Kingsbane by Claire Legrand
Two queens, separated by thousands of years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.
Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.
Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.
Interview with Claire Legrand
Where did the inspiration come from for your new release?
When I was eighteen years old, I was obsessed with Howard Shore’s scores for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. (Let’s be real, I’m still obsessed with them.) The summer after I graduated from high school, I was listening to the Return of the King score—specifically, the track “The End of All Things”—and had a vision of the a powerful young woman who was in great pain and was about to make a momentous decision. By asking myself questions about this woman I’d daydreamed into existence, I built the character of Rielle Dardenne, and the rest of the series grew around her.
How does it feel to know your characters are out and about in reader’s imaginations?
I came up with the idea for this trilogy fifteen years ago, and the first book—Furyborn—only come out last year, so these characters lived privately in my head for a long time before anyone else knew about them. I’m still not quite used to the joy of knowing that my characters are out in the real world, and that people are reading and loving their story. It’s such an incredible experience, and I’m honored and grateful that the series has found so many readers.
Do you miss writing about them?
I’m writing book three in the trilogy right now, so I haven’t had to say good-bye to my characters yet, but I know I’ll miss them terribly once the series is finished. I’m not sure how I’ll cope!
What was your publishing journey highlight?
So far, the best part of this career is seeing readers embrace the Empirium Trilogy. This story has been the primary artistic focus of my adult life, and it’s a dream come true to share it with others. When I got the call from my editor letting me know that Furyborn had debuted at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list, I could hear my publishing team cheering in the background, and I felt ready to float off into the clouds with happiness. I remember thinking, “This is real. This story I’ve loved for years is real, and people are reading it.” Then I ran back into the library and celebrated with my co-workers. From the moment I ran outside with my ringing phone, they had been waiting with bated breath and crossed fingers, and they were so happy to hear the news. It was a magical day, and made me feel validated in having believed in this story for so long.
What was the last book that made you laugh out loud?
Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie. There are a lot of very serious moments in that book, but also moments of incredible, wry humor that would sneak up and take me by surprise.
What was the last book that made you cry?
Again,that would be Americanah. In one sequence, the protagonist is struggling with a period of extreme depression, and her pain was so well-written—and, as someone who lives with chronic depression, so relatable—that I cried right on the train.
If you were on an island for a year what two books would you bring?
I would bring Fire by Kristin Cashore, because it’s my all-time favorite book and I couldn’t bear to be without it for a year. I would also bring The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, because it’s been recommended to me so many times, but I’ve been too intimidated to start it. If I were stuck on an island with few things to do, maybe I’d finally find the courage to crack it open.
Lastly, what is your favourite book quote?
I’m not sure if this is my absolute favorite book quote—there are so many to choose from!—but it begins one of my favorite books, and, interestingly, as I haven’t read the book in years, it’s the first quote that came to mind: “The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone.” Thus begins Peter S. Beagle’s luminous The Last Unicorn, which is perhaps the most heartachingly beautiful book I’ve ever read.
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