The Queen's Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler (47North, 2016)
The Thief's Daughter by Jeff Wheeler (47North, 2016)
The King's Traitor by Jeff Wheeler (47North, 2016)
Jeff Wheeler is a prolific author with enough books to keep me going for a very long time. Due to the length of my current reading list, it will be a while before I get to any of his other fantasy worlds—unless our grandchildren start reading them. But these three were a delight. I'm very grateful to the friend who recommended Jeff Wheeler to me. Here's what she wrote about his books:
As for Fantasy, Jeff Wheeler is at the top of my search list. Though I am long past the age of the readers his books are aimed at, I thoroughly enjoy the worlds he has created, borrowing liberally from the Arthurian Legend, Shakespeare, and the Bible! Sometimes his allusions are obvious; others, I have a belated OMG moment when I realize a certain character is actually a well-known figure from our own legends of the past. I should add that through thick and thin Wheeler emphasizes the honorable behavior of his young protagonists, including chastity.
You certainly don't need to catch all his allusions (or even any of them) to enjoy the books, but they are delightful, like finding hidden Mickeys at Disney World, or Easter eggs in a computer game.
The Queen's Poisoner, the first in the Kingfountain series, was a true joy to read, probably because the protagonist is young. The second, The Thief's Daughter, was not so hard to put down because the character has grown enough to make romance—one of my least favorite genres—a significant element, but there was enough action to get me through it. Plus, the romantic element has an interesting twist. And in the final book, The King's Traitor, you get all three: interesting children, romance with surprises (but not too much), and satisfying action.
All in a world where good is good, evil is evil, and both degradation and redemption are real.