The Faerie Ring

The Faerie Ring

4.2 56
by Kiki Hamilton
     
 

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Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross

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Overview

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood--Tiki's blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched--and protected--by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen's son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief--all must work together to secure the treaty…

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Tiki, 16, is a pickpocket who lives with a group of other orphans near Charing Cross Station in London. One evening she flees a mark by jumping on the back of a cab, only to fall asleep from exhaustion. Tiki wakes to find herself at a grand house in an unfamiliar part of the city and can't resist sneaking in, hoping to steal a bit of food. She's forced to hide in the house's library from two brothers and finds a ring that one drops when they are called away by their mother. The ring might be worth enough to pay for medicine for little Clara and take all the orphans away from the streets. Tiki learns that this is no ordinary ring but one that binds a truce between the Faerie realms and the royal family. The house she invaded is Buckingham Palace. Both the fey and the royals are eager to get their hands on the ring. Before the story ends, Tiki must decide in whom to place her trust. In this Victorian orphan story with a twist, Hamilton places the conflict between humanity and the Seelie and Unseelie courts in a new time period, neither medieval nor modern. Tiki is an engaging heroine and, while the novel concludes satisfyingly, the door is definitely left open for further tales.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Publishers Weekly
Hamilton’s debut gracefully mixes fantasy, Dickensian London, and a dash of romance. Orphaned and forced to flee her predatory uncle, 16-year-old Tiki has been squatting near Charing Cross Station and picking pockets to feed herself and her collected family of unwanted children. When a beautiful bauble falls within her reach, Tiki grabs it and runs, only to learn the ring belongs to Queen Victoria and its loss has set off a dangerous chain of events. The ring is the key to peace with the faeries, and if the truce is broken, the fey will be free to hunt and drive out the humans who are encroaching on their land. Tiki wants to return the ring and collect the reward so she and her friends can leave the streets, but she is being hunted by faeries while a handsome and secretive thief tries to protect her. Hamilton wears her literary inspirations (Oliver Twist; Cinderella) on her sleeve as she melds disparate elements into a cohesive whole. Although the story ends abruptly (a series is planned), Tiki is an admirable heroine in an enjoyable tale. Ages 13–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

Praise for The Faerie Ring:

“Urban faerie fantasy meets Oliver Twist (with a dash of Cinderella) in this exciting tale of a street orphan who mingles with royalty to save olde England from dark magic. Plenty of action and suspense. Let’s hope there’ll be more adventures for Tiki and the handsome Rieker.”—O.R. Melling, author of The Chronicles of Faerie

“A delicious blend of urban fantasy, heart-stopping suspense and sizzling romance—The Faerie Ring rocks! Pulsing with excitement, this high-stakes adventure catapults you through the gritty slums of Victorian London, the glittering balls of the Royal Palace, and the menacing Otherworld, in a thrilling tale where no one and nothing is what it seems. Deception, twists, diabolical faeries, a gutsy heroine and a sexy love interest all woven into a spectacular wild ride. You'll devour every page—compelled to finish but never wanting it to end!”—Alyssa Kirk, teensreadandwrite.com

I stayed up until 2 am devouring The Faerie Ring—it was fantastic! Deeply imaginative and creative, I was instantly absorbed into Tiki’s mysterious world.”—Ashley Simmons, booksobsession.com  

The Faerie Ring is an intriguing, beautifully written blend of historical fiction, mixed with the perfect dose of romance, mystery, and faerie lore, all set within the time period of Victorian London. I was so completely enraptured with the story that I couldn’t devour this debut novel fast enough.”—Katie Bartow, mundiemoms.blogspot.com  

The Faerie Ring is an enchanting novel, woven with dramatic adventure, intriguing faerie lore and a charming love story! I couldn’t stop turning the pages even though I didn’t want the story to end!”—Kristi Diehm, thestorysiren.com 

