Title: The King’s Traitor, The Kingfountain series #3
Author: Jeff Wheeler
Themes: Ambition, loyalty, love, duty, trust. Again a strong theme of Richard III, King Arthur, and this time the Little Mermaid.
The lives of Owen Kiskaddon and the king Severn Argentine have been intertwined since he was first taken to the king’s court as a frightened little boy. Almost twenty years later, his mentor is dying, his boyhood love is married to another man, and the king he serves has become the monster he was long rumored to be.
Owen’s latest errand for the king is a highly personal errand – he’s sent to propose marriage to the young Duchess of Brythonica. The idea is to provoke an outraged rejection, use that as a pretext for war, and strengthen the kingdom. Owen has little enthusiasm for the task, but even he is not expecting to have his proposal accepted. Duchess Sinia is nothing like he expected. She’s Fountain Blessed, like Owen himself, and her magic permeates the land. Brythonica is full of fertile fields, happy peasants, and a mysterious wood.
This book was so full of action I can’t possibly cover it all, but Wheeler has a talent for taking an already tense situation and making it more suspenseful. There were a few times that I thought the characters were not cautious enough, that they were making obvious mistakes. But I could forgive that, since the characters were so well developed that I truly cared about them. They didn’t all survive, but I won’t spoil it by telling you more. If you haven’t tried this series, I would recommend it for anyone who loves fantasy or history. I’ve heard some people who were put off by the fact that the protagonist is only 8 years old in the first book, however I don’t think that lessened my enjoyment of the book at all. It starts with The Queen’s Poisoner, and there’s a related trilogy after. 4/5 stars