Narrator is Sage, fourteen year old orphan with attitude - one of four possibilities selected by ruthless Regent Bevin Conner to pose as Carthya's long missing, presumed dead, Prince Jaron. Two weeks of rigorous training may produce a winner, the prize being allowed to survive - at least for a while.
Here is a tale where cunning is all - treachery rife, the foe formidable. Teenage readers may readily identify with Sage, he impressively streetwise and skilled at staying alive.
Some may regard the plot as old fashioned - mythical kingdom, the absurd concept that a fortnight can transform an urchin into a convincing royal. (Variations were tackled in such time-honoured classics as "The Prisoner of Zenda", ""The Man in the Iron Mask", etc.) Some may also feel uneasy about awkwardnesses in the final stages, with Sage twice temporarily no longer narrating.
The ultimate test, though, is whether the novel was enjoyed. Despite reservations, it certainly was by me - devoured in one sitting, as Sage ingeniously strives to outwit those who plot on all sides.
Recommended - full of excitement, twists and warmth.