Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.
All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.
But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.
Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person -- his only hope for understanding what happened to him -- the kingdom's heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.
Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.
When a 17-year-old peasant named Nels finally gets to attend his town's yearly festival, all he wants is the chance to become a real knight and perhaps win a kiss from the lovely Princess Tyra. But before the day is out, Nels is killed by a master of the magic called Fabrication. Much to Nels's dismay, the only person capable of seeing his ghost is Princess Tyra, who publicly humiliated him only hours earlier and has no intention of helping her phantasmagorical new companion. According to a magician named Ickabosh, however, Tyra's fate is bound to Nels, and the man who killed Nels won't rest until both of their life-threads are cut. While the novel is aimed at a YA audience, its language sometimes feels closer to middle grade and tends to summarize the protagonists' feelings rather than demonstrate them ("In spite of the peasant's insolence, Tyra was intrigued and curious about him if only a little"). Still, this brisk adventure from first-time authors Jensen and King is a charming quest tale in classic fantasy tradition. Ages 12 up.