Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered - in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.
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"Starred Review. Hartman proves dragons are still fascinating in this impressive high fantasy. Equal parts political thriller, murder mystery, bittersweet romance, and coming-of-age story, this is an uncommonly good fantasy... An exciting new series to watch." - Booklist
"Starred Review. To the innovative concept and high action, add Seraphina's tentative romance with Kiggs, rich language lively with humor and sprinkled with an entire psaltery of saints and an orchestra's worth of medieval instruments, and a political conspiracy aimed at breaking the dragon-human truce, and what you have is an outstanding debut from author-to-watch Hartman." - The Horn Magazine
"Starred Review. In Hartman's splendid prose debut, humans and dragons - who can take human form but not human feeling - have lived in uneasy peace for 40 years." - Kirkus Reviews
"A wonderful mix of thrilling story, fascinating characters, and unique dragonlore. I loved being in Seraphina's world!" - Alison Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona
"Beautifully written, well-rounded characters, and some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy for a long while. An impressive debut novel; I can't wait to see what Rachel Hartman writes next." - Christopher Paolini, New York Times bestselling author of Eragon
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Rachel was born in Kentucky, but has lived a variety of places including Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She has a BA in Comparative Literature, although she insists it should have been a BS because her undergraduate thesis was called "Paradox and Parody in Don Quixote and the satires of Lucian." She eschewed graduate school in favour of drawing comic books.
As a child, Rachel Hartman played cello and lip-synched Mozart operas with her sisters. The famous Renaissance song "Mille Regretz" first moved Rachel to write a fantasy novel rooted in music, but her inspiration didn't end there. She wrote Seraphina while listening to medieval Italian polyphony, Breton bagpipe-rock, prog metal, Latin American baroque, and Irish sean nós.
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