Detox in Letters (ebook)
Red is the color of love. And death. Rebellion is coming.
By Cheryl Low
Series: Crowns & Ash
Release Date: September 18, 2018 (pre-order)
Novel, approx. 305 pages
Also available as a trade paperback
Find it Online:
Barnes & Noble
Other books in the series: Vanity in Dust (1), Detox in Letters (2), Lying to Roses (3--coming soon!)
Wholesale: Ingram or direct: World Weaver Press.
Welcome to the Realm, where magic is your drug, your poison, and your only hope.
An illness is spreading through the city, marking the sick in mysterious letters scrawled across their skin. What is first thought to be madness reveals itself to be an awakening as residents rediscover themselves, their pasts, and their long-forgotten magic… things the Queen wants to remain buried. Things she will sacrifice her own children to suppress.
Mercy has never been a staple of the Realm. Treachery, blood, and magic steeps the city as the rebel leader, Red, seeks to topple the Tower, Princess Fay eyes her mother’s throne, and Prince Vaun must decide whether to submit to his mother’s terrible demand.
The prince turned his eye back to the table. No teacups. No pastries. No flower petals or fruit. Only jars of water, golden dishes of raw meat, and more cigarettes. “Are you a prisoner?”
“Oh yes,” Dor Ardinian replied with certainty and just a hint of delight.
“What was your crime?” Vaun asked. Something in the way this man watched him set him on edge—it reminded of the hungry eyes in the teahouse in Belholn. Wherever that silver gaze moved, Vaun could feel a sharp blade scraping over his skin.
“I suppose it was my nature,” Dor Ardinian answered, bringing the cigarette back to his mouth. Vaun watched the embers at the end flare with a violence he never before noticed in a cigarette. “She called me here, through the veil.”
“Who?” Vaun asked while wondering what in the Realm ‘the veil’ was. He’d heard that somewhere, hadn’t he? In one of those fairy tales at The Library?
His teeth gleamed in the light with sharp points at the corners of his lips. “My kind have always had a weakness for royal blood. One might call it snobbery, if it did not come so naturally.” He took another long drag, held it tight in his chest, and then exhaled a cloud of smoke. “She bled her family. Her parents, siblings, aunts and uncles. So much royal blood that even from outside your realm, I could smell it.”
The prince narrowed his eyes. “I think I would have noticed if I had family missing.” Why would his mother keep a madman in such a beautiful prison?
“Do you have much family now?” Dor Ardinian’s smile mocked him.
Vaun felt like he had more family than he could handle—even if he could count his blood relations on one hand.
Fay had told him a story of a time when there had been many Dray Fens. The whole Realm whispered about it—about the queens before the Queen they knew. Fay had told him a fairy tale about their end and about the dragon that put their mother on the throne. But that couldn’t be true.
“It was before your time, boy. She bled them in her tower and called to my kind. I must have been the closest, for when the wind struck me, I knew no more thought but that of having her. I could only smell that blood and hear their struggling hearts as they sobbed on her floor. I came through the veil that divides our worlds. I do not remember it well, other than the blood and their bodies breaking under my hunger.” He laughed and brought the cigarette to his lips again. “I woke here, and here I have been ever since.”
It was not the same story from this man’s mouth. The Queen was not a lone survivor by fortune and strength. She had not saved the Realm from the great beast. But it was so much more believable this way, wasn’t it?
“Why don’t you break out?” Vaun whispered, gut twisting that this creature might walk free.
Dor Ardinian shrugged.
“Are you content to stay?”
Again, the stranger laughed. “I am in no rush, boy. I will live longer than the creature in your tower, longer than you and this city. I will live longer than the stones that contain me.”
“What are you?” the prince asked again, his voice lonely in this room beneath the ground just as it had been in the Queen’s high above it. He wanted to doubt him. He wanted this stranger to be nothing more than a madman. But why else would the Queen cage him in such luxury, unless he was special?
“You know what I am.” Dor Ardinian grinned.
About the Author
Cheryl Low might be a dragon with a habit of destroying heroes, lounging in piles of shiny treasure, and abducting royals—a job she fell into after a short, failed attempt at being a mermaid. She can’t swim and eventually the other mermaids figured it out. She can, though, breathe fire and crush bones, so being a dragon suited her just fine.
…Or she might be a woman with a very active imagination, no desire to be outdoors, and more notebooks than she’ll ever know what to do with.
Find out by following her on social media @cherylwlow or check her webpage, CherylLow.com. The answer might surprise you! But it probably won’t.
"This lush fantasy stays ferociously readable while offering a world that’s easy to love: unhappy people waking up to realize there’s more to life, and greeting it with curious wonder. This belle epoque–flavored series will appeal to readers who like their fantasy politics splashed with hope."
"I absolutely loved the unique world, the complex emotions, the interesting characters, the touch of absurd humor, and the immersive writing, and I’m already looking forward to jumping back into this series!"
--Metaphors and Moonlight
"Revisit the Realm and realize nothing is as it seems. Heroes and villains are all a matter of perspective as the dust wears off, but one thing's for sure: the Queen always gets what she wants. I was already madly in love with Vaun after book one, but now, I'm equally in love with his sister Fay--which is fitting in this dark fantasy world where hedonism is not a suggestion but a rule. Low's writing style is as delicious as the sensual world she has created, and I lapped up every single word like spilled tea."
—Sara Dobie Bauer, author of Bite Somebody
Praise for the Series
"Low immerses you in sensory details, bitter conflict, and characters you both love and hate. A deliciously decadent debut that will make you reconsider the world within which we live."
—Sara Dobie Bauer, author of Bite Somebody
"[T]he story is really just beginning. I'll be watching for the next book in this series...Ms. Low has me hooked on her tale."
--The Book Faerie
"Vanity in Dust is…beautifully written, skillfully drawn, convincing and gripping, but leaving one feeling more sickened by the brutality of the world than entertained by escapism or sense of wonder. Perhaps not the read I was expecting, but a powerful and worthwhile one nevertheless."
--The Future Fire