Then her father assigns her most challenging role: to find out if Queen Sandalia, regent of Gallin, and heir to two other thrones has plans to oust
Lorraine from her position. Belinda befriends a close-knit group of friends that includes Sandalia’s son, Prince Javier, wreaking havoc on relationships and ending up as the prince’s lover and confidante. In the past, Belinda barely acknowledged lovers, forgetting their names as easily as changing clothes. But her position as a lady makes it difficult to avoid entanglement. Javier shares her witchbreed power, an ability her father had closed off when she was a child. Sharing the secret, Javier teaches her to understand and wield this power that enables her to use her will on people as well as pluck thoughts from their heads. Using her power to better understand the players at court, Belinda realizes someone else has ambitions as well that might put her in jeopardy. Witch powers or no, Belinda is still human, and espionage is a hanging offense. Were someone to discover the witchbreed power, she’d be burned at the stake.
C.E. Murphy has created a masterful tale in the QUEEN’S BASTARD, combining political intrigue, suspense, power and sexuality into a fast-paced delectable mélange that will satisfy historical fiction and fantasy fans alike. Murphy has clearly done her research, making her world with its political complexities and social atmospheres to life for the reader. But what sets this novel apart from so many is Murphy’s innate talent for multi-faceted character development. On the surface, one should dislike, if not loathes Belinda, an assassin who kills without feeling for loyalty to her mother. But at the same time it’s possible to see that if she let herself feel emotion, she might feel remorse. Alternately, one might pity her for being used and not given the life a queen’s daughter might have, even if born on the right side of the blanket, to use a propos of the time. Murphy’s secondary characters are similarly complex, giving the book extra depth. Murphy has left enough unanswered questions to be hopefully answered in the sequel, The PRETENDER’S CROWN.