After the death of the highly placed aristocrat whose patronage ensured their safety, Jessamy’s mixed-race family is targeted by political enemies; spared thanks to her skill at the game of Fives, she must find a way to save them.
Jes’ father, born into the Patron class, insisted she and her three sisters adhere to strict Patron protocols. Their Commoner mother submitted gracefully but at the price of openly affirming her Efean heritage. Jes finds an outlet from suffocating social strictures by secretly training for the Fives, a complex, mysterious competition popular with both castes. No one is fooled when, in order to avoid unmasking, she lets a competitor, Lord Kalliarkos, win. Separated from her family to live and train at the stables of his uncle, Lord Gargaron, Jes quickly bonds with Kalliarkos. When she learns the fate of her mother and sisters, she enlists his help in rescuing them. During this grueling ordeal, Jes begins to realize the power Efean heritage holds and to sense that it’s somehow interwoven with the game of Fives. Far more than a game, its meaning remains unclear, its history lost or forgotten. This series opener, the auspicious teen debut of a seasoned author of adult fantasy and World Fantasy Award finalist, features a gripping, original plot; vivid, complicated characters; and layered, convincingly detailed worldbuilding.
A compelling look at racial and social identity wrapped in a page-turning adventure. (Fantasy. 12-18)