Following the murder of his brother, Prince Anders, Jared must not only assume the throne as ruler of all Archenfield, but take on the role of investigator into the crime.
As he’s only 16, it is lucky for Jared that he has the Council of The Twelve to guide him in his decisions. Unfortunately, he quickly learns that not all is as it seems in the kingdom. Lust for power, unrequited love and personal vendettas make it difficult for Jared to know whom to trust. So when Asta Peck, the Physician’s niece and apprentice, begins her own inquiry, he is relieved to find that he is not the only one seeking the truth. Their investigation is complicated by the death of the prince’s consort and her unborn child and the attempted murder of the Falconer. It is clear that the killer is ruthless, but his or her motivation and identity remain hidden. While the mystery is suspenseful, a lack of sensory detail keeps the fantastic setting vague, despite ornate, medieval-esque trappings. The over-large cast is often unwieldy, keeping the individual characters undefined and forcing readers to the Archenfield family tree and list of officers at the front. Still, there’s a lot going on, and readers caught up in the plot will probably want to find out what happens next.
Here’s hoping they’ll be rewarded with more depth and color in the sequels to come. (Adventure. 12-16)