Legacy of Kings, by Eleanor Herman

Legacy of KingsHistory calls Alexander of Macedon “the Great” because he built one of the world’s largest empires centuries before the Romans even started out. In Eleanor Herman’s epic tale, however, Prince Alex is sixteen, untried, and ashamed of the disfiguring scar running down one leg. A student of Aristotle, Alex is appointed regent when his father, Philip, goes off to war, and he knows this test of his power could be the turning point of his life.

The annual Blood Tournament brings representatives from all over Philip’s lands to the capital to test their prowess in combat. Alex and his friend Hephaestion have been practicing, and soon they will pit their skill against villagers like Jacob, whose beloved Katerina has secretly followed him.  Kat has strange powers over animals, including the deadly hellion. Alex feels himself drawn to her, but he does not suspect that Kat’s reason for coming to the capital is to exact revenge for her mother’s death by killing the queen, Alex’s sorceress mother. In the meantime, the Princess Zofia, Alex’s betrothed, is in love with someone else, and so has run away in order to escape the marriage, only to be captured by slave traders.

In a time when people married, had children, and conducted adult careers while still in their teens, these teenagers in high places are discovering that the choices they make affect many people, and that those they love the most are entangled in dangerous webs.

Legacy of Kings is the first in the series “Blood of Gods and Royals,” and is historical fiction with a smidge of fantasy. Told from six different perspectives, three male and three female, this wide-ranging epic has been called “The Game of Thrones” for older teens. Well, not quite, although characters do get killed off somewhat brutally, and individuals and cults can be thoroughly evil. Some of the major characters are developed more fully than others, and readers can hope that we get more of them in future installments. Still, this first volume is packed full of enough action, love, betrayal, power, plotting, deception, and passion to keep readers turning the pages long into the night.

Introduce yourself and your teens to a smashing tale that makes medieval epics look futuristic. Recommended.

Disclaimer: I read a library copy of this book. Opinions are solely my own, and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

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