By Kate Elliott
Read by Georgia Dolenz
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In this thrilling sequel to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s bestselling young adult debut Court of Fives, a girl immersed in a high-stakes competition holds the fate of a kingdom in her hands.
Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives–the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons in her embattled kingdom. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes’s only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the change to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on her traveling party puts Jes at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos–the prince she still loves–is fighting against their country’s enemies. With a sinister overlord watching her every move and Kal’s life on the line, Jes must now become more than a Fives champion….She must become a warrior.
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No one must suspect what I plan to do tonight. I should stay in my bed, content with the place I've earned for myself as an adversary in Garon Stable. I should.
But I don't.
In darkness I swing my legs off my cot. My toes brush the stiff straps of my leather sandals, which I remember to shake out in case a scorpion has decided to rest there. Nothing stirs that I can hear, and it is too dark to see. I have to go now before it's too late.
After lacing up my sandals I creep to the end of the cot. A cedar chest stores the few garments and necessities I possess. I finger through the folded cloth and gather up my formal parade livery, roll up the garments, and tie the bundle atop my head beneath a headscarf.
The canvas curtains that divide the barracks into eight cubicles scrape the floor as I push past them. I wait, alert for any sound from one of the other four women who live here. They are adversaries too, competitors who run the Fives, the most popular game in the land of Efea. Running the Fives used to be all I dreamed about. Now that I have what I've always wanted, I should be ecstatic.
"Jes?" Mis whispers from the next cubicle. "Is that you?"
When I run the game of Fives, one of my strengths is that I know how to act decisively with a strategy already in my head.
"Just have to go to the latrine," I whisper back, hoping she doesn't hear the tremor of emotion in my voice.
She speaks the words I know she was desperate to say all evening at our victory feast, but was too kind to say in front of everyone else.
"What will happen to Lord Kalliarkos now that you've defeated him on the Fives court?"
"What happens on the other side of the wall in Garon Palace has nothing to do with adversaries like us." The lie pours like tar from my lips.
"I'm sorry. I know you really liked him. The attention of a handsome and friendly highborn boy must seem irresistible. But after a while you'll see it's better to stay as far away from Patron lords as possible. Even him."
A stone of foreboding lodges in my throat. I can barely force words past it. "I know."
I hear her roll over on her cot and yawn. "May you have a quiet rest, Jes. If you can sleep after all the glory you won with your victory today."
She says nothing more, and I steady my breathing, trying to calm the restlessness that plagues me, but it twists in my gut like shame and dread. If I don't do this while I still have the chance, I'll never be ready to move forward into the new life I've earned for myself.
Outside, a sliver of moon illuminates the stable yard, where adversaries hone their skills and fledgling trainees hope to become good enough to compete in the game of Fives. Here in Garon Stable everyone sleeps, but from over the wall drift the sounds of revelry and laughter as the highborn celebrate my unexpected victory, which has brought prestige and profit to Garon Palace. My victory also destroyed the dreams of Lord Kalliarkos even though that was never what I intended.
I don't expect him to forgive me. I just need to make him understand that I didn't have a choice. I can't bear to think of him leaving, maybe forever, if my last memory of him will be the terrible look of betrayal on his face, so similar to the expression my mother had when my father left her.
I creep into the bathhouse, where I probe my way into the outer changing room and past a curtain into the washroom. By patting a hand along the wall I find shelves and grab a folded towel to grip in my teeth. Although I could easily climb the wall, the keen-eyed sentries who patrol its top would catch me, and of course I would be turned away at the palace gate if I tried to walk in directly.
However, the two compounds—the palace and its Fives stable—do join in one place. They share the waters of a soaking pool because it is so expensive and time-consuming to heat.
I sink until the warm water reaches my neck, then edge into an underwater tunnel. By tipping my head back I get just enough room to breathe as my forehead and nose scrape the stone ceiling.
The wall between stable and palace measures five paces wide, because the palace is also a fortification. As soon as I pass into the pool on the palace side I stand up. No scrap of light illuminates the chamber, and I slosh a little, trying to get my bearings. On the palace grounds the victory party roisters along. Voices are raised in a famous song about the bird-haunted ships that brought the first Patron king from the broken empire of Saro to the fertile land of Efea that gratefully awaited his rule.
