Sunday, January 6, 2013

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielson

TheFalsePrince_largeSage is living in an orphanage when a nobleman, Conner,  buys his freedom and takes him, and two other orphan boys to his posh estate.  They boys soon discover that the king and crown prince of Carthya are dead, and that Conner plans to train all of the boys to impersonate the younger prince and only remaining heir to the Carthyan thrown who was lost in a ship wreck four years earlier. Then he will help the best contender to seize the thrown and avert civil war. Conner has made it clear that the two boys who are not chosen will be killed to keep the false prince's identity secret.  Sage and the other two boys enter into a deadly competition to win Conner's confidence and approval. As the intense training progresses, Sage begins to realize that Conner's motivations are far from purely patriotic.  Sage must plan carefully to gain the thrown, save the other's lives, and expose Conner for the murderous traitor that he is. This is a pretty decent medieval intrigue novel. Sage is a likable character, reminiscent of Jen from Turner's The Thief with his propensity for sneaking around at night and stealing things from other character's pockets.  The interplay between the three orphan boys is interesting, and Conner is a complex antagonist. The ending will be no surprise for any astute reader, but it is fun and satisfying none the less.  Nielson is another Utah author who is doing quite well nationally, and The False Prince is optioned for a movie.  (342 p)

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