I know what it’s like to start reading the next installment in a series only to discover that I can’t remember what happened in the prior books. Or who anyone is. Which usually means I have no idea what’s going on. But I barely have enough time to read books once, so doing a reread is rarely an option for me. With that in mind, here is my attempt to bring everyone back up to speed before they start reading WARRIOR WITCH. If you want a more fullsome synopsis, there are chapter-by-chapter summaries of both STOLEN SONGBIRD and HIDDEN HUNTRESS available on the threads of my Goodreads group.
Tristan and Cécile know that Lady Marie’s winter solstice party (the masque in which Cécile is performing) is a trap set by Anushka, but they go planning to reverse the trap to catch the witch. They know that she’s been casting a spell on the nights when the solstice and full moon are aligned to maintain her immortality, and that the spell requires sacrificing one of her female decendants. They believe Genevieve (Cécile’s mother) is Anushka’s target. But as events progress, Cécile learns that Genevieve IS Anushka, and that Cécile is her intended target. In shock and afraid that if Tristan learns the truth he’ll kill Genevieve without looking for other solutions, Cécile keeps the information to herself. But during her performance, Genevieve/Anushka lures Tristan out of the ballroom.
The unknowing Tristan has gone after Genevieve believing that Anushka has taken her by force. Anushka manages to subdue his magic with her own, using Sabine as a hostage against his good behaviour. Once Tristan is chained, Anushka shoots Sabine with a pistol.
Cécile sneaks through a window into the room where Anushka has Tristan and the dying Sabine. She intervenes and tries to negotiate with Anushka, but the witch is set on her course to keep the trolls contained. In an attempt to sway Cécile, Anushka uses a spell that causes Cécile to live through her memories of the fall of Forsaken Mountain (which the trolls caused with their gold mining), allowing her to witness the attrocities of the trolls against the humans as they struggled to free themselves from the mountain and keep their city intact. Anushka also reveals the events that turned her against her lover, the troll king Alexis, and motivated her to curse the trolls. Cécile is sympathetic to what Anushka suffered, but does not believe it grounds to keep an entire race prisoner underground.
Anushka begins the spell that will transfer her soul into Cécile’s body (switching bodies is how she’s been remaining immortal), but she is unable to vanquish Cécile’s soul due to her bond with Tristan. Tristan and Cécile take advantage of the moment and capture Anushka. Tristan tells Cécile that he won’t kill her mother unless she wants him to do it. Cécile asks him to release Anushka, and when the witch tries to attack her, Cécile stabs her twice, killing her and breaking the curse.
Cécile immediately goes to help Sabine, using magic to heal her friend. But moments after she does, a scream splits the night. They go to the window and see a dragon attacking Trianon: the fey, the immortal brethren of the trolls, have discovered the curse is broken and returned to this world.
Tristan goes out of the castle and kills the dragon while Cécile, the Regent, and the rest of the human nobility watch on. Afterwards, Tristan approaches the group. He tells them that he is a Prince of Trollus and that his father, the King, will be preparing to take back control of the Isle. The Regent accuses him of being a forerunner of the enemy, but Tristan explains that he’s here to fight with the humans.
Tristan tells them that they are not fighting for dominion over the Isle or for their own sovereignty. When the trolls come, the humans will be fighting for only one thing – survival. The horns of Trollus fill the air once again.
The trolls are coming.
Meanwhile, in Trollus….
The city is divided between the sympathizers who want to see Tristan on the throne and those who have sided with the Duke d’Angoulême, who believes in troll superiority and the subjugation of half-bloods. The half-bloods have barricaded themselves in the poorer district known as the Dregs. The King is believed to be holed up in the palace, and has thus far not involved himself in the dispute, which has caused many deaths. Angoulême and his followers intend to use Roland to take the throne, as the Duke has control over the mad prince through the power of his true name. As of the end of HIDDEN HUNTRESS, it is unknown to Tristan and Cécile who is in power, who is still alive, or what any of their enemies intend.
Here is a refresher on most of the characters who appear or are mentioned often in WARRIOR WITCH. A full list of characters is available here.
Aiden du Chastelier – (AY-duhn) The Regent’s son. He is under the troll king’s compulsion, which persists into WARRIOR WITCH. Tristan has him tied up with magic and hidden in a closet in the castle to keep him from causing trouble.
Albert – (al-BAIR) One of Cécile’s guards in Stolen Songbird.
Alexis de Montigny, III (deceased) – King of Trollus during The Fall. Was Anushka’s lover until she murdered him.
Anushka – (uh-noosh-kaa) Witch who cursed the trolls. Now deceased.
Christophe (Chris) Girard – (KRIS-tawf) Farmer in Goshawk’s Hollow. Cécile and Tristan’s friend. He is on his way to the Hollow to warn their friends and family of the trolls impending freedom.
Damia, Dowager Duchesse d’Angoulême – Mother of the Duke d’Angoulême.
Duke d’Angoulême – (AHN-goul-em) Extremist known for his distaste of humans and half-bloods. He is one of the primary antagonists, and intends to use his control over Prince Roland to take the throne of Trollus.
Élise – (eh-LEES) Was Cécile’s half-blood servant. Key member of the half-blood resistance until she was killed by Angoulême when she helped Cécile escape Trollus.
François Bouchard – Banker in Trianon. Subscriber to the Trianon Opera House. Tristan went to a nice dinner party at his house during HIDDEN HUNTRESS.
Frédéric (Fred) de Troyes – (freh-duh-REEK) Cécile’s brother. He is currently disguised as Aiden using Tristan’s magic.
Guillaume – (gee-YOAM) One of Cécile’s guards in STOLEN SONGBIRD.
Jérôme Girard – (jeh-ROME) Farmer in Goshawk’s Hollow. Chris’s father.
Josette de Troyes – Cécile’s sister.
Julian – (JOOL-lee-uhn) Opera singer and ward of Genevieve de Troyes. He was Anushka’s coconspirator and is currently loose in the castle somewhere.
Lessa – Tristan’s illegitimate half-blood half-sister. She is currently disguised as Anais d’Angouleme.
Marc Biron, Comte de Courville – Tristan’s cousin and close friend.
Marie du Chastelier – Regent’s wife. Was allied with Anushka to keep the trolls under the curse.
Martin – Fourth Librarian in Trollus’s library. He had an illicit romance with the now deceased half-blood Élise, and also provided Cécile with assistance during her time in Trollus.
Matilde de Montigny – Queen of Trollus and Tristan’s mother. Conjoined to her twin sister, Duchesse Sylvie. Suffers iron-inflicted insanity.
Roland de Montigny – Tristan’s younger brother. Known for his violent insanity and hatred of humans and half-bloods. Is under the control of the Duke d’Angouleme as the Duke possesses his true name.
Sabine (suh-BEEN) – Innkeeper’s daughter in Goshawk’s Hollow. Cécile’s best friend. She is currently recovering in a room in the Regent’s castle.
Souris – The dog. Tristan is quite attached to him.
Sylvie Gaudin, Duchesse de Feltre – (SEEL-vee) Tristan’s aunt. Conjoined twin of Queen Matilde. Has the gift of forsight, which is believed to be information provided by the fey court.
Thibault de Montigny – (TEE-bo) King of Trollus and Tristan’s father.
Tips – Half-blood miner. Leader of the half-blood resistance.
Victoria de Gand, Baroness de Louvois – Tristan’s friend. Half of “The Twins”.
Vincent de Gand, Baron de Louvois – Tristan’s friend. Half of “The Twins.”
Zoé – (ZO-ee) Was Cécile’s half-blood servant. Key player in half-blood resistance.