Alexander Delacroix's darkly romantic debut Heart of the Impaler is perfect for fans of Kiersten White's And I Darken.
Vlad Dracula has long lived in the shadows cast by his bloodthirsty father, the voivode, and his older brother, Mircea. Despite their cruelty, Vlad has yearned to prove himself worthy of the throne his whole life. In the cold halls of the voivode's palace, Vlad can only rely on his cousin and closest friend, Andrei Musat.
When Vlad and Andrei meet Ilona Csáki, the daughter of an influential boyar, they each find themselves inextricably drawn to her. But then Ilona is betrothed to Mircea as part of a political alliance, and Vlad's resentfulness of his brother begins to seethe into something far darker.
Ilona has no desire to marry the voivode’s eldest son, but love and marriage are the least of her worries. The royal family’s enemies have already tried to put an arrow through her back—and if anyone discovers her blossoming feelings for Andrei and Vlad, she may just wish they’d succeeded.
Beneath the shadow of impending war, the only battle that will be deadlier than the one for Ilona’s life will be the one for her heart.
Praise for Heart of the Impaler:
"Flowing and fast-paced as court intrigue, spies, family secrets, romance, twists, and turns pull readers into fifteenth-century Romania—and into the heart of Vlad the Impaler. Highly recommended." —Booklist
"Delacroix adroitly immerses readers in a delicious blend of romance and 15th-century politics that leans more historical than mythic, while exploring the power of love to change history’s tides." —Publishers Weekly
The fearsome legacy of Dracula is brought to vivid life in debut author Delacroix's well-researched and uniquely terrifying romance. When her father seeks land and a title from Vlad Dracula II, the powerful Wallachian voivode, nearly 16-year-old Transylvanian Ilona Csáki travels to Wallachia—only to find the favor granted in exchange for her betrothal to the voivode's eldest son, 18-year-old Mircea. Isolated at court, which is filled with backstabbing and treachery, she soon encounters the voivode's younger son, outgoing Vlad Dracula III, and his thoughtful cousin Andrei, both of whom immediately fall for her. Whereas Vlad is lost in brooding Mircea's shadow, Andrei finds himself in turn obscured by confident, temperamental Vlad. Betrayal, court intrigue, and one young woman's journey to find herself amid political upheaval follow. Though the white characters can feel one-dimensional, Delacroix adroitly immerses readers in a delicious blend of romance and 15th-century politics that leans more historical than mythic, while exploring the power of love to change history's tides. Ages 13–up.