After I climb out of the pool I use the towel to dry myself, untie the garments from my head, then pull on my parade uniform and rebind my coiled hair under my headscarf, which now has slightly damp ends. A girl who looks like me would never walk the grounds of Garon Palace, but from a distance, at night, people may mistake me for a palace servant because of my clothes. All I lack is a mask to conceal my face, but I'm pretty sure the servants of Garon Palace don't wear masks inside the walls.
Easing through the last curtain takes all my courage. I immediately hide behind a statue of Lady Hayiyin, Mistress of the Sea, on the bathhouse porch, pressing my body against the smooth carving of the long straight hair that falls from the goddess's head all the way to her feet. Through dry lips I mouth a prayer asking for her aid to not be caught, just as sailors might plead to come ashore safely through a storm-tossed sea.
As I reach my place of calm focus I risk peeking out from behind the statue to examine my surroundings. To my right a walkway leads through a strip of garden toward a huge pavilion lit by a hundred or more lanterns and filled with a chattering crowd of highborn and exceedingly well-dressed Patrons. To my left benches shade away under a spacious arbor laced with the night-blooming jasmine for which I am named. For two breaths I inhale its intoxicating scent.
Then, to my horror, I realize two people stand entwined in the depths of the shadows beneath the arbor. By the cut of their clothing I can guess that one is a woman and the other a man. Whispered endearments float on the breeze, snatches of words catching at my ears.
"… of course no one suspects, beloved." I hear the woman's voice clearly. "I've made sure of it. Beyond anything else, no word of our meetings must reach Esladas. His honor means more to him than anything."
"More than you and your exalted rank? Have you not snared your new husband's simple affections with your sophistication and wit so that he will indulge all your wishes?"
"Why should I care if he indulges me at all as long as he obeys? It is an arranged marriage far beneath what is due to me." The woman's sneering tone sears my heart. This must be my father's new wife, Lady Menoë. "It is bad enough I have to bear his child to satisfy Uncle Gargaron. I will do my duty so they won't get suspicious. But I am not going to pretend I care about the affection of a rustic provincial risen far above his ordained place."
My hand twitches, and I grip the fabric of my jacket to stop myself from grabbing a bucket of water from the porch and dashing it into her condescension.
"I hear someone," the man says.
Tensing, I slide a foot back, ready to escape into the bathhouse.
"Go," she whispers.
The man hurries into an adjoining garden lush with towering shrubs and bloom-kissed trees. Menoë steps out into the marble forecourt and turns her face toward the moon as if drinking in its light. She doesn't even glance toward the statue that conceals me.
Menoë is an alluring flower garbed in bright colors. She has the pale golden skin of a person descended from the Saroese, who conquered Efea five generations ago, whereas I am the ordinary brown common among people of Efean ancestry. Her straight black hair has been looped and twisted into an elaborate hairstyle of ribbons, beads, and bows. The beauty of her eyes is enhanced with a painted tracery of wings flaring out from the corners. In daylight she would resemble the statue of Lady Hayiyin, a goddess who looks nothing like me.
Brisk footfalls alert us to the presence of a man coming from the pavilion, attended by a servant bearing a lamp and a guard in formal livery. At the sight of Lord Gargaron, I shrink even more behind the statue because I am sure he can somehow sense I'm here no matter how silent and hidden I remain. Yet I can't help staring at the man who rules my life. Garon Palace is his. Garon Stable is his. If he finds out I have crossed the wall, he could easily have me thrown into the mines to work until I die. But the truth is, even as my heart knots itself into a writhing coil of loathing and fear, a part of me enjoys the contemptuous way his thin smile greets the young woman who just ridiculed my father.
"Menoë, surely by now you comprehend why you of all people cannot be creeping out of a public gathering as though you have something to hide. Our allies and enemies alike have only just stopped calling you a butcher and a whore. For our plans to succeed, you must conduct yourself in a way that is absolutely above reproach."
She raises a languid hand. "Uncle Gar, how can you criticize me when it is Kalliarkos who has almost ruined everything by demanding to run the Fives? He's the one who disgraced Garon Palace with his laughably poor performances. I even hear people say he fell in love with that brawny Efean girl who beat him today. That would be just like him, so pathetic!"
I clench my hands rather than leap out from behind the statue and claw her face off.
Gargaron's expression and posture sharpen, and for an instant I think he has spotted my slight movement, but his gaze never leaves her. "Do not presume to lecture me. You still have a tongue because I saved it for you. You are a stupid, stupid, selfish girl. Are you pregnant?"
