In this brilliant debut fantasy, a story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth.
Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family.
In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash against magically trained militia.
What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it.
Martell's taut, clever debut tells of rebellion and regicide in a world where the use of magic comes at the cost of one's memories. A member of the Kingman family has always served alongside the King of Hollow to keep the royals in check and inspire trust in the commoners, maintaining the uneasy peace between both factions and the rebels beyond the city walls. Then, 10 years ago, David Kingman killed the nine-year-old prince and the Kingman family fell from favor. Now David's son, Michael, stands accused of killing the King himself. Michael recounts the events that led to his trial, going from a life as a grifter, to becoming a pawn in a political game, to reluctantly working with High Noble Charles Domet to clear his father's name in exchange for lessons in Fabrication, magical skills that wipe the user's memory when overused. Martell weaves a large cast into Michael's world, some sinister like Dark the Mercenary and the Corrupt Prince others allies. Though the abundance of characters becomes overwhelming at times, their political maneuvers and varied motivations form a satisfying web. This smart, briskly told high fantasy entertains all the way until the unexpected end.