THE QUEEN'S BASTARD
Written in a different style and set in a different setting than her other titles, this is a vivid demonstration of Murphy's skill as a writer. While it's an interesting and readable book, there are problems with plotting and a rape scene seems more disturbing than necessary. Some readers may find it deeply problematic.
In this Elizabethan-style fantasy world, Belinda Primrose is the bastard daughter of Lorraine, the first queen to sit on the Aunlunian throne. Trained as an assassin and possessing unknown magical abilities, Belinda is sent into the court of her mother's archrival, Sandalia.
While constructing her elaborate house-of-cards plot, Belinda attracts
the attention of Javier, the handsome young crown prince, who also possesses magic. It is he who teaches her how to use her abilities, and it is he whom she must betray. (Del Rey, May, 448 pp., $14.00)