What if two sisters who are as close as two people can be grow up to battle each other in a bitter conflict that threatens to tear their nation apart?
That is the central question of the Polaris Trilogy, a dystopian fantasy series I’m writing that explores the struggles of Alanna and Ryla Jensen to hold on to the tight bond that’s sustained them their entire lives, amidst the chaos and destruction of war, which neither of them can afford to lose.
How much would any of us be willing to sacrifice the people we love to win victory for our cause? How willing would we be to trade freedom, in return for the guarantee of safety from war, famine, disease?
Neress is a seemingly idyllic country, in which no citizen every has to worry about going hungry or experience senseless violence or disease. But it is a pressure cooker threatening to explode, as an undercurrent of restlessness and disillusion is spreading across the country. Liberties long surrendered when Benedict Jensen came into power 40 years ago feel too steep a price to pay, and a rebellion is rising up to to challenge his iron fist.
It is under these circumstances in which Ryla Jensen finds herself torn between loyalty to her family and the fight for freedom.
Book 1: The Polaris Uprising (coming fall 2013)
In less than seven years, eighteen-year old Ryla Jensen will succeed her father as the leader of Neress, a nation where all citizens are taken care of from the moment they’re born. Fed, clothed, educated, and sheltered, every need of theirs is met.
The only price they pay is their free will.
Groomed since childhood to take on a role she’s not even sure she wants, Ryla’s only escape from the pressures of duty is her sister, Alanna. But when her eyes are opened to the oppressive regime her father has built, she begins to question everything she’s set to inherit—and finds herself at odds with Alanna’s blind loyalty to their father.
Torn between loyalty to her family and the fight for freedom, Ryla must make the ultimate choice and risk losing the person she loves most in the world: Alanna.
Book 2 (coming soon)
Book 3 (coming soon)
Meet the Main Characters:
Charming, charismatic, and precocious, Ryla grew up in a life of privilege as the younger daughter of Neress’s ruler, Benedict Jensen. Ryla showed plenty of spirit even as a child, and Benedict made no attempt to hide the fact that she was his favorite of his two daughters. Casting aside his firstborn, Alanna, he anoints Ryla early on to be his successor, choosing her to take over for him when she comes of age on her 25th birthday and carry on in the tradition of his rule, which he sees as a benevolent dictatorship.
Ryla struggles with the burden of this heavy weight that’s been thrust upon her shoulders at a young age. At 18, she is still trying to find her footing, and is only now coming to realize the full reality of what’s ahead of her — and the fact that she has had no say in determining her destiny. Only through the encouragement of older sister, Alanna, is she able to start to embrace what’s asked of her, but when she learns of the true nature of her father’s rule, she must make the ultimate choice: join the fledgling rebellion and turn her back on her family, or turn a blind eye to the oppressive society her father has built — that she must inherit herself one day.
Shy, quiet, and awkward, Alanna always struggled to earn her father’s love and affection. Eliminated from contention early on to be her father’s successor, Alanna dutifully embraces Ryla’s destiny to one day assume control of the country, giving her unconditional support and providing a guiding hand. Alanna has been Ryla’s sole protector from the time they were little girls, after the untimely death of their mother left them with a father whose duty kept him from being fully present in the lives of his children.
Compassionate and caring, Alanna truly believes in the benevolent dictatorship their father established, believing that it is the government’s duty to take care of its people and ensure that they want for nothing. As a doctor, she carries out this philosophy in her life as well, opening up a clinic in the heart of the inner city of Neress’s capital, and she is much beloved among the citizens for her loving, nurturing nature.
As with her sister, she’s had little say in the key decisions in her life, including her choice of a husband. Promised as a little girl to the young son of Neress’s Minister of Security, Alanna is set to marry Owen Callister on her 25th birthday, and falling in love with him sets her on a course that she could never have predicted.
Spirited and at times reckless, Owen could never quite connect with the cold, distant father who saw him as little more than a disappointment, and with a mother whose frequent bouts with mental illness left her unable to properly care for her son. At 16, he was sent away to the country’s top flight academy to gain discipline, and now 25, he has returned to Neress’s capital to marry the girl he’s been promised to since he was a young boy.
Alanna Jensen has always been an enigma to him — the girl he longed to get close to, though she held him at a distance. Drawn to her warmth and compassion, he finds a kindred spirit in her, someone whose own strained relationship with her father enables her to understand him better than anyone else.
Marrying her is his duty, but falling in love with her is the true adventure, and their journey together becomes a saving grace for both of them.