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Trust no witch . . . 

Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom—and vengeance.

Jazmyne is the queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain—except the lengths they will go to win this game.

Deadly, fierce, magnetically addictive: this Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut is a thrilling journey where dangerous magic reigns supreme and betrayal lurks beneath every word.

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Dear Reader, 

The seed for Witches Steeped in Gold was planted during the summer I turned twelve.

While I was born in England to Jamaican parents, I didn’t grow up hearing island tales. It wasn’t until a family vacation to Jamaica that I learned about the legend that would inspire one of two magic systems in this book—Obeah. Secretive, and with little written record, it was only discussed by my maternal aunties under duress, in hushed tones limned with fear and respect. I was hooked. An avid fan of Sabrina the Teenage Witch growing up, discovering my culture was entrenched with its own magic was the highlight of that holiday—though that’s not to say I didn’t bolt my windows at night, even when we returned to England. 

In the years that followed, still gripped by that visceral dread and excitement whenever I’d think back to what I discovered that summer, when I made my first foray into writing YA fantasy, there was no doubt as to what it would be about. 

Witches Steeped in Gold is an ode to my love of magic and island tales—those of fact as well as fiction. It contains echoes of unity and resistance, in deference to Jamaica’s history; a fallen empire where power is as fickle as a coin toss, and competing hands scramble to catch it; two girls from enemy orders who dare to challenge the past, and the resulting twists and turns as they navigate their way to a new dawn.   

In the years since its first planting, this story has grown into something I still can’t quite believe exists. I am beyond grateful that it does, and that I get to share it with you. 


Ciannon Smart


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