Read The Queen's Bastard first. Everything makes more sense.
What if Elizabeth I of England had keep her throne by the magic of aliens sent to corrupt our world to prepare us for the invasion? What if fantasy and sci-fi blended with historical fiction to make something like The Queen's Bastard and The Pretender's Crown? Because that's what Murphy did. The Titan Queen (Elizabeth I) reigned through the intervention of aliens sent to prepare humanity to be the slaves of a space-faring race. Which is really interesting, but nothing really much happens with that part of the plot just yet. There'd better be more to the series, particularly as one of the aliens really has only introduced Gattling guns to the sixteenth century, and then disappeared. Instead, something that almost might be the course of politics at the time, late fifteen hundreds, is influenced by the children of the aliens. All three children, born out of wedlock to queens, are able to use magic to influence people and situations around them. It lends itself to and interesting book.
None of the characters are particularly sympathetic. In fact, by the end, I quite hated all of them. Yet, given their situations, they acted as they thought best for their countries and those who held their loyalties. And there's something admirable about that, however repugnant I found them. Perhaps they will manage to change the course of history. Then again, Murphy depicts the future the aliens want as something very close to our present, so perhaps they did not save us after all.
Fiercely intelligent, beautiful, and ready to claim her birthright, she navigates a dangerous world torn between war and witchpower.
Seduction and stealth are Belinda Primrose’s skills–weapons befitting the queen’s bastard daughter, a pawn of espionage conceived by Lorraine, ruler of Aulun, and her lover and spymaster, Belinda’s father. Now an accomplished assassin, Belinda uncovers the true game her father never intended her to play. For Belinda has found her witchpower, a legacy born from something not of this earth. In a treacherous world where religion and rebellion rule, Lorraine is now in a position to sweep over the countries of Echon and to back her chosen successor to the throne: Belinda.
But Belinda is no longer anyone’s pawn. Lured by the sensual dark magic of Dmitri, envoy to a neighboring throne, yet still drawn to the witchlord embrace of her former lover, Javier, Belinda knows that she has entered a realm where power and control go to those who can master and manipulate their fiercest desires. For the witchpower depends on the skill its wielder holds.