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No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.
Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.
Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.
The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she'll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.
What if Vlad Tepes, the historical inspiration for Dracula, had actually been a fearsome and brilliant teenage girl? That's the question raised in this alternate history, first in a trilogy. Set in the mid-15th century, first in Wallachia and then in the Ottoman Empire, the narrative focuses on Ladislav "Lada" Dragwyla and her younger brother, Radu (later known as the Handsome), who are sent by their father to act as royal hostages in the Ottoman Court of Sultan Murad. There, the ambitious Lada chafes at the limited options available to women, Radu converts to Islam, and both fall for the charismatic prince Mehmed, resulting in an awkward love triangle. White (Illusions of Fate) draws heavily on historical figures and events to craft this slow-burning tale, which focuses more on characterization and drama than on setting and detail; subtle commentary on gender, religious conflict, and geopolitical strife winds up overshadowed by churning romantic emotions. Given the historical bloodshed in which the novel is based, it comes across as somewhat sanitized, though grisly days seem likely in future installments. Ages 12 up.