The Dark Queen
Swiftsword is long dead, the Red Lady a passing fancy; she is now the Dark Queen. Julill has returned home to reclaim her birthright. The throne and crown of Illanier are hers and with them the power to do what she has so longed to do: make bad men pay for their crimes against women, make them hurt, make them scream – spill their blood till it flows like a river in the street. More
She was once known as Swiftsword and then for a time was called The Red Lady but finally Julill’s path has reached its destination and the Dark Queen is awake. Her true aim is revealed and it is death – death for the men of the Free Land, death for those who oppose her, death for those who refuse her hand of friendship.
Farina, Queen of Maranea, is in Julill’s sights. She would have this strong young woman as an ally, but Farina fears the madness she hears in the older woman’s words and fears what she would do to her son and only child. She refuses Julill’s hand but no one does that and gets away with it.
Jareth, Julill’s second born son, now stands opposed to his mother, at least in theory. He knows she is insane and that she must be stopped and so he travels with the ancient witch, Oluna, to learn how to fight, to become strong and to gather allies of his own. Soon he will need to decide if he is truly willing to put what he has learned into practice, for it is one thing to know that he must act and quite another to take up arms against the only mother he has ever known. Might she not yet, even at this late stage, be turned aside from her dark path?
Oluna thinks not but she herself cannot act as it is forbidden for witches to interfere in the lives of the other races. All she can do is advise.
Others must come together to move against the Dark Queen.
Farina flees south to Tunislaw and distant cousin, King Rilathus to beg his help. Jareth finds unlikely assistance from a band of outlaw vampires and in Finlea Anya ponders her options. The Dark Queen does not yet threaten the elves but sooner or later she must surely move against them? Should Anya move first? Elves do not lightly enter into battle but when they do they are committed to the end. Without Emkel to advise her and share the burden of decision she is stuck. Should she move now to confront Julill or wait for the red-haired queen to come to her?
Julill too ponders her options. There are only two enemies she truly fears – the witches and the elves. The witches are powerful but bound by their oaths. They will not move against her, but the elves are a different matter. For all their show of grace and apparent disdain of violence they are skilled warriors and see themselves as duty bound to help those called friend. Will Anya ride to the side of Farina to help her friend? Can Julill best the elven queen? Elves are often more powerful than they look but Julill has power too. More than even Oluna suspects. But does she have enough?
Soon she must test her strengths and test the will of those around her. Will her allies remain loyal or prove cowards at the finish? Will the dark forces that have shaped her all her life be enough to help her take charge of the Free Land and shape it to her own desires, or will she discover too late that they too have desires: desires they deem more important than hers.
Is this the end of the Dark Queen’s journey or merely the beginning?
Book seven of the Free Land Chronicles takes up where The Red Lady left off. Julill is home. The crown she once spurned is now firmly on her head and the power she craved is now hers.
Now begins the task of shaping her kingdom to her desires. Her kingdom first and then the rest of the Free Land. And woe to any who think to cross her.
Enemies lurk around every corner but Julill knows how to deal with enemies. She has werewolves on her side; werewolves and vampires, a rogue witch and an unseen force that has been with her since the day she was conceived. She is more than a match for anyone and will destroy everyone who stands against her: father, husband, son – none shall be shown mercy.
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