In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.
This highly enjoyable medieval fantasy from Nielsen (the Underworld Chronicles), set in the medieval kingdom of Carthya, centers on 15-year-old Sage, an angry and pugnacious orphan, who is unexpectedly purchased by Conner, one of the king's regents. The entire royal family king, queen, and heir has recently died under mysterious circumstances, and to prevent civil war, Conner is collecting orphans who might believably be substituted for the dead king's younger son, who was reported lost at sea years earlier. Sage is soon engaged in a deadly, winner-take-all contest with two other boys to earn the right to impersonate Prince Jaron. Sage is deftly characterized through humorous first-person narration, quickly establishing himself as a beguiling antihero: "I'd never attempted roast thievery before, and I was already regretting it," he says when readers first meet him. "It happens to be very difficult to hold a chunk of raw meat while running." Secondary characters are equally fleshed-out. First in the Ascendancy Trilogy, this is an impressive, promising story with some expertly executed twists. Ages 8 14.
This is one of the best books I've ever read, and since I spend most of my time reading, that's saying something. It's clever, fun, mysterious, and beautiful. With a hidden identity, a confusing touch of romance, and a LOT of lies, this book is well worth the read.
8 Years still love it
I first read this book in sixth grade, eight years ago. I read it three times before it was due back in the library and at that point I wanted to buy it. I keep rereading it; I’m doing so now (from age 12 to age 20) and finally realized why I love the book so much. My first time reading the book, the plot progresses until a flashback chapter that shocked me. I actually didn’t see that twist coming, which is rare for me. So to be stunned, enticed, and desiring more was a novel experience I don’t forget.
My favorite book