Synopses & Reviews
The 2nd novel from the winner of the ALA's YA Debut Award is Tamora Pierce meets THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER -- a thrilling fantasy about a thief at a snowbound castle, caught in a simmering rebellion .
In a glamorous castle full of Llyvraneth's elite, Celyn Contrare serves as a lady-in-waiting to shy young Merista Nemair. Her days are spent dressing in velvet, attending Lady Merista, navigating court gossip, and charming noblemen over lavish feasts.
And at night, she picks locks, steals jewels, forges documents, and collects secrets. Because Celyn isn't really a lady-in-waiting; she's not even really Celyn Contrare. She's Digger, a sneak-thief on the run from the king's Inquisition, desperate to escape its cruel instruments and hatred of magic. If she's discovered, it will mean her certain death.
But life as a lady-in-waiting isn't safe either. The devious Lord Daul knows her secret, and he's blackmailing her to serve as his personal spy in the castle. What she discovers-about Daul, about the Nemair, even about her own Lady Merista -- could signal civil war in Llyvraneth. And for a thief trained never to get involved, taking sides could be the most dangerous job yet.
"On the lam after a failed theft, 16-year-old runaway Celyn bluffs her way out of the city with four young nobles. She finds refuge as maid to one of them, Lady Merista, in a snowbound mountain castle. When Lord Daul discovers Celyn's thieving tendencies, he forces her to spy for him. Delving even deeper into the castle's secrets than she reveals to Daul, Celyn's eyes are opened to the myriad secrets and schemes of its many guests and occupants. In choosing her path, she confronts her own past, uncovers a rebellion that could lead to civil war, befriends a prince, contemplates religious persecution, and faces betrayal. She also encounters long-forgotten magic and comes to understand the mystical aptitude that ruined her life and set her on her path of crime. Couching her characters and setting in top-notch writing, Bunce (A Curse as Dark as Gold) hooks readers into an intelligent page-turner with strong themes of growth, determination, and friendship. Celyn's journey will leave readers asking for more, especially as the first-rate story neatly sets up a sequel. Ages 12 up. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
16-year-old Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she disguises herself in a group of young nobles and sneaks out of the city. Accepted as a lady-in-waiting at the stronghold of the powerful Nemair, she finds new peace and friendship (*and* some new targets). But when an old client from the city comes to the castle, she realizes her hosts may be planning the ultimate uprising against the king - and rather than true peace, she may be at the heart of the rebellion.
About the Author
Elizabeth C. Bunce's first novel, A CURSE DARK AS GOLD, won the ALA's William C. Morris Award for a YA debut. Elizabeth cuts, sews, and embroiders both cloth and stories at her home near Kansas City, Missouri. Please visit her website at www.elizabethcbunce.com.