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August 17, 2020

The Vanished Queen by Lisbeth Campbell ~ a Review

by MK French

Queen Mirantha vanished in what King Karolje claimed was an assassination. The people know he Disappeared her himself, and that he's a tyrant. Anza finds the queen's diary, and a chance encounter with Prince Esvar might be the way that they both can work with the resistance. Together they might be able to fight against the king. But if they fail, restrictions would last for generations to come.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

The Vanished Queen
August 2020; Saga Press; 978-1982141295
audio, ebook, print (496 pages); epic fantasy
Anza's father had been claimed a traitor and executed, though it wasn't actual treachery on his part but failure to live up to the cruel and demeaning standards that Karolje had set. He has his sons, who he also expects to rule in the way that he does, and his coterie of unscrupulous men jockeying for power in his court. This has grown worse with his illness, and the people suffer for it. Anza works with the resistance, but there's a coldness in their leader that she doesn't have. They can calculate what would affect the nobility without placing blame on the already degraded foreigners living in the kingdom, but Anza isn't aware of all those variables.

Esvar also walks a very tight rope, trying to remain just while upholding the letter of his father's laws. It doesn't matter that he's a prince, he is still punished if he can't kill or order the destruction of enemies as Karolje would; punishments could be anywhere from isolation to severe whippings. In time, he realizes that he has to make a real stand, or everything he ever wanted is forfeit. The same goes for his older brother, the Crown Prince. Karolje cares only about solidifying his own power and assumes that everyone around him is scheming against him. Because of this, he thinks nothing of pitting people against each other, staging public executions, blaming the minority citizens for the rebel actions, and threatening everyone unless they cave.

I found the plot threads fascinating, as we have the current day story interwoven with the lost queen's point of view. They come together in the final third of the book, which ends with even more action. It's not a happily ever after where Karolje gives up; to the last breath, he is a vile human being content to terrorize others. There is hope for the future, and there is a lot of work to be done to rebuild the kingdom. All of the characters at the end are willing to put in that work.

Buy The Vanished Queen at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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  1. sounds like current events and that makes for an interesting read
    sherry @ fundinmental