The Necromancer’s Daughter is the sixth and final book in the Ghostspeaker Chronicles.
Queen Johanna’s position in Saardam is fragile. The Barons and Kings of the countries in the hinterland are not happy that she helped the royal family to survive and is now about to ensure the next generation. They vow to teach this little upstart country a lesson for once and for all. Of course it is not so much about petty rivalry, but about access to the sea port that connects the hinterland with the lucrative ocean trade.
Johanna knows that if it came to a fight Saardam could never survive, so she has invited all the heads of state and other important people for talks to invest in the city’s shattered infrastructure for the benefit of all. As a congregation of royal families gathers such as the lowlands have never seen, the magicians travelling with the esteemed guests prepare the final and most insidious attempt to get control of the upstart little country and its usurper, commoner queen: through her baby daughter.
Here is a sample:
“Do you think I’m a weak queen?”
He said nothing for a while. His cheeks were red. Johanna’s heart was thudding. She was a weak queen, dependent on the King’s Council as she was. Because the nobles on the council didn’t trust her, and because Roald wasn’t going to make any decisions himself. And because they wouldn’t let her make any decisions because she was a woman and they thought that she was stupid.
Li Fai said, “I prefer not to pass harsh judgement on people who treat us honourably.”
In other words: he agreed that she was a weak queen.
“Tell me then, what should I do in your father’s eyes? What does he say about me at the dinner table?”
“He says things that would not be wise to repeat.” His cheeks grew red. “We are, in our culture, very open. We do not pretend things are better than they are. We do not say a thing to please someone, especially if that person is a friend.
” The intense expression in his eyes made her squirm. “I am a weak queen. I would do so much more, but these men control every step I take, every decision that has to be made. I have to ask them to approve everything I want to do. Half the time, they don’t. The other half, they dither until it is too late.”
“My father says you should get rid of them.”
Johanna snorted. “That’s a lot easier said than done.”
“He didn’t say it would be easy either. He likes to work with strong rulers.”
And she, clearly, didn’t fit the bill.
A cold hand of panic clamped around her heart. Li Han might not even be interested in the investment in Saardam at all. He might simply hang around because King William and other royals were coming. Li Han might want to negotiate with them for better conditions of stay and hire of an office in Anglia or Lurezia.
Li Fai met her eyes and the look in them disturbed her. He reached out, briefly putting his hand on hers. He said, his voice low, “I want to stay. I think you’re honourable. I think it is a great asset that you are not part of the royal families of the lowlands who are all related and intermarried, and who are all only interested in their own wealth. I would like to see you succeed.”
His father, clearly, did not believe she could.
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