An engrossing tale of colonialism, conquest and revenge, Queen of the Conquered starts a fantasy series perfect for readers of S. A. Chakraborty, Ken Liu, and Tasha Suri.
On the islands of Hans Lollik, Sigourney Rose was the only survivor when her family was massacred by the colonizers. When the childless king of the islands declares he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.
But someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. And as the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers... lest she become the next victim.
Praise for Queen of the Conquered:
"A storm of a novel as epic as Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo." --Tochi Onyebuchi, author of Beasts Made Wild
"The book's absorbing setting, captivating lead, and relevant themes of race and class complement each other with alternating delicacy and savagery." --NPR Books
"Callender's first adult novel draws race relations, conquest, magic, and politics into an imaginative, layered story that will keep readers twisting until the end." --Library Journal
Callender's Caribbean-inspired first novel for adults a mix of fantasy, history, mystery, and palace intrigue struggles to overcome its sluggish first half. Hans Lollik is an island nation populated by the white, sea-faring Fjern and the enslaved black natives, who are known simply as islanders. As the only black landholder, Sigourney Lund is seen as a traitor to her people for owning slaves and enforcing the brutal laws of their colonizers. Few know that Sigourney is the survivor of a massacre. Having hidden behind an assumed name and eventually ascended to the role of matriarch of the Lunds, Sigourney is finally prepared to take revenge on the ruling class that plotted her family's assassination and have held the Hans Lollik islanders in bondage for generations. But the cost of revenge is high, and Sigourney's bid for power leads her afoul of her fellow islanders, as she continues to own people even as she claims to fight for their freedom. Callender (This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story) convincingly illustrates the corrupting influence of unchecked power and privilege, but Sigourney is too passive; even after she begins her revenge scheme, events mostly happen to her. The moral complexity of the story's climax is satisfying, but readers will have to be very patient to get there.