Keeper of Tales Trilogy

By: Ronlyn Domingue

Published: May 20, 2014

Publisher: Atria Books – Simon & Schuster Inc.


This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered. 

Nearly a year ago, I featured the first in this series, THE MAPMAKER’S WAR.  See that post, HERE. Now I am giving you the opportunity to find out about the second book and win your very own copy!

Even if you haven’t read THE MAPMAKER’S WAR, you can start with THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN and still experience the joys of this book.  I love how the book has as “old book” feel with tattered pages and heavy paper.


An uncanny child born
to brilliant parents, befriended by a prince, mentored by a wise woman, pursued
by a powerful man, Secret Riven has no idea what destiny will demand of her or
the courage she must have to confront it in the breathtakingly epic,
genre-spanning sequel to The Mapmaker’s War.

One thousand years after a great conflict known as The Mapmaker’s War, a
daughter is born to an ambitious historian and a gifted translator. Secret
Riven doesn’t speak until her seventh year but can mysteriously communicate
with plants and animals. Unsettled by visions and dreams since childhood, she
tries to hide her strangeness, especially from her mercurial father and cold
mother. When her knowledge of an esoteric symbol brings unwelcome attention,
gentle, watchful Secret finds acceptance from Prince Nikolas, her best friend,
and Old Woman, who lives in the distant woods.

When Secret is twelve, her mother, Zavet, receives an arcane manuscript to
translate from an anonymous owner. Zavet begins to suffer nightmares and
withdraws into herself. Secret sickens with a fever and awakens able to speak
an ancient language, discovering that her mother is fluent as well. Suddenly,
Zavet dies. The manuscript is missing, but a cipher has been left for Secret to
find. Soon, Secret will have a choice to make: confront a destiny tied to an
ancient past or deny it, never to know its whole truth.

A spellbinding story, rich with vivid characters and set in a fascinating
world, THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN explores the tension between love
and hate, trust and betrayal, fate and free will.

THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN is a natural YA crossover and is perfect for those fantasy book lovers.  If you like folklore and fairy tales mixed in with reality, I think this book is just the one for you.  Many have praised her first in the series stating “a fun read for fantasy lovers” and “her story will charm“. There has already been a lot of praise for this book as well, with an average of 4 stars already on and it has only been out a week.

“The Chronicle of Secret Riven hypnotizes with the cadence of a fairy tale and the sweeping scope of an epic. I longed to linger in this world of eloquent animals, hidden forests, and magical libraries, and felt nearly heartbroken to turn the last page. Ronlyn Domingue, like her unforgettable heroine Secret Riven, has a knack for making us all see the wonder in what appears to be ordinary.”
—Amy Shearn, author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn and How Far Is the Ocean from Here

“Mysterious manuscripts, arcane languages, and sinister silences animate the wonderfully inventive realm of Secret Riven, a character so powerful that we are both startled and enchanted as we tumble headlong into her world.”
—Maria Tatar, author of Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood

“The Chronicle of Secret Riven is an extraordinary mix of a fresh voice and an Old World sensibility. With mesmerizing language, Ronlyn Domingue spins a tale of wonder, danger, and magic, taking the reader to a faraway world that helps us to see our own with more clarity. This is a book that reminds us of the power of silence, of paying attention, of intuition, and of protecting the most vulnerable among us.”
—Susan Henderson, author of Up From the Blue

“A rare blend of historical mysticism and elaborately imagined fantasy… This is a fantastically satisfying novel in which a character can plausibly converse with insects and foliage, while always maintaining a strict internal logic. I wish I could buy real estate in Domingue’s world.”
—Sean Beaudoin, author of The Infects and Wise Young Fool

“An epic fairy tale for a new age, Domingue has created a mythos all her own. The Chronicle of Secret Riven deftly braids the story of love, loss, magic, myth and ancestry together into a hauntingly beautiful tale. The book also possesses a secret itself. If you know how to look for it, if you know how to listen, you’ll risk being inspired by the powerful message that glimmers beyond the pages of this shimmering story.” 
—Signe Pike, author of Faery Tale

