45 pages 1 hour read

Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Wicked

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2020

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Summary and Study Guide


Kingdom of the Wicked (2020) is the first book in a trilogy of the same name by Kerri Maniscalco. Kingdom of the Wicked is a young adult novel that combines elements of the fantasy, historical fiction, and romance genres to support its central murder mystery. Young witch Emilia di Carlo must use her magical abilities and values to navigate the complicated work of the Wicked, seven immortal demon brothers who rule Hell, and solve her sister’s murder. Maniscalco is the author of many macabre stories, including several young adult novels such as this one.

This guide references the James Patterson Presents 2020 edition of the novel. Please note that Kingdom of the Wicked depicts violence and mild sexual content.

Plot Summary

Emilia and Vittoria di Carlo are 18-year-old twin sisters living in Palermo, Sicily in the late 19th century. They are both witches and part of a matrilineal heritage dating back to La Prima Strega, the first witch. Their powers draw on the natural elements of the earth and are shaped by intention to incur outcomes in the real world. Emilia and Vittoria are both powerful witches like their Nonna Maria, who teaches them much of her knowledge. Unbeknownst to the twins, they are components of a prophecy that states they must stop the gates of Hell from opening or the world as they know it will end.

Emilia and Vittoria grow up hearing stories from Nonna Maria about a race of evil demon princes called the Wicked. The Wicked each personify one of the seven deadly sins (wrath, envy, greed, pride, lust, gluttony, and sloth) and rule part of Hell. Pride is king amongst his brothers—the devil himself. The Wicked were magically bound to remain in Hell by La Prima, who cursed Pride long ago after he and La Prima’s daughter fell in love. During Emilia and Vittoria’s time, Pride seeks a witch bride who will help him break the curse and let loose the demons kept in heaven. Emilia and Vittoria must use the Horn of Hades—the devil’s horns that were fashioned into two amulets by La Prima and are the key to the gates of Hell—to stop this from happening before the human and witch worlds are ruined.

Shortly after their 18th birthday, Vittoria is murdered, signaling the beginning of the prophecy. Emilia vows to solve Vittoria’s murder and punish her killer. She soon discovers that not only was Vittoria dealing in the dark arts before her death, but that all the stories Nonna Maria told them are true. Vittoria learned about the curse and prophecy and tried to stop it without telling her sister about her dangerous actions. As Emilia tries to recreate her sister’s final actions to find the murderer, Emilia also summons a demon: the Prince of Wrath. Emilia unknowingly uses a marriage bond to summon Wrath so the two of them—bound in the promise of matrimony—work together to uncover the truth about Vittoria’s death.

Emilia and Wrath learn that Vittoria decided to marry Pride to try to stop the end of the world as predicted in the prophecy. Another demon prince, Envy, discovered these plans and had Vittoria killed to prevent Pride from ending the curse because Envy wishes to take the kingdom of the Wicked for himself. Envy and Antonio, a Catholic monk and childhood friend of Emilia and Vittoria, work together to marry off each of Pride’s bridal candidates. As Emilia discovers the truth of her bond with Wrath and becomes convinced of his deceit, she must face the prophecy alone. Like Vittoria, Emilia decides to marry Pride to destroy his realm. Having ended her marriage bond with Wrath, Emilia agrees to sell her soul to the devil, violating everything Nonna taught her.

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