cover image Eridani’s Crown

Eridani’s Crown

Alex Shvartsman. UFO, $15.99 trade paper (276p) ISBN 978-0-9992690-1-5

Shvartsman (H.G. Wells, Secret Agent) skillfully confronts the ways power can corrupt in this smart political fantasy. Teenage Princess Eridani and her brother, Danchu, are receiving an education abroad when the Patriarch of the North attempts to assassinate them and consolidate power. Though both survive, Danchu is wounded by a poisoned sword and Eridani must visit a sorceress, Oshekzhothep the Seer, to procure an antidote. Before Oshekzhothep helps Eridani, she delivers a prophecy: “Besides [Danchu], everyone you know and trust will come to betray you.” Made paranoid and ruthless by the Seer’s warning, Eridani allows her suspicion to guide her political career over the next decade as she rises to the position of Queen Mother. The idealism of her youth hardens into callousness as the misogyny she faces, the passage of time, and her own mistrust force her closer to political corruption. Shvartsman has a gift for subtle, believable character arcs and a firm grasp on the specific setbacks faced by female politicians. Tight plotting and an intricately crafted universe will keep readers hooked. (Oct.)