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.
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)