Heart of Hythea is the first book from author Suzanne Francis. This excellent and well-researched romantic fantasy is the first in the “Song of the Arkafina” series and is set in the world of Yrth, part of the Gyre Cosmos, closely modelled on mid-seventeenth century England. It is both a ripping adventure and a tender romance, while the larger struggle of the Amaranthine against the Angellus permeates the story, lifting it to the plane of epic fantasy.
Heart of Hythea features a determined female protagonist, Katrione, who faces many challenges and grows in wisdom and maturity throughout. She is unafraid to go after the things she desires and will often break the rules to get them, while still remaining true to herself and her ideals.
Although Heart of Hythea is the first book of a series, it contains a complete storyline and can be read without fear of committing to a whole series (but I defy you not to want more).
Here is the blurb:
Yrthâ€¦ a place of ordered beauty — and undreamed of terror. A magical realm where winged Amaranthine hide in the shadow of humankind, while selfishly exploiting them. A universe of countless dimensions; where an unwary sideways step might carry you to Death’s silent Kingdom — or beyond, to the very heart of the rising Gyre.
Now into this world comes Katrione Estelle du Chesne, a born healer. The Amaranthine need her, for she is destined to become the Vessel of the Goddess Lalluna and a pawn in the battle against their enemy, the dark Angellus. And Katrione’s fellow citizens, in the nation of Beaumarais, are also desperately in need of a healing touch, as they suffer through an endlessly bloody civil war.
The difficult choices that Katrione must make — between humankind and Amaranthine — true love and responsibility — sworn oath and unhappy truth, make for compulsive reading.
For more information about Heart of Hythea and details of availability, please go here.