cover image Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)

Kerri Maniscalco. Little, Brown/Patterson, $18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-316-42846-0

In her latest novel, which kicks off a new series, Maniscalco (Stalking Jack the Ripper) delves into a richly imagined landscape of Italian folklore centered on Sicilian twins Emilia and Vittoria di Carlo. As goddess-descended witches, or streghe, the sisters are particularly at risk from the Malvagi, a brotherhood of demon princes. The lifelong enmity between the streghe and Malvagi means that the twins must always wear blessed amulets; when they bring them together one night as eight-year-olds, despite their Nonna’s dire warnings, they unwittingly free the seven princes from hell. After Emilia finds Vittoria’s murdered body, heart torn out, a decade later, the grief-stricken girl inadvertently summons one of the Malvagi: the Prince of Wrath. Together, the mortal enemies work to solve the murders of several streghe killed on Sicily. Lyrical writing and an immersive atmosphere accompany a well-built world rooted in 19th-century Palermo, especially evocative descriptions of food prepared in the family’s restaurant, while intriguing plot twists round off the novel. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary. (Oct.) [/em]