Sex, politics, murder and betrayal arrive with this re-release of THE QUEEN’S BASTARD!

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Belinda Primrose deals in secrets.

Since childhood, Belinda has known she was the unacknowledged daughter of Lorraine, the unwed queen of Aulun, an island nation on the edge of the vast Echonian continent. Belinda is a spy, an assassin…and a danger to her mother, should she ever be discovered. She can be anyone, and will do anything, to cement Lorraine’s position of power within the treacherous Echonian courts.

But as she infiltrates the glamorous royal palaces where her mother’s rivals scheme, a new power awakens in Belinda. The witchlight she commands is a dangerous aphrodisiac—one that could bring down everything she’s worked for when she finds a teacher in the sensual prince of Gallin. Javier harbors secret witchbreed magic of his own…and a claim to the Aulunian throne that ranks him highly among Lorraine’s enemies.

Belinda has never wavered in her mission, but love and loyalty will collide as her secrets are revealed…

This is a re-release with new cover art (and a few spelling errors fixed) of a book I published through Del Rey in 2008 and which I got the rights back to last year. It’s the first of a duology that tell the story of Belinda Primrose, the Queen’s bastard. Between the two books, a complete story is told, although it’s clear to any reader that there’s more in the world to tell.

It is not like my other books. It is full of sex, murder, politics and betrayal, in more or less that order. Its voice is completely different. There is at least one scene of Extremely Questionable Consent.

I do not tell you this to scare you away. I tell you this because this book sold like hotcakes upon its original release, and sales on its sequel, THE PRETENDER’S CROWN (re-release out next month!), collapsed so hard they almost took my career with them. My wonderful, loyal urban fantasy readers all went out and bought THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, and two-thirds of them apparently went “oh my GOD what have I gotten myself INTO” and did not buy the second.

I have felt somewhat guilty about this for ten years. :) In retrospect (and frustratingly, we discussed it at the time and decided against it), it would have been wisest to publish THE QUEEN’S BASTARD under a related pseudonym, because it’s so different from the urban fantasy stuff. But, well, hindsight is 20/20.

The good thing is that the people who bought TQB for what it was really loved it. There is a small, passionate group of people who have been hoping for ten years that I might someday finish the story I was building for this world.

Now that I have the rights back, that’s a possibility. It’s not going to be for a long time. I have a lot of things I need to get written first. But I also have notes and titles for the rest of the books set in the Inheritors’ Cycle world, and I’ve always wanted the chance to tell the whole story.

(I feel like I must again emphasize that I absolutely do consider TQB & TPC to be a complete story unto themselves. They end where they were always intended to, and the next book was always intended to be someone else’s story.)

I tell you what, though. Putting this e-book together was almost a revelation. I knew TQB was well-written. It was—it is—a book I somewhat self-deprecatingly called a real book: it’s not set in the modern world; its has a cast of, if not thousands, at least several; it does not rely on quick patter and one-liners and blinding fast pacing in the way the Walker Papers, especially, do. It was meant to be something new, something that showed what else I could do. And it succeeded. I knew it did all of those things.

But it had been years since I’d looked at the book, and when I opened up the file to make the e-book, I read the first sentences and I thought, “Holy crap, this is really good!”

That was, I confess, a pretty great feeling. :)

So…well. There you go. THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, backstory and all!

THE QUEEN’S BASTARD is available now!
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