The Ring & The Crown
by Melissa De La Cruz
Synopsis:Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?
Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.
But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.
Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.
The Ring and The Crown follows five teens in the early 1900s of an alternate Earth where magic is not only real but also highly sought after and the Franco-British Empire rules a very large part of the known world. Aelwyn, daughter of the Merlin the most powerful mage in the kingdom and second only to the Queen, has just returned from Avalon to become a court mage and serve her best friend, the princess. Marie-Victoria, only child of 150 year old Queen Eleanor, is being forced into an arranged marriage to the Prussian KronPrinz Leopold to seal a peace treaty between the two nations; though Marie-Victoria is in love with someone else. Ronan Ashtor, a young New York socialite, is going to the London to "do the season" and find a rich husband (preferably with a title) to save her family for ruin. Wolfgang, Leopold's little brother who usually goes by the nickname Wolf, is returning to London for his brother's wedding and to support Marie-Victoria, one of his oldest friends. Isabelle of Orleans, whose family ruled France till they were defeated by the British, heads to London to steal back her fiance Leopold from his future wife. In this beautiful created world of sparkling ball gowns and high drama, De la Cruz has blend history with fantasy seamlessly. Though the novel does start slowly by the end the reader will be breathless with the fast-paced sequences of events and the many plot twists. The Ring and The Crown has so much happening by the end of the novel it is not surprising that some issues remain unresolved and readers will have to wait for the next installment of the series for the answers.