King of Scars is the first book in the Nikolai Duology by Leigh Bardugo, set in the Grishaverse and focused on the character Nikolai Lantsov. It was released on January 29, 2019 by Imprint.


Face your demons... or feed them.

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country's bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka's coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself.  But some secrets aren't meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren't meant to heal.[1]

Known Information

  • The first four chapters of the book, along with the new Grishaverse map illustrated by Sveta Dorocheva, have been released as a preview on the Grishaverse website.[2]
  • King of Scars is told in multiple-POV third-person narration, similarly to the Six of Crows duology.[3]
  • Several characters from previous Grishaverse books returns in King of Scars.
  • Five of the new characters who are involved are the young monk, Isaak, Hanne, Count Zerov, and Count Kirigin.[4][7][11]
    • Yuri, the "young monk," who is not a POV character, is travelling with Nikolai and Zoya and plays an important role in the story. He was part of the Cult of the Starless Saint, that aims to have the Darkling officially recognized as a saint. Before the release of the book, The name of the monk was not revealed due to the fact that Leigh Bardugo may have changed it during the editing process.[7] His ethnicity, nationality, and all other information were also withheld for unknown reasons.
  • The events of the book occur about six months after the events of the Six of Crows duology.[2][3]
  • The book has a romantic subplot[12]; Nikolai and Nina are confirmed to have love interests.
  • The audiobook of King of Scars is narrated by Lauren Fortgang, the narrator of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, The Language of Thorns, as well as Inej's POV chapters in the Six of Crows duology.[13]
  • The elements on the book's cover, most notably the bees and roses in the upper left corner, and the dragon in the upper right, have significant ties to the events of the story.[3]

Editorial Reviews

  • "Deadly clever political intrigue, heart-stopping adventure, memorable characters, and several understated, hinted-at romances (how will we wait?!) come together in one glorious, Slavic-folklore infused package. Bardugo's star continues to rise." —Booklist, starred review


  1. Leigh Bardugo previews her next book, King of Scars – Entertainment Weekly, September 26, 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 King of Scars sampler, chapters 1-3
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Leigh Bardugo's Instagram page.
  4. 4.0 4.1 King of Scars preview, Chapter 4
  5. Leigh Bardugo's Twitter, Zoya confirmation – May 28, 2018
  6. Leigh Bardugo's Instagram, Nina confirmation – May 5, 2018
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Leigh Bardugo's BookCon interview with Epic Reads – June 2, 2018
  8. Leigh Bardugo Returns to Ravka in Her New Series – Goodreads, January 2, 2019
  9. Leigh Bardugo's Twitter, Inej mentioned – May 28, 2018
  10. Leigh Bardugo's Twitter, Kaz mentioned – May 28, 2018
  11. Leigh Bardugo's Twitter, Count Zerov – May 27, 2018
  12. Leigh Bardugo's Twitter, romantic plot – May 28, 2018
  13. Leigh Bardugo's Tumblr, audiobook info – December 19, 2018
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