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THE SHIELD, SWORD, AND CROWN by Hilari Bell

THE SHIELD, SWORD, AND CROWN

Sword of Waters

By Hilari Bell (Author) , Drew Willis (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-0596-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

This middle installment picks up speed and delicious suspense as Arisa and Weasel struggle to grasp the reins of power within a precarious government. Arisa’s mother, the Falcon, commands a high military position, while Justice Holis holds the regency for Prince Edoran, too young to rule. Their uneasy truce keeps both leaders living in the castle, forcing furious Arisa into corsets and embroidery lessons. An embarrassing incident at court—her dress nearly falls off—causes Arisa to wonder whether her maid’s hostility is deliberate sabotage aimed at the Falcon and prompts her to sneak out at night to follow the maid—which leads to her taking an undercover job at a tavern that hosts clandestine meetings. Bell recaptures a moral subtlety missing in the series opener that readers will recall from her Farsala trilogy. As Weasel and Edoran help Arisa unearth an unexpected (and unexpectedly painful) conspiracy, she places hints for readers to sleuth along in a most satisfying way. Even Arisa’s “arcanara” (tarot) cards are readable for clues. A covert last-minute escape leaves the plot poised breathlessly for the final volume. (Fantasy. 9-12)