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One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
0062690450 (ISBN13: 9780062690456)
The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?
With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.
In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.
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Natalia Arron oversees her younger sister’s move back to Greavesdrake with a critical eye. Genevieve was banished from the house for only a few months. If one were to judge by the endless line of trunks the footmen carry through the front door, you would think she had been gone for years.
“It will be good to sleep in my own bed again,” Genevieve says. She inhales deeply. The air at Greavesdrake smells of oiled wood, and books, and savory, poisoned stew bubbling in the kitchen.
“Your bed in town is also your own,” says Natalia. “Do not act as though it were a hardship.”
Natalia studies Genevieve from the corner of her eye. Genevieve’s cheeks are rosy pink, and her lilac irises sparkle. Long, blond hair tumbles past her shoulder. People say she is the beautiful Arron sister. If they only knew what wicked thoughts whirled inside that pretty head.
“Now that you are home,” says Natalia. “Prove yourself useful. What is the Council whispering?”
“The story has been told as you instructed,” Genevieve replies. “That Queen Katharine survived Queen Arsinoe’s attack with the bear and cleverly went into hiding until all was deemed safe. But they have still heard the stories.”
“Nonsense, mostly.” Genevieve waves her hand. But Natalia frowns. Nonsense becomes truth if enough mouths repeat it.
“What sort of nonsense?”
“That Katharine did not survive at all. Some actually claim to have seen her die, and some say that they saw her as she made her way home: gray-skinned and covered in mud, with blood running from her mouth. They have been calling her Katharine the Undead. Can you imagine?”
Natalia barks laughter. She crosses her arms. It is ridiculous. But she still does not like it.
“But what did happen to her, in the days that she was missing?” Genevieve asks. “Do even you not know?”
Natalia thinks back to that night, when Katharine returned, covered in dirt and bleeding from a dozen cuts. Mute in the foyer with filthy black hair hanging over her face. She had looked like a monster.
“I know enough,” Natalia says, and turns on her heel.
“They say she has changed. How has she changed? Is she strong enough yet to return to her poison training?”
Natalia swallows. Poison training will not be necessary. But she says nothing. She inclines her head and leads Genevieve down the hall, looking for Kat so that Genevieve might see for herself.
They walk together deeper into the manor, where the light is softened by drawn curtains and the sounds of the footmen laboring beneath Genevieve’s trunks fade.
Genevieve tucks her traveling gloves into the pocket of her breeches. She looks very smart in her soft, brushed carnelian jacket. She claps at imagined dust on her thigh.
“So much to do,” she says. “The suitors will arrive any day.”
Natalia’s mouth twists up at the corner. Suitors. But only one requested first court with Katharine. The golden-blond boy, Nicolas Martel. Despite Katharine’s strong showing during her Beltane poison feast, both of the other suitors had elected to pursue Arsinoe.
Arsinoe, with her scarred face, trousers with frayed cuffs, and shorn, unkempt hair. No one could be attracted to that. They must be curious about her bear.
“Who would have thought our queen would have only one request?” Genevieve says, reading Natalia’s sour expression.
“It does not matter. Nicolas Martel is the finest of the bunch. Were it not for our long alliance with Billy Chatworth’s father, he would be my top choice.”
“Billy Chatworth has been lost to the Bear Queen,” Genevieve mutters. “The whole island knows that.”
“Billy Chatworth will do as his father commands,” Natalia snaps. “And do not call Arsinoe the Bear Queen. We do not want that to stick.”
They turn the corner past Katharine’s staircase.
“She is not in her rooms?” Genevieve asks as they pass by.
“You can never tell where she is anymore.”
A maid carrying a vase of white oleander blooms pauses to drop a curtsy.
“Where is the queen?” Natalia asks.
“In the solarium,” the girl replies.
“Thank you,” says Genevieve. Then she yanks the girl’s cap off her head to reveal dark brown roots beneath fading Arron-blond dye. “Now go and tend to your hair.”
The solarium is bright and open, with many uncovered windows. White paint on the walls, and multicolored pillows on the sofa. It hardly belongs in the Arron house and is usually empty, unless they are entertaining guests. But Natalia and Genevieve find Katharine inside humming, surrounded by wrapped packages.
“Look who is home,” Natalia says.
Katharine presses a lid onto a pretty purple box. Then she turns to face them, smiling broadly.
“Genevieve,” Katharine says. “It is good to have you and Antonin at Greavesdrake again.”
Genevieve’s mouth hangs open. She has not seen Katharine since the day after she returned. And Katharine was such a mess then. Still filthy, and with so many fingernails missing.
As she stares at Katharine now, it is not difficult for Natalia to guess what she is thinking. Where is the little girl with her large foolish eyes and tightly braided bun? The skinny girl who bows her head and only laughs after someone else laughs first?