When you gamble with kingdoms, all bets are off. Legends are born in this thrilling and New York Times bestselling spy saga from the fantasy author who is legend herself: Tamora Pierce.
Aly is from a family known for great deeds. She is the daughter of Alanna, the famed knight and King’s Champion of Tortall. But even though she is bold and brave, like her mother, her true talents lie on her father’s side, in the art of spying.
When Aly is captured by pirates and sold as a slave to an exiled royal family in the faraway Copper Isles, she strikes a bargain with the trickster god. If she can keep young noblewomen Sarai and Dove safe for the summer, then he will return Aly to her family. The task should be simple, but Sarai and Dove are anything but. It’s a time of murderous plotting at court, and Aly will need to rely on her training and the insights of a strange young man named Nawat to survive in a world where trust can cost you your life.
“Tamora Pierce’s books shaped me not only as a young writer but also as a young woman. She is a pillar, an icon, and an inspiration. Cracking open one of her marvelous novels always feels like coming home.”
—SARAH J. MAAS, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Tamora Pierce didn’t just blaze a trail. Her heroines cut a swath through the fantasy world with wit, strength, and savvy. Her stories still lead the vanguard today. Pierce is the real lioness, and we’re all just running to keep pace.”
—LEIGH BARDUGO, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Pierce fans will flock to welcome back the star of her first novel, Alanna: The First Adventure, this time in a supporting role the main focus here is her daughter, 16-year-old slacker Aly (short for Alianne). While Alanna fights a bitter war with Scanra in the North, Aly stays at home, trying to figure out what to do with her life, and how to emerge from her mother's shadow. Impulsively, she takes a boat ride, and is snatched by slave traders ignorant of her identity. Aly ends up in the household of a family that has fallen out of favor with the vicious King Oron, who sends them into exile while demanding most of their wealth. Meanwhile, Aly is approached by a "local sea god, among other things," as Kyprioth (the trickster of the title) introduces himself. He sets her a wager: keep the family's children safe for the next three months, and she will be returned home plus Kyprioth will convince her father to let her become a spy (an idea to which both her parents are vehemently opposed). If she fails, she must act as Kyprioth's servant for one year. Pierce luxuriates in her setting, moving the action along at a pace that might seem sluggish to some, but will be just right to her legion of devotees. As with her other books, this one is densely political, rife with cultural background and sprawling character trees. The climax is worth the wait, and ably sets up a framework for future adventures of this very likable new heroine. Ages 10-13.