All three books in the Margaret Kerr series are now available as e-books in the US and Canada (11 August). This is the first publication of books 2 and 3, The Fire in the Flint and A Cruel Courtship in North America. So this is doubly exciting for me!
I’ll write more about the series later this week, but I wanted to share with you the cover art finalized today, one day before the official launch. The amazing production team at Diversion Books worked with me to create just the right feel—mysteries set within a young woman’s quest to find her place in a world turned upside down by war.
A Trust Betrayed
“Thirteenth-century Edinburgh comes off the page cold and convincing, from the smoke and noise of the tavern kitchen to Holyrood Abbey under a treacherous abbot. Most enjoyable.” —THE LIST
In the spring of 1297 the English army controls lowland Scotland and Margaret Kerr’s husband Roger Sinclair is missing. He’d headed to Dundee in autumn, writing to Margaret with a promise to be home for Christmas, but it’s past Easter. Is he caught up in the swelling rebellion against the English? Is he even alive? When his cousin, Jack, is murdered on the streets of Edinburgh, Roger’s last known location, Margaret coerces her brother Andrew, a priest, to escort her to the city.
She finds Edinburgh scarred by war—houses burnt, walls stained with blood, shops shuttered—and the townsfolk simmering with resentment, harboring secrets. Even her uncle, innkeeper Murdoch Kerr, meets her questions with silence. Are his secrets the keys to Roger’s disappearance? What terrible sin torments her brother? Is it her husband she glimpses in the rain, scarred, haunted? Desperate, Margaret makes alliances that risk both her own life and that of her brother in her search for answers. She learns that war twists love and loyalties, and that, until tested, we cannot know our own hearts, much less those of our loved ones.
The Fire in the Flint
Scots are gathering in Murdoch Kerr’s Edinburgh tavern, plotting to drive out the English forces. Margaret takes her place there as innkeeper, collecting information to pass on to William Wallace—until murder gives the English an excuse to shutter the tavern. The dead man was a witness to the intruders who raided chests belonging to Margaret’s husband and her father, the latest in a string of violent raids on Margaret’s family, but no one knows the identity of the raiders or what they’re searching for.
Margaret’s uncle urges her to escape Edinburgh, but as she flees north with her husband Roger, Margaret grows suspicious about his sudden wish to speak with her mother, Christiana, who is a soothsayer. Margaret once innocently shared with Roger one of Christiana’s visions, of “the true king of Scotland” riding into Edinburgh. Now she begins to wonder if their trip is part of a mission engineered by the English crown…
A Cruel Courtship
In late summer 1297, Margaret Kerr heads to the town of Stirling at the request of William Wallace’s man James Comyn. Her mission is to discover the fate of a young spy who had infiltrated the English garrison at Stirling Castle, but on the journey Margaret is haunted by dreams—or are they visions?—of danger.
He who holds Stirling Castle holds Scotland—and a bloody battle for the castle is imminent. But as the Scots prepare to cast off the English yoke, Margaret’s flashes of the future allow her to glimpse what is to come—and show her that she can trust no one, not even her closest friends.
A CRUEL COURTSHIP is a harrowing account of the days before the bloody battle of Stirling Bridge, and the story of a young woman’s awakening.
All three are available in an omnibus edition with its own brief summary of the trilogy’s arc:
In A TRUST BETRAYED, Margaret searches for her missing husband after his disappearance in Edinburgh, but finds that the simmering rebellion has turned the ruined city into a web of lies and hidden motives that threaten anyone who digs too deep for the truth.
In THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, Margaret and her family become the target of a series of violent raids, but what the raiders are looking for remains a mystery. As Margaret becomes more deeply involved in the rebellion, attention turns to her mother, a seer who has had visions of the “true king of Scotland.”
In A CRUEL COURTSHIP, Margaret heads to Stirling Castle on a mission to discover the fate of a young spy for the rebellion. As her travels bring her closer to the castle, however, she begins to have dreams—or are they visions?—of impending danger. The historic battle of Stirling Bridge is nearing, and the fate of Scotland rides on the outcome…
Together, these stories offer a richly detailed and beautifully written account of medieval Scotland and a young woman’s awakening.