His Fair Assassin Series (Book I and II) by Robin LaFevers

Book I: Grave Mercy
While growing up in 15th Century Brittany (France), Ismae Rienne's life has been anything but easy. Her mother attempted to kill her while she was in her womb and Ismae has been raised by a hateful father. Now at the age of 17, Ismae finds herself facing an arranged marriage which promises nothing but brutality. Rescued from her new husband, Ismae is brought to the convent of St. Mortain. There she learns that she is the daughter of Mortain, a god of old (now worshipped as a saint) and bringer of death. The sisters at the convent train Ismae to become a deadly assassin and handmaiden to Death.

Ismae's most important assignment will bring her into the high court of Brittany and into the path of Gavriel Duval. The Duchess of Brittany is struggling to secure her crown and faces treachery at every turn. Gavriel, her half brother and sworn protector, is forced by the convent to take Ismae to aid the Duchess. Presented as Gavriel's mistress, Ismae finds herself struggling to navigate the politics of the court and fulfill her duties to the convent and Mortain. When Gavriel himself comes under suspicion, Ismae finds that following her heart may mean disobeying the convent and betraying her vow to Mortain. Each move Ismae and Gavriel make is like a game a chess where not only their fate, but the fate of a nation hang in the balance.


Book II: Dark Triumph
We first meet Sybella in Grave Mercy, when she arrives at the same convent where Ismae has sought sanctuary. Sybella has been driven half mad by the horrors of her past and seeks to escape the evils of her family. At the convent, Sybella learns that she is also the daughter of Mortain and trains alongside Ismae to become one of his handmaidens. Sybella quickly learns that her refuge comes with a price, when the abbess sends her back to her family to act as a spy. For Sybella's father is none other than d'Albret, the cruel and brutal noble seeking to force the Duchess of Brittany into marriage so that he may control her kingdom.

After returning to d'Albret's house and being forever on her guard, Sybella waits impatiently for the marque to appear that will allow her to strike d'Albret down, but it near appears. Then Sybella receives word from the abbess of a new mission - to help a knight taken prisoner by her father escape so that he can return to the service of the Duchess. The knight turns out to be none other than Benebic De Waroch, a.k.a. the Beast of Waroch, famed warrior. As Sybella travels with Beast and nurses him  back to health, she cannot help the pull she feels towards him, despite her feelings of unworthiness. Together Sybella and Beast will  fight to thwart d'Albret's plots against the Duchess and Sybella will face the demons of her past, embracing what it truly means to be a daughter of Death.


This series is a historical fiction gem! It has all the great things you would expect of time period - intrigue, betrayal, scheming politicians, a dash of myth and mystery, honorable knights, and romance. The series centers around 3 women - Ismae, Sybella, and Annith - all of whom are sired by Mortain, the ancient god of Death. All three women are trained to be assassins by the sisters at the convent of St. Mortain. These books are linked together and most of the characters are the same in both books, however, they each focus on one of the 3 fair assassins. The characters and events in the books are based on real historical events and the author does make the attempt to use the vernacular of the time, but does not create a stumbling block for the modern reader. The books have a continuous storyline throughout, which means that they need to be read in order and together or you will probably be lost. I was totally engrossed in the story from the very beginning and didn't want to put the series down once I started. 


Coming Soon...

His Fair Assassin Book III: Mortal Heart - expected release Spring, 2014. 

Check out the blurb belong: 

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has.

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