Frozen Tides: A Falling Kingdoms Novel by Morgan RhodesFrozen Tides: A Falling Kingdoms Novel by Morgan Rhodes

Frozen Tides: A Falling Kingdoms Novel

byMorgan Rhodes

Hardcover | December 15, 2015

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The plans are laid and the players are determined...but nothing can prepare these unlikely warriors for what the elemental gods of Mytica have in store.
CLEO: Reeling after a shocking realization about Magnus, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a queen.
MAGNUS: The steely prince of Limeros is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he's strong enough to rule his people.
LUCIA: Heartbroken and blind with fury, the betrayed sorceress allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.
JONAS: The defeated rebel leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to become a pawn in the dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.
KING GAIUS: A desperate King of Blood flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.
Morgan Rhodes is the New York Times bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series. Under another pen name, she's an award winning author of more than two dozen novels. Morgan lives in Southern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @MorganRhodesYA or visit for more info.
Title:Frozen Tides: A Falling Kingdoms NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.29 inPublished:December 15, 2015Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1595147071

ISBN - 13:9781595147073


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Twists and turns Great series. So many twists and turns. Who is good and who is bad?
Date published: 2018-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE PLOT THICKINGS #plumreview How can a book by this good, i do not know but, this book iss... magnus cleo omg <3
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Tension Rises! Egad, this series just gets more and more intense! The drama and tension was amplified to shocking degrees with tons of twists and turns from nearly beginning to end. The characters continue to be diverse, tormented, and vulnerable in many of their choices. It was heart-wrenching to go through Jonas and Felix's stories, and while I still question a choice Cleo made, I have to admit that I still adore her and her strength. Lucia and Magnus both had very engaging stories where they struggled to do the right thing and ultimately matured into characters I really love. I do enjoy Magnus and his story, though I'm still not buying his romantic choices. The romance actually did face-palm at one point, but at the end of it all, I do still enjoy this series and it's constant suspense level. And the ending! Good lord, the ending of this one... it gives me serious concerns about who's going to be standing at the end of it all, because I know not everyone will be. I'm really looking forward to continuing with these character's adventures!
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not bad but not the best in the series I didn't enjoy Frozen Tides as much as I enjoyed the others. I'd still recommend reading it because it has a lot of important parts to it to set up the ending of the series. My main issue with the book was that the plot was much too slow for me. There was a lot of politics and not enough life or death situations for me. I'm slowly losing interest in the watchers and how the magic is handle in their world. We didn't get much information from the watchers in this book so it didn't feel as important as it did in previous books. I feel a little lost with that whole plot and am more interested in seeing how things play out for the King instead. I also really didn't like Lucia's character in this book. I'm assuming that was done for a reason but I didn't particularly enjoy reading her parts and had to try hard not to skim them. Honestly, I mostly kept reading for Magnus and Cleo because they're the more interesting characters. I'm interested in seeing how things work out at then end for them!
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Twists And Turns; Political Intrigue While Rhodes' writing isn't that great (to me, it comes off as a bit immature at times, rather than that of a seasoned author) and the idea behind her story isn't all that original, I will admit these books have me intrigued. I wouldn't say they're the greatest series I've ever read - far from it - but for fans of fantasy, world-building, and prefer their stories bloody and raw, I'm sure those readers would devour these books without a second thought. For me, I'm disappointed, more than anything. I've been expecting better and so far, I haven't found it.
Date published: 2017-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wild Ride "Oh, my feelings!" That about sums up how I feel about Book 4. Relationships break while others come to fruition, twists & turns, and wtf's. A few plot devices that were not needed (aka the ending) but maybe it will play out alright in Book 5.
Date published: 2017-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing favourite book in the series
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Development to the Story So much happens in this book, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns and a lot of questions left unanswered by the end. A great continuation of a great series! Looking forward to the other books!
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Frozen Tides This is a wonderful series and I really enjoyed it a lot although it was dragging at times.
Date published: 2017-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from favourite series!!! ** spoiler alert ** 4.75 stars maybe** OKAY I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY. First off, I didn't really love this book as much as the last two, don't get me wrong I still loved it and it was great, I just didn't like it as much. Okay lys' death didn't affect me much but what affected me was HOW SAD IT MADE JONAS my heart broke okay...and I didn't ship them at all yuck. And I loved the MAGNEO kissing/love scene WOW I loved that SO MUCH. So now I'm conflicted cause I don't know if I like CLEONAS or MAGNEO more..I MEAN I SHIP BOTH ??? And okay the ending WHAT. THEONS TWIN?? AND ASHUR IS ALIVE?? Okay I can't wait to see how Cleo reacts to Taran
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it The ending left me speechless #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Woahh This book. I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! FAVE BOOK IN THE SERIES SO FAR!
Date published: 2017-01-16
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOve this Book!!! By far my favorite of all of them so far. So many twists, turns, deaths, loves.... cant wait for the next one!
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such an amazing book This series intrigued me from the beginning and every single sequel is better than the other. Such an interesting series that will stay with you forever. The characters are to true and you can't help to fall in love with some of them and you can't help to hate others. In this book, the world has expanded more than in the three other books and we discover more about the world and the kindred which is really fascinating. I can't wait until the next book is out!!!
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW Wow, this book has left me speechless. Absolutely speechless. So good. I was engaged in the story all the way. And the ending, who would have seen that coming?! Wow! This is definitely my favorite of the series so far.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from o.o This sure took a WILD TURN
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE LOVE LOVE This was the best one so far! Its epic, thrilling and intense on every single page. Your heart will be beating fast from start to end. And the ending. Oh that ending. THE ENDING will leave you as it left me, REELING!
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Where the series really takes off! I had previously read the first 3 books in the series, and while I enjoyed them, I was not completely interested in reading past the fourth book. Frozen Tides, the 4th book in this series, was amazing! So much action and drama! And finally, less insta-love between all of the characters. And that cliffhanger ending!!!
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! I just love the way that this series is developing and watching the awesome characters grow!!!
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Story One of my favourite series of all time. This book doesn't disappoint #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Thoroughly Intriguing Fantasy! "Frozen Tides" the fourth mesmerizing novel in the "Falling Kingdoms" series spans a fantasy world from the kingdoms of Mytica to the Jewel of the Kreshian Empire in a journey where magical orbs are discovered, lies exposed and secrets revealed. Threads of this fascinating plot follow Prince Magnus's fight to keep love and duty separate while struggling to bring justice to Limeros; Princess Cleo 's determination to overcome her attraction to the rude, obnoxious prince and her search for the crystals whose power could win her back her throne; Lucia Damora's alliance with the fire god Kyan; Jonas Agallon's new pact; and King Gaius's negotiation and coalition with Kraeshnia. The story is dark and intense as Amara and King Gaius manipulate, deceive and kill not only in a fight to find and control the four orbs of elemental magic, but in their desire to rule Mytica and the Kreshian empire while Princess Lucia's vengeance and alliance with an Immortal portends destruction and death in the Kingdom. As events unfold the plot twists and turns with shocking revelations, new alliances and tragic deaths that culminates in a hair- raising confrontation that has Magnus and Cleo battling for their lives and Taran Ranus planning revenge. Morgan Rhodes never lets the intensity or suspense wane in a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the beginning to the end. In this novel the personalities of the characters continue to develop infusing the plot with high-energy, passion and drama as they face each new challenge. Princess Cleiona Bellos strong-willed and resourceful is determined to save her kingdom and revenge the deaths of her family and the man she loved, but is drawn to Prince Magnus Damora who masks his compassion, kindness and love behind rudeness and foul behaviour. Jonas Agallon continues to be stubborn, impulsive and gullible, a rebel with good intentions who's vulnerable to failure. Lucia Damora haunted by a lost love pours her anger, pain and grief into vengeance before she begins to awaken to her true purpose and destiny. Even the antagonists King Gaius and Amara in their power-hunger and viciousness grow more deadly, although one retains a mediocre slice of humanity in his love for his children. I thoroughly enjoyed "Frozen Tides" the fourth book in a series that continues to intrigue and enthrall Morgan Rhodes fans.
