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Coronets and Steel
Sherwood Smith
In this new fantasy series, a young woman takes her own destiny by the hand-and the hilt.

California girl Kim Murray is unsatisfied with grad school and restless in life. Modern men disappoint her, and she studies ballet and fencing because they remind her of older, more romantic times.

She lives with her parents and her beloved but secretive aristocratic grandmother, who speaks only French and refuses to share stories about the mysterious family she left behind in Europe, inspiring Kim to travel there and find her roots.

Kim soon finds herself swept up in an adventure of fantastic deceptions and passionate intrigue-and a shocking realization about her own bloodline that leaves her reeling.

Cover Copy:

Too much imagination was tantamount to lying--that's what my grandmother taught me. So when I first got the sense that someone was following me, of course I ignored it. It was only my imagination. Who'd waste time following me?

Me, of course, being Aurelia Kim Murray, a grad student from California with a passion for ballet and fencing, and a hopelessly romantic vision of the world. I had come to Europe for genealogical research. But so far, I'd had no luck.

"I am trying to track down my grandparents' families," I had told the Viennese genealogist. "The name is Atelier. My mother was only two when she and my grandmother left Paris, but Mom thinks she might have been born here in Austria."

The problem was that I couldn't explain the sense of urgency that drove me, even to myself. It had begun that day four months ago when my grandmother lay restlessly in her bed, her eyes glittering with fever as she gripped my hand. "Your mother is too gentle," she'd whispered in the aristocratic Parisian French she always spoke. "I cannot send her to seal the breach."

Breach? What breach? With her family? With my grandfather's family? Neither Mom nor I knew anything about the handsome man in the silver-framed photo that Gran always kept on her bedside table. But we didn't know anything about my grandmother's own family, either.

"She wouldn't talk about her life before California," my mom had said as we waited in yet another specialist's office, hoping to find out why, though Gran had recovered from her fever, she had not spoken since.

When weeks turned into months, and the doctors did their medicalese versions of throwing up their hands, I had made the decision to find her family myself.

Nothing had come of my search in Paris, and here I was leaving the Viennese genealogist's archives with nothing to show for it again. No matter how fast I walked along the grand boulevards of Vienna, I knew I couldn't outpace my sense of failure.

And that's when I met my first ghost.

But seeing ghosts was nowhere near my biggest problem. I was being followed, and it wasn't by the ghost. Drugged, abducted, and taken to an obscure kingdom in eastern Europe, I was about to find out more about my lineage than I had ever imagined possible in my wildest, most fanciful dreams . . . or nightmares.
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