King Severn Argentine s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king s hostage.Read more...
King Severn Argentine s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.
Seeking allies and eluding Severn s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king s favor by proving his worth through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Richard III is near-obligatory context for reading about King Severn Argentine; readers less fond of the Bard can refer to Kylo Ren instead. Argentine is the black-garbed, duplicitous, enraged, self-absorbed usurper of the throne of Ceredigion in Wheeler’s well-wrought fantasy setting. He has taken hostage eight-year old Owen, youngest child of the Duke of Kiskaddon, as surety for the duke’s good conduct. None doubt that the boy is marked for death, but Owen has well-wishers in the labyrinthine palace of Kingfountain, as well as preternatural gifts of focus and analysis. His allies include Ankarette Tryneowy, the titular poisoner in the service of the dowager queen. Wheeler (the Covenant of Muirwood series) develops Owen slowly, taking a long, deep look into a young character and his circumscribed world—an unusual move for a first book in a series. Though Wheeler works very much according to the typical blueprint for high fantasy, the emotional range and insight he convincingly portrays in his child hero make for a political drama that can entice adult and teen audiences alike. (Apr.)