I don’t read a lot of fantasy books and I nearly stopped reading The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan when Wynter began talking to cats & ghosts! Stories about humans and animals talking together have rarely worked for me.
Fortunately, the fantastical elements are limited and this novel reads more as an historial fiction.
The interplay of complex, believable human relationships and the easy way in which Celine explores the big issues such as love, truth, power & integrity kept me entralled. The cover illustration is a work of art and I’m looking forward to the final 2 books in the Moorehawke trilogy.
Mature readers 13+
Wynter returns from a five-year exile in the bleak Northlands to find her beloved homeland in turmoil. King Jonathan’s civilised, multicultural realm is no more; the gibbets and cages have returned. Days of laughter, friendly ghosts and gossipy cats remain only in Wynter’s memory – the present confronts her with power play, dark torture chambers, violent ghosts, and cats (those still alive) too scared to talk to humans. The Inquisition is a real and present danger.
Crown Prince Alberon is missing. There are murmurings of a ‘Bloody Machine’ of untold destructive power. And as Wynter and her friends, Prince Razi and the mysterious Christopher Garron, seek to restore stability to the fragile kingdom, risking death at every turn, Wynter is forced to make a terrible choice.
Set in a fantastical medieval Europe, this is the first book in a compelling trilogy of court intrigue, adventure and romance. It draws the reader in from the very first sentence and doesn’t loosen its grip until the last.