The Reluctant Queen
Book Two of The Queens of Renthia
Filled with political intrigue, violent magic, and malevolent spirits, the mesmerizing second book in Sarah Beth Durst’s Queens of Renthia epic fantasy trilogy that started with the award-winning The Queen of Blood.
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
And those spirits want to kill you.
It’s the first lesson that every Renthian learns.
Not long ago, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive those spirits and assume the royal throne. Since then, the new queen has kept the peace and protected the humans of her land. But now for all her power, she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. And if she leaves the world before a new heir is ready, the spirits that inhabit her beloved realm will run wild, destroying her cities and slaughtering her people.
Naelin is one such person, and she couldn’t be further removed from the Queen—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Her world is her two children, her husband, and the remote village tucked deep in the forest that is her home, and that’s all she needs. But when Ven, the Queens champion, passes through the village, Naelin’s ambitious husband proudly tells him of his wife’s ability to control spirits—magic that Naelin fervently denies. She knows that if the truth of her abilities is known, it will bring only death and separation from those she loves.
But Ven has a single task: to find the best possible candidate to protect the people of Aratay. He did it once when he discovered Daleina, and he’s certain he’s done it again. Yet for all his appeals to duty, Naelin is a mother, and she knows her duty is to her children first and foremost. Only as the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened—even as ominous rumors trickle down from the north—does she realize that the best way to keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.
Sarah Beth Durst established a place of dark wonder in The Queen of Blood, and now the stakes are even higher as the threat to the Queen and her people grows both from within and beyond the borders of Aratay in this riveting second novel of the Queens of Renthia series.
Praise For The Reluctant Queen: Book Two of The Queens of Renthia…
“It is a pleasure to visit Renthia again. Durst paints a gorgeous, leaf-strewn horror house setting that makes it easy to immerse yourself in her world, and stay there.”
— B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog
“Durst’s excellent second Queens of Renthia fantasy.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Reluctant Queen was a fantastic next installment for this trilogy.”
— Girls in Capes
“The Reluctant Queen makes for a worthy follow-up to The Queen of Blood.”
“Ms. Durst has penned a series that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The characters are diverse, both in age and life experience, making this a perfect pick for pretty much anyone who enjoys a well-crafted fantasy with strong heroines and a very unique world.”
— All About Romance
“The Queen of Blood made it onto my list of books that I felt were deserving of more attention, and I maintain that more than ever, especially with how good The Reluctant Queen turned out....The Queens of Renthia is shaping up to be an excellent series.”
“A thrilling beginning to a sweeping series about searching for sovereignty and truth in order to save one’s land.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“The Queen of Blood is full of rich tension from the opening scene to the nail-biting finale.”
— Jeff Wheeler, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Kingfountain and Muirwood series
Praise for The Queen of Blood: “Mythopoeic Award-winner Durst launches her Queens of Renthia series with a stellar and imaginative tale.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
— Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author
“What a great story! A truly wonderful fantasy novel which doubles as an allegory for our own earthly struggle between Man and Nature. Filled with fresh ideas and excitement, told with verve and heart. This book deserves a wide readership, and I think it will find one.”
— Terry Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of the Shannara series
Harper Voyager, 9780062413352, 368pp.
Publication Date: July 4, 2017
About the Author
Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of over twenty fantasy books for adults, teens, and kids, including The Queens of Renthia series, Drink Slay Love, and The Stone Girl’s Story. She won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat. For more information, visit her at sarahbethdurst.com.