Isle of Blood and Stone

Makiia Lucier. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-544-96857-8

In this lush historical fantasy set in a world reminiscent of the Renaissance-era Mediterranean, the discovery of a mysterious map triggers a search for the truth behind the tragic events of decades past. Young King Ulises of the island nation of St. John of del Mar only ascended the throne because his older brothers were kidnapped by agents of a neighboring nation 18 years earlier, and are presumed dead. Then several maps surface that appear to be the work of the supposedly long-dead royal navigator Lord Antoni, suggesting that he and the lost princes might still be alive after all. Antoni’s son Elias and Ulises’s cousin Mercedes set out to solve a riddle related to the maps that could change del Mar forever, only to encounter dangers both real and supernatural. Combining rich descriptions with a compelling mystery, Lucier (A Death-Struck Year) creates a vibrant world populated by appealing characters and enhances the story with subtle magical elements, a hint of romance, and a dose of political intrigue. The unusual inclusion of cartography as a plot device further distinguishes this satisfying adventure. Readers will cheer for the gender role–defying female characters and the bromance between Elias and Ulises. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Apr.) [/em]