Keep reading to enter to win your very own copy of 

Excerpt of The Chronicle of Secret Riven by Ronlyn
Chapter I
The Babe Born
Evensong Riven
Moments after her birth, three birds swept into the room
through an open window. The pigeon, the dove, and the sparrow circled the
newborn three times, widdershins, lit upon the wooden sill, and settled their
feathers. They turned to one another in conference, or so it seemed to the
baby’s father, who saw their heads bob and heard them coo and chirp. He had
respect for the uncanny and, believing the birds’ council to be that indeed,
watched them come to their enigmatic conclusion.
The meeting adjourned. The sparrow fluttered toward the
infant, snatched a wispy hair from her head, and guided the dove and the pigeon
into the autumn twilight.
Her father would one day tell her this, and about how he
walked to the window to decide what to name her. He hadn’t expected the dark
tiny creature she turned out to be. She was third born but an only child. Two
brothers, born blue, had preceded her. Her father looked to the sky at the
crescent moon and the bright star rising at its side. She was named Evensong,
for the time of her birth, but she would be called Eve, then become Secret soon
She was an odd little thing with black hair, tawny skin, and
eyes the colors of night and day. Except for the occasional cry or laugh, she
would be mute until her seventh year, skilled with only one mother tongue until
her fourteenth. From Secret’s first breaths, the girl was hushed with a
silencing hiss, a sound of menace, not comfort, by her own mother.
The child became a watchful being.
Secret remembered the room where she spent the days of her
first three years. The door to the room was always closed, and she was penned
off by a guard of wooden slats with a soft pallet and toys on the floor. She
occupied herself with colorful blocks, leather balls filled with sawdust, and
dolls stuffed with wool. Secret took pleasure in the crawling things in her
space. She wiped her hand through webs to watch the spiders build again. Beetles
danced on their backs if knocked off their feet. Ants marched in lines to carry
off crumbs she left for them. She was glad to have the insects to amuse her
because they helped her feel less lonely.
Out of reach, in a corner of the same room where the windows
faced east and south, sat her mother. There, Zavet bent over manuscripts and
books, often muttering and burbling, caught in a rushing stream of words.
Madness? No.
Zavet was gifted with the languages of the entire known and
ancient worlds. She did not, and could not, explain the mystery of her many
tongues. Whatever language she heard or read, she grasped instantly, as if she
remembered rather than learned it. She spoke all of them like a native without
the accent of her own. The words burbled out of her as if from a deep, hidden
spring. She dammed them with her work as a translator, but the flood could only
be slowed to a trickle.
Now and again, this strangeness happened in front of other
people. With Secret comfortable in a little wagon, Zavet went to market or for
afternoon walks, and sometimes Zavet would mutter aloud softly. Some people
seemed to try to ignore her, but Secret observed the suspicious glances from
others. She saw them lean close, eyes narrow, fingers pointing. She rarely
heard what they said, but she could sense their scrutiny. This is how she knew
her mother was not quite right, and perhaps neither was she. Zavet and Secret
did not look like their neighbors and, between her mother’s muttering and her
silence, did not sound like them either. Still, the other women were polite
toward Zavet, and she was polite but cool toward them, and they allowed their
children to play within view as they filled their baskets and remarked about
the weather.
As for Secret’s father, Bren was often gone while it was
light but home when it was dark. Now and then, Bren went away for long periods
of time but always came back. When he returned, he brought presents. Secret
remembered a set of thick cards marked with colors, shapes, images, and
symbols. Glad for the attention, she sat on his lap as he named them. She
learned quickly and delighted him with the deft accuracy of her pointing finger
when he asked her to identify the images for the words he spoke.
Her mother was always surrounded by books, but her father
was the one who filled her with stories. Zavet taught her respect for the
texts, which Secret was allowed to look at but not touch. What Bren gave her
she was allowed to handle, with care. She turned the pages and, with his voice,
he guided her into other worlds, slowly reading with his finger under the
symbols that became words, and the words became images. Many of the books had
illustrations, but they couldn’t compare to what emerged in her mind as she
Although she was very young, Secret discovered she, too,
could divine the symbols again and conjure what they told. What marvelous tales
of wonder, adventure, and possibility! Her father found her concentration
unusual and tested to see whether she understood what she read on her own. He
gave her books he had never read to her. He asked her questions to answer yes
or no, which she did with nods and shakes of her dark head. My mute little
prodigy, he called her.
Secret knew her mother possessed this magic as well, but
Zavet was parsimonious with its use in regards to her daughter. Some of the
books her father brought he couldn’t read and promised that her mother would.
She rarely did. With those, Secret sat in silence—such a good, obedient child
was she —and studied the mysterious marks on the pages. She wondered what they
meant, what tales they told.
One ordinary day, Zavet gave her coloring sticks and used
paper with which to draw. The little girl sat on the floor and marked the page
with all manner of symbols like ones she had seen. As she wrote the
unintelligible words, Secret’s heart pounded. Her tiny hand gripped the
coloring stick as her head flooded with images. There, within her, was a story
she could not yet tell. One she must reveal herself. All at once, she felt its
burden, its danger, and its redemption.
Secret cried out with wonder and dread, unable to understand
what had opened in her but fully able to feel its power.
From the sunny corner, her mother hissed long and harsh. The
noise startled the girl, and she spilled a half-empty cup of water with a jolt
of her hand. Her mother hissed again, louder. The girl felt a tight knot at her
navel loosen into a heavy force, which spread through her belly and chest. She
held her breath, kept her glare to the ground, and pushed the hot feeling deep
into her body, coiling it back to where it lived. Secret struck the page with
thick black marks, but quietly, quietly.
“This spill is but an accident, yes, little scourge,” Zavet
said under her breath as she wiped the floor clean. 
Copyright © 2014 by
Ronlyn Domingue. With the permission of the publisher, Atria Books.

Ronlyn Domingue – Photo Credit Susan Shacter

Ronlyn Domingue is the author of THE MAPMAKER’S WARBook 1 of the Keeper of Tales Trilogy and THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN, Book 2. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, THE MERCY OF THIN AIR, was published in ten languages. Born and raised in the Deep South, she lives there still.  For more on Ronlyn Domingue, check out her website, HERE.  You can also find her on Facebook, HERE, and Twitter, HERE.

I think THE CHRONICLE OF SECRET RIVEN sounds mysterious and mystical and would be the perfect book to disappear in during a lazy summer afternoon.  If you would like to win your own copy, just fill in the blanks below.

To purchase a copy of either of Ronlyn Domingue’s books, click the photos below:

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