Imperial Russia is in need of the services of a Royal Enchanter to protect the realm from threats. Years of peace have lulled the people of Russia into forgetting that magic was part of the country’s defenses. However, in secret, two enchanters have separately been trained to one day stand by the Czar’s side and become the magical power beside the thrown. The problem? There can be only one Royal Enchanter decided by a duel to the death. The contest is to be conducted in rounds with each enchanter to display their magical prowess to honor the Crown Prince, Pasha. Of course both enchanters are so likeable that the reader is set up to be crushed when one has to die. Vika is a kind, beautiful and vivacious young lady, oblivious of her parentage thinking her father is the man who raised and trained her. Nikolai is a dashing, equally kind and gentle young man who happens to be the Crown Prince’s best friend. Prince Pasha has no idea his buddy is an enchanter so we have a little betrayal set up here. Pasha is drawn to Vika but he is longtime friends with Nikolai. He must decide the victor knowing the other must die.
Told at a brisk pace, resplendent with imagery to delight the imagination and characters to grow fond of, The Crown’s Game is a winner on all levels. Rather than conjure a dragon to devour their opponent, the magic of the contest was designed to delight the citizens – on the surface. Each enchanter wove a sneaky and lethal element into their displays to kill the other enchanter. The contest goes on for days giving Vika and Nikolai enough time to care deeply for each other. They know their victory means death for the other. Highly Recommend.
eGalley review Publication date 5.17.16