Mosca Mye and Eponymous Clent are at it again. Escaping disaster by the skin of their teeth, they find refuge in Toll, a strange gateway town where visitors may neither enter nor leave without paying a price. By day, the city is well-mannered and orderly; by night, it’s host to rogues and villains. Wherever there’s a plot, there’s sure to be treachery, and wherever there’s treachery, there’s sure to be trouble—and where there’s trouble, well, Clent, Mosca, and Saracen can’t be far behind. But as past deeds catch up with them and old enemies appear, this time, it seems as if there’s no way out.
In this exciting sequel to Fly by Night (2006), Hardinge's feisty heroine, Mosca Mye; her con-man companion, Eponymous Clent; and her fierce goose, Saracen, are on the run from the city of Mandelion, where they've helped foment a revolution. They become trapped in the wealthy town of Toll, and Mosca is soon exiled to Toll-by-Night, the very different and dangerous place that the town transforms into after dark. Meanwhile, she and her companions must deal with a complex plot to kidnap the Mayor's universally loved daughter, Beamabeth, while avoiding the dangerous Goshawk, ruler of the deadly Locksmiths, who wants her dead for her activities in Mandelion. Crammed with eccentric, Dickensian characters, unexpected plot turns, and numerous very niche gods and goddesses (such as Goodlady Emberleather, She Who Prevents the Meat from Becoming Chewy and Unwholesome, or Goodman Belubble, He Who Snuffs the Last Candle Before Sleep), Hardinge's world is rich enough to fuel two or three fantasy novels. It's a beautifully written tale, by turns humorous and heartbreaking and a sheer pleasure to read. Ages 10 up.