinity’s perspective.
She took a deep breath. “How do you feel about a prison break?”COLLAPSE