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A HAWK'S PLEDGE The Twelve Kingdoms rest uneasy under their new High Queen, reeling from civil war and unchecked magics. Few remember that other powers once tested their borders--until a troop of foreign warriors emerges with a challenge . . .
Jepp has been the heart of the queen's elite guard, her Hawks, since long before war split her homeland. But the ease and grace that come to her naturally in fighting leathers disappears when battles turn to politics. When a scouting party arrives from far-away Dasnaria, bearing veiled threats and subtle bluffs, Jepp is happy to let her queen puzzle them out while she samples the pleasures of their prince's bed.
But the cultural norms allow that a Dasnarian woman may be wife or bed-slave, never her own leader--and Jepp's light use of Prince Kral has sparked a diplomatic crisis. Banished from court, she soon becomes the only envoy to Kral's strange and dangerous country, with little to rely on but her wits, her knives--and the smolder of anger and attraction that burns between her and him . . . Praise for The Mark of the Tala
"Magnificent...a richly detailed fantasy world." --RT Book Reviews
, 41/2 stars, Top Pick
"Well written and swooningly romantic." --Library Journal
, starred review.