In 1871 London, a ragged girl pickpocket steals a ring that enforces a truce between the British Crown and the Faery world, setting off a struggle between the realms.
Tiki supports her adopted “family” of orphans by using her uncanny ability to steal. When she stumbles into Buckingham Palace, she finds a ring and takes it. However, she learns that the ring is enchanted, and that dangerous faeries want it. Helping her (or is he?), the handsome Rieker also roams the streets of London as a thief, and he claims to know much about the faeries. Tiki tries to ransom the ring and fend off two menacing faeries, but when one kidnaps her little charge Clara, she faces a life-or-death situation. And, just how close is Tiki herself to the faery world? Hamilton debuts with a fantasy that has a heavy—and interesting—historical focus on the poor street children of Victorian London and contrasts their lives with the splendor of the wealthy. Even the realistic portions of the novel, however, rely heavily on some highly implausible events. Well, it’s a fantasy. Plausibility isn’t required, even if it takes some effort to suspend disbelief. The faeries convince readers of their magic and their danger, the humans of their individuality. The story keeps suspense high with one crisis after another, until it escalates into a final exciting showdown.An entertaining magical-historical adventure. (Historical fantasy. 12 & up)