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Heart of the Impaler


Two royal sons fall for the same young woman. But is it safe for her to love either of them back?

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Swoon Index

  • Heat

    6 (5 ratings)

  • Tears

    5 (4 ratings)

  • Laughs

    5 (4 ratings)

  • Thrills

    6 (4 ratings)

Full Description

Ilona Csáki has no desire to marry the voivode’s eldest son, but love and marriage are the least of her worries.

The royal family’s enemies have already tried to put an arrow through her back—and if anyone discovers her blossoming feelings for her betrothed’s cousin Andrei, and younger brother, Vlad, she may just wish they’d succeeded.

Beneath the shadow of impending war, the only battle that will be deadlier than the one for Ilona’s life will be the one for her heart.


The longer she watched, the more impressed Ilona became. Vlad played swords the way Ilona’s father played rithmomachy. Just the right amount of strategy and reckless aggression to intimidate his opponent. It was working on Andrei. Step by step, Vlad forced his cousin backward.

And then Andrei surprised everyone. He struck Vlad’s swooping blade with a heavy blow that nearly sent it flying. Vlad fought to maintain his grasp. One of the boyars’ daughters cheered, and Vlad's jaw tightened.

Ilona first saw the change in Vlad’s eyes. They grew darker. The swordplay became less restrained.

Mirela clapped her hands. “This is exciting! Who do you think will win?”

Ilona pushed Mirela behind her. It was time to go for help—even the boyars’ daughters realized something was wrong. She stepped toward the nearest corridor, but it was already too late. Andrei slipped on a patch of icy snow and Vlad’s razor-edged blade carved a crimson path down the left side of his face.





“This book is the best … Andrei and Vlad are astounding foil characters, and their growth throughout the story is absolutely brilliant.” —H. E. Dunkle

“I love the subject matter! It’s the first YA historical I’ve read set in 1400s Transylvania. … I’m intrigued.” —Larissa Nash

“One of the best love triangles I've ever read. … Like a historical Shadow and Bone.” —Ember