A Queen in Hiding is the first book in the Nine Realms tetralogy. Queen Cressa learns of a plot against her and secrets her daughter, Princella CerĂșlia with a humble family, a peacekeeper and a weaver. enchanting them so they have no idea she is anyone but a foundling he found while doing his peacekeeper work. Meanwhile, Cressa leads a naval war against a pirate kingdom in order to be able to come back in triumph and reclaim her throne from usurpers.

Those usurpers are determined to find the queen and the princella. They also are working in coordination with the enemy. Meanwhile, other characters’ stories develop. There is the Oro general who over time becomes more and more inured to the violence and depracity of war, all justified by the suffering of his people. There is a student who explores why the Oros are sickening, what plague affects them, their plants, and their animals. He also studies history and strategy. There are the loyal servants of the Queen and Princella who keep faith back in the castle. Then, of course, there are the conspirators. This could be a mess of complexity, but it is not. People are introduced organically and slowly so there is not of the confusion that can mar sagas of this scale.

I loved A Queen in Hiding and eagerly anticipate the rest of the tetralogy. I also love their decision to publish all four books over four months, so the wait for Book Two, “The Queen of Raiders” will be short and sweet. There is magic in the book, but it does not answer every need. It is specialized and people must learn to use it. The book addresses modern social problems, but not with emphatic dogmatism. There is some prejudice about hair color and environmental degradation has a damaging effect on civilization, leading to war.

I can’t wait for the rest.

I received an ARC of A Queen in Hiding from the publisher through Shelf Awareness