Carpenter’s deliciously creepy debut novel explores 13th-century Bohemia through the eyes of a supernaturally gifted young woman. When Ottakar, the disputed “Younger King” of Bohemia, sustains a near-fatal arrow wound on the battlefield, he’s brought to the local monastery for treatment. There, he’s treated by a young girl known only as Mouse, who came to the monastery as a young orphan and whose healing abilities are unparalleled. Certain that this attempt on his life will not be the last, Ottakar insists that Mouse return with him to Prague as his personal healer. Over time, romance blooms. But Mouse’s mysterious origins are an obstacle to the couple’s happiness—not just because a commoner can never marry a king, but because Mouse’s emerging gifts are beginning to hint at darker secrets in her past. What’s more, dark creatures have emerged from the spirit world and are threatening to rain evil down on Prague. With the help of the priest who raised her, Mouse attempts to unravel the secret formula that will banish the spirits forever, but even as she succeeds in vanquishing them, Mouse isn’t prepared for the truth about her origins, or for the full extent of her abilities as her power grows. Carpenter’s vivid imagination creates a well-rounded, sympathetic heroine and an intricate world full of terrifying details. The volatility of the evil forces threatening Mouse’s world makes for an unpredictable journey, and while the final reveal of her origins feels a little cheap, readers will be too caught up in the action to mind. Agent: Susan Finesman, Fine Literary. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/07/2015 Release date: 11/01/2015 Genre: Fiction
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