From Publishers Weekly
Taking a break from urban fantasy, Murphy (House of Cards
) turns to this uneven opener for a Reformation-inspired fantasy series. Belinda Primrose is a lovely young woman whose mysterious father, Lord Drake, has trained her to be an assassin serving Lorraine, the queen of Aulun. While Belinda is Lorraine's unacknowledged bastard, young Prince Javier of Gallin was secretly adopted by Lorraine's dangerous rival, Queen Sandalia, when her husband's untimely death caused her to miscarry the child who was to be Gallin's heir. When Javier encounters Belinda while she's on a spy mission in Gallin, he falls hopelessly in love with her, a devotion that deepens when they discover they're both witchbreed magic users. Murphy excels in depicting their passion, but readers looking for romance will be shocked when Belinda incites and abets Javier's rape of another woman, and the talky political intrigue frequently comes at the expense of much-needed action. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* In a world in which women are considered weak and lesser than men, three remarkable women wind up ruling three powerful kingdoms in the first of what promises to be an outstanding series featuring a masterfully intricate dance of politics and intrigue in a world with parallels to the Elizabethan era. Belinda Primrose, supposedly an orphan but truly the bastard of Queen Lorraine and her secret spymaster, Robert Drake, learns to hide her thoughts and feelings at a very young age, masters several combat skills, and executes her first assassination before she is 12. Assuming the identity of Beatrice Irvine, a young widow from a Scotland-like country, her pious attendance at church draws the attention of a wealthy young merchant prince who is an intimate of young Javier, who will be king when his mother steps aside as regent. Belinda and Javier recognize in each other a kinship in their ability to harness powers and do things that would ensure their execution as witches should anyone discover them. Readers will be eagerly awaiting their story’s next installment in the Inheritors’ Cycle. --Diana Tixier Herald