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Legends of the Five Directions 2

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The Swan Princess

C. P. Lesley


In the two years since the events that propelled Nasan Kolycheva into marriage to a Russian nobleman, life has become intolerable. She spends every waking minute learning the skills of household management under the lash of her sister-in-law’s tongue and the cloud of her mother-in-law’s perpetual disappointment while pining for her husband, stationed in the western borderlands to ward off foreign invaders.


When Nasan’s mother-in-law decides that a pilgrimage to a distant monastery may be the only solution for her failing heart, the journey sparks memories in Nasan of a life she has almost forgotten, where her interests and skills serve a purpose lost to her in Moscow. What can a Swan Princess do when she no longer wants to return to the nest? Before Nasan can answer that question, she encounters a once-vanquished foe determined to avenge himself on those he blames for his misfortunes—and realizes she has ridden right into his trap.





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“Lyrical and compelling, The Swan Princess draws the reader into the world of sixteenth-century Russia, which becomes vividly real in the hands of this master storyteller. The characters of Nasan, Daniil, and the others leap off the page. Perhaps most intriguing is the portrayal of the clash between the two vibrant but alien cultures of the Russians and the Tatars—frequently at war, occasionally bound by an uneasy and watchful peace.”

—Ann Swinfen, author of Voyage to Muscovy


“An action and suspense-infused historical adventure that kept me turning the pages right to the end. The characters are so well-drawn, the historical facts so cleverly woven into the narrative, time and place so brilliantly evoked, I felt I was experiencing sixteenth-century Russia firsthand.”

—Liza Perrat, author of the Bone Angel Trilogy



“C. P. Lesley directs her cast of fictional and historical characters with an authority that can only come from a fervent understanding of the cultures and values of the times. With deft strokes she brings the characters fully to life—revealing their psyches and the depths of their motivations—without ever impeding the pace of the story. The Swan Princess is a beautifully written, perfectly balanced historical novel by an author who knows her stuff and has mastered her craft.”

—Joan Schweighardt, author of The Last Wife of Attila the Hun

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