by Katy Huth Jones
Book 1: Mercy’s Prince
As second son of the King of Levathia, seventeen-year-old Valerian desires the quiet life of a scholarly monk. But when he fails to save his older brother in battle, Valerian must instead become crown prince.
While a traitorous knight schemes against him, Valerian meets Mercy, a pacifist Healer with whom he can speak mind-to-mind like the great dragons. Their bond emboldens Valerian to seek out the legendary dragons and ask for their help against the monsters who killed his brother.
Can Valerian survive the traitor’s assassins long enough to find the dragons? And if he does, can he convince them to lay aside their hatred of humans and help him save the land from destruction?
“Action, love, and Dragons! What more can you ask for?”
“Mercy’s Prince has it all. I do not recommend it for bedtime reading. You will not go to sleep until you finish the book.”
“This is a lovely, spiritual tale with all the adventure, mystery, and romance a reader could want.”
Book 2: Mercy’s Gift
While Prince Valerian adjusts to marriage as well as his new title, conspiracy brews in the south among disgruntled lords who wish to separate from the north. The situation is made even more volatile by a charismatic rebel leader whose guerilla tactics are swift and brutal.
The clandestine efforts of a witch hired by one of the lords render Valerian’s gift of Sight ineffective, and Merry’s Healing gift is sorely tested.
It has become dangerous for a northerner living in the south, and if the gifted young royals fail to stop the growing rebellion, evil will reign in Levathia.
“Katy Huth Jones did a wonderful job telling this wonderful, magical story. I feel in love with the characters and wept with them through their sometimes heart-wrenching journeys.”
Book 3: Mercy’s Battle
As Prince Valerian and Merry flounder in the aftermath of their terrible losses, they must adjust to the changes that have been wrought upon their lives. Their sole comfort lies in the belief that their nemesis, Liall Guinness has perished and can no longer torment them.
But they are wrong. Liall Guinness is very much alive, and willing to sell his soul in order to achieve his vengeance.
As the threat of invasion looms, Valerian and his peers clash with the elders who are unwilling to embrace new ideas. If Valerian cannot convince them to change their minds, then despite having the great dragons on their side, the land will run with blood.
“The ageless battle between Good and Evil comes alive.”
CIR: What inspired this series?
JONES: The original version of this story was inspired as a reaction to the 1988 movie Willow because I wanted to show how a female character could be strong without resorting to violence. The first several versions didn’t “work” because I was forcing a plot upon characters whom I hadn’t taken the time to truly know. Then in 2011 my beloved father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I gave myself a writing assignment to distract me from my grief: Throw out ALL of the story except the opening scene, and let the characters tell me THEIR story. Finally, after 25 years, the story works, because I learned to listen to my characters.
CIR: I’m grinning at that. What did you learn about your characters while writing this story?
JONES: I learned the motivations behind the actions, and because I came to understand the people involved, it actually changed the plot and made it much, much stronger. Prince Valerian doesn’t believe he’s strong enough to be successful in the new role thrust upon him, but he learns that he can find sources of strength, both without and within.
CIR: Did this require any research, and what kind?
JONES: Even though this series is a fantasy, I wanted it to have the feel of early medieval times. I did extensive reading but also looked for “hands on” research opportunities. I went to Medieval Times in Dallas, Renaissance Faires, Highland Games, a Burns Night celebration where I tasted haggis for the first time, and visited castles in Great Britain (asking copious questions of the poor docents).
CIR: Besides eating haggis, what was the hardest part of writing this story?
JONES: I tend to keep my emotions “under wrap” and so writing honestly has always been a challenge (and why I began writing nonfiction almost exclusively). But I tried to channel the powerful emotions of grief over my father into the separate griefs of my characters, and hopefully the emotions ring as true for the reader as they have for me.
CIR: This is billed as Christian fantasy. What themes do you address?
JONES: Although a major theme is how war affects those with peaceful hearts, I hope the reader will also be encouraged through the two main characters’ experiences that they can choose how to handle suffering and grief and not let themselves be overwhelmed by the tragedies of life.
Note: Because this is a story of the effects of war in a medieval setting, there are scenes of violence, but I’ve tried to keep them as toned down as possible without losing their effectiveness. The first chapter contains the most graphic battle depicted in the first two books. Book three contains more battle scenes that might not be appropriate for all readers.