In a time of intrigue and betrayal, the huntress is on a quest that could jeopardize two empires and two great queens: Catherine de Medici and Elizabeth I.
The year is 1585-and prophecy has foretold the coming of a daughter of the Earth whose powers are so extraordinary they could usurp the very rule of the Dark Queen herself, Catherine de Medici. Dispatched from Brittany to London, Catriona O'Hanlon, known as the Huntress, must find this mysterious young girl and shield her from those who will exploit her mystic abilities, which have the potential to change the course of history.
Catriona's skill with weaponry is all she has to protect herself and her young charge from spies who snake through the courts of Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen-including the girl's own father, whose loyalties are stretched to the breaking point. But Catriona will soon face menacing forces and sinister plots unlike any she has ever encountered.
From Susan Carroll, the celebrated storyteller of historical fiction, The Huntress is an unforgettable portrait of power and passion-and one woman's courage to risk everything for those she loves.
"Susan Carroll writes sparkling dialogue and exquisite prose."
-Teresa Medeiros, author of After Midnight
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Fun, intricately plotted and with lots of derring-do, Carroll's latest should be popular with fans of historical romance. With a temper to match her fiery hair, Catriona O'Hanlon leaves her liege, Ariane, the Lady of the Fair Isle, to locate a sorceress's daughter and bring her to the Faire Isle, where she can be protected from the Dark Queen and the coven of the Silver Rose. The girl's father, Martin Le Loup, is living incognito with his daughter in London as dapper Englishman Martin Wolfe. Martin's an agent for Queen Elizabeth's spymaster and is conflicted about his job to ferret out Catholic threats to her majesty. As Cat and Martin spar with and fall for one another, danger lurks in the forms of the coven and the Medici. Carroll strikes a balance between froth and craftsmanship. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 29, 2007
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Excerpt from The Huntress by Susan Carroll
The Lady of Faire Isle wandered through her garden, her slippered feet scarce making a sound as she followed the familiar path. Even the lark that nested in the old elm was not stirring at this early hour, the sky just beginning to lighten with the first hint of dawn.
The garden was as silent as the house that loomed behind her. With its ivy-covered walls, single square tower, and mullioned windows, Belle Haven conveyed a snug, solid appearance. The manor had been sanctuary to countless generations of wise women and home to the one heralded as the leader among them, the Lady of Faire Isle.
Ariane Deauville, the present holder of that title, was a tall, stately woman with masses of chestnut-colored hair and solemn gray eyes. Despite all of the danger and hardship she had faced during her thirty-four years, Ariane's countenance was usually marked with a regal serenity. But at the moment, her face was pale and drawn from lack of sleep.
After tossing and turning for hours, she had finally given up. Fearing to disturb her husband's repose, she had stolen from the warmth of their bed, flung a woolen cloak over her nightshift, and slipped outside the kitchen door.
Her gardens had always been a source of peace to her, all those well- tended beds of herbs she used in her healing arts a great comfort. But this morning her gaze turned in the same direction as so many others all across Europe--toward the sky, where that strange apparition disrupted the peace of the heavens.
Even as the sky grew lighter, the comet was still visible, lurking just beneath the pale disc of moon. Ariane stared, humbled and awed by the spectral phenomenon streaking the sky.
Since the dawn of time, folks had viewed comets as
the herald of floods, earthquakes, plagues, famines, and the deaths of emperors and kings. Ariane knew she should be above such superstitious beliefs.
But she could not suppress the chill that worked up her spine. Lowering her gaze, she chided herself for entertaining such foolishness. There was trouble brewing in the world beyond her island, but she needed no comet's arrival to tell her that. The coven of the Rose was on the rise again, the order as mad and dangerous as the sorceress who had founded it.
Cassandra Lascelles had once attempted to assemble an army, drawing into the Sisterhood of the Silver Rose those women who had fallen victim to the cruelties of the world. And there were far too many of them, Ariane reflected sadly. Abused wives, girls pregnant out of wedlock, aging courtesans discarded by their lovers. The impoverished, the disillusioned, the desperate, the insane had all flocked to the Silver Rose's banner.
Cassandra's intent had been to spread chaos throughout France, bring down the house of Medici so that she could place her daughter, Megaera, on the throne. The scheme might have been dismissed as pure insanity if Cassandra had not been in possession of the dread Book of Shadows, a compendium of all the most powerful, destructive, and dark ancient science.
Ariane had been in Ireland at the time, driven into exile by false allegations of witchcraft and treason against the French king. By the time word had reached her regarding the Sisterhood of the Silver Rose, Cass's plot had already been foiled by Ariane's youngest sister, Miri, and the witch-hunter, Simon Aristide.