The New York Times bestselling "epic feminist fantasy perfect for fans of Game of Thrones" (Bustle).
A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction--but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
Shannon (The Bone Season) satisfyingly fills this massive standalone epic fantasy with court intrigue, travel through dangerous lands, fantastical religions, blood, love, and rhetoric. Ead, undercover as a lady-in-waiting in a court analogous to that of Elizabethan England, must protect the queen from lurking assassins; the queen, Sabran IX, theoretically belongs to a magical bloodline whose existence binds the huge and abominable dragon, the Nameless One, at the bottom of the ocean. Half a world away, young Tan , the rider and companion of a more benevolent sort of dragon, breaks her country's strict ban on allowing seafarers through its borders. This sets in motion a chain of events that reveals that Sabran's ancestry may not be the true source of the Nameless One's bindings, and that tests all three women profoundly in their attempts to keep humankind safe from the beast. Unfortunately, so much time and effort are expended on setting up the world and the principal conflicts that the denouement gets rather short shrift. The difference in tempo is very noticeable and hampers (although it does not destroy) the emotional effectiveness of an otherwise well-planned and well-executed ending. Nonetheless, this is a very capable epic fantasy.