Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Councillor by E.J. Beaton

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings. I have an insane number of 2021 books on my TBR, so this seems like an appropriate activity to take part in.

This week I’m waiting on The Councillor, by E.J. Beaton.

This Machiavellian fantasy follows a scholar’s quest to choose the next ruler of her kingdom amidst lies, conspiracy, and assassination.

When the death of Iron Queen Sarelin Brey fractures the realm of Elira, Lysande Prior, the palace scholar and the queen’s closest friend, is appointed Councillor. Publically, Lysande must choose the next monarch from amongst the city-rulers vying for the throne. Privately, she seeks to discover which ruler murdered the queen, suspecting the use of magic.

Resourceful, analytical, and quiet, Lysande appears to embody the motto she was raised with: everything in its place. Yet while she hides her drug addiction from her new associates, she cannot hide her growing interest in power. She becomes locked in a game of strategy with the city-rulers – especially the erudite prince Luca Fontaine, who seems to shift between ally and rival.

Further from home, an old enemy is stirring: the magic-wielding White Queen is on the move again, and her alliance with a traitor among the royal milieu poses a danger not just to the peace of the realm, but to the survival of everything that Lysande cares about.

In a world where the low-born keep their heads down, Lysande must learn to fight an enemy who wears many guises… even as she wages her own battle between ambition and restraint.

I can never pass up the opportunity to spotlight an Australian author, particularly on debut. Throw in the phrase ‘Machiavellian fantasy’, and the possibilities associated with a non-hereditary monarchy, and I’m sold.

The Councillor will be released on 2 March 2021 from DAW Books.

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