Her lips quiver. "I can't know that yet. I've only been married to that flour-stained baker's son for five days, Uncle."
She disgusts me, but in a way I welcome her mockery because I don't want her to like my father, not now and not ever.
Gargaron adjusts one of the meticulous folds in the wrap of his keldi. "If I had pity to feel for anyone, Menoë, be sure I would spare none for you. For all his low origins, that flour-stained baker's son is now General Esladas and an exceptional man whose skill we would be foolish to ignore."
"He lived with a Commoner woman for twenty years as if she were his respectable wife! To think the hands that touch me have touched such a creature! We both know you would never take a Patron woman as lowborn as Esladas into your bed, not even as a concubine."
He slaps her. The blow resounds with such a snap that I recoil, my back hitting the wall with a thump that claps as loudly as a shout in my ears. My lips move in a silent prayer to the gods that no one heard the noise or noticed the flutter of the curtain next to me. But the highborn care only about the scene enacted within the aura of golden light from their lamp. What lies in the shadows means nothing to people like them.
She presses a hand to her cheek and sucks in a breath.
I hope it hurts.
"If you dissolve into girlish tears I will lose my respect for your cunning and initiative," Gargaron says. "You must be strong because your brother is weak. Kal has fled the party. I need you to go fetch him back."
She smiles as prettily as if he is her dearest uncle and she loves him very much, but a viper would look kinder. "What if he says no?"
He shakes his head with a dismissive frown, as if her question disappoints him, then turns his back in deliberate rudeness and walks away. The servant and guard follow.
She glances around, probably searching for the mystery lover she was embracing in secret, then hurries after her uncle. The long, tight sheath gown she wears constrains her legs, giving her the mincing walk that Patrons consider the mark of a well-bred woman.
I suddenly realize that I don't know where to find Kalliarkos, but she does. I grab a bucket from the porch and follow, keeping my head down in case they look back.
"What if he says no, Uncle?" she repeats peevishly to his back.
Lord Gargaron does not even pause to let her catch up but rather casts his words over his shoulder. "Tell him he need only attend until Prince Nikonos departs. After that he may go sulk in his pavilion for the rest of the night and indeed soak his head in a vat of his tears for all I care."
"You say the cruelest things about Kal! Sometimes I think you don't like him."
"He's a likable boy, as we all know. I want everyone to see the two of you enter the festival pavilion together, side by side, to remind them that you both have blood every bit as royal as that of the reigning king and queen."
She stops dead as he keeps walking toward the pavilion with his servant and guard. For a moment she twists a dangling ribbon between her fingers. Then, with a dainty shrug, she cuts down a different path toward a set of small pavilions half-hidden in the garden.
Before I can bolt after her, a servant carrying a jar emerges from another path, surprising me. I set down my bucket, bending over my sandals to hide my face, and speak in the perfect Patron diction that my father insisted his daughters learn. "Curse this strap for coming undone again."
No one hearing my voice alone would guess my mother is a Commoner. A scent of urine and feces wafts from the servant's jar as he hurries past without a glance. I wait until the footsteps fade, but by then Menoë has vanished in the shadows. If I've lost her I may never find Kal.
I set the bucket under a bush and stride quickly down the path I think she took, looking all around to try to spot her. At night the garden glows with a soft glamour of lanterns set atop stone pillars. Trees arch over the path, stars peeping through interwoven branches. Off to one side, amid a mass of bushes, fireflies dance among the leaves. In the Efean language we call them spark-bugs and say they each carry a little bit of life-force, but in this Patron garden they are trapped inside glass cages.
Lady Menoë's mocking voice startles me, coming from so close that without thinking I grab for an overhanging branch and swing up into the sheltering darkness so I don't stumble into her.
"Kal! Are you crying over your wine? How gauche."
"Shut up." His harsh voice is almost unrecognizable. In the last seven days I thought I had come to know it well.
The branch gives me the height to see across a bend in the path. Three small pavilions stand in a row, each raised on stilts and with a long balcony. A familiar shape leans against the railing of the nearest balcony, wine cup in hand, head bowed as he ignores his sister waiting on the path below. His slumped posture marks him as a defeated man. Soldiers dragged before their conquerors might stand so, bent and shamed.
She fans herself as if the short walk has overheated her. "Uncle Gar sent me to fetch you back to the victory party, my dearest brother."
