"Morgan has written a masterpiece, one that is movie-worthy." Reader's Favorite.com.
"Marilia: strong-willed, erudite and fallible. Cole has delivered a heroine so humbly human I found pleasure in reading fantasy again." Kristiana Reed, author of Between the Trees, Poetry and Prose, Reedsy.com.
"Marilia is a more sophisticated, more believable version of Mulan. The prose is polished and the world is rich with lush details. Well done!" Karen Azinger, author of the Steel & Silk saga.
Marilia, the Warlord is the first part in The Chrysathamere Trilogy, a Game-of-Thrones-style saga of love, war, revenge, and the twists of fate that turned two siblings—once so close they would have died for each other—into the bitterest of enemies, each determined to send the other to the grave.
Born the bastard daughter of a painted lady, Marilia was told she would live out her days within the walls of her mother’s brothel, a companion for the rich men of Tyrace. But after a terrible betrayal, ten-year-old Marilia’s world turns upside down. With the help of her twin brother, Annuweth, she flees the only home she’s ever known in search of the one man who can offer her a chance at a better life: one of her deceased father’s friends, the Emperor of Navessea’s greatest general.
What follows is a journey spanning years, from the streets of the desert city of Tyracium to the splendor of the emperor’s keep and the wind-swept, wild island of Svartennos. Along the way, Marilia discovers, for the first time, the gift she has for strategy and warfare—a world that is forbidden to girls like her.
When the empire is threatened by a foreign invasion, the defense of Navessea is left in the hands of a cruel and arrogant general no match for the empire's foes. With the fate of her new home and the woman she loves hanging in the balance, Marilia—now a young woman—swears to use all her courage and cunning to help repel the enemy.
The struggle that follows will test her to her core and lead her back to the past she thought she had escaped. Facing treachery within her own ranks as well as a devious enemy commander, Marilia will need all the help she can get, even if it means doing something her brother may never forgive—making a pact with the man who murdered her father.
NOTE: This is not a YA novel. It is a work of adult fiction.
This story of a poor girl who grows up to be a master military tactician is thoughtful and moving. The reader is not spared the capricious brutality of armed conflict nor the all too human doubts and weaknesses of the warriors. Marilia’s thoughts as well as her experiences and behavior have a stayed with me since I finished the book. That’s a certain sign of a good writer.
Readings Marilia’s story was an absolute, refreshing delight. I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut and this hit just right; the culture, the action, the character growth, the familial aspect - so very very good. I can’t wait for more.
A Tale of Personal Evolution
Like an ogre, this story has many layers (Shrek humor). At its heart, it is a tale of growth and coming of age focused on Marilia. But it is broader than that...a tale of family, friends, and enemies spanning multiple countries, governments, and cultures. The details of life events and the emotions involved with those events sometimes made the story seem more like an autobiography than a tale of fiction. But I found it satisfying because Marilia comes across as realistic - a person with an intellectual gift who rises above expectation and station to change the world.