Date published: 2016-02-20

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 MAGNUS – LIMEROS   “All women are deceptive, dangerous creatures. Trust one, and you’ll regret it.” The advice Magnus’s father once gave him echoed in his memory as he stood on the Ravencrest docks and watched the Kraeshian ship disappear into the darkness. The King of Blood had never fully trusted a woman. Not his queen, not his former mistress and advisor, not even an immortal who whispered secrets to him in his dreams. Magnus usually ignored most of what his ruthless father said, but now he knew who was the most dangerous and deceptive of all. Amara Cortas had stolen the Kindred, an aquamarine orb which contained the essence of water magic, leaving blood and destruction in her wake. The driving snow bit into his skin, helping to numb the pain of his broken arm. Dawn was still hours off and the night was frigid enough to steal his life if he was careless. Still, he found it impossible to do anything but stare out at the black waters and the stolen treasure that was supposed to be his. “Now what?” Cleo’s voice finally interrupted his dark thoughts. For a moment, he’d forgotten that he wasn’t alone. “Now what, princess?” he hissed, frozen clouds forming before his mouth with each word he spoke. “Well, I suppose we should enjoy the short time we have left before my father’s men arrive to execute us on sight.” The penalty for treason was death, even for the heir to the throne. And he had, most certainly, committed treason when he helped the princess currently standing behind him escape execution. Next it was Nic’s voice that sliced through the cold night. “I have a suggestion, your highness,” he said. “If you’re finished inspecting the water for clues, why don’t you jump in and swim after that murderous bitch’s ship?” As usual, Cleo’s favorite minion spoke to Magnus with unvarnished contempt. “If I thought I could catch her, I would,” he replied with matching venom. “We’ll get the water Kindred back,” Cleo said. “And Amara will pay for what she’s done.” “I’m not sure I share your confidence,” Magnus said. Finally, he glanced at her over his shoulder: Princess Cleiona Bellos, her familiar beauty lit only by the moon and a few lanterns set along the docks. He had yet to think of her as a Damora. She had once asked to keep her family name, as she was the last in her line, and he’d agreed. The king had chastised him for allowing her, a princess forced into an arranged marriage to help make the conquering royals more palatable to the conquered kingdom and hopefully stifle an immediate rebellion amongst the Auranian people, any liberties at all. Despite the fur-lined cloak that she’d pulled over her head to shield her long golden hair from the snow, Cleo shivered. Her face was pale and she wrapped her arms tightly around herself. She hadn’t complained about the cold, not once on their swift journey from the Temple of Valoria to the city. They’d barely exchanged a single word until now. Then again, far too many words had been exchanged between them the previous night, before chaos had descended. “Give me one good reason why you wouldn’t let Cronus kill me,” she’d demanded, when she’d finally cornered him, alone, at Lady Sophia’s villa. And instead of continuing to ignore or deny what he’d done—slaying the guard who’d been given the king’s command to end the imprisoned princess’s life—he’d given her an answer, the words tearing painfully from his throat as if he had no control over them. “You are the only light I can see anymore,” he’d whispered. “And, whatever the cost, I refuse to let that light be extinguished.” Magnus knew he’d given Cleo far too much power over him in that moment. He felt that weakness now—compounded by everything that had happened the night before, beginning with the earth-shattering kiss that had followed his foolish confession of her growing importance to him. Thankfully that kiss had been interrupted before he’d lost himself completely. “Magnus? Are you all right?” Cleo touched his arm, but he stiffened and pulled away from her, as if he’d been burned. Confusion fought with concern in her blue-green eyes. “I’m fine,” he said. “But your arm—” “I’m fine,” he repeated, more firmly. She pressed her lips together, her gaze hardening. “Good.” “We need a plan,” Nic snapped. “And we need one now before we freeze to death out here.” His tone tore Magnus’s attention away from the princess and straight to the red-headed, freckle-faced boy who’d always seemed weak and useless…at least until tonight. “You want a plan?” Magnus growled. “Here’s my plan. Take your precious princess