Lilly comes from poor fisher folk, and thinks her life is on the sea.  Zeph is the son and heir of the most powerful pirate family.  What could they have in common?  How could they ever meet?

Lilly lives in a small seaside village in the far southwest corner of what used to be England, before the Collapse, but is now only the Last Ten Counties.  Scotland and the floods have swallowed the rest.  Lilly comes from a family of fisherfolk, and is the proud owner of a seacat, who can sense danger on the sea.  One day she returns from an overnight fishing trip to find that the fierce raiders from the salt marshes of the east have destroyed every boat in the harbor, and killed Lilly’s only remaining family member, her Granny, because the old woman refused to tell them about Lilly’s secret.

Zeph’s father led the raid on Lilly’s village.  He and his warriors had been well-paid to find a special jewel that the Scots wanted.  They didn’t find it, but instead they kidnapped Lexy Randall, the daughter of Prime Minister Randall, the ruler of the Last Ten Counties.  Holding her for ransom would guarantee a war with England, which was just what they wanted. 

Lilly found the jewel, and she was sure that if she could find the raiders and give it to them, they would release Lexy, who was only seven years old.   But a chance meeting in a London market place changed all that.  There is a “wronging and an equaling with no comeback.”  According to the rules of Zeph’s family, they must now make a friendship, and there was no way out of it. 

That’s how two enemies became friends, how a fisher girl became a member of Zeph’s Angel Isling Family, and how a kidnapped girl and a stolen jewel started a war that would not end soon or well.


This booktalk was written by Joni Richards Bodart, university professor, author, librarian, consultant, and internationally known booktalking expert.