Beyond a Darkened Shore
Vikings meets Frostblood in this romantic historical fantasy stand-alone from author Jessica Leake.
The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.
The people of Mide have always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn but the entire world.
Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle, the two might have a chance to save their world.
With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love...even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.
Ciara, a princess with the ability to control the minds and actions of others, aligns herself with her enemy, a Northman named Leif, to save their world from fantastical creatures bent on its destruction. Throughout their journey, Pagan beliefs and Norse gods clash. Ciara becomes an outcast banished from her kingdom, and the initially glaring differences between her and Leif soften as they find more rare similarities to bind them. Elements of the "star-crossed lovers" trope renders their bond unsurprising, and moments of lust paired with carnage such as a first kiss shared while they're burning corpses on a funeral pyre can be off-putting. Faerie magic and an army of the dead help to enliven the story, and Ciara proves to be a formidable warrior in her own right, with or without her love by her side. In her YA debut, Leake creates a strong backdrop of fantasy and myth, and she draws on her background as a psychotherapist to instill her characters with a rich vitality. Ages 14 up.)