The King’s Questioner
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: January 14th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
From Nikki Katz, the author of The Midnight Dance , comes The King’s Questioner, an epic YA fantasy featuring royal drama, dark magic, and a secret that could topple a kingdom.
Kalen is a mental picklock, able to access a person’s memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown.
But when Kalen’s estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus’s mind, Kalen saves his life—and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom.
With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.
Taking a breath to steel his nerves, Kalen turned the key. The door opened on silent hinges to reveal the hazy scene. A woman stood in the middle of the room. She seemed larger than life, towering like a giant scylee bird over the little girl in front of her. Her features were ex- aggerated, her mouth open wide as obscenities poured forth. The words hung jagged in the air, ugly and crimson. The girl cowered and tucked into herself. Dirty, blond strands of hair curtained her face. The woman stretched taller; her hands curled into fists, and her knuckles enlarged to twice their size. Sobs shook the girl’s tiny frame. The woman’s arm drew back. The fist swung forward, striking the girl on her cheek. Her head swung to the side, and her hair parted to reveal massive eyes. They were round and fringed in spider lashes like the dolls sold in the market shops.
The girl screamed. A cobalt ribbon slipped from between her lips to twist and weave through her hair. Tears settled dewlike on her lashes. The woman froze. Her arm dropped to her side. Her knuckles shrank to normal. Her stature collapsed. She turned away, head falling and arms crossing across her stomach as she bent over.
A fog curled in from the edges of the room, dense and cold, to shroud the two figures. Kalen shoved the door closed, turned the key, and removed it.
He opened his eyes. A wave of nausea swept over him, and he fought to stay upright. His forehead felt hammered with a thousand nails.
“She’s innocent,” he said. Of the accused crime anyway.
He yanked his fingers from the woman’s wrist and stepped away. She wouldn’t know what he had seen in her mind, but she knew he’d seen something. She swallowed hard, unable to look him in the eye. Most people couldn’t, and, honestly, Kalen was okay with that.
Nikki Katz is an author and editor living in sunny San Diego with her three children. With a BS in aerospace engineering, Nikki first put her writing skills to use publishing four nonfiction books. She moved on to writing young adult fiction, her favorite genre to read as well. The Midnight Dance is her debut novel.