and leave. Board a ship for Auranos. Hike down to Paelsia. I don’t care. I’ll tell my father you’re both dead. The only way you’ll remain alive and well is if you go into exile.” Nic’s eyes flashed with surprise, as if this was the last thing he’d expected Magnus to say. “You mean it? We can go?” “Yes, go.” It was the best decision for everyone. Cleo had become a dangerous distraction and Nic was at best an annoyance and, at worst, a threat. “That is an order.” He looked up at Cleo, expecting to see relief in the princess’s eyes. Instead, all he saw was outrage. “An order, is it?” she hissed. “I’m sure it would make things much easier for you if we weren’t around, yes? Much easier to find your sorceress sister and get your hands on the remaining crystals.” The reminder of Lucia, who had eloped to Limeros with Alexius, her Watcher tutor, was an unexpected blow. There had been blood on the floor when they’d arrived at the temple—and it could have very well been Lucia’s. She has to be alive. He refused to think any other way. She was alive, and when he found her he was going to kill Alexius. “Think whatever you like, princess,” he said, returning to the more immediate issue. Of course he wanted the Kindred for himself. Did she expect he’d want to share it with the girl who, since nearly the moment they met, has been waiting for any opportunity to reclaim her throne? The Kindred would give her the power to claim not just Auranos, but any other throne she wanted. He needed that power in his hands—no one else’s—and then finally he would have absolute control over his life and his future with no one to fear and no one to answer to. Not even whatever it was that had happened between them earlier could change that. They were two people on opposite sides who both wanted the same thing, but only one could succeed. He wouldn’t give up everything he’d ever wanted—not for anyone. A flush of color had returned to the princess’s cheeks, and her eyes flashed with frustration. “I’m not going anywhere. You and I will go to the palace together. And we will search for Lucia together. And when your father comes for us, we will face his wrath together.” He glared down at the angry princess. She stared back up at him, without intimidation. Her shoulders back, her chin up, she was a burning torch in the middle of the cold, endless night. How he wished he was strong enough to hate her. “Very well,” he said through clenched teeth. “But remember, this decision was yours alone.” # The carriage reached the Limerian palace grounds and passed through the guarded checkpoint shortly after the sun had risen. Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Silver Sea, the black castle was in stark contrast to its pristinely white surroundings. Its obsidian towers rose up into the morning sky like the claws of a dark and powerful god. Many found this to be an intimidating sight, but to Magnus, it was home. An odd flutter of nostalgia rushed through him; memories of simpler times, of riding and swordsmanship classes with the sons of local nobles. Of roaming the grounds with Lucia at his side, a book always in her hands. Of the queen, venturing outside wrapped in furs to welcome important guests arriving for a banquet. Of his father returning with the fruits of a successful hunt, greeting his young son with a rare smile. Everywhere he looked, there were ghosts of the past. He exited the carriage and walked up the dozens of steps leading to the tall and heavy main doors, their ebony surface emblazoned with the Limerian cobra signet and the credo “Strength, Faith, Wisdom.” He could hear Cleo and Nic whisper conspiratorially to each other as they trailed behind him. He’d given them ample chance to leave and face no consequences, and instead they had chosen to come here with him. They had only themselves to blame for whatever happened next. Two guards stood before the entry doors, dressed in the stiff, red Limerian guard’s uniforms with heavy black cloaks to help block out the cold. Magnus knew he needed no introduction.The guards bowed in unison. “Your highness!” exclaimed one, before casting a look of surprise at Cleo and Nic. “Highnesses,” he clarified. “Are you well?” With an awkwardly held broken arm, a bruised and bloodied face, and an overall disheveled appearance, Magnus wasn’t surprised the guard had taken notice of this. “Well enough,” he said. “Open the doors.” He didn’t need to explain to a lowly guard why he had unexpectedly arrived in such a state. This was his home, and he had every right to be there whenever he wished, especially after barely escaping death at the hands of Amara’s