And I Darken is book one of Kiersten White’s new trilogy series
Bustle revealed the book cover of And I Darken, the first book of YA author Kiersten White‘s new trilogy, The Conquerors Saga. The series is very, very loosely based on the Vlad the Impaler story. Vlad the Impaler would later become better known as Count Dracula.
However, the major difference will be that the Vlad character is now a female. More on that later. Let’s get to why Kiersten wanted to write about the Dracula story in the first place:
I’ll be honest: I thought Transylvania was a made-up place until I was 18. So when my now-husband, then-crush told me he had lived there, I was intrigued. (His dreamy blue eyes definitely had nothing to do with my sudden intense interest.) I read Dracula and then branched out into reading about Dracula — the Bram Stoker classic, vampire legends, and the actual history of Vlad Dracul, a notoriously brutal historical figure who puts genteel Dracula to shame. A few years ago, my husband and I returned to Romania, visiting several of Vlad’s old haunts.
All of that — the intersection of history and fiction, the separation of centuries and the realization that people back then were just like people are now — was fertile ground. I just had to dig around awhile to find out what story I wanted to tell with it!
She then explains why she chose to make the Vlad character into a female and the challenge of doing such a switch:
Vlad the Impaler grew up as a political prisoner in the Ottoman courts, studying alongside Mehmed the Conqueror, the sultan who would go on to overthrow Constantinople at the tender age of 21. Vlad and Mehmed would swirl around each other their entire lives, along with Vlad’s younger brother, Radu the Handsome. (He fared a bit better with the historical descriptor than poor Vlad.) Both Vlad and Mehmed would do great and terrible things, with Radu always in their shadows.
And then I had that spark: What if Vlad the Impaler, the brutal prince, had been Lada the Impaler, the brutal princess? Because as hard as it had been to fight for tiny Romania in the face of the greatest empire of the age, how much harder would it be to do so as a girl? That question unlocked an entire story, a historical reimagining that placed Lada, Radu, and Mehmed as the central figures of each other’s childhoods. Impossible loves, heartbreak, betrayal, ruthless ambition—everything I wanted to explore fell into place when Vlad became Lada.
This vividly rendered novel reads like HBO’s Game of Thrones . . . if it were set in the Ottoman Empire. Ambitious in scope and intimate in execution, the story’s atmospheric setting is rife with political intrigue, with a deftly plotted narrative driven by fiercely passionate characters. Fans of Victoria Aveyard’s THE RED QUEEN, Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, and Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES won’t want to miss this visceral, immersive, and mesmerizing novel, the first in a trilogy.
NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.
Read the complete interview at Bustle!
You can pre-order And I Darken, which comes out June 28, 2016.