King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, had other plans. With each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: "A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin." As such, the women were convinced that the child would be a girl. When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?
At first I wasn’t sure what to expect because it is very difficult to write a fantasy novella. However, Kelly A Harmon did exactly that and she succeeded.
The book starts with Queen Pia pregnant. Her nurse, Salvagia, can see that the life is being drained away from her during this pregnancy. During this time, Salvagia, casts runes numerous times and each time she has the same answer. The queen is immensely happy about this, but her husband is definitely not. He is hoping for a boy to carry on his royal lineage.
When the queen finally goes into labor, she has major difficulties. She ends up dying during the labor. So the nurse sends out the people who have come to view the royal birthing. Feeling inside, she can sense that there are two children, a boy and a girl. She makes sure that the girl comes out first. They are both weak. She is only capable of saving one. The king tells her to save the boy at the cost of the girls life. So she feeds the boy some blood soup made from his sister’s blood.
Unfortunately for the king, he made the wrong choice. Now he has to live with the consequences.
The characters are well drawn out. You feel sorry for the king and really hate his son. The drama is intense.
This is a really quick read that is well worth the time.
I will definitely be keeping an eye on this author. If all her work is as good as this, then she has a wonderful future ahead of her.
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