“This thrilling and otherworldly tale is full of suspense, danger, and magic. Kiki Hamilton has crafted a magical and exciting debut with a rich narrative. Set during the winter of 1871 in London, Hamilton beautifully captures that time. Ms. Hamilton’s London is grim, unforgiving, yet romantic. This is an engrossing and gut-wrenching story of loss, hardship, family and survival. The plot is filled with treachery, magic and deadly faeries. Imaginative, atmospheric, and clever, this one is definitely not to be missed.”—Angela Leonard, darkfaerietales.com   

“An exciting and mysterious debut, The Faerie Ring combines three of my favorite things: faeries, romance, and history. I can’t recommend it enough!”—Kelsey Jones, thebookscout.blogspot.com    

“A book filled with a combination of Dickens-esque charm and faerie lore, The Faerie Ring will take you on an adventure of extraordinary proportions.”—Kristen Harvey, bookworminginthe21stcentury.com

“Bold, unique and well-written, The Faerie Ring blends the fey, old-time London and strong characters to make a great story.”—Kari Olson, “If you’re interested in historical fiction, urban fantasy, faerie stories, strong female protagonists, and impeccable world building, read this book. If you’re not? Read it anyway, and find out why you should be!”—Candace Cunard, teensreadtoo.com  

author of The Chronicles of Faerie O.R. Melling

Urban faerie fantasy meets Oliver Twist (with a dash of Cinderella) in this exciting tale of a street orphan who mingles with royalty to save olde England from dark magic. Plenty of action and suspense. Let's hope there'll be more adventures for Tiki and the handsome Rieker.
Children's Literature - Zella Cunningham
When an unusual ring is stolen from Buckingham Palace in 1871, long hidden and unexpected secrets emerge. Tiki, a sixteen-year-old waif, lives in an abandoned store with orphaned Clara, a sickly four-year-old, ten-year-old Toots, fifteen-year-old Fiona, and seventeen-year-old Shamus. Picking pockets, stealing food, and working at odd jobs provides meager food for them. Tiki is caught in the middle of a dangerous truce between English royalty and the faerie world when she steals the faerie ring. The ring seals a truce between humans and faeries. A botched plan of zeroing in on an intended mark results in Tiki narrowly escaping on the back of a carriage that is headed for the Palace. Intending to steal enough food to fill empty stomachs, she is forced to hide out in one of the parlors. When she picks up the ring from where Prince Leo drops it, she takes it because she wants it for herself. Later she learns that the reward for returning the ring will provide enough money to pay for decent lodging and food for her family. What she does not realize is that there are watchers and followers who are eager to see the truce broken, and will kidnap or kill to get their hands on the ring. Rieker, a mysterious thief who accuses Tiki of knowing the whereabouts of the ring, is puzzled at the birthmark on her wrist. He protects her from Marcus and Larkin, dangerous members of the fey. Princes Leo and Arthur know a different Rieker. Tiki and Rieker learn that their pasts and their futures are intertwined. Reviewer: Zella Cunningham
VOYA - Kimberly Bower
Life in 1871 London is hard for street orphans. Sixteen-year-old Tiki and her rag-tag family know this firsthand. Picking pockets is dangerous but it is their only option for survival. By chance, a ring falls within Tiki's grasp that is so mesmerizing she is compelled to steal it at risk of her very life. Only after she escapes does she realize that the danger she feared pales in comparison to the chain of events she unwittingly loosed on all of England. As a renegade group of faeries closes in, Tiki must decide whether or not to trust Rieker, a highly-regarded thief whose mysterious past gives her reason to pause. Is he really protecting her as he claims, or is he just another thief looking for an easy mark? Hamilton has created likeable and engaging characters. Tiki is a strong, fiercely loyal protagonist. The plot-driven story immediately immerses readers into the underworld of old London. The early tension between Tiki and Rieker, followed by their slowly evolving romance, lends interest without overwhelming the fantastical element. The faerie clashes are exciting and mildly suspenseful. The satisfying closure enables The Faerie Ring to be a successful stand-alone novel, although this is the start of a planned series. Attention to Rieker's past, however, is overworked and the story drags until that mystery is sufficiently resolved. Overall this story will satisfy fans of the genre. Reviewer: Kimberly Bower

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429985307
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
09/27/2011
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
121,608
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Kiki Hamilton believes in faeries. And magic. Though she has a BA in Business Administration from Washington State University and has run a business with her husband for many years, as well as worked in a variety of management positions for other companies, her first love is writing young adult stories of fantasy and adventure. Kiki lives near Seattle, Washington, where it only rains part of the time. She is a member of The Class of 2k11, The Elevensies and also blogs at The Enchanted Inkpot.