"True, you are my only brother so naturally you have to be my dearest brother. You are therefore also my most detested one, aren't you?"
"Leave me alone."
"Did you really fall in love with a Commoner? Kal! I'm ashamed of you. How could you even consider it?" Her fan whips back and forth with such agitation I am surprised the nearby flowers don't break off. My cheeks flame with embarrassment because I'm afraid of what he might say in reply, considering what I did to him.
He says nothing.
"There's a reason no Commoners are allowed on these grounds, not even as servants masked to hide their ugly faces. You didn't really kiss a mule like her, did you?"
His head snaps up. "They are people just as we are people, no different from us."
"You don't really believe that. You're just saying it to shock me."
"How could I shock you, Menoë? You're the one who murdered your first husband."
Murdered her first husband?
Alarm flares, a hundred questions crowding my mind with such force that I stop paying attention to my precarious position poised on the branch. My foot slips; my body tips backward.
I turn the fall into a flip, landing on my feet on the path with a thump.
In a sharp voice Kalliarkos says, "Did you hear that?"
"Of course I heard it! I know what nasty things people whisper behind my back! You don't have to remind me!"
I sidle forward and peer around the trunk of the next tree in time to see her reach up and rap him on the calf with her closed fan. "You're so dull and predictable, Kal! You pretend to be everyone's friend instead of a prince. Now be a good boy and come with me to the festivities."
In answer he tips the wine cup and pours liquid right down onto the intricate architecture of her hair. Ribbons droop, sagging with moisture. With a shriek she flings her fan at his head. He shakes the cup over her back to make sure not a single drop remains.
I want to crow in triumph. If we were still fellow adversaries, comrades in the stable, I would slap him on the back in congratulation. The need for silence and secrecy galls me.
Yet she surprises me by doubling over in a shockingly coarse burst of laughter. The violent motion tangles the ribbons and the strings of beads. As she straightens, her hair looks like a wild nest instead of a splendid work of art.
"I'm not going back to the party," he says.
"Defy Uncle Gar all you wish, Kal. It's sweet, even if it's pointless."
She licks a smear of wine off a finger and sashays away around the pavilion with her tangle of hair raised high. With a glance over her shoulder she flings a last retort like a final arrow shot in battle.
"You couldn't have won your Fives trial anyway. You're not good enough to beat her."
He wrenches away from the lovely night vista over the garden and stalks back through the open doors into a lamplit chamber. I dash from tree to balcony. Grabbing the edge, swinging up, and climbing over the railing takes but a moment. I drop into a crouch in the shadows and peer into a room decorated with masterfully painted murals of war. In one scene, spears pinion three soldiers. Each wears the badge of one of the three kingdoms of old Saro, the remnants of an empire: a kestrel for West Saro, a hawk for East Saro, and a peacock for Saro-Urok. Their dying bodies arch over a cluster of flowers whose white petals are turning red as blood waters them.
Kalliarkos gives his empty wine cup to an elderly servant, who hands it to a younger servant, who sets it down on a side table inlaid with ivory and gold. In the elaborate court clothes worn only by palace men, Kal looks handsome, but then again he looked handsome in simple adversary's gear. His coarse black hair is cut so short it stands straight up. His lean body has the confident posture of a person sure of his footing on a Fives court, but his eyes narrow as he clenches his hands.
I did this to him. I ruined his life.
"My lord," says the elderly servant, walking toward the balcony, "I will just close the doors now that you are returning to the festival pavilion."
I scramble to the back corner of the balcony, leap to grab hold of the overhanging roof, pull to get my upper body onto the gentle slope, then swing my legs up so I lie right along the edge.
The servant's footfalls pause. "Did you hear something, my lord?"
"Just the wind. Keep the doors open."
"I'm not going back to the festival pavilion."
"But my lord, your sister said—"
The door opens and shuts. Lord Kalliarkos walks out onto the balcony and looks to each direction, then out over the path, and last of all glances up to the roof.
"I thought it might be you," he says without a hint of welcome, staring at me with hard, hopeless eyes. "What can you possibly want? You and I pledged we would stand by each other, and then you cut my throat."
I drop to land beside him, and he immediately steps away from me.
"Kal, I just came to explain what happened."
