He lives by his wits. He speaks his mind, follows his own convictions, relies on himself in every possible situation and slowly we begin to understand that he is one step ahead of everyone he meets, even those in the highest power positions. Yet, he wakes to find himself bumping along bruised and wounded in a rough wagon with his hands tied behind his back. Meet Sage, an orphan who has been chosen along with two other orphan boys, Roden and Tobias to compete for an incredible opportunity.
Bevin Conner, nobleman, has arrived at Sage's orphanage to find candidates he can pass off as the prince of the realm. News has reached him secretly that the king, queen and heir to the throne have been murdered and Conner fears war is imminent if their land, Carthya, is perceived as in a state of weakness. But there was another prince. This prince was killed at sea by pirates though no body has ever been found. It is Conner's plan to spend the next two weeks grooming these three boys and the one boy who rises above the others in swordplay, etiquette, horsemanship and book learning will be the new prince. What will happen to the other two? Conner has no plan to leave anyone standing who might betray him so the three boys understand that this competition is a battle for life and death.
This story is a journey by wagon in the direction of the castle and the announcement that the long lost prince has been discovered. This story is also a journey of a thief and a liar that opens to new possibilities as we watch Sage in action. Left-handed, clumsy, inept and a lacking student, he nonetheless climbs out his window to explore the grounds at night and is willing to withstand torture before revealing the whereabouts of his precious but small lump of gold. It's a battle of iron wills.
It's a great blend of challenges, injustices, adventures, hope, revelations and creates a fascinating combination of characters and a compelling quest.
342 pages 978-0545284141 Ages 9-14
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
ALSC Tween Recommended Reads http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/Tween13_RecReadsList.pdf