In Amber Argyle’s Daughter of Winter Elice, the Winter Queen’s daughter, lives a life of isolation in the land of ice and snow, unaware that she is a key part of a bargain that was made long, long ago.
When a whaling ship crashes just offshore, Elice doesn’t hesitate to rescue the lone survivor, Adar, who quickly becomes her friend. But the closer Elice and Adar become, the more desperate she is to keep him hidden from her mother at all costs.
For if the Winter Queen discovers Adar trespassing, she’ll kill him.
When her mother reveals just how dark her soul has become, Elice realizes she is as much a prisoner as Adar. Worse, she begins to see hints of something more nefarious. The darkness that has taken hold of her mother is spreading, staining the world with its influence.
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Her grandfather rested a hand on her shoulder. “She’s your mother and she loves you. She just doesn’t see the world the same way.” Elice folded her arms over her chest and looked out across the sea without actually seeing anything. Her grandfather sighed and pulled her around to face him. “Where Ilyenna sees facts, you see possibilities. Someday she will understand that your way of seeing the world is a gift and not a burden.”
The bells at the palace pealed again. The Winter’s End ceremony would begin shortly. Elice gritted her teeth as she watched her mother disappear into the open-air throne room without a backward glance, the details of her lost to the distance. “Lowl gives that speech every year. And it’s always the same. Every year, we get closer to winning. But we never really do. I hate it.”
“Elice,” her grandfather softly reprimanded. She dropped her head. He brushed the crook of his gnarled finger down her cheek and then stepped into the net her mother had left behind—only one net, not two. It took a few thousand fairies to carry her grandfather, and they were all waiting, their movements erratic with their impatience. “You best hurry. The ceremony starts soon and your mother hates it when you’re late.”
Elice debated telling him that her gift wasn’t finished yet. When the light hit the tree . . . but she turned away instead. “You go. I’ll be along later.” He hesitated, and she knew he was deliberating whether or not to push the issue. But then he nodded to the fairies, who lifted him up and toward the palace.
Elice simply waited. She’d started this project the year before, marking exactly where the light crossed the pinnacle of the glacier and hit the spot where she stood. Alone, she watched the tree as the sun crept into view, bathing the tree with a rosy light. One by one, each of the thousands of prisms inside the tree lit up in smoky sparks, shooting fractured light all across the newly fallen frost, which she’d laid down last night. It glittered like the dusting of a thousand diamonds.
—from Daughter of Winter by Amber Argyle
Bestselling author Amber Argyle writes fantasies where the main characters save the world (with varying degrees of success) and fall in love (with the enemy). Her award-winning books have been translated into numerous languages and praised by such authors as New York Times bestsellers David Farland and Jennifer A. Nielsen.
Amber grew up on a cattle ranch and spent her formative years in the rodeo circuit and on the basketball court. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband, and a two-year-old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less-crazy larger people. She’s fluent in all forms of sarcasm, loves hiking and traveling, and believes spiders should be relegated to horror novels where they belong.