The Bird and the Blade (Hardcover)
The Bird and the Blade is a story of a girl with a fiery spirit who, when enslaved, fights back with all of her ability. It is a tale of romance and adventure, and it kept me on the edge of my seat for every minute I was reading it. Jinghua lost everything when she was enslaved, but when she meets the dashing Prince Khalaf, she realizes that she may yet have a chance to be free. As she grows familiar with the prince and his ways, she realizes that she does not want to lose him. This book had exquisitely realistic characters that showed intense emotion and desire.
— Madi, Cresthill Middle School in Highlands Ranch, CO
December 1969 Indie Next List
“This book of riddles is itself a kind of sublime riddle composed of the ingredients of a true classic tale. There is doomed love, an authentic historical backdrop, fallen kingdoms and thwarted destinies, sacrifices that elevate, and an ending that, by transcending its finality, takes the reader full circle to begin the tale again with fresh eyes. Bannen takes the operatic tradition of Princess Turandot’s slave girl and infuses it with a richness of character and a convincing dramatic immediacy that rewards the reader at every turn. The Mongol Empire has never been so deftly invaded as it is in the pages of The Bird and the Blade.”
— Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME
A sweeping and tragic debut novel perfect for fans of The Wrath and the Dawn and Megan Whalen Turner.
The Bird and the Blade is a lush, powerful story of life and death, battles and riddles, lies and secrets from author Megan Bannen.
Enslaved in Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom . . . until the kingdom is conquered by enemy forces and she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father across the vast Mongol Empire.
On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into an impossible love.
Jinghua’s already dicey prospects take a downward turn when Khalaf seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. As beautiful as she is cunning, Turandokht requires all potential suitors to solve three impossible riddles to win her hand—and if they fail, they die.
Jinghua has kept her own counsel well, but with Khalaf’s kingdom—and his very life—on the line, she must reconcile the hard truth of her past with her love for a boy who has no idea what she’s capable of . . . even if it means losing him to the girl who’d sooner take his life than his heart.
About the Author
Megan Bannen is a librarian and the author of The Bird and the Blade. In her spare time, she collects graduate degrees from Kansas colleges and universities. While most of her professional career has been spent in public libraries, she has also sold luggage, written grants, and taught English at home and abroad. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, their two sons, and a few too many pets with literary names. She can be found online at www.meganbannen.com.
“The Bird and the Blade is a tale filled with magic and mystery. It will entrance you from the first page. Meticulously researched and beautifully executed, this story will linger long after you have finished reading.”
“Lavish, sweeping, and powerful…. A must-read for fans of heart-wrenching, sob-your-heart-out YA.”
“A rich, imaginative tale that delivers thrilling characters, heartstopping action, and exciting intrigue with every turn of the page.”
“At once haunting and compelling, this tale of love and loalty will wreck you. Exquisite from the first note to the last.”
“The Bird and the Blade has everything I want in a novel: vivid characters, sumptuous prose, romance, funny dialogue, and a sweeping storyline in an intricately researched world. This story will break your heart—but it will remake it, too.”
“Will leave readers in tears”
“A magical and tragic romantic adventure.”
“Clever twists and narrative devices will make this novel a favorite.”