Hi, everyone The Lady Heiress is technically stand-alone, within the overall Zero universe, but knowledge of the last couple of books would probably be helpful <grin>. There will be a recap below. You can pick up the first book on Kindle Unlimited through the links here - The Chrishanger As always, comments, spelling corrections, etc are warmly welcomed. As this is primarily meant for younger readers, please could you also keep an eye out for things that might not be appropriate for them. Now read on ... Thank you Chris PS - a couple of people were asking how to follow me. Just watch my blog <grin>. The Chrishanger Historian’s Note The Thousand-Year Empire dominated the twin continents of Maxima and Minima through two advantages, an unmatched command of magic and the development of Objects of Power, magical weapons and tools that made them seemingly invincible. But the Empire fell and the secret of making Objects of Power was lost. Hundreds of years later, a young girl - Caitlyn Aguirre - was born to a powerful magical family. Caitlyn - Cat - should have been powerful herself, like her two sisters, but she seemed to have no spark of magic at all. She lacked even a sense for magic. In desperation, her parents sent her to Jude’s in the hopes that exposure to magical training would bring forth the magic they were sure lay buried within her. There, she met Isabella and Akin Rubén, children of her family’s greatest enemy. Isabella became her rival, while she formed a tentative friendship with Akin. Cat developed no magic, but she discovered something else. Uniquely, as far as anyone could tell, she had no magic at all. She eventually discovered that a complete lack of magic was necessary for forging Objects of Power. Far from being useless, her talent made her extremely valuable and utterly irreplaceable. As far as anyone could tell, Cat was the only true ‘Zero’ known to exist. This led to her - and her friends, Akin and Rose - being kidnapped, then targeted by Crown Prince Henry and Stregheria Aguirre, Cat’s Great Aunt, when they launched a coup against the Great Houses and the King himself. Their subversions - which turned Isabella against her family - nearly led to complete disaster ... and perhaps would have done, if Cat and Akin hadn’t become friends. In the aftermath, Cat proposed that she and Akin should be betrothed, creating a marriage bond between their families and making it impossible, at least for the next few years, for the two houses to come to blows. This was - reluctantly - accepted, with the proviso that either Cat or Akin could refute the agreement if they wished, when they came of age. Cat left Jude’s to found her own school, where other Zeroes - when they were found - would be taught. Meanwhile, the Great Houses had to deal with the repercussions of the attempted coup and the sudden shift in the balance of power. Isabella Rubén, condemned as a traitor, was exiled to Kirkhaven Hall, where she discovered a secret her family had sought to bury ... and a new secret, one of her own. Others took advantage of the chaos to stake a claim to power themselves, plots that were only foiled through sheer luck and outside intervention. The city remained unstable ... Six years passed, slowly. Akin Rubén went back to school for his final year, to discover - thanks to his father - that he had to compete in the Challenge, a contest to find the ‘Wizard Regnant.’ Reluctantly, Akin complied, forming a team consisting of his cousin Francis and a handful of misfits, including merchant’s daughter Louise Herdsman and Saline Califon, a distant relative who was under a spell cast by her wicked uncle. Despite Francis’s betrayal - the result of a shadowy figure from the family’s past - Akin managed to realise the true nature of the Challenge and forge a last minute alliance with Alana Aguirre, Cat’s sister, that allowed them to share the victory. This did not please everyone, most notably Adam Mortimer. Disgusted with the Great Houses, and uneasily aware his city was on the brink of exploding into class war, Adam joined the Kingsmen and became instrumental in stopping a plot to use Infernal Devices to trigger the war. However, he was unable to prevent the plotters from damaging the city’s harmony ... ... And far too many innocents wound up paying the price.