Torn between loyalty and love, a young prince will learn how much he’s willing to sacrifice as he tries to destroy the rebellion that threatens his throne in the exhilarating sequel to Bonds of Brass.
“A knockout.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Gal’s destiny has always been clear: Complete his training at the military academy, prove his worth as a royal successor, and ascend to the galactic throne. When a failed assassination plot against Gal sends him and Ettian—his infuriatingly enticing roommate—on a mad dash through the stars, Gal’s plans are momentarily disrupted. But he was born to rule the Umber Empire, and with Ettian by his side, nothing will stop him from returning home and crushing the growing insurgency threatening his family’s power.
Yet nothing is ever that simple in war—or in love. Gal is captured by the rebellion during a skirmish and faces public execution, his grand fate cut short. To save Gal’s life, Ettian does the unthinkable: He reveals himself as the secret heir to the fallen Archon Empire and rightful leader of the rebellion . . . and, therefore, Gal’s sworn enemy. Now a political hostage in this newly reignited conflict, Gal must use his limited resources to sabotage the rebellion from within, concoct an escape plan, and return to the empire he’s destined to lead. And if that means taking down the man he thought he loved?
All the better.
Skrutskie's sweeping second Bloodright Trilogy space opera (following Bonds of Brass) blows away the expectations set in the first act and promises an epic finale to the trilogy to come. Almost-18-year-old Gal emp-Umber has been groomed to rule the brutal Umber empire his entire life. Now Umber has all but defeated the hated Archon empire, leaving only small pockets of rebellion. That is, until Ettian Gal's classmate, friend, and love reveals himself as the long-lost Archon heir, uniting the cause behind himself as emperor. As Ettian's prisoner, Gal's kept in a gilded cage, surrounded by people who want him dead by virtue of his name and others who want him alive for the same reason. Fueled by anger over Ettian's betrayal, he's desperately scheming to bring down the Archon rebellion and return to his rightful place, but the question becomes whether he's ruthless enough to ruin the man he still loves and their fierce friend Wen to do so. The easy-flowing narrative expertly immerses readers in Gal's inner conflict as he strategizes his way out of one precarious situation after another. Along the way, Skrutskie's breathless, brilliantly written action sequences and tear-jerking quieter moments will keep readers enthralled. This is a knockout.