Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles book 2)

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book in the series, The Kiss of Deception, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you. You have been warned!

Please visit the Recaptains blog if you need a refresher on the first book in the series.

Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia, aka Lia, the First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. Kaden, the assassin sent by Venda, and his men have recaptured her. He will present her as the princess and tell the Komizar about her "gift". Kaden doesn't know that Lia had discovered that she really does possess the gift. She had to watch helplessly as Vendan soldiers slaughtered a small band of Morrigan forces that included her brother, Walther. As their group prepares to enter Venda, Rafe appears. He convinces Kaden to take him to see the Komizar as an emissary of the Prince of Dalbreck. Lia realizes that Rafe is Crown Prince Jaxon Tyrus Rafferty of Dalbreck, the man she was suppose to marry.

The processional heads towards Sanctum Hall, the place where the governors of Vendan meet with the Komizar. Kaden has warned Lia to be quiet; he will talk for her. Wagons full of weapons and other loot accompany them. Lia soon loses sight of Kaden. Inside the hall, several of the governors begin to look through the weapons. It's not long before she sees Walther's sword and baldric. She knows that she needs to keep quiet and bide her time, even though it nearly kills her to see it manhandled.. She notices a pair of eyes against the wall staring at Kaden, but they soon turn towards her. He begins to step towards them and Lia knows the man is the Komizar. He is nothing like Lia would have expected. Unlike his brash and brutal governors, the Komizar is clean, thin and simply dressed. He couldn't be much older than Walther was. The Komizar could pass for Kaden's older brother rather than his ruler. He doesn't look particularly pleased to see that Kaden didn't follow his orders. Kaden states that she has the "gift", but the Komizar seems skeptical. He speaks to Lia but she doesn't respond. Kaden tells her that she can but she knows that she would be better off to bide her time. Unable to get a reaction from her, the Komizar begins looking through the looted weapons. He quickly finds Walther's baldric and begins inspecting it. He states that it is too finely made to belong to anyone other than a crown prince. He looks over and Lia cannot control her reaction. The Komizar has found a way to get to her. He orders her placed in the dungeon. As soon as she is thrown in the dark cell, she realizes that she is not alone.

The Komizar questions Kaden about why he disobeyed his orders to kill Lia. Kaden tries to pay off the gifted angle but the Komizar knows that Kaden has fallen for her. He must leave to  on some business and asks his brother to accompany him. Kaden declines. The Komizar knows that he just got back and could use a couple days of rest. There will be work to be done one he returns. He doesn't mention Lia but Kaden knows that the Komizar demands loyalty to their country above all else.

It turns out that the guards have placed her in the same cell as Rafe. They are glad to see one another and Lia helps bandage some of his wounds. He apologizes for deceiving her but she isn’t ready to forgive him. In fact, she slaps him across the cheek. Lia wants to know if he was just interested in her because she is a princess. At first, he was furious with her but he fell for the spunky, outspoken girl she is. If she was just a barmaid, he would still be kissing her back at the tavern. Instead, he had followed her to keep her safe. Rafe knows that the two of them need to get their stories straight before they are questioned. He tells her that he has help on the way in the form of four men. Lia knows how many Vendean forces there are and asks him if he doesn’t mean four thousand. no and not four hundred either. Rafe has four very capable men coming in the next few days. Lia is skeptical that the two of them will be able to escape. Suddenly, Lia is dragged off.

Lia is taken for a bath before her meeting with the Komizar. She is dressed in a rough spun dress that is too big. She has to belt it with a rope. Upon entering the Komizar’s chamber, she sees that Kaden and Rafe are both there as well. The Komizar questions Rafe about why he went looking for the princess. He brings in one of his trusted men who had been In Dalbreck the year before to verify Rafe's claim or face death. Lia is nervous that his true identity will be discovered. When the man, Griz, comes in, the Komizar asks if he recognizes Rafe. He glances at Lia before claiming that he saw Rafe as the prince's right hand man. Lia wonders who Griz lied for; her or Rafe. The Komizar dismisses Griz and asks Rafe what the message is. The King of Dalbreck is dying and the Prince is looking to make a more advantageous alliance with Venda rather than Morrighan. The Komizar isn't fully trusting but waiting just a few weeks for the prince's messenger won't hurt. He dismisses everyone. Kaden and Lia are left behind. To his dismay, Kaden is told to leave the Komizar and Lia alone. He reluctantly leaves. The Komizar wants to know why Lia didn't react to the news of Dalbreck's betrayal. Her father considers her a traitor and her brother is dead. She had nothing left to lose. That is where she is wrong, says the Komizar.

Are Rafe and Lia rescued? Who is the Komizar to Kaden? Does the Komizar or Kaden discover who Rafe truly is? Will Lia’s father, the King of Morrighan, do anything about her plight or does he still consider her a traitor? What are the Komizar's plans for Lia? Who is Griz? Will Lia's heart remain with Rafe or will Kaden be able to break through? What secrets does Kaden keep? Can Lia survive her latest trial? What else can she lose?

The Remnant Chronicles will be concluded with book three, The Beauty of Darkness, in 2016.

Visit Mary E. Pearson’s website.

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