Kiki Hamilton lives in Olympia, Washington, with one daughter, one dog, one husband, and sixteen koi. She blogs at The Enchanted Inkpot. She is the author of the young adult fantasy novel The Faerie Ring.

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One
 
 
LONDON, DECEMBER 1871
 
 
“YOU wouldn’t be here pickin’ pockets, would you?”
Tiki jumped as the dark figure loomed over the corner where she sat, pretending to be half-asleep. Thick, black hair hung low over the figure’s forehead, shadowing his eyes. The glittery light of the pub illuminated his face as he leaned toward her, and the fear that bubbled in her stomach dissipated as she recognized him.
“Rieker.” Tiki spoke in a low voice. “What are you doing here?” His timing couldn’t be worse. “Are you following me again?” She’d identified her mark and was just waiting for the right moment to make her move.
“Me follow you?” Rieker gave an arrogant snort. “Now why would I do that?” He jingled the coins in his pocket as if to taunt her. “I’ve been workin’ the World’s End for a few months now.” He leaned an elbow on the plank table, a mug of ale clutched in his hand. “Maybe you’re followin’ me.” He looked her up and down with a mocking gaze. “Because I’d swear I’ve never seen your pretty face in here before.”
Tiki forced an insincere smile. “Maybe you weren’t looking hard enough.” She tugged the bill of her cap down to hide her features. Dressed in breeches and a man’s oversize jacket, Tiki was perfectly disguised—no one but Rieker would have known she was a sixteen-year-old girl. And even he hadn’t known until two months ago.
She’d spotted him coming out of a clockmaker’s shop in King’s Cross with both hands shoved into the pockets of his tattered black coat. The cautious way he’d glanced around had made her wonder what he’d nicked. Curious, she’d followed him.
Rieker was a thief who had made a name for himself throughout the slums of London. Stories about him stretched from Bishopsgate in the East End, to Charing Cross in the heart of the City, all the way to King’s Cross here in the North End.
As if the weight of her stare had tapped him on the shoulder, Rieker had glanced back at her. Before she could react, his gaze had skipped from her face to something behind her. Without a word, he’d turned and run. Instinct had made Tiki run, too. That’s when the bobby had shouted at them to stop.
Fear had fueled her feet, for she didn’t know the nooks and crannies of King’s Cross well enough to be confident of escape. She’d followed Rieker until he’d dashed through an archway, rounded a corner, and simply disappeared. Tiki had slowed in surprise. The bobby had just latched on to the back of her loose jacket when she’d spotted Rieker motioning to her from a narrow corridor.
With a jerk, she’d slipped her arms from the sleeves—revealing long braided hair and a shape that couldn’t belong to a boy—and raced into the shadows of the brick hallway. She’d never forget the look on Rieker’s face that day.
“What are you doing up north here in Camden Town?” Rieker’s voice brought her back to the present. “Bit far from Charing Cross, aren’t you?”
“Maybe.” Tiki kept her tone even. “But the biggest pub in all of London is worth the trip.”
Rieker pulled one of the chairs away from the table, the wooden legs scraping against the floor. “Are you here alone?”
Tiki put out a hand to block him. “Don’t sit down—you’re not staying. And it’s none of your business who I’m with or where I go.” Irritated, she turned back toward the crowd. Where was her mark?
A smoky cloud hung in the room above the motley crew of sailors, chandlers, coal porters, and dustmen who filled the pub. She recognized Bilby the rat catcher, and Mr. Bonfield the costermonger from up round Covent Garden Market, but where was MacGregor?
For weeks she’d been watching the big, ruddy Scotsman, following him in the evenings from pub to pub. He owned clothing shops in Seven Dials and Petticoat Lane and loved to drink his profits, especially on a Friday night. When he drank he got careless. Tiki’s fingers itched in anticipation. It was hardly a challenge for someone of her skills, but she had grown to dislike his swaggering and the way he bullied the barmaids. It would be a pleasure to lighten his pockets. Had she missed her chance?
“Last call!” The bartender’s voice cut across the noise of the room. “Drink up, fellers, pub’s closin’.” The World’s End had a packed house tonight. The wooden plank floor of the pub was slick with spilled ale, and the rich, yeasty smell of beer hung thick in the air.
A row of sailors sat shoulder to shoulder along the wooden bar, hunched over their drinks. Big mirrors lined the walls, etched with the names of ales or whiskeys, reflecting the bright lights in the room as well as the cloud of tobacco smoke. Barmaids and prostitutes, their skirts partially tucked up in their waistbands, worked their way through the crowd smiling and joking with the customers. The tinkling notes of a piano were a backdrop to the cacophony of accents that clashed above it all.
Tiki’s eyes stopped on the silhouette of a tall man with a large, bulbous nose.
There he was.
A meaty-looking fellow with shoulders like a bull underneath his worn brown jacket, MacGregor looked in fine form tonight. Red-faced, he was belting out a raunchy tune as he waved his mug of ale in time to the song.
Rieker followed Tiki’s gaze. “No. Not MacGregor.”
Tiki let out an impatient breath. “Why in bloody hell not? I’ve been watching him half the night.” She started to slide out of her chair, but Rieker’s hand clamped down on her wrist, pinning her to the table.
“He’s too drunk,” he warned. “If he catches you, there’ll be no mercy.”
“Take your hand off me,” she gritted through clenched teeth. Tiki yanked away and shot out of her chair. Fiona might chatter on about how handsome Rieker was with his tall, rugged build and elusive air, but Tiki found him insufferable.
The corners of Rieker’s mouth quirked, his smoky eyes dancing.
“Just like a kitten pretending to be a lion,” he said. “Except I don’t think your claws are sharp enough to hurt anyone, little kitten.”
Tiki reacted without thinking. She jabbed her finger into his chest.
“Listen to me, Rieker. I’m not your ‘kitten’ or anybody else’s. I’ll do what I please, and I’ll thank you to leave me the hell alone.”
Fast as a cat, he grabbed her arm. A look Tiki couldn’t decipher crossed his face. “What’s this?” he asked, holding up her wrist.
Rieker’s grip was so tight that her fingers began to tingle. Tiki winced, swallowing a gasp.
“Rieker, stop it. You’re hurting me.”
His grip loosened, but he didn’t let go. “Tiki, where did you get this mark?”
Rieker’s strange reaction made Tiki glance down at her arm where her birthmark was exposed. Delicate lines twisted and turned like a tangle of vines, dark against her pale skin.
Rieker’s gaze was incredulous, searching, as if trying to see into her very thoughts. She couldn’t help but notice how long his dark lashes were, framing his smoky eyes. A strange nervousness started to flutter in the pit of her stomach when MacGregor’s drunken bellow for more ale cut through the noise in the pub and broke the spell.
“I. Said. Let go!” With a great surge, Tiki jerked her arm back, sending Rieker’s mug of ale directly into the face of a nearby sailor. The stunned man shook his head, his bleary eyes searching the crowd for the culprit.
Tiki turned just in time to see the sailor drop his head and plow his shoulders into an innocent chimney sweep. Still covered in coal dust, the chimney sweep went flying backward into the crowd. Mayhem broke loose as sailors and tradesmen shoved back with fists and feet.
Tiki stepped away from the table and slid sideways through the crowd, head down so the bill of her cap shadowed her face. Usually she wouldn’t take such a risk on her last pick of the night, but she wanted to prove Rieker wrong.
“Tiki, wait,” Rieker called after her.
Tiki glanced back, but Rieker was stuck in the crowd, unable to stop her. She smiled to herself in satisfaction. She could handle MacGregor. Plus, a few more coins to line her pockets would certainly warm the long, cold ride home to the abandoned clockmaker’s shop adjoining Charing Cross.
Tiki took a deep breath as she neared her mark, dodging the arms and legs swinging wildly around her. MacGregor was engrossed in the brawl, red-faced and hollering encouragement in a hoarse roar. His face shone with excitement, a large bead of sweat hanging from the tip of a nose that had seen more than a few fights.
