Nobody's Prize (Princesses of Myth Series)

Nobody's Prize (Princesses of Myth Series)

4.3 180
by Esther Friesner

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In this rousing sequel to Nobody’s Princess, young Helen of Sparta is not about to be left behind when her older brothers head off to join the quest for the Golden Fleece. Accompanied by her friend Milo, and disguised as a boy herself, Helen sets out to join the crew of heroes aboard the massive ship known as The Argo.

Helen quickly faces all sorts of


In this rousing sequel to Nobody’s Princess, young Helen of Sparta is not about to be left behind when her older brothers head off to join the quest for the Golden Fleece. Accompanied by her friend Milo, and disguised as a boy herself, Helen sets out to join the crew of heroes aboard the massive ship known as The Argo.

Helen quickly faces all sorts of danger. There are battles to be fought, as well as an encounter with a terrifying murderous princess. With her beauty blossoming, Helen’s journey takes her beyond the mythology of the Golden Fleece to Athens, where her very future as Queen of Sparta is threatened.

Editorial Reviews

Her older brothers think that the quest for the Golden Fleece is man's work, but not Helen of Sparta. In this sequel to Nobody's Princess, this pretty adventurer disguises herself as a boy and, accompanied by her faithful friend Milo, sets off on the Argo. Keeping her real identity secret on a long sea voyage is no simple matter, but that is only one complication that the future queen of Sparta must confront.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Princesses of Myth Series
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Nobody's Prize

By Esther Friesner Random House Books for Young Readers Copyright © 2008 Esther Friesner
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780375975318

I stood in the bow of the little fishing boat and gazed at the glittering city high on the bluff ahead. Even so late in the day, with the sun setting and the early summer light fading from the sky, I could see how tall the palace walls stood. I marveled at how many buildings clustered at their feet. Only the richest cities were so crowded with houses and shops and temples.

Iolkos! I thought happily. It must be Iolkos. After so many days’ sail from Delphi, the gods grant it’s no place else. My heart beat faster as I scanned the harbor that lay in the shadow of the citadel, seeking one special ship among all the rest. Where was it? Where was the vessel that would carry me off to adventure? Was it that one, with the almond-shaped eye painted in red just above the prow? Or that one, with a swarm of men busily at work, taking down its blue-bordered sail? Where was my ship, the ship Prince Jason was going to sail to the farthest shores of the Unfriendly Sea, the ship of heroes who would dare anything to fulfill the quest for the Golden Fleece? Where was the Argo?

“There she stands, lads, Iolkos!” the fisherman called out to Milo and me from his place at the steering oar, confirming my hopes. “And less than a day’s sail away.” He winked at me when he said“lads,” and I grinned back. Though I wore a boy’s tunic and my skin was deeply tanned from our voyage, I was no more a lad than that man’s daughter.

The fisherman knew my true name and rank—Helen, princess of Sparta, Lord Tyndareus’s heir, Queen Leda’s daughter—but I’d spent so much of our voyage from Delphi teaching him to call me “Glaucus,” the boy’s name I’d chosen for myself, that it came to his tongue naturally. He’d keep my secret. The real question was whether I could do the same. My brothers, Castor and Polydeuces, waited behind the walls of Iolkos, waited to sail with Prince Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece. I intended to join them on that quest, but for that to happen they must not recognize me as their sister or my adventure would be over before it began.

I leaned as far forward from the prow as I could without toppling out into the waves. Sea spray was cool and salty on my lips. There was a fine breeze filling our sail, and the sky swirled with squawking gulls. Soon we’d land, and I’d put the next step of my plan into action.

I wasn’t the only one in a hurry. “Is it true?” Milo exclaimed eagerly, scrambling to stand beside me. “Are we there at last?” My friend was not the world’s happiest sailor.

“Soon enough,” the fisherman said. “Tomorrow morning.” He leaned against the steering oar and turned our boat’s nose toward the shore.

“ ‘Tomorrow’?” I echoed. “Why not today?”

The fisherman chuckled. “You know the answer to that.”

So I did. “Always keep the shore in sight,” I recited dutifully. While I’d spent our voyage from Delphi teaching the fisherman to call me by a boy’s name, he’d spent it teaching me the basics of sailing. “A strayed boat’s a doomed boat.”

“And—?” he prompted.

“And only owls and foxes can see in the dark,” I went on. “The wise sailor beaches his boat by dusk.”

“Good. Now come here and show me what else you’ve learned.” He stood to one side and patted the steering oar that guided our little vessel.

“You want me to beach us?” I could hardly believe it. I’d never expected such a privilege. My father could buy a dozen great ships with the oil from just one season’s olive harvest, but for the fisherman this lone little boat was his entire existence, his livelihood, his only way back home.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“I know this shore. It’s friendly enough. Go on, steer us. I’ll mind the sail, but I’ll step in if I see you doing something wrong.”

I said a prayer to Poseidon as I took the steering oar with both hands and braced my bare feet against the boat’s sun-warmed hull. I leaned against the long wooden oar and felt the power of the waves pushing back against me. There wasn’t much resistance, just enough for me to feel the message of the sea: I am immortal, endless, stronger and wilder than a thousand bulls. If you think that you’ve tamed me because you’ve made me carry you where you want to go, you’re a fool. Respect me, or pay for your pride.

Yes, Lord Poseidon, I thought as I turned the boat toward shore. I hear. I know. I ask your blessing.

