There is some really dark subject matter in this book for being for Young Adult. There’s incest and pedophilia but in the middle ages that must have been acceptable.
I’m not sure who I hated more in this story, d’Albret or the Reverend Mother. d’Albret is a disgusting human being who kills people for looking wrong at him and who wants to marry the duchess who is twelve years old. Barf! The Reverend Mother is cruel and cold and I just get the feeling that she’s not trustworthy.
Sybella is d’Albret’s daughter and has had to suffer his cruelty to herself and others. She was sent to the convent of Saint Mortain when she was around twelve after a horrible event which made her half mad.
The convent worships Mortain, one of the nine old God’s before the Catholic Church took over. All of the girls who go there are said to be daughters of Mortain mostly because of the manner of their births where they should have died. Most of their mothers died during childbirth. The girls are taught to be assassin’s for Mortain and the country of Brittany.
The Reverend Mother sends Sybella on assignment right back to d’Albret to spy on him since he is a threat to the duchess. Then the Reverend Mother sends a crow with a message for Sybella to help a prisoner escape from the dungeon.
Baron de Waroch aka Beast was taken prisoner by d’Albret who plans to draw and quarter him and then send his dead body parts to the duchess. He is chained and out of his mind from fever from a wound in his leg when Sybella comes to rescue him. How does she plan to get his huge form out of the dungeon.
The author did a fantastic job at recreating history and mixing real characters along with fictional characters with assassin nuns. You would think it would be corny but it is anything but.