The Princess of Cortova

Overview

Molly's exciting story concludes in this final book of Diane Stanley's acclaimed trilogy, which began with The Silver Bowl and The Cup and the Crown—a perfect series for fans of Megan Whalen Turner.

With tensions rising between the kingdoms of Westria and Austlind, Molly and Tobias accompany King Alaric to Cortova, where he hopes to form an alliance with the powerful King Gonzalo—an alliance that would be sealed by Alaric's marriage to Gonzalo's daughter, the beautiful princess ...

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The Princess of Cortova

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Overview

Molly's exciting story concludes in this final book of Diane Stanley's acclaimed trilogy, which began with The Silver Bowl and The Cup and the Crown—a perfect series for fans of Megan Whalen