This story is a bit like "Downton Abbey" meets "The White Queen." It is set at the beginning of the twentieth century in an alternate history in which Merlin's magic has enabled the British Empire to conquer all enemies. The American Revolution failed and North America is still a colonial asset. Merlin also defeated Joan of Arc so France is under British rule within the Franco-British Empire. A treaty has recently ended the Franco-Prussian War and Leopold VII, Prussia's Kronprinz is to marry Princess Marie-Victoria of House Aquitaine.
If readers aren't snared by all the plots and conspiracies within the palace, then the romantic intrigues are just as complicated. There are star-crossed lovers from different social classes, colonial debutantes who are in town to find an English nobleman to marry, royals and nobles carrying on affairs and illicit activities, and magic.
Another enticement is the number of characters that the reader can cheer on or wish calamities upon: aging Queen Eleanor II, Princess Marie-Victoria, the Merlin, his daughter Aelwyn, Kronprinz Leopold VII, his younger brother Prince Wolf, Isabelle of Orleans, and all the society notables.
Who will follow the roles expected of them? Who will rebel and try for happiness outside society's expectations? Will the maneuvering for power and love throw the Continent into war? Where did the Prussians find the Pandora device they used to stop the Queen's Army? Curiosity about all of the possibilities will pull readers in and keep them turning the pages. There is a trailer provided by the publisher.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. The book will be published April 1, 2014. (For Teens and Young Adults)