Author: Intisar Khanani
Genre: YA Fantasy
The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame. When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.
Read an excerpt:
“Look what’s here,” the leader says, calling the other soldiers’ attention to me. My steps falter as they veer towards me, quickly closing the distance between us. “What do you think she is? A mutt or a halfbreed?”
A half-breed they might not bother because those who are half-human and half-something-else often have some strength or ability that could cause more trouble than these men are looking for. Unfortunately for me, the secret I guard is fully human. I glance sideways at the fish seller in the stall beside me, wondering if I can count on her. She is young, no more than a handful of years past my own fifteen, her eyes wide with panic. No help there. I swallow hard, trying to ease the fear thrumming through my veins.
I begin to back away, offering a hesitant smile to the soldiers. A smile? What am I doing? I should run— But it’s already too late. Two of the soldiers have moved ahead of the others, circling past me. I’m surrounded.
“Mutt,” says one of the soldiers, taking in my features. I feel myself flush slightly. My parents may have been from different lands, but a good number of islanders have other blood in them, even if it dates back a few generations. How else did the noble women come by their sleek hair? Their problem isn’t with my bloodline. It’s with the fact that I visibly don’t belong, and I’m an easy target.
“Half-breed,” two others posit, their boots sounding unnaturally loud in the quiet.
“Definitely a mutt,” a soldier behind me says. He’s come to a stop a couple paces away, no doubt waiting for his leader to make the first move.
“Well, girl, what are you?” the leader asks.
I refuse to answer in the words they’ve afforded me. “Human,” I say. “Sir.”
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar is hard at work on two new projects. The first is a companion trilogy to her debut novel Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife. The second project, The Sunbolt Chronicles, is a novella series following the efforts of a young mage as she strives to bring down her nemesis, a corrupt and dangerous Arch Mage who means to bring the Eleven Kingdoms under his control.
Find the author online
Intisar’s Website: http://thornthenovel.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/booksbyintisar
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