henchmen. Still, he couldn’t ignore the looming possibility that a message demanding his arrest had been sent to the castle by raven. But when the guards opened the doors without any argument, he let out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. He took a moment to compose himself as he entered the grand foyer, sweeping his gaze around and settling on the spiral stairway chiseled into the stone walls, as if checking for flaws. “Who is in command here with Lord Gareth still in Auranos? I assume he hasn’t yet returned from his daughter’s wedding celebration.” “Lord Gareth isn’t expected to return for several weeks. In his absence, Lord Kurtis was appointed grand kingsliege.” Magnus found he did not have an immediate reply, and that perhaps he’d misheard the guard. “Lord Kurtis Cirillo has been appointed grand kingsliege?” he said after a moment. “Yes, your highness.” Kurtis Cirillo, Lord Gareth’s eldest son, was currently in charge of Limeros. This came as a great surprise, as Magnus had heard a rumor several months ago that Kurtis had drowned while traveling abroad. He was disappointed to learn that that rumor had now been proven false. “I met you during my last visit here,” Cleo said to the guard as she pushed back the hood of her cloak. “Enzo, isn’t it?” “That’s right.” The guard eyed with distress her ripped cloak and the dried blood staining her blond hair. “Your highness, do you need me to summon the palace physician?” She absently touched the small but angry wound on her forehead, given to her by one of Amara’s guards. “No, that’s not necessary. Thank you.” She smiled, brightening her features. “You’re very kind. I remember that from last time.” Enzo’s face quickly turned as red as his uniform. “You make it very easy to be kind, your grace.” Magnus fought the urge to roll his eyes. It seemed that the princess had captured another hapless fly in her web. “Enzo,” he said, voice low and commanding. The guard’s gaze immediately snapped to his. “Have Lord Kurtis meet me in the throne room immediately.” Another bow. “Yes, your highness.” He scurried away without another word. “Come,” Magnus said to Cleo and Nic, then turned on his boot heels and followed the familiar route through the castle to his destination. “Come,” Nic sneered. “He orders us about like we’re trained dogs.” “I’m not sure the prince was ever taught the polite way to speak to people,” Cleo replied. “And yet,” Magnus said, “you’re still following me, aren’t you?” “For now. But you should remember that charm opens far more doors than harsh words do.” “And a sharp ax will open every door.” The entrance to the throne room was also stationed with several guards who bowed at the sight of Magnus. No ax was required as they pushed open the doors so quickly that he didn’t even have to slow down. Once inside, he scanned the cavernous room. His father’s black throne of iron and leather sat at the top of a dais on one end, a long wooden table and chairs for council meetings at the other. The walls were draped in Limerian tapestries and banners, and several torches peppered the molding, bringing some light to the corners of the room where the sun shining through the large windows didn’t reach. The throne room was host to many official gatherings. It was where the king would grant audience to Limerian citizens and their various requests for financial assistance or justice against wrongdoings. It was where he would sentence prisoners for their crimes and perform ceremonies during which both the worthy and unworthy were given official titles such as “Grand Kingsliege.” From the corner of his eye, Magnus noticed that Cleo had moved closer to him. “You’re already acquainted with Lord Kurtis,” Cleo said. “Aren’t you?” Magnus kept his gaze fixed on the throne. “I am.” “And you don’t like him.” “I don’t like anyone, princess.” Nic snorted. They fell into silence as Magnus considered how best to handle the complicated mess his life had become. He felt backed into a corner; injured, weaponless, and far too vulnerable. His broken arm throbbed, but instead of ignoring the pain he focused on it, to help clear his mind of the constant buzz of confusion and chaos. It had been six years since he’d last seen Kurtis Cirillo, yet he remembered it as clearly as if it had been yesterday. The sun had shone bright and warm that day, the snow had melted so much that ice lilies pushed up through the frosty ground. A rare summer butterfly, its golden wings speckled with blue and purple dots, came to rest on one of these flowers in the garden near the cliff’s edge. In Limeros, it’s said to be good luck to see a summer