In Victorian England, bloodthirsty demons called the Ancients terrorize humanity and threaten to destroy the country. Only one hope remains: the prophesied one, a sorcerer who will the defeat the Ancients with fire.
Henrietta Howel has kept her magical abilities hidden for her entire life. Women with powers are considered untrustworthy and dangerous, possibly even on the side of the Ancients, and so Henrietta lives in fear of accidently revealing her gift of fire to anyone other than her closest friend, Rook.
Her secret becomes impossible to keep, however, when an attack by one of the Ancients’ minions forces her to choose between letting Rook die and using her magic in front of one of the queen’s royal sorcerers.
Suddenly exposed, Henrietta finds herself swept into the world of London’s most prestigious sorcerers. Those who believe her to be the hero from the prophecy are determined to help her succeed; others, who doubt her legitimacy, will stop at nothing to prove her fearsome and inadequate.
Nonetheless, with the Ancients’ power increasing and England on the brink of collapse, Henrietta has no choice but to play the part of the brave sorceress. But what if she isn’t the chosen one after all?
A Shadow Bright and Burning, by Jessica Cluess, is a treat for fantasy readers who enjoy strong female characters and rich magical worlds. Fans may also want to try Rebel of the Sands, by Alywn Hamilton, and Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake.