The Traitor's Game

Kestra was raised as a privileged child of the Dallisors, a clan that holds its power through the patronage of the foul Lord Endrick and his magic. As a member of the ruling class, she hasn't always learned to think about others: "It wasn't my fault," she says, justifying a prank that drove her handmaid away. "I was bored." But Kestra is no ordinary spoiled princess. The 16-year-old has spent three years in happy exile avoiding her cold father and learning to fight. On her way to the compound, in response to a summons from her father, Kestra is captured by rebels who force her to help them with a plot against her family--a plot that will likely get her killed. Kestra's rebel guards don't make her situation any easier. Trina is a hothead who loathes Kestra on principle, while Simon was Kestra's servant and childhood friend--until she got him banished to the dungeons.

Jennifer A. Nielsen (Mark of the Thief; the Ascendance trilogy) whips up an edge-of-your-seat plot in this opening volume to a trilogy. As in Nielsen's other work, no one is quite who they seem to be, and many of the best plot twists are tied to learning a new aspect of a character. Kestra in particular is tested as she realizes that her family may not be the good guys she had assumed them to be. Kestra's narration is shared with Simon, allowing Nielsen to give a broader perspective even while hiding information from the reader. It's sheer pleasure to watch Trina, Simon and Kestra scheme by turns to help and to hinder each other in this classic adventure with a little something extra. --Ali Davis, freelance writer and playwright

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