butterfly, for they only lived a single day. Magnus reached toward it and, to his amazement, it climbed onto his right knuckle, tickling his skin. It was so beautiful up close that it almost seemed magical. “Is that a butterfly?” A shiver zipped down his spine at the sound of Kurtis’s cold voice. Kurtis was fourteen years of age to his twelve, and the king insisted that Magnus be friendly with him during Lord Gareth’s visits. It was difficult to be friendly with the horrible boy since being within ten paces of him made Magnus’s skin crawl. “Yes,” Magnus replied reluctantly. Kurtis came closer. He was a full head taller than Magnus. “You should kill it.” Magnus frowned. “What?” “Anything stupid enough to just sit there on your pale little hand deserves to die. Kill it.” “No.” “You’re heir to the throne. You’re going to have to grow up some day, you know. You’re going to have to kill people and not cry about it afterward. Your father would crush that thing in a second. So would I. Don’t be so weak.” Magnus already knew that Kurtis liked to hurt animals. During his last visit, Kurtis had butchered a stray cat and left its twitching remains in a corridor where he knew Lucia would happen upon them. She’d cried for days. “I’m not weak!” Magnus said through gritted teeth. Kurtis grinned. “Let’s put it to the test, then. Either you kill that thing right now, before it flies away, or I promise, the next time I’m here…” He leaned in close enough to whisper. “I’ll chop off your sister’s little finger.” Magnus stared at him, horrified. “I’ll tell my father you said that. You’ll never be allowed here again.” “Go ahead and tell him. I’ll just deny it. Who’ll believe you?” He laughed. “Now choose. That butterfly, or your sister’s finger. I’ll cut really slowly, and tell her you told me to do it.” He wanted to call Kurtis’s bluff, but the memory of that cat forced his throat closed. Magnus knew he had no choice. He clasped his left hand down on the right, feeling the tender collapse of the soft wings as he crushed the beautiful, peaceful creature. Kurtis smirked. “Oh, Magnus. Don’t you know it’s bad luck to kill a summer butterfly?” “Prince Magnus, you look as if you’ve just returned from a war.” Once again, Kirkus’s voice wrenched Magnus out of the horrible memory. Quickly, Magnus composed himself, setting a pleasant enough look on his face as he turned around. Kurtis was still incredibly tall—even taller than Magnus by an inch or two. His reddish-brown hair, muddy-green eyes, and pointed features had always reminded Magnus of a weasel. “Not a war, precisely. But the past several days have been challenging.” “I can tell. Your arm—” “I’ll have it tended to very soon, once I get a bit of business out of the way. I’m so pleased to see you’re well, Kurtis. I’d heard a horrible rumor that you weren’t.” Kurtis smiled that familiar, greasy smile of his and waved his hand dismissively. “Ah, yes, the rumors of my death. I sent along that preposterous story as a hoax to a gullible friend, and he spread the word very quickly. But as you can see, I’m very much alive and well.” Kurtis’s curious gaze shifted to Cleo standing next to Magnus, and then Nic, who had remained near the door next to three guards. Clearly, he awaited introductions. Magnus chose to play along for now. “Princess Cleiona Bellos, this is Lord Kurtis Cirillo, Grand Kingsliege of Limeros.” Cleo nodded as Kurtis took her hand and kissed it. “It’s an honor to meet you,” she said. “The honor is mine,” answered Kurtis. “I’ve been told of your beauty, but you’ve far exceeded my greatest expectations.” “You’re much too kind, given the way I must look this morning.” “Not at all. You are luminous. But you must assure me you’re not in any pain.” Her smile remained. “I’m not.” “I’m very glad to hear that.” Every muscle in Magnus’s body had grown tense at the sound of the “kingsliege’s” voice. “And this is Nicolo Cassian, who is the princess’s…” How best to explain the boy’s identity and presence here? “…attendant.” Kurtis’s brows shot up. “A male attendant? How unusual.” “Not in the south.” To Nic’s credit, he took the introduction in stride. “It’s fine, upstanding, manly work down there.” “I’m sure it is.” Magnus had had enough forced pleasantries. It was time to move this along. “I suppose you wonder why my wife and I are here, in Limeros, and not with my father in Auranos,” Magnus said. “Or have you been alerted about our current situation?” “I have not. This is an unexpected, but very welcome, surprise.” Some of the tension in Magnus’s shoulders eased. “Then I’ll let you in on a closely guarded secret: We’re in Limeros to