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Kirkus Review

“A gripping debut embraces the trend toward gritty grimdark fantasy. . . . Every character is complex and multilayered . . . [A] portrayal of believable characters struggling with realistic conflicts affecting every level of society.”  – Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

“Lidell packs a great deal into her story: . . . the impending civil war, powerful magic-wielding mages, a black market drug trade, and more. . . . An intriguing story with a capable heroine.” – Publishers Weekly


“Fully realized, highly detailed medieval world with a surprisingly nuanced and balanced cast of characters.” – Booklist

Tamora Pierce meets George R. R. Martin in this smart, political, medieval fantasy-thriller.

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.