Sorcerers, magic, court intrigue, deception, death and betrayal all combine to create a magical mesmerizing read.
A wicked Fairytale with teeth!
Usually, books in a series don’t get much better than the first book, but to my surprise I think this is a much better book than the first one.
If you didn’t read the first one, you can pick this one up and still understand what is happening. However, I strongly recommend reading this first book, The Bear and the Nightingale.
This book picks up from where the first one left off. Following Vasya, her family and Morozko the king of Winter – Death himself!
Unable to except her place in life, to either marry or become a nun, and amongst fear of whispers of those in her village denouncing Vasya a witch, she decides to take control of her own life and destiny.
Dressed as a boy, she takes her horse, Solovey, given to her by Death, and heads out into the world to live the life of a Traveler.
Along the way, she learns that the evil that plagued her village has spread to other parts of the countryside, bandits are roaming the villages burning them down and kidnapping the young women.
With a dazzling display of courage Vasya manages to rescue a group of children from the clutches of the evil bandits and her actions soon catch the eye of the Grand Prince of Moscow.
The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is also plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest so the Prince and his trusted companion set out to defeat the raiders and try to bring peace back to the land. It is on their journey that they come across a young man known throughout Moscow as Vasilii the Brave and his magnificent horse.
Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior’s training, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical…
Reaching Moscow, Vasya is reunited with her brother Sasha and her sister Olga. There she also meets her cousin Dmitrii, The Grand Prince of Moscow.
The priest who was determined to burn Vasya as a witch is also in Moscow. As soon as he discover’s the witch is in Moscow, he continue’s his desire to see her burned as a witch and he will tell everyone and anyone that Vasya consorts with demons.
The tension mounts as her siblings try to keep her true identity hidden and it falls to Vasya, along with the Grand Prince of Moscow and her own brother, Sasha, to try to rid the land of the forces of evil that are threatening to overtake all of Moscow.
I love Vasya’s character and the fairy tale mixed with realism and we get to learn more of Vasilisa’s siblings and their lives as well as her Vasys’s fate after the events of The Bear and the Nightingale.
There’s a lot more action and adventure in this book, the plot moves at a faster pace than in the first book as this story takes place over weeks rather than years.
I can’t wait to see what happens in the last book, which is where I see the problem with reading advanced copies – an even bigger wait between books!!
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing for my advance copy to review.
Highly recommended 5 star read!
This book will be released on 5th December ’17 and can be preordered now from