Lada (the AU female Vlad The Impaler) is the centre of this 1st book of a trilogy. She fights against the stifling air of a time when the lot and expectations of women were unpleasantly different. She is summarily dismissed at first but learns to use psychomythologising pretensions in a calculated capacity for power. The guiding narrative arc sets Lada on a path towards a future Gotterdammerung. Her brother Radu has many alarming personal faults and whimsically has emotional surrender to their captors in increasingly tiresome fashion.
Mehmed and his radiant charisma is hopelessly fixated on conquering Constantinople. This is a very good story of vividly vile people who have relentless narcissism and no conventional morality. One has admiring disgust for Lada who remakes herself in a garish decadent court, outgrows her manageability and walks her own path to the uncompromising conclusion. This is a dark and gripping tale of how Lada distances herself from how others see her.
“You make certain that your name means fear and pain.”
“He is the end of us.”
“This city determinedly refused him friends.”
“What were their names?”
“It was a lonely, cold thing to live without expectations.”
“That damnable city.”
“Hope no one realized that they should be dead.”
“Favourites can fall far.”
“Souls and thrones are irreconcilable.”