search for my sister, who has eloped with her tutor. We need to stop her from making this mistake…and any further ones.” “Oh, my.” Kurtis clasped his hands behind his back. “Lucia has always been full of surprises, hasn’t she?” You have no idea, Magnus thought. “She has indeed.” Nodding, Kurtis ascended the stairs leading to the king’s throne and took a seat upon it. Magnus watched him with sheer disbelief, but decided to hold his tongue. “I will make a dozen guards available to you for this important search,” Kurtis said. He then addressed one of the guards at the entrance. “Organize this immediately and return here.” The guard bowed. “Yes, your grace.” Magnus watched the guard leave. “They obey your orders with much ease.” “They do. It’s all in their training. Limerian guards will take any official order and fulfill it to the letter at once.” Magnus nodded. “My father wouldn’t have it any other way. Those who show any sign of defiance are…disciplined.” It was a rather light word for the punishments Magnus had seen inflicted on palace guards who didn’t give themselves over—body, mind, and soul—to their duties to the kingdom. “As they should be,” said Kurtis. “Now, I will arrange accommodations for you, your beautiful wife, and her attendant.” “Yes. I will take my regular chambers. The princess will need separate chambers befitting her position. And Nic can be given…” He eyed the boy, “…servants’ quarters. Perhaps one of the slightly larger rooms.” “You’re too kind,” Nic said darkly. “Separate chambers for husband and wife?” Kurtis said, frowning. “That is what I said,” Magnus said, a moment before it occurred to him that this might seem a strange request for husband and wife. “Magnus is kind enough to ask this on my behalf,” Cleo spoke up to ease Kurtis’s confusion. “It’s a long-standing tradition in my family to retain separate chambers for the first year of marriage, both for luck, and also to make our time spent together all the more…exciting and unpredictable.” She blushed and cast her gaze downward, as if embarrassed by the admission. “It’s a silly tradition, I know.” “Not at all,” Magnus said, impressed by the princess’s ready lie. Kurtis nodded, seemingly satisfied by this explanation. “Very well. I’ll ensure that you’re given exactly what you require.”  “Good.” Magnus returned his attention to the “kingsliege.” “I also need to send some men to the Temple of Valoria immediately. There was a violent, isolated ice storm there last night that killed many. The victims should be buried by midday and the temple restored to its former glory as quickly as possible.” According to Limerian religious customs, the bodies of the dead must be buried in earth sprinkled with water blessed by a priest within twelve hours of death. He couldn’t help but glance then at Nic, whose expression had grown pained at the mention of the bodies at the temple. One of those bodies had been that of Prince Ashur—Amara’s brother. Nic and the prince had become close friends before his murder at his devious sister’s hands.“An ice storm?” The Kurtis’s brow was now raised to its highest. “No wonder you all look so troubled. I’m very grateful to the goddess that you and your wife were spared. You must need rest after enduring such an experience.” “Rest can wait.” “Very well.”  Kurtis gripped the arms of the throne. “How long do you anticipate we’ll have the honor of your presence before you return to Auranos?” A dozen guards entered the throne room, momentarily stealing Magnus’s attention. No matter how duty-bound and driven to please Limerian guards were, twelve weren’t nearly enough to make up a search team for his sister.“I don’t intend to return to Auranos,”  Magnus said, turning back to Kurtis. Kurtis cocked his head. “I don’t quite follow you.” “This is my home, my palace, my kingdom. And in the absence of my father, that throne upon which you’ve seated yourself is rightfully mine.” Kurtis stared at him for a moment before a smile split his lips. “I completely understand. However, the king himself appointed me to this throne for the time being. I have undertaken these duties gladly—and successfully—in his and my father’s absence. The council’s grown quite accustomed to following my lead.” “Then they’ll have to get accustomed to following my lead now that I’m here.” Kurtis’s smile slipped. He pressed back into the throne, but didn’t make a move to stand. “Magnus—” “It’s Prince Magnus. Or your highness,” he corrected. Even from the bottom of the stairs, Magnus could see the flicker of anger behind Kurtis’s green eyes. “My apologies, Prince Magnus, but without any prior notice from King Gaius, I will have to protest such a sudden change. Perhaps you should—” “Guards,” Magnus said, without turning around. “I understand you’ve been taking Lord Kurtis’s orders in recent weeks, as very well you should have been. But I am your prince, the heir to my father’s throne, and now that I’m here you’re at my command alone.” His gaze was hard as he stared into the eyes he’d loathed since boyhood. “The grand kingsliege has insulted me with his protests. Remove him from my throne and cut his throat on my order.” The hot outrage in Kurtis’s countenance quickly turned to cold fear as the guards approached, four of them moving swiftly up the stairs before he could make a single move. They wrenched him from the throne and dragged him down the stairs, where they forced him to his knees. Magnus took his place on top of the dais. This cold, hard, unforgiving throne held many memories for Magnus, but he had never sat on it before today. It was far more comfortable than he’d ever expected. The troop of red-uniformed guards stood before him, all looking up at him without question or concern. Cleo clutched Nic’s arm, her face pale and her expression uncertain. Kneeling before Magnus was Kurtis, his eyes wild, face sweaty, and the edge of a guard’s sword now at his throat. “Your highness,” he sputtered. “Any trespass you feel I’ve made against you was not my intention.” “That may be so.” Magnus leaned forward and considered him for a long moment. “Beg me to spare your life and perhaps I’ll only cut off your little finger.” First confusion, then understanding, flickered in Kurtis’s eyes. That’s right, Magnus thought. It’s different between us now, isn’t it? “Please,” Kurtis hissed. “Please, your highness, spare my life. I beg you. Please, I’ll do anything to prove my worth and earn your forgiveness for having insulted you.” A rush of sheer power flowed over and within Magnus. He smiled, a genuine one, at the sniveling weasel. “Say ‘please’ one more time.” When there was no immediate reply, Magnus nodded at the guard, who pressed his sword even closer against Kurtis’s pale throat, drawing a thin trickle of blood. “Pleasssse,” Kurtis managed. Magnus flicked his hand and the guard removed and sheathed his blade. “See? Don’t you feel better now?” Kurtis heaved and trembled. Perhaps, unlike Magnus, he’d never before been physically reprimanded for his missteps. He bowed his head. “Thank you, your highness. I am at your service.” “Happy to hear,” said Magnus. “Now, I need a message sent to my father immediately. I want him to know what I’m up to here in the north. Wouldn’t want him worrying about me.” “Of course not, your highness.” “Be a good grand kingsliege and fetch me some ink and parchment, would you?” Kurtis’s expression darkened a shade, but he quickly composed himself. “Yes, your highness.” Magnus noticed Cleo watching as Kurtis left the room, but she said nothing and neither did Nic. When her gaze returned to Magnus, he saw nothing but accusation in her eyes. Perhaps she didn’t agree with the way Magnus reduced that young man into a cowering peon for what may have seemed, to her, like a minor transgression. Yes, princess, Magnus thought. I am the son of Gaius Damora, the King of Blood. And it’s time I started acting like it.

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE for the FALLING KINGDOMS series: "Morgan Rhodes has created a rich, living fantasy world and characters that immediately draw the reader in. This is one of those series you can't help but be obsessed with. I can't wait to see what happens next!" —Richelle Mead, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Vampire Academy and The Glittering Court   “An otherworldly epic...evocative and intricate.”—Publishers Weekly   “…You must have this book on your shelves.” —Bustle   “Falling Kingdoms is a superbly written and character-driven narrative.” —Bookpage   “[A] YA Game of Thrones full of intrigue, betrayal, lies and love.” —The Guardian "Falling Kingdoms will gut you emotionally. It will make you ache, cry, and beg for the sequel as you turn the last page. I absolutely loved it." —Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Queen “In this Game of Thrones-esque high fantasy, Rhodes has created a world that’s raging with war, deceit, spoiled royals, and a populous needing little to spark a revolution.” —NPR/WAMC’s The Roundtable "From an opening dripping with blood, magic, and betrayal through complex interweaving plots detailing treachery, deceit, and forbidden love, this novel is the first in a projected series that will immediately engage readers and keep them intrigued.” —Booklist