I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it?
Lada's rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won't rest until everyone knows that her country's borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed's peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.
But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister's indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before--including her relationships--can Lada truly build the country she wants.
For some reason, I had a hard time convincing myself to pick this book up—it had been sitting & staring at me for just over 2 weeks. Look at that gorgeous cover! All of the covers for this trilogy have been absolutely lovely, but this one is the best in my opinion. I love that exploded pomegranate!
Once I got past the first two pages, I had no more problems. I was right back in Wallachia with Lada and in Constantinople with Radu and Mehmed. I knew enough about the actual historical events that I was aware of how things would have to end—but Ms. White gave me the best possible ending given the circumstances. [I think she jiggered with the facts just a bit to improve Lada’s death, but why not, when you’ve already made Vlad Tepes into a woman?]
I have read that the people of Romania still honour Vlad as a harsh, but fair ruler. White definitely stays true to this notion. A great story, told well in a new & interesting way, and the best possible ending. Certainly a trilogy that I’ll be recommending to others.