Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of this first in a four-book teen series from the #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl.
The year is 1453 and all signs point to it being the end of the world. Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe. Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom and travel to the very frontier of good and evil.
Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her from claiming her rich inheritance. As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep, and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and driven to accuse her.
Forced to face the greatest fears of the dark ages—witchcraft, werewolves, madness—Luca and Isolde embark on a search for truth, their own destinies, and even love as they take the unknown ways to the real historical figure who defends the boundaries of Christendom and holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness.
Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl) makes a hypnotic YA debut with the first book in her planned Order of Darkness series. Set in 15th-century Italy after the Ottoman Empire captured the city of Constantinople, this historical fantasy follows two distinctive 17-year-old protagonists. Luca Vero is an alleged faerie changeling, who is kicked out of his monastery and sent on an ominous mission by the Pope: to document incidents of the uncanny that are believed to be the work of Satan and signs of approaching end times. Isolde is denied her inheritance and trapped in the role of Lady Abbess at a nunnery. Luca's first assignment sends him, his servant, and his clerk to investigate the nunnery, where women have been plagued by visions, sleep disturbances, and stigmata wounds since Isolde's arrival; she and her servant Ishraq are accused of witchcraft. Gregory creates an immersive medieval world that is under the sway of both unfounded superstitions and very real supernatural forces. Though dialogue-heavy scenes are occasionally labored, powerful imagery, picaresque humor, and a polished literary style should captivate mature readers. Ages 14 up.