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:
I reach to scoop up more water from the river and then pause, staring. There is something odd about my reflection but I cannot make out what, for the water does not run smoothly but in ripples and eddies. I dip my fingers in, breaking the image. But it does not break.
A hand reaches up and closes around my wrist. I choke on a cry of terror, jerking away, but it pulls down—hard—and I lose my footing on the muddy bank, falling headfirst into the rushing waters. The world is strange, blunted, beneath water. I twist, striking out, but cannot quite find my attacker. The hand still holds my wrist in an iron grip. I kick, desperately trying to tear myself away, push my way to the surface. The air burns in my lungs, spots dancing before my eyes. Something touches my throat—a knife? I flail away from it, feel a slicing pain, and abruptly I am released. I find myself on my hands and knees, coughing up water, gentle waves lapping around my chest.
I look up in terror, my hair sending an arc of droplets flying over the quiet waters. The river runs clear. But the birds are silent.
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