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Donnel's Promise


An absorbing fantasy for young adult readers. Feisty heroine Risha is the rightful heir to her mother's kingdom, but is caught between two armies and within her own tangled allegiances.


Book two in the critically acclaimed Elgard series.

Who betrays her?

Who fears her?

Who is she wrong to trust?


When Risha takes up her mother's throne there is celebration for some. But in the murky world of politics, how can you know who to trust? And in the troubled Duchy of Havre, can Risha truly trust anyone?

Setting out to discover the truth behind her mother's mysterious past, Risha begins to find the answers she seeks, but the stakes are higher than she knows. And what of the promise Donnel made? With war between the Five Duchies threatening everyone Risha loves, can the hidden truth of her mother Cattra’s legacy save her? Or is it too late to learn to use her arcane talent, and to save those sacrificed in her name.


"Contaminate Havre's soil another day and I'll string you up for the crows and take your head back to Havreport on a spike."


The man jerked his horse into a tight turn, gobbed a spitball at Nolan's feet and galloped down the hill.


"That's your idea of negotiating?" Ciaran asked faintly.

Cover image for Anna Mackenzie's Donnel's Promise

Published 2014

Want to know more? Click here for:

Sample Chapter

The Story Behind the Story 

Teaching Notes


Anna Mackenzie, Cattra's Legacy, YA fantasy

Elgard Series

Book 1

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Teaching Notes
Story Behind the Story – Anna says:


I wrote the first part of Risha’s story, Cattra’s Legacy, for my daughter. The sequel, Donnel’s Promise, I wrote for myself. The pace of writing, like the story itself, was fast and furious.


Part of the delight of being a writer lies in making stuff up. A bigger part, and the way to lend your fictitious worlds veracity, lies in incorporating truth – of emotion, of setting, of character.

Donnel’s Promise was mostly written on the move. In 2013 I had a writing residency in Belgium. While there, and subsequently in the UK, I toured two ruined castles – now partially reincarnated in Fratton and Caledon. En route to Europe I visited a friend in the USA, and aspects of the lake she lives on later resurfaced in a couple of key scenes.


Being away from home proved a bonus for this book. The process of writing was quite different to that I'd used for my other titles – not that I planned it that way; it just happened. I was busy and traveling and working on something else, and when I came to finally pulling it all together I found I had specific scenes well fleshed out in my head – but not necessarily any sense of how I would get from one to another.
The solution proved to be a writing retreat in Wanaka, New Zealand – a beautiful alpine region offering wind-scudded lake and pared-back mountain vistas. For the first time I set myself a daily writing target (3000 words) and stuck with it 24/7 until the book was done. From there I went straight into editing (normally I like to set a manuscript aside for weeks or even months before I start combing through and adjusting), but a deadline is a deadline and I went for broke.

It’s up to readers to judge but I think that pressure paid off. And when Donnel’s Promise was listed by iBooks as Top 5 YA pick of 2014, I figured, just maybe, I got it right.


If you'd like to know more, here's a Blog I wrote for Penguin Random House when Donnel's Promise was released.

What the Reviewers Say


"The sequel to Cattra’s Legacy is a fast-paced story full of action and adventure … The characters are well-rounded and likeable, with kick-arse heroines. An exciting sequel that is a wonderful read.”

Jan Butterworth, SFFANZ


“Donnel’s Promise is just as gripping at Cattra’s Legacy. Anna Mackenzie has a knack for making you feel like you are on the journey as well and I found it hard to put down.”


Read more reviews...

Read sample chapter 

Awards & Nominations


Shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Award

Teaching Notes


There are comprehensive Teaching Notes available for all Anna's books.


Direlton Castle, East Lothian, Scotland, UK
Den Gravensteen, Ghent, Belgium
Lake Cavanaugh, Washington, United States
Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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