cover image Arca


G.R. Macallister. Saga, $29.99 (544p) ISBN 978-1-982167-92-9

The Drought of Girls has ended but all is not well in Macallister’s enthralling second Five Queendoms epic fantasy (after Scorpica). The usually harmonious matriarchal societies are in disarray and heading toward war. Young Queen Eminel of magical Arca navigates her new position in the wake of the events of the Rites of the Bloody-Handed and the deaths of both Mirri, the previous queen of Arca, and Sessadon, Mirri’s killer. In trade-hub queendom Paxim, Queen Heliane works to gain support for her son, Paulus, becoming the land’s first king. And, after growing up in scholarly Bastion, safely away from warlike Scorpica, Ama (the daughter of Scorpica’s late queen) finds a place as Paulus’s bodyguard, his life in her hands. Meanwhile, Queen Tamura leads the Scorpicae as they instigate attacks on Arca. Macallister keeps the tension high, brilliantly weaving together political intrigue and adventure. The refreshing worldbuilding and intricate character work remain highlights. This takes the series to new heights. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Mar.)