Assassin. Seductress. Bastard.
Belinda Primrose has lied, murdered, and seduced her way through the deadly courts of Echon, all in the name of solidifying her queen mother's power. Now war follows in her wake, and with it, the underpinnings that have held her in place for all of her life. She has trusted her father, been loyal to her mother, and waited patiently for answers that, once revealed, prove that those who should love her best see her as nothing more than an instrument to be played toward their own ends.
But Belinda has come into the strength of her witchpower, a magic she shares with Prince Javier, pretender to her mother's throne, and with the sensual witchlord Dmitri, whose talent with the witchpower is beyond anything Belinda could imagine. Their craft has been used to manipulate, shape, and evolve the future of Echon…but even a power from beyond the stars cannot break the will of a daughter betrayed by everything she has ever known.
After a lifetime of service, Belinda will finally shape a future of her own…and change the destiny of a world with her choices.
In Murphy's crisply written sequel to 2008's alternate history The Queen's Bastard, aliens known as the Heseth, the people of the sun, have visited Earth in what would be our 16th century, but the supernatural elements are limited to the occasional use of magical abilities. The plot is more focused on the struggle for power in Echon (Europe), which features familiar rivalries between Aulun (England), Gallin (France) and the Prussian Confederation. As political tensions heat up, Belinda, the witchfire-wielding assassin and illegitimate daughter of Aulun's Queen Lorraine, faces relationship problems with Javier de Castille, prince of Essandia (Spain) and Gallin, and with her overbearing mother. Murphy tends toward long discussions of war, succession and various attempts by the Heseth to influence human development, mostly balanced by clever intrigue and raw, explicit sex scenes.