Gabrielle Mathieu, "Girl of Fire" (Five Directions Press, 2019)


In the fantasy medieval land of Trea—a conservative society that despite its worship of the goddess Amur respects her human daughters only as wives and mothers—eighteen-year-old Berona has limited expectations for her future. Securing a handsome husband who will win her heart and teach her to dance seems like enough of a challenge, given that her father keeps presenting her with candidates who can neither appeal to nor appreciate her fiery nature. But Berona remains hopeful until a nighttime encounter at the stream that runs near her house brings her face-to-face with humanity’s ancient enemy, the Water Demon, desperate for revenge after six hundred years locked deep in the world’s oceans.

The Demon threatens Berona and her family, and to protect her parents and younger sister, Berona accepts help from a magician, member of an outlawed sect with a philosophy of life very different from that of the Intercessors of Trea. The magician has been searching for the Girl of Fire, who according to ancient prophecy is the only person who can defeat the Water Demon, and he becomes convinced that Berona is the one he seeks.

But Berona is untrained, and the Demon already on the move. As the Elemental forces of Nature awaken and treachery splits those committed to help her, Berona struggles to reconcile her own essential strengths, the demands placed on her, and the lessons she must master against a foe who destroys from within, by manipulating her victims’ deepest fears and appealing to their hidden desires.

Gabrielle Mathieu, the author of the Falcon Trilogy and host of New Books in Fantasy and Adventure, kicks off her new series, Berona’s Quest, with Girl of Fire (Five Directions Press, 2019), a deeply researched and endlessly inventive exploration of a world in which disrespecting the environment can, quite literally, get you killed.

C. P. Lesley is the author of ten novels, including Legends of the Five Directions (The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, The Swan Princess, The Vermilion Bird, and The Shattered Drum), a historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible. Her latest book, Song of the Shaman, appeared in 2020. Find out more about her at

Related Topics

Your Host

C. P. Lesley

C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and four other novels. Her latest book, The Merchant's Tale, co-written with P.K. Adams, appeared in November 2023.

View Profile