The astounding, epic conclusion to the Keeper of Tales Trilogy brings together the cryptic prophecy in The Mapmaker’s War and the troubling mysteries in The Chronicle of Secret Riven—leading to an unforgettable reckoning between lies and truth.
We are all born made of gold.
Secret Riven—the mystically gifted heroine who now represses her uncanny telepathic power—works for the mysterious magnate Fewmany as an archivist in his private library. There, she stumbles upon the arcane manuscript that had vanished following her mother’s untimely death. She suspects the manuscript contains a profound secret, and she is yet unaware of its link to a thousand-year-old war and her own family’s legacy.
The tasks before her are clear: Secret must finally learn what Fewmany wants from her as well as the meaning of a strange symbol she’s dreamed of since childhood. At last, she must confront the questions haunting her and depart on a quest to find the truth about herself, her dead mother, and her fate—to unleash a Plague of Silences meant to destroy, and transform, the world as all have known it.
A dazzling, genre-bending masterwork, The Plague Diaries illuminates the power of our choices, the scars they leave, and the wounds they heal.
The Plague Diaries Prologue FATE IS A LINE FREE will twists into a spiral. A path fractured into forks that lead to the same place. A snake that bites its own tail. The beginning knows its end.
This is the paradox: Free will slips among the twists of fate. Crosses the valley, scales the mountain, enters the cave. Finds a new way through fixed space. The end remembers where it began.
When I was a child, I knew—believed—none of this.
On a summer morning, weeks before I turned eighteen, a pigeon, a dove, and a sparrow summoned me to visit an estranged friend. I went to her cottage in the woods west of town. There, Old Woman revealed the symbol carved in stone at her hearth. She knew I’d once dreamed of this symbol but had long concealed its presence in her home from me. Then, she said it was known “the man Fewmany” was buying land where other stones lay, but not the reason why. She spoke of the missing arcane manuscript entrusted to my late mother, who was meant to decipher the text but didn’t. Old Woman told me, “You are here to shift a balance, one with the potential to deepen our darkness or bear forth a hidden light.”
Both were my fate, the darkness and the light, and the one I chose, a matter of free will.
I thought I had a choice to accept neither. I wanted no part of a prophecy, although my blood and bones knew it to be true. Foolish, because I’d read enough myth, lore, and fairy tales to know when one receives a call—hold a candle to a sleeping monster lover, search the world for a lost daughter, take a basket to Grandmother’s house, spin straw into gold—one must heed it. That is fate. How one responds, that is free will.
So, descendants and survivors, here told is what happened to me, once as innocent as the girls in the tales I loved, and how it came to pass that I released the Plague of Silences.
Ronlyn Domingue is the author of The Chronicle of Secret Riven, The Mapmaker’s War, and The Mercy of Thin Air, which was published in ten languages. Her essays and short stories have appeared in several print and online publications, including New England Review, Shambhala Sun, and The Nervous Breakdown. Connect with her on RonlynDomingue.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
"The Plague Diaries gives readers the ultimate experience--a uniquely gifted heroine, a mystery that unravels with spellbinding intrigue, and an escape into a world lush with magical detail. Readers searching for a finely written and compelling genre-bender of a novel, here it is. Enjoy."
– Julia Fierro, author of The Gypsy Moth Summer
“The Plague Diaries is a book to get lost in. Intricately imagined, deeply felt, it offers up a rich display of distinct personalities: orphans and kings, parents and children, all with their own dark secrets. More than that, though, like all the best fantasies, it makes one feel that there are other worlds hiding somewhere nearby, no farther than the old chest in the bedroom or the woods behind the fence.”
– Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead and The Illumination
“Ms. Domingue has written a terrifically paced, beautifully textured novel to complete her Keeper of Tales Trilogy. She has given us a fantastical adventure, populated by finely drawn characters and charted with marvelous plot twists. But also a deeply felt, melancholic undertow that makes this world more like our own than we at first realize, and more vivid because of it.”
– Nicholas Christopher, author of A Trip to the Stars
Praise for The Chronicle of Secret Riven:
“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
“Domingue lushly layers Secret’s hopes, dreams and visions…[the] tale will charm…lovers of fantasy.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“In Secret's world, anything can happen.”
– Publishers Weekly
Praise for The Mapmaker's War:
“Journey to the heart of a fairy-tale land with doomed queens, epic quests, and enemy kingdoms in The Mapmaker’s War. Ronlyn Domingue’s jewel of a book has a big canvas, memorable characters, and intimate storytelling. You will be swept away by this otherworldly tale that charts the all-too-human territory between heartbreak and hope.”
– Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches
“A map can make sense out of the seen world. But it can also evoke greed. And what of a map of the heart? Legend, allegory, fantasy—this second novel by Domingue entwines genres to cast a spell upon its reader.... A curious, thought-provoking story about how the heart’s terrain bears charting, too.”