The Pretender’s Crown (The Inheritors’ Cycle, Book 2)

The much-anticipated sequel to The Queen’s Bastard (2008) won’t disappoint patient readers willing to dedicate time and thought to the myriad political machinations in the weighty first nine-tenths of the book. Belinda Primrose, back in Aulun, is finally recognized after saving the navy from the Gallin Armada while being mistaken for the Madonna. Javier de Castille’s witch-power is deemed a gift from God by the Pappas, allowing him latitude to use it as he wars against Aulun, attempting to bring it back into the ecumenical fold. Battles, marriages, assassinations, changes of allegiance, and political intrigue strip the protagonists down to their cores as they lose everything and gain something else. With secrets of Belinda’s and Javier’s true beginnings revealed, Belinda reevaluates her fealty to an alien queen lurking in space and her responsibilities to the world into which she was born. Readers will have to await future installments of the Inheritors’ Cycle to know how it all finally comes out. –Booklist