The Books of Marian L Thorpe

Novels of an Empire on the Edge of History

Amidst the struggles of war, four people: the fisherwoman Lena, the scholar Cillian, the musician Sorley, and the soldier Druisius meet the challenges of their time, as warriors, diplomats, spies and leaders.

Bound by vows of loyalty and love, they have little chance to succeed. But winning a war is only the beginning of saving a land, and what might lie after victory will demand secrecy and sacrifice too – not only of the four, but of the next generation as well.

A saga of choices, betrayals, intrigue, and love, where some battles of power and politics are won with swords – and some with words.

Lena’s Story

Empire’s Daughter, Empire’s Hostage, Empire’s Exile

A country on the brink of defeat. A woman who answers a call to arms. A man to challenge an Empire.

For centuries, women used weapons to kill for food, men to kill in war. Now Lena must break with tradition to save those she loves, but as she steps from her settled world into one of battle, intrigue and politics, her lover chooses banishment. Lonely and afraid, each decision Lena makes brings more terrible consequences, until even her own people turn against her. Her partner in exile, the enigmatic diplomat Cillian, has no survival skills. Lena’s quick wit and prowess with knife and bow keeps them alive as they search for a lost Empire of immense and ancient power. But how much will Lena sacrifice for a hopeless cause before the price is just too great?

‘Fans of Guy Gavriel Kay will love Thorpe’s work.’ Anya Pavelle, author of the Moon Hunters.

“immersive, intelligent and resonant…I recommend highly.” Justin Lee Anderson, author of Carpet Diem and The Lost War

“a well-crafted historical fantasy with marvelous sensory world-building details, compelling characters and skillful plotting. A recommended read for fans of sweeping historical tales with complex storylines.” Whistler Independent Book Awards

Also available as the box set Empire’s Legacy.

Sorley’s Story

Oraiáphon and Empire’s Reckoning

Courage comes in many forms.

The northern invaders are defeated, but the price is high. The Eastern Empire, gone from these lands for generations, now rules. For Sorley, the young lord of Gundarstorp, the war and the treaty he signed have stripped him of both his lands and the chance to be a scáeli, a bard. Now it threatens to take Cillian, the man he loves.

Reluctantly accepting a diplomatic role, desperate to stay at Cillian’s side, Sorley is torn between promises: to his country’s leader; to his oath as an envoy; to his closest friend. Taking refuge in his music and the arms of another man, he finds a fragile peace – only to have it shattered by secrets revealed. But there is more than one side to a story, more than one song to be sung – if Sorley is brave enough to listen to his heart.

‘thought-provoking themes, detailed world-building, crisp and fluid dialogue, and stimulating political drama’ P.L. Stuart, author of A Drowned Kingdom

‘careful worldbuilding and attention to rich detail results in authentic characters’ J.R. Alcyone, author of The Stars That Govern Us

 ‘skilful world-building and deep, realistic characterisation’ Discovering Diamonds Reviews

Also available as the box set Empire’s Bard.

Cillian & Gwenna’s Story

Empire’s Heir

Some games are played for mortal stakes.

Gwenna, heir to Ésparias, is summoned by the Empress of Casil to compete for the hand of her son. Offered power and influence far beyond what her own small land can give her, Gwenna’s strategy seems clear – except she loves someone else.

Nineteen years earlier, the Empress outplayed Cillian in diplomacy and intrigue. Alone, his only living daughter has little chance to counter the Empress’s experience and skill. Aging and torn by grief and worry, Cillian insists on accompanying Gwenna to Casil.

Risking a charge of treason, faced with a choice he does not want to make, Cillian must convince Gwenna her future is more important than his – while Gwenna plans her moves to keep her father safe. Both are playing a dangerous game. Which one will concede – or sacrifice?

‘I dread the day Marian will be finished writing this series’ Cover to Cover Reviews

‘Thorpe’s writing is beautiful – strong in the details of landscape both physical and political, delicate in the handling of strong emotion, and cunning in how stealthily details of the plot are seeded throughout.’ Karen Heenan, author of The Tudor Court series.

‘this book has it all: tight plotting, strong characters, action, danger, drama, and pathos.’ Discovering Diamonds Reviews

Empress & Soldier: Druisius & Eudekia’s Story

Empress & Soldier

A boy of the night-time streets. A girl of libraries and learning.

Druisius, the son of a merchant, is sixteen when an order from his father that he can neither forgive nor forget drives him from home and into the danger and intrigue of the military.

Eudekia, a scholar’s daughter, educated and dutiful, is not meant to be a prince’s bride. In an empire at war, and in a city beset by famine and unrest, she must prove herself worthy of its throne.

A decade after a first, brief meeting, their lives intersect again. When a delegation arrives from the lost West, asking Eudekia for sanctuary for a princess and support for a desperate war, Druisius is assigned to guard them. In the span of a few weeks, a young captain will capture the hearts of both Empress and soldier in very different ways, offering a future neither could have foreseen.

‘These books are like that Netflix show you just can’t help but binge and when it’s over, you feel sad. There’s an emptiness in your day now where the show, or in this case, this book, was… once you get stuck into this story, you will experience alternative, historical fiction like never before.’ Cover to Cover Reviews

‘nothing predictable about this wonderful novel.’ Helen Hollick, author of Gallows Wake

‘Thorpe’s characters have always been multi-layered with complex personalities and this one is no different. What is different however, is that one of the protagonists in this story, Druisius, is someone who you should not want to root for. He lives his life in the shadows and alone. Doing all of the dirty and bloody, but necessary, work for his masters. He is definately someone you would not want to meet alone in a darkened alleyway. He is brilliant.’ Alistair Tosh, author of The Edge of Empire series.


Empire’s Daughter: Discovered Diamond Award; Eric Hoffer Award Finalist, 2021; B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, 2021; BBNYA Semi-Finalist, 2021; Readers’ Favorite 5 star award, 2021 & Coffee Pot Book Club Historical Fantasy Book of the Year Silver Medal, 2019 (both as part of Empire’s Legacy: The Complete First Trilogy)

Empire’s Hostage: Readers’ Favorite 5 star award, 2021 & Coffee Pot Book Club Historical Fantasy Book of the Year Silver Medal, 2019 (both as part of Empire’s Legacy: The Complete First Trilogy); Discovered Diamond Award

Empire’s ExileReaders’ Favorite 5 star award, 2021 & Coffee Pot Book Club Historical Fiction Silver Medal, 2019 (both as part of Empire’s Legacy: The Complete First Trilogy); Gold Medal, Coffee Pot Book Club Historical Fantasy Book of the Year, 2019; Discovered Diamond Award

Empire’s Reckoning: Gold Medal, Coffee Pot Book Club Historical Fantasy Book of the Year, 2020; Discovered Diamond Award

Empire’s HeirEric Hoffer Award Finalist, 2022; Discovered Diamond Award; Historical Fiction Company 5-Star Award, 2021; IndieInk Award Finalist, 2022

Body of work: Queer Indie 2022 Bronze Medal, Queer Fiction/Non-Fiction

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