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Literature / The Priory of the Orange Tree

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"A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens."

The world of The Priory of the Orange Tree is divided into two sides: those who worship dragons and those who hate them. In the dragon-worshipping East, Tané is training to be a dragonrider, and Niclays Roos, a master surgeon and alchemist, has been banished to the isolated island of Orisima by Queen Sabran Berethnet IX of Inys. In the West, Queen Sabran is in desperate need of an heir because, the moment her bloodline ends, a terrible dragon will rise again and destroy the world. Eadaz du Zāla-uq Nāra, a mage from the titular Priory, poses as an Ordinary Chamberer to Queen Sabran in order to protect her. Sabran's closest friend, Arteloth Beck, has been sent out of Inys on a mission by the Queen's spy, without the Queen's knowledge or permission.

To prevent the dragons from taking over the world, they must work together despite their differences.


This novel provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Ead, Tane, and other female dragon riders and Red Damsels.
  • All There in the Manual: There are short bios, glossary, and a timeline at the back of the book. Supplemental information can found on the author's twitter.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Western dragons, in contrast to their Eastern counterparts.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Red Damsels of the Priory.
  • Barrier Maiden: The continuing existence of the Berethnet line is the only thing keeping the Nameless One sealed away. ...Or not.
  • Bed Trick: Kalyba, to Galian Berethnet. Galian believed that she was Cleolind.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Niclays, Ead, and Sabran are all confirmed queer.
  • Chickification: Cleolind in-universe.
  • Dance of Romance: The Candle Dance for Ead and Sabran.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Despite helping kickstart the plot, Trudye is unceremoniously executed offscreen and her head mounted on a spike outside Inys.
    • Kit is killed off during a random rockslide while Loth survives.
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  • Dirty Coward: Niclays is seen as this when he begs the Golden Empress for his life before she even threatens him, leading her to nickname him after a very soft type of jellyfish.
  • Easily Forgiven: Every sympathetic character in Inys is remarkably forgiving towards Ead, considering that she lied to them about nearly everything about herself for eight years and only express the mildest of doubt towards her before instantly getting over it. (Although the pressing issue of dragon attacks is probably distracting everyone.)
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Countries and regions in the world are inspired by real world counterparts—Inys is very like Elizabethan England, Tané's homeland is very like Japan, with neighboring countries corresponding to other East Asian countries and the dragons being like lung, and so on.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Religion: Virtudom is an analogue for Christendom and follows the Six Virtues.
  • Fantasy World Map: One is present in the front of the book, detailing the main countries and landmarks.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Abyss in the middle of the ocean. Even Eastern dragons don't like going near it.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Inys, once it becomes apparent they cannot defeat the Nameless One on their own.
  • Heroic Lineage: The Inys royal family is descended from Galian Berethnet whonote  banished the Nameless One.
    • A more straight example is Tane, who is descended from Neporo, who helped to bind the Nameless One under the abyss.
  • Hero of Another Story: Truyde is one of the only people to question the Inys mythology and Sabran's ability to repel the Nameless One while still remaining loyal to the throne itself, sending Triam to attempt to parley with the East whilst (correctly) suspecting Ead of being a witch, but she is imprisoned and unceremoniously killed off midway through the book.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tane and Susa met as children and have been inseparable ever since.
  • High Fantasy: Played straight. It's a land of swords, sorcery, and dragons.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Galian Berethnet, in universe.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Some members of the Priory use matronymics, names derived from the name of a mother or female ancestor, to denote relation.
  • Identical Grandson: Sabran looks just like Kalyba.
  • Immortal Breaker: Ascalon. Forged by Kalyba from fragments of the Long-Haired Star, it is the only weapon known to have harmed the Nameless One.
  • Immortality Seeker: The Golden Empress wishes to become immortal. Sabran also considered it in the backstory.
  • Last of His Kind: Sabran is the last of the Berethnets after she loses the ability to have children. Kalyba is also the last of the original three magic users - Cleolind and Neporo have both long since passed.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Inverted. The map is still left-justified, but the countries on that side are analogous to real world East Asia.
  • Legendary Weapon: Ascalon, Galian Berethnet's sword that wounded the Nameless One.
  • Mordor: Yscalia while under draconic control.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Fyredel, the Nameless One, the Dreadmount, the Abyss.