"I think it's pretty clear what happened. You knew that if I lost I would be forced to join the army and become a pawn in my uncle's plot to put my sister and me on the throne. Which is the very last thing I want. So either you've been conniving with my uncle all along or you just couldn't stand losing, even knowing what would happen to me. Is there something I'm missing? Oh, yes. Lord Kalliarkos or my lord is the proper address."
The clipped arrogance of his tone infuriates me, especially after we once whispered secrets to each other. "I thought you would understand, but I guess I was mistaken. You can't possibly believe I've been conniving with your uncle. He's the one who threatened to send me to the mines."
"And you're the one who said it was time for me to act as the prince that I am. You should have known that if I'd won I would have been able to stay in the palace and protect you. I would never let my uncle condemn you to the mines. But apparently for all your fine talk you never actually believed I am strong enough to stand up to him."
I blink about five times. The accusation stings because I'm afraid it's true.
"I really thought you believed in me," he adds.
"It's not that simple." This isn't going at all as I had planned—I would explain and he would be understanding. Navigating a Fives court seems far easier than trying to negotiate his bitter anger. "Surely you understand that your position as a Patron lord makes you far more secure than I can ever hope to be. Because I have a Patron father and Commoner mother I have no legal standing. Garon Palace basically owns me."
"I'm aware of who you are." His gaze flicks up and down my body as if he is remembering the kisses we shared, but instead of softening, he tenses and looks sharply away, like he's mad at himself for thinking of me in that way. "Or at least I thought I knew your heart."
If I can just reach past his anger, I can make him listen. I'm sure of it.
"What happened on the Fives court was a choice I made for my family. You know how close my mother and sisters came to death, how unsafe they still are because your uncle will kill them if he finds out they are alive. And I don't even know where Bettany is!"
My voice breaks as a rush of emotion overwhelms me. I've held off truly thinking about her, holding my fear in a corner of my mind where it can't distract me, but now it thrashes out like a monster going for my throat.
His tone softens just a little. "Who is Bettany? Ah, I remember. Your twin sister, the missing one."
I rub at my eyes. "She and Mother's household servants were taken away by Garon stewards when I was brought to the stable."
"Yes, and if I wasn't being forced to leave I could help you find them. Did that ever occur to you? Because I know you, Jes. You may say it's all about your family, but once you get it in your head that you have to win, you can't see any other alternative. You won't see it. You just go for the victory tower no matter what it means to the people around you." His voice grates.
"Gargaron ordered me to win. He would have had me sent to the mines otherwise, and my mother and sisters can't survive without someone providing for them. I defeated you to protect them in the only way I knew how. You have no idea how vulnerable we are because you'll never be that vulnerable."
I realize I've raised my voice just as if I have the right to yell at him, so I add, stiffly, "My lord." It comes out mocking, even though I don't mean it to.
He strides over to the side table with its cup and bottle. Picking up the cup, he weighs it in his hand, and for an instant I think he is going to throw it at me, so I brace myself to dodge. The Kalliarkos I used to know preferred smiles to frowns, joking words and friendly pleasantries to surly glowers. That Kalliarkos has vanished, leaving this one with his rigid posture and pinched mouth. He is still the handsome lord everyone must notice, but I desperately miss the staggering sweetness of the smile he once turned on me.
He doesn't speak, so I hastily go on. "I shouldn't have come. I don't know what I was hoping for. What's done is done. I'm just sorry it ended this way."
He turns the cup in his fingers, glaring at the delicate flowers painted on white glaze. "I do not regret breaking them out of the oracle's tomb, if that's what you're worried about. What was done to them was blasphemous. But you used me to rescue them, and in exchange you did not help me when I most needed you. The worst of it is that I was so sure we were in this together." He looks at me, gaze searing. "I trusted you, Jes! And then you did this to me."
"But I didn't expect to be running against you at the victory games. You have more experience and should have gone in a later trial. I didn't have time to prepare or think about us running against each other until I was out on the Fives court."
His brow wrinkles as he contemplates my words. The straightforward way he addresses me hits me all over again just like the first time this handsome Patron lord spoke to a girl like me as if we were equals.
"You're right. My uncle must have bribed the officials."
His considering tone melts my caution.
"Exactly! How can either you or I protect ourselves against a man who can bribe Fives officials and holy priests, when such bribery is against the law? Besides, I couldn't lose to you a second time. Everyone would have known I threw the trial to let you win."
With a snap he sets down the cup and our brief harmony winks out as quickly as a candle flame drenched in water.
