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An Orphan's Throne Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos. Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer--she's a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne's ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her. Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect Praise for The Mark of the Tala "Magnificent a richly detailed fantasy world." --"RT Book Reviews," 41/2 stars, Top Pick "Well written and swooningly romantic." --"Library Journal," starred review"