  • Only the Chosen May Ride: Dragons choose their riders from a class of elite Sea Guard apprentices.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Divided into Eastern and Western dragons that follow the real world portrayals of each.
    • Eastern dragons are benign and coexist peacefully with humans.
    • Western dragons are evil rage monsters in service to the Big Bad.
  • Parental Abandonment: Less harsh than the usual example. Parents in the priory are discouraged from showing favoritism to the point that some children don’t know who their parents are.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Loth and Sabran.
  • Playing with Fire: Practitioners of Siden, a kind of fire magic that originates in the core of the earth.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Averted. Tané eventually can't take the guilt of letting Triam into the country and tells her dragon everything. This prevents any drama arising from that, but unfortunately it doesn't stop her getting kidnapped by pirates.
  • Posthumous Character: Jannart, Niclay's lover, is dead before the novel begins.
  • Power-Up Food: Fruit from the Orange Tree grants Siden, a type of fire magic. After enough time without the fruit, the magic eventually fades.
  • Preserve Your Gays: Not only do queer people exist in this book, they manage to survive as well.
  • Race Against the Clock: The Nameless One is set to return after one thousand years at the bottom of the ocean. Time is almost up.
  • Sapient Steed: Aralaq and other ichneumon are capable of speech.
  • Satellite Character: Magret just exists to be Ead's friend and Loth's sister.
  • Satanic Archetype: The Nameless One. Imprisoned under the earth/ocean? Check. Held at bay by the hero of the religion that dominates the Europe stand-in? Check. Serpent-like? Check.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Imprisoned under the ocean for most of the story.
  • Seven Heavenly Virtues: Christianity's Seven Virtues' are paralleled with Virtudom's Six — Courage, Courtesy, Fellowship, Generosity, Justice, and Temperance.
  • Secret Art: Siden magic is not something the world at large is aware of.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Straddles the line between level 7 and 8 - the story is mostly female-driven, the majority of rulers and POV characters are women and the men are supporting characters at best, laughably incompetent at worst. Sigoso is basically a lunatic Puppet King who has plunged Yscalin into darkness by siding with the Nameless One and his daughter is trying to mitigate the damage, Loth is a knight but he's deported to Yscalin on a glorified suicide mission for being too friendly with Sabran and he's repeatedly shown to be an inferior warrior to Ead (though everyone is made to look inferior to her) and gets bailed out by several strokes of luck and tends to get cowed and dominated by both Ead and his younger sister Margret. Kit, Triam and Aubrecht all are very unceremoniously killed off (though to be fair, so is Trudye) and Chassar again only exists to coddle Ead. Gian Harlowe and the Unceasing Emperor are implied to be competent rulers, but they mostly do so offscreen, while Niclays is the closest thing to being a male protagonist the story has. He has no fighting skills and relies solely on his intellect to survive. Seyton Combe is also competent but Ead suspects he is betraying Sabran and once he's revealed to have been the one to send Kit and Loth away his relevance in the story vanishes shortly afterwards, as does Turosa once Tane defeats him in a duel.
  • Single Line of Descent: Berethnet women only ever have one daughter to carry on the line of succession.
  • Squishy Wizard: Magic users can heal faster when injured but are not immune to physical attacks.
  • Star Power: Sterren comes from the stars.
  • Succession Crisis: Sabran is twenty-eight and not getting any younger. Her council pressures her to marry so she can fulfill her Mandatory Motherhood and secure an heir.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The good guys must find the real Ascalon in order to stand a chance against the Nameless One. Fortunately for the protagonists, it's in Goldenbirch, conveniently the home of Loth and Margret, Ead's best friends.
  • Thousand-Year Reign: The Berethnets have ruled Inys for a thousand years.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Ead and Tane at first because of their differing opinion of dragons. Tane reveres Eastern dragons while Ead spent most of her life considering them to be no different from Western dragons.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The four POV characters' timelines overlap chronologically before converging.
  • Universe Chronology: Included in the back of the book.
  • Warrior Monk: Members of the Priory are trained in physical combat as well as magic.
  • Weakened by the Light: Wyverns are repelled by Sterren magic.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Set up to be a major roadblock in Tane's journey, one she defeats Turosa in combat, he pretty much vanishes entirely from the plot.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Triam and Truyde clearly think they are in a medieval romance, where the pure of heart will always triumph if they have good motives and want it enough. Unfortunately, this leads to them ignoring the political realities and gets them both killed.


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