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Kingdom of the Wicked
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- Trade Paperback $10.99 $14.99 CAD
- ebook $10.99 $13.99 CAD
- Hardcover $19.99 $24.99 CAD
- Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 7, 2021. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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From the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series comes a new blockbuster series…Two sisters.
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost–even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked–princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…
Outside, wind rattled the wooden chimes in warning. In the distance, waves crashed against the shore; the frantic whispers of water growing louder as if the sea was a mage summoning violence. On this date—for nearly a decade now—the storm followed the same pattern. Next, thunder would roll in quicker than the tide with lightning cracking electric whips across an unforgiving sky. The devil demanded retribution. A blood sacrifice for power stolen.
It wasn’t the first time he’d be cursed by witches, nor would it be the last.
From her rocking chair near the fire, Nonna Maria monitored the twins while they chanted protection charms she’d taught them, a cornicello clutched tightly in each of their little fists. Pushing the howling gusts from her mind, she listened closely to the words Vittoria and Emilia whispered over the horn-shaped amulets, their matching dark heads bent in concentration.
“By earth, moon, and stone, bless this hearth, bless this home.”
It was the start of their eighth year and Nonna tried not to worry over how quickly they were growing. She pulled her shawl closer, unable to ward off chills in the small kitchen. It had little to do with the temperature outside. As much as she tried ignoring it, sulfur snuck in through the cracks along with the familiar plumeria-and-orange-scented breeze, raising the graying hair she’d swept up from her neck. Had she been alive, her own human grandmother would have called it an omen and spent the evening on her knees in the cathedral, rosary clutched close, praying to saints.
The devil was on the prowl. Or one of his wicked brothers was.
A sliver of worry slid in as quick and smooth as one of her paring knives, lodging itself near Nonna’s heart. It had been an age since the last sighting of the Malvagi. Hardly anyone spoke of the Wicked anymore, except in stories told to frighten children into staying in their beds at night.
Now adults laughed at the old folktales, all but forgetting the seven ruling princes of Hell. Nonna Maria never would; their legends were burned into her mind, branding her with a bone-deep sense of dread. The area between her shoulders prickled as if their midnight eyes were upon her, watching from the shadows. It was only a matter of time before they came looking.
If they hadn’t begun to already. One didn’t steal from the devil and go unpunished.
Her focus darted back to the twins. Like the churning Tyrrhenian Sea, there was a restlessness about them tonight. One that spoke of unseen trouble to come. Vittoria’s charms were rushed and Emilia stumbled over hers, trying to keep up.
A twig popped in the fire, quickly followed by another. The sound like wishbones snapping over their spell books; a warning in its own right. Nonna gripped the arms of her rocking chair, her knuckles turning the color of the blanched almonds lying on the counter.
“Calmati! Not so fast, Vittoria,” she scolded. “You’ll have to begin again if you don’t do it correctly. Do you want to gather grave dirt alone in the dark?”
Much to Nonna’s dismay, Vittoria didn’t appear as frightened as she should have. The thought of wandering around a graveyard under the light of a full moon and an angry storm seemed appealing to the child. She pursed her lips before offering a slight shake of her head.
It was Emilia who answered, though, giving her sister a warning look. “We’ll be more careful, Nonna.”
To prove her point, Emilia held up the vial of holy water they’d gotten from the monastery and tipped it over their amulets, allowing one drop to sizzle over each. Silver and gold. An offering of balance between light and dark. A gift for what had been stolen all those years ago.
As above, so below.
Pacified, Nonna watched as they finished their charm, relieved when white sparks rose in the flames before burning red again. Another year, another victory. They’d tricked the devil once more. Eventually there’d come a day when the charms wouldn’t work, but Nonna refused to think of that now. She glanced at the windowsill, pleased by the dried orange slices laid out in even rows.
Lavender sprigs hung to dry over the mantel, and the tiny stone island was covered with both flour and fragrant herbs waiting to be tied into neat bunches. Verbena, basil, oregano, parsley, and bay leaves. The scents mingled pleasantly. Some were for their celebratory dinner, and others for their charms. Now that the protection ritual was done, they might enjoy their meal.
Nonna looked at the clock on the mantel; her daughter and son-in-law would arrive from the family restaurant soon, bringing with them laughter and warmth.
Storms and omens or not, all would be well in the di Carlo home.
The flames settled and Emilia sat back, biting her nails. A nasty habit Nonna was determined to break. The child spit a nail clipping out and went to toss it on the floor.
“Emilia!” Nonna’s voice rang loudly in the small room. The child started, dropping her hand, and gave a sheepish look. “In the fire! You know better than to leave things for those who practice le arti oscure.”
“Sorry, Nonna,” Emilia mumbled. She chewed her lip, and her grandmother waited for the question she knew was coming. “Will you tell us about the dark arts again?”
“Or the Malvagi?” Vittoria added, always interested in stories of the Wicked. Even on nights they were forbidden from uttering such names. “Please?”
“We shouldn’t speak of dark things aloud. It invites trouble.”
Praise for Kingdom of the Wicked:
"An intoxicating, tightly plotted feast for the senses with a dramatic cliffhanger."—Kirkus Reviews
"Lyrical writing and an immersive atmosphere accompany a well-built world rooted in 19th-century Palermo, especially evocative descriptions of food prepared in the family's restaurant, while intriguing plot twists round off the novel."—Publishers Weekly
"The characters are richly drawn; the worldbuilding is smart, based on historical events and infused with magic; and the page-turning plot is a force to be reckoned with. Food, family, magic, and romance are threaded into this propulsive story, making it a thrilling, wondrous, and atmospheric tale."—Booklist
Praise for the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling seriesStalking Jack the RipperHunting Prince DraculaEscaping From HoudiniCapturing the Devil
*"A marvelous yet somewhat gruesome mystery...an unexpected twist makes the ending worth the wait. A must-have."---School Library Journal (*starred review*)
"Kerri Maniscalco once again combines adventure, romance, murder and Victorian manners into an intoxicating cocktail that brings the story of this tenacious young forensic scientist to a satisfying conclusion."—Knoxville News Sentinel
"There are plenty of suspects and red herrings as well as tense escalations....A scenic, twisty mystery."--- Kirkus Reviews
"Maniscalco has created a serious, sharp-minded, and forward-thinking protagonist in Audrey Rose, whose fearlessness will endear her to readers looking for an engaging historical thriller. Abundant red herrings and a dash of romance round out this gruesome but engrossing story."
--- Publisher's Weekly
"Audrey Rose Wadsworth prefers breeches to ball gowns, autopsies to afternoon tea, and scalpels to knitting needles. Though her father, Lord Edmund, has forbidden it, Audrey covertly studies forensic medicine...while "the Ripper" remains two steps ahead, lurking where Audrey least expects....Maniscalco's portrayal of scientific invention in a newly industrial era will serve as a fine first foray into Victorian classics."
"Audrey is a young woman eager to use her brains and willing to flaunt society's rules....This mystery pays homage to classics like Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein [and] will satisfy those readers looking for historical mystery, a witty heroine, and a little romance."
---School Library Connection
"Audrey Rose is a witty, resourceful feminist who refuses to bow to Victorian-era gender norms. This dark, gothic landscape is peopled with nuanced, diverse characters who keep readers enthralled. A gripping mystery with a compelling heroine and just the right touch of romance."--- Kirkus Reviews
"Every bit as heart-pounding as you'd expect it to be...An enthralling, captivating, and addicting series."---Hypable
- On Sale
- Sep 7, 2021
- Page Count
- 400 pages
- jimmy patterson