Sharp as pine needles, and twice as bitter, seventeen-year-old Varna Lund’s determined to become a healer. At least patients don’t care about her looks, unlike the young men who spurn her for eighteen-year-old Gerda or even her younger sisters. An ugly duckling among swans, Varna hopes to bury her passionate nature in useful work.
Her healing skills are put to the test when Varna encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who’s deserted the battlefield to carry his injured friend, Anders Nygaard, to safety. Varna, enlisting the aid of Gerda, cares for Anders in secret.
But a brutal betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, where Varna discovers her old mentor is actually a powerful wizard. Seeking the enchanted mirror hidden by a former Snow Queen, the wizard hopes to use Gerda as a pawn in his plan to aid the invading emperor.
Other forces ally against the wizard, including an auburn-haired sorceress, an enchanted reindeer, a brilliant scholar, and a young woman traveling with a wolf. Along with the soldiers and Gerda, they vow to prevent the mirror from falling into enemy hands. But tempted with promises of beauty and power from her now devilishly handsome mentor, Varna must choose between her own desires and the good of a society that’s never embraced her.
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”, SCEPTER OF FIRE is a companion book to CROWN OF ICE.