"You've never thought I was good enough, have you, Jes? Even when you were encouraging me."
"You're a good adversary," I say stumblingly.
"But never as good as you, the one they are grooming to become a champion. I know what everyone thinks of me, why they'll never give me a true chance to show what I can do. I'm nothing more than a pleasant but overly friendly featherweight who can't be anything more than my uncle's puppet!"
A man clears his throat. "My lord, what you make of yourself is up to you," says a familiar voice.
Absorbed by our argument, neither of us has noticed a person enter from the front porch. The man wears a general's cape and carries a general's baton, but it is his air of command that compels the eye.
"F-Father?" I stammer, utterly taken aback by his arrival.
Praise for Poisoned Blade:A Locus Awards Top-Ten Finalist
"With strong characters and vivid worldbuilding that refuses to oversimplify individuals, cultures, and the opposing forces they represent, this sequel to Court of Fives (2015) blends emotional intelligence, passionate idealism, and realpolitik in a plot ending at the cliff's edge of revolutionary change. At once nuanced and thrilling--a worthy sequel."
"A worthy sequel, doubling down on the tension and politics and surpassing Court of Fives in suspense and depth of world-building.... a tense, dramatic adventure, raising the stakes and the potential for drastic consequences as the story barrels towards its conclusion."—Barnes & Noble
"Jes makes for a worthy heroine, as bold and daring as she is endearing. One of the best things about this series is that the characters--heroes and baddies alike--are vividly real, their motives and emotions often fierce but always recognizable."—Booklist
"The main character is the classic 'strong female warrior' archetype...and will remind most people of Katniss Everdeen.... The book deals with issues of family loyalty, standing up for one's beliefs, and self-discovery.... A solid addition to a high school collection."—Voya
"Anyone who things Young Adult fiction can't successfully handle themes like a culture's endurance in defiance of colonialism, the myriad socio-economic factors leading toward revolution, or racial and/or gender inequality, needs to read these books."—Fantasy Literature
"Stellar description and pacing. [Elliott's] eye for detail is extraordinary, and descriptions of court life are very evocative."—Teenreads
"Kate Elliott adds to her fantastical Court of Fives series with Poisoned Blade, and fans won't be disappointed."—Bustle
Praise for Court of Fives:A New York Times BestsellerAn Andre Norton Award NomineeAn NPR Best Book of 2015
A Junior Library Guild Selection
* "Jes will remind readers of fearless Katniss with her skill and strategy for games. But it's the fascinating descriptions of traditions, royal interactions, and, of course, the intensities of the Fives that will enthrall readers most of all. Let the games continue!"—Booklist, starred review
"A gripping, original plot; vivid, complicated characters; and layered, convincingly detailed worldbuilding. A compelling look at racial and social identity wrapped in a page-turning adventure."—Kirkus Review
"An imaginative journey.... Elliott creates an intricate and intriguing
story, conjuring a world of mysticism and centuries-old customs.
Jessamy's boldness and impulsiveness make her a striking heroine in a
male-dominated land."—Publishers Weekly
"A high fantasy novel that explores race, class, and gender struggles in a patriarchal society.... Jessamy is loyal and strong female protagonist who fights against injustice. This trilogy opener will be a hit with readers who love action-packed fantasy adventures."—School Library Journal
"Full of high-stakes adventure but also heartfelt musings on identity, family and colonization, this book presents a fantasy world that is refreshingly inspired by Greco-Roman and Egyptian cultures."—NPR
"Haunting. Epic. Impassioned. Layered. Breathtaking. This isn't just a novel; it is a coup d'état of the soul. Prepare to be ravished by Kate Elliott's Court of Fives."—Ann Aguirre, New York Times bestselling author of the Razorland trilogy
"Kate Elliott's magic and mastery is better than ever. Court of Fives enchanted me from start to finish, with characters and worlds that lingered long after I turned the final page."—Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series and the Young Elites series
"Fast-paced, tense, and riveting. I couldn't put it down, and you won't be able to either!"—Tamora Pierce, author of the Tortall series and the Circle of Magic series
"This book is amazing. Kate Elliott combines everything I love best in a YA novel. Jes is a killer protagonist, tough and capable, but also lost in her upbringing and faced with impossible choices that test her character and her beliefs.... This book will not fail you."
—Gail Carriger, New York Times bestselling author of the Parasol Protectorate series and the Finishing School series
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- Aug 16, 2016
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