Feb 2021 #AMQUERYING: Shadows/SoMES

Dyanna failed, losing her family, kingdom, and freedom to a twisted conqueror. Three years later, when old allies finally free her from the chains, she first thinks it a delusion of her tormented mind. But the conqueror—Grazick—is gone, abandoning her in his retreat. Her rescuers are childhood friends, the rulers of neighboring Alkar, and they offer her sanctuary in their mountainous homeland.

Broken in body and soul, Dyanna can’t fathom a life beyond her cell, but she finds friends in Alkar’s simple yet dysfunctional royal household. The king tasks his stern and overworked brother, Venerio, with helping her adjust. He’s surprisingly mindful—never asking more than she can handle—and Dyanna finds strength to embrace her second chance. But just as she builds a routine around the castle, Grazick strikes the mountains. Venerio veers from planning roads and harvests to preparing for war, while Dyanna’s fear of recapture consumes her every thought.

She longs to help her outnumbered friends, but old failures and relentless anxiety leave her feeling out of place amidst accomplished warriors and skilled strategists. Meanwhile, her connection with Venerio grows uncomfortably strong and subconscious fears rattle her frayed nerves. Though she’s no longer be a captive, she doubts she’ll ever be truly free—but if she doesn’t find a way to join the fight, she’ll lose her new life like she lost her old one.