This vel shows Antonia Michaelis moving in a bold new direction: a dark, haunting contemporary vel that is part mystery, part romance, part melodrama. Anna and Abel couldn't be more different. They are both 17, in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house, her father a doctor, her mother a literature professor at university. Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in the big cage-like tower blocks at the edge of town, full of people without work, without money, without future. Anna is afraid of him until she finds a child's doll that he has dropped and, in returning it to him, realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It's a beautiful fairytale that Anna comes to see has basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father, an insistent social worker, and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his 'enemies' begin to turn up dead, she fears she's fallen for a murderer.
Antonia Michaelis is the author of Tiger Moon and Dragons of Darkness, and has received a total of four stars for her Amulet novels. She has lived and taught in India. She is the author of several other award-winning books published in her native Germany.