Book 1 of The Sagathas Bard
A reluctant king. A legendary harp. A city divided.
Traedis Atenel never expected to find herself a king. When she fled her city and her family, all she wanted was to become a bard and make her own way in the world. Now, touched by strange magic and harrowed by imprisonment, she rules the city she once hated.
Despised by its people, she embarks on a mission to reform what was once known as the City of Assassins. After all, she has spoken with gods, walked with dragons, and learned the mysteries of bardic magic. When a demon comes calling, it reawakens a curse that could destroy Traedis and her city.
Supported by her sister Vandeyr, a former assassin, and with the aid of an enchanted harp, Traedis uncovers long-buried secrets and forges alliances where she least expects them. But elemental spirits, ghosts, and hostile powers stand in her way. Some of them will help her. Some will oppose her.
Some of them are certain to be from her own family.
From Kirkus Reviews:
"In Hudson’s fantasy novel, a 20-year-old royal attempts to change her hometown’s violent ways.
Traedis Atenel, the recently enthroned king of Tolin—a city-state known as the City of Assassins—has been deemed a traitor for recalling all assassins from duty, abolishing a 2,000-year-old tradition of bloodshed that’s embedded in the culture. Although this choice brings Traedis new allies outside Tolin’s walls, it places Traedis at odds with her own family. But, though she’s young, she’s far from helpless against the forces that amass against her reign. She’s a skilled bard and magician, empowered by the falmyros, the supernatural bond between a lord and their domain, and equipped with an ethereal harp of “dragon gold.” As the story unfolds, it’s not only through the use of her supernatural gifts, but also through her honor, empathy, and courage that Traedis demonstrates her ability to rule. She goes up against two powerful demons while struggling with her own troubled past. This is a complex story, replete with vivid imagery that will leave readers looking forward to the planned next entry in the series; for instance, one entity “shone with the luminosity of cave moss or deep-sea fish, a cold dead light reminiscent of something long buried.” Traedis is a dynamic heroine who will appeal to readers of all backgrounds, and she and other strong female characters have a sincerity and richness of personality that effectively brings them to life on the page. Although the story is consistently exciting, it’s seldom graphic in its content and thus will be appropriate for a range of audiences. It’s thoroughly steeped in fantasy elements, including mythical beasts, but also offers serious themes of duty, family, and justice. Overall, this novel offers an excellent blend of style and substance that will keep readers’ attention.
An engaging and imaginative fantasy tale."
"This fast paced and explosive fantasy was a page-turner from start to finish, and I’m beyond excited to see what Hudson writes next for these characters!"
"The story is full of magic, Beth Hudson's writing is, too. The clear images she creates, the way that she makes the magic feel right and real, and her ability to write believable characters all speak of a strong career in fantasy writing."