The god answered in his own way, by letting me beach the boat without much trouble. When I felt the bottom grate along the sand and pebbles, I took a deep breath of relief.

Milo was the first to leap from the boat. “I’ll make the fire!” he called out, racing away to gather bits of wood.

“Helpful, isn’t he?” the fisherman remarked as we dragged the boat a safe distance onto the beach.

“He’d volunteer to kill a dragon if it meant he’d have solid ground under his feet,” I replied.

After Milo got the fire started, we cooked some red mullet we’d caught and ate them along with the last of the bread and cheese we’d bartered for at a small village two days’ voyage south. I was convinced that I’d be too excited to eat or sleep that night. My mind rang with Iolkos! Iolkos! Iolkos! My body had other ideas. I gobbled up every bit of food in front of me and my eyes closed as soon as my head touched the ground.

That night, my dreams were strange and terrifying. I was back in the forests of Calydon, once more running with the hunt for the monstrous boar that was ravaging the land. The beast rushed out of the darkness the same way that he’d come when I’d helped the great huntress Atalanta meet his attack.

In my dream I stood alone.

From the Hardcover edition.


Excerpted from Nobody's Prize by Esther Friesner Copyright © 2008 by Esther Friesner. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Nebula Award winner Esther Friesner is the author of more than 30 novels and over 150 short stories. She is also the editor of seven popular anthologies. She is married, is the mother of two, harbors cats, and lives in Connecticut.

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Nobody's Prize 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 177 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you were a princess, a future queen, a true beauty, and said to be the daughter of the king god Zeus, what would you do? Most people will say, "Well, I'd do what a queen does! Fall in love with a prince, marry, have children, and rule my country." But this answer is not good enough for Lady Helen of Sparta. She doesn't want to sit in front of a loom or learn to make olive oil. She would prefer to have a sword at her hip and a horse at her side. In other words; adventure. At the point where ancient Greece thrived the most, Helen of Sparta (later known as Helen of Troy) is the future queen of one of the most powerful kingdoms. However, before she gives everything up to rule a kingdom, she want an experience like no other. Leaving her guards and her friends (as well as her girl side) in Delphi, Helen sets off, masquerading as a boy, to join the quest for the Golden Fleece. She and her ex-slave Milo are ready to conquer the dangers of the voyage through the Clashing Rocks, the Wavy Sea, and eventually the foreign land of Colchis. A great many battles take place where her skills that she learned from her weapon trainer Glaucus are put to the test, and her honor as well as boy mask are threatened. Of course, it is not just battles she must worry about. Her brothers are also on the voyage, and if they find out she is there, boy or not, they will send her away back to Sparta to live her queenly life. As if that isn't enough, a handsome young weapons bearer catches her eye, and a greek hero falls in love with Helen's male side. Her identity is almost discovered with her welcome to womanhood. The young princess's life is threatened greatly when she encounters a murderous princess that is convinced that she is in love with Jason, her lover. Helen must find a way around that many times poison meets her, and the evil princess declares her finished. But Helen's adventures don't end in Colchis. She is captured by the king of Athens and forced to become his bride without a warning to her parents in Sparta. While captive behind Athen's walls, Helen meets a rejected knight and takes on a task that could lead to freedom. Nobody's Prize is quite possibly the most excellent book I have ever read. It is thrilling, romantic, nerve-racking, and shows the loyalty as well as strength of one of ancient Greece;s most well known ladies. As Helen encounters challenge after challenge, her jaw is set and her sword is ready. Nobody's Prize will take you on a journey that will leave you dreaming about setting off on an adventure of your own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like the main character, Helen, she is not a damsel in distress. It is also a good book if you are an adventure lover, like me. I was a little bit disapointed at the ending, but it was still worth reading.
JanelleP More than 1 year ago
I LOVEDDD the first book but i was pretty disappointed at the ending i wished that there was more in this book or there was another book after this I just wanted MORE.I think Helen should have fallen in love with him and they fight for their love in the next book but over all i loved Helens character of being different
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Great read and page turning. Even though i know the story of helen i was still disapointed at the end.
k_marie More than 1 year ago
The book was fast paced and a good read.
SophiaLerman More than 1 year ago
i am very into greek mythology and history and literature, and this is a great book. it is one of my favorites.
Ravenrocks More than 1 year ago
This is a great sequel to the book Nobody`s Princess. the book is filled with twists and turns and keeps you intrigued until the last page. I wish that it had more romance in it. it did not have any! over all it was a great book and i think that you should read it. Helen is such a life like character that makes you wish you could meet her!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Helen is not your ordinary, princess. She dosen't want to sew, walk around around and look pretty, and she dosen't want to be queen! Instead she wants to figt, go places, sail, ride horse, but if she wants to do all those things she needs to pretend to be a boy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I Could not put this book down from the time I picked it up!!!!!! I loved the first book, Nobody's princess, and loved this one even more!!!!!!!! AWESOME!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is AMAZING!  It intrigued me to read up to 50 pages per day!!! I love it so much that I'm doing a book report on it/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Better than the first one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I swear, both these books are a wonderful read for any Rick Riordan fans! This is seriously one of the books where you are asking "Wait.. There's only two books in the series?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read those books and I still understood what was being said in "Nobodys Princess".
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel like it applies to a lot of girls when boys just assume their stronger and then when they get beat by a girl it shocks them. Lets just say girls are not just pretty faces.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the entire series, especially the first book 'Nobody's Princess' and think that they are all well written :-)