Three young people find themselves trapped in the tensions and traditions of the feud between the factions of dragonkind, and rebel against the expectations of their parents.

Jacan Jantus chafes at the discipline required of a Darkhan warrior, specifically one whose father is a priest.

Mahkai Harkesh begins to see the beauty in humanity and question the things his father has drilled into him about their inferiority.

Beth Aubertin doesn't know it, but her father is one of the Silene Knights, the order of humans who pass down the knowledge of dragons and are sworn to slay them. Beth tumbles into the world of dragons from a different perspective and finds herself entangled in the politics of a world she never imagined.

Will turning away from the traditions of their families in such a volatile time doom them all?

Irene's Favorite Things

If I had to sum this book up in one word, it would be catharsis. There's so much darkness, so much of people feeling trapped, and in one way or another, there are a kaleidoscope of different resolutions, most of them tragic but ultimately, I think, really satisfying.

I got to explore a lot of dark places with this one and there's a depth of emotion in it I'm not sure if I've achieved with any other work.

rating: mature (violence and mature themes)

major relationships: f/m, platonic

graphic violence

major character death

child abuse, CSA, child death

attempted genocide


internalized homophobia

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Ganit’s study looked exactly the same as it always had. Since Jacan had been a toddler, he’d been called in here for Ganit’s lectures. The cream-colored embossed wallpaper, the dark wood of the furniture and the paneling on the lower part of the walls, the stand that held the open copy of the Chronicle that Jacan could swear had been turned to the same page since he was three. Every detail had made its way into his memory through the course of many speeches like this one. Every detail was the same.

The speeches were pretty much the same, too.

He tried to tune in anyway. Jacan wasn’t being punished for anything in particular right now, not that he knew of, and sometimes those speeches had some real nugget of information in them here and there.

“You should always strive to be an example of honor and dignity,” his father droned, “but especially to guests at our compound.”

Jacan mentally tried to rewind the conversation, but failed. “Wait, guests?”

“Yes, as I just told you, we’ll be welcoming two new guests to the compound this week.”

“What clan?” Jacan asked.

“Red Glade.”

He blinked, not sure he’d heard right. “Red Glade? As in not Darkhan? As in ex-Movrekt healers and casters?”

There was just a hint of a mocking smile at the corner of Ganit’s mouth. “Yes. That Red Glade.”


“Two days. They’re on their way now. We plan on welcoming them in traditional Darkhan style, and I hope you’ll show appropriate dignity for the traditions of our clan.”

The news brought Jacan’s restlessness to the surface, and he spoke too quickly, too loudly. “Didn’t I prove I could do that at my confirmation?” Come on, dad. It won’t kill you to admit I’ve done one thing right.

“Yes,” he said, inclining his head in admission, but then raising his chin to look down on his son. “And if you could continue that trend, I’d be grateful.”

Jacan moved his shoulders like he could throw off an unwelcome grip that wasn’t there. “Don’t you trust me at all? I’m not gonna mess up something this important.”

His father raised his eyebrows in a look that clearly asked Jacan to reassess the likelihood of that.

Jacan shook his head. “Because it’s actually important. You act like everything will be the end of the world if it goes off plan at all, no matter how stupid or meaningless it is. But I get this. I want this to go right, too.”

Ganit’s frown had gone contemplative. “Welcoming the Red Glade healers appropriately is important to you?”

Jacan realized Ganit had started actually listening to him, and that was rare. He made an effort to rein in his temper and get through to the man. “Yes. I’d like it if we could make a good impression. Strengthen ties. I think that could be good for everyone.” He raised his eyebrows. “Maybe they could shake things up a little around here.”

He knew that last was a mistake as soon as he said it.

His father’s suspicious glare reasserted itself. “What do you mean by that?”

To most people, it would have sounded like an ordinary question. Jacan could hear the dangerous undertone. The warning to be careful where he stepped next.

“We’re… there are things that, I think, a lot of us know we need to be doing, but we’re not doing them, we’re not even talking about them, not really. The outside world is different than it was when this compound was built. And if we’re going to survive, we need to change too.” If you’ve been paying attention at all, you know how I feel about this. And it hasn’t changed.

“And you think the Red Glade will… fix that?” Ganit sounded disgusted. “Make us more like the wayward world?”

Jacan pushed down his frustration one more time. “The world might have problems, Dad, but so do we. We’re not above them. You taught me that.”

Ganit’s face went hard. “That’s not the way I meant it,” he said sharply.

Sick of walking on eggshells with his father, Jacan took a more direct tack. “Maybe you should have,” he said. “I think we could finally have someone in the compound who might make some sense.”

“You think so little of your elders and their rulings?” There was still a threat in his tone, but also a sort of thoughtful horror.

“Uh, yeah.” Damn, that felt good to say. With Jacan’s confirmation come and gone, he was still at the mercy of the council, but no longer quite so much at the mercy of his father.

He hoped.

Looking at Ganit’s face changing in reaction to those casually spoken words, Jacan wondered abruptly if he could convince Zev to give him a bunk in the journeymen’s dormitories if things heated up too much at home.

Probably. Zev was cool like that.

The chaos of his father’s shock and outrage resolved itself into the calm of the priest standing by his altar, channeling pure belief, and he spoke.

“The fundamentals of our culture will not be changed,” he said in the steady, persuasive tone he used with the Council. Passionate, but wide and somehow distant. “Not by you, and not by any outsiders. The Council won’t allow it.”

For the first time, it felt to Jacan as if Ganit was responding to him as a fellow Darkhan citizen rather than as a wayward son.

At least it was a change. Jacan wasn’t entirely sure it was a good one. But it opened the door to Jacan speaking back as an equal.

“Then why even welcome them into our compound?” he asked. “Why even pretend to listen to the things they have to say?”

“There are things we may be able to learn from them,” Ganit admitted. “And perhaps we can teach them a few things as well. But we cannot forget that we are two different peoples with two vastly different sets of traditions. The Red Glade have renounced their former human-killing Movrekt ways, and for that, we are grateful, and for that, we encourage them. But they are not Darkhnit. They don’t believe in our ways.” He looked Jacan in the eye. “We’ll respect their traditions as long as they’re here, but our traditions will remain our traditions. Is that clear?”

“Very,” Jacan spat, and turned to leave before he did something he’d regret.

He had a sudden but familiar desire to reach out and knock something over, just to change the layers of caked-together memories of this room, just to make one thing different. Maybe he’d push over the stand where the Chronicle stood. He knew he could make it look like an accident.

He never did, though. He thought that if he ever started in on the room, went about the business of destroying its sameness, he wouldn’t be able to stop.

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Full Book List

The Half-Dragon Series

The Red Glade Peacemakers

The Movrekt Warmongers

How to Train Your Mafia

Other Books



The Grafting Mark



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