A wildly inventive, action-packed fantasy. A darkly fascinating read.
— Kevin Sands, author of The Blackthorn Key


A ruthless queen. An ancient god. One brave girl with an impossible choice...


"You are more than Fen." Her mother said this every morning and it always made Fen shiver, for her mother was referring to Fen's secret name. The one they hid from the queen.

Queen Servilia has ruled the world of Illium for over a thousand years. Using magical red dust mined from the earth, she has enslaved her subjects, enforcing uniformity and obedience to maintain her absolute power.

But in Village Twenty-One, wild magic is growing. Fen, a young girl whose hand has been cut off as punishment for theft, wakes one morning to discover that her hair has gone crimson: a sign she has been invested with magic of her own, and is a threat to Servilia’s reign. For Fen, this is a death sentence.

When her village is burned to the ground and her sister captured, Fen must make an impossible choice. Will she risk unleashing the most feared magical entity of all time—an ancient god who could overthrow Servilia, but whose power may be even more terrifying—in order to save the only family she has left?

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Moves with the pace and unpredictability of a wildfire. . . gritty and visceral and full of surprises. Readers will be swept away.
— Wesley King, author of The Vindico
Slade’s piano-wire precision is a show of remarkable skill. It’s due to his unerringly smooth prose and spot-on dialogue that the story is able to whisk along so quickly. . . . Timely and timeless
— Quill & Quire
...gets the reader’s attention and does not let it go until the book is finished.
— Resource Links
A highly enjoyable read that has wide appeal. It is creative, well-paced, interesting, with great dialogue and imagery.
— CM Magazine