She slithered close and slipped her hand into his pocket. Just as she’d hoped, MacGregor was carrying a load of money. She pinched several of the coins together and started to pull her hand free.
The big man jerked around and squinted his red-rimmed eyes in her direction.
“Wot you be about, boy?” he growled.
“N-nuthin’, guv’nor,” Tiki stammered. She tried to back away but was hemmed in by the mass of bodies.
“Wot you got in your hand?” He snatched for her with a big, meaty paw. “Show me.”
Tiki slapped her hands together to mask the sound of the coins dropping and held her palms up, wiggling her fingers to distract him as the coins slid down her sleeve. “Nuthin’, sir, I swear.”
There was another surge in the crowd, and a large man, dressed like a coal porter, collided with MacGregor. The man’s black hat flew off as MacGregor’s glass of ale hit the wooden floor with a resounding crash.
This was trouble.
MacGregor roared with rage. Tiki swung her right elbow back as hard as she could, hitting a soft belly.
“Umphf,” a voice gasped as her elbow made contact. “What the bloody hell?” The man behind her stepped back, opening a small space in the crowd. In a blink, Tiki darted through the gap.
“Come back ’ere, you little thief,” MacGregor yelled.
Tiki cut her way through the crowd. She reached the heavy plank entry door and yanked it open just enough to slip out into the chill winter air. Her breath came in short gasps, her chest heaving with exertion. Where could she hide? She only had a moment before MacGregor would catch her.
In the distance, the brisk clip-clop of a lone carriage working its way up the cobblestone lane echoed in the cool night air. Blast. It was so late that there were few cabs about, and this coach was headed in the wrong direction.
She took a step toward the street, peering right and left, looking for any other means of escape. Behind her, the pub door creaked open.
“Where is he?” a thick voice cried.
Tiki’s breath caught in her throat. It was MacGregor. She pushed away from the building and ran. The carriage was just turning the corner onto the lane.
“You there,” MacGregor cried. “Stop!”
Tiki darted out of the shadows and raced toward the back of the carriage. With a burst of speed, she placed a hand on one of the rear struts and jumped lightly onto the boot where the luggage was usually stored. Wedging herself into the corner of the little shelf situated behind the wheel box, she watched as MacGregor lumbered down the cobblestone lane, his head swiveling back and forth in confusion.
“Where’d he go?” he bellowed.
Behind him, just exiting the pub, Tiki recognized Rieker’s tall silhouette before the carriage creaked around a corner, and the pub disappeared from view. “And that’s how you pick MacGregor’s pocket,” she whispered.
Tiki repositioned herself on the small shelf with a tired sigh, settling in for the ride back to Charing Cross. She fingered the solid weight of the coins she had stashed in her pocket and pressed her lips together in a small, satisfied smile. There would be enough to pay the muffin man and to buy a chunk of cheddar big enough for all of them.
Tiki thought of how excited the others would be. Food had been scarce lately. Shamus and Fiona had been giving part of their portions to the younger ones, Toots and Clara, and even with that, four-year-old Clara was painfully thin. Tiki tried not to think of the persistent cough that had been racking the child lately. Maybe she could find some milk for Clara to soak her bread in as well.
Wrapping her arms tight around her knees to ward off the chill, Tiki eyed the black swirls on her wrist and wondered again about Rieker’s strange reaction to her mark. She usually made an effort to keep her wrist covered, not wanting to draw attention to the odd birthmark. When she was younger, her mum had teased her and told her she’d been marked by faeries. Her mother’s whispered words came back to her now: They’re around us. Pay attention and you’ll see them.
A pang of longing twisted inside at the memory of her mum. She pushed the painful thoughts away. She had more important things to think about now, like finding enough food to fill their stomachs each day. Tiki leaned her head back and closed her eyes, listening to the staccato rhythm of the horse’s hooves echoing in the night.


 
Copyright © 2011 by Karen Hamilton

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