cover image The Hidden King (The Coming of Áed #1)

The Hidden King (The Coming of Áed #1)

E.G. Radcliff. Mythic Prairie, $12.99 paper (308p) ISBN 978-1-73367-332-7

Left with a letter he can’t read and “ruined” hands from a tragedy he can’t recall, Áed only knows the squalor of the Maze in Radcliff’s rags-to-riches fantasy debut. When Áed’s love, Ninian, dies at 18, Áed takes their eight-year-old foundling charge, Ronan, to the once-connected White City to pursue a better life. They soon find that residents of the Maze—or Smudge, as it is known within the prosperous City—are banned by the mad King Seisyll. Chased by the August Guard, Áed and Ronan stumble into the home of Boudicca, a healer, who shelters them. When Boudicca’s brother, August Guard General Cynwrig, visits, however, the two are brought before the King. Recognizing something familiar in Áed, Seisyll attacks, but Áed stops him with a power he’s only recently learned of—the ability to control fire. What follows is Áed’s trials in the dungeons, his escape, and several revelations. Though Radcliff occasionally relies on telling over showing and the plot leans on conveniences, the writing is crisp and the worldbuilding is rich in this promising series opener with faerie influences. Ages 13–up. [em](Self-published) [/em]