From master storyteller Melina Marchetta comes an exhilarating new fantasy springing from her celebrated epic, Finnikin of the Rock. Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home . . . or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood . . . and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.
In a spellbinding companion to Finnikin of the Rock, set three years after the events of that book, Marchetta shifts attention from Lumatere to its neighboring enemy kingdom of Charyn, no stranger to violence and curses itself in this case, one that has left its citizens barren for 18 years. Froi, a former street thief who has started a new life in Lumatere, is sent to Charyn in disguise to assassinate its king, but his worldview is shaken by revelations about his own unknown past. Tensions between the two kingdoms ratchet up, and Froi s loyalties are tested as he becomes entrenched in the chaotic political situation in Charyn and is drawn to its unpredictable princess, Quintana, who has been horribly abused in an attempt to break Charyn s curse. Marchetta again demonstrates her fearlessness in exposing humanity at its ugliest (rape, massacre, and prejudice are rampant), but also at its noblest, as her damaged characters struggle to rebuild their lives. The precipice on which Marchetta leaves readers will have them aching but also terrified to discover what comes next. Ages 14 up.