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Heart of Flames


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About The Book

Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev must stop the advancing empire from destroying the Phoenix Riders in this fiery sequel to Crown of Feathers, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable!”

You are a daughter of queens.

The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.

Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire.

Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.

Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin.

As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.

I pray you are able to pass through the flames.


Chapter 1: Veronyka

Soth’s Fury is a series of caverns named by the ancient Pyraean people who that believed the south wind—called Soth—was wicked and vengeful, blowing storms and chaos up into the mountains from the valley below. Only Soth could carve such deep, destructive paths through the mountain, creating shadowy places in the world where Axura’s light could not touch.

Soth was more superstition than true god, at least to the people of Pyra, and a product of lower rim communities who mingled more with the valley civilizations and their diverse, wide-reaching pantheon.

The word itself has similarly unknown origins, and most historians believe that the god may have been adopted from the mysterious Lowland civilization that was later wiped out by Lyra the Defender and her Red Horde after the Lowlanders tried to invade Pyra.

The tradition of naming nature gods is a popular custom of the Arborian people, possibly suggesting a unified ancestry with the Lowland civilization. For example, the people of Arboria pray to Nors, the fair north wind, for good weather and safe travel to this day.

—“Weather and Nature Deities,” from Obscure Gods and Goddesses of the Golden Empire, by Nala, Priestess of Mori, published 84 AE

About The Author

Photograph by Jessi Rae Fournier

Nicki Pau Preto is a fantasy author living just outside Toronto—though her dislike of hockey, snow, and geese makes her the worst Canadian in the country. She studied art and art history in university and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a full-time writer. She is the author of the Crown of Feathers trilogy and the House of the Dead Duology, and you can find her online at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (April 27, 2021)
  • Length: 656 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534424661
  • Grades: 7 and up
  • Ages: 12 - 99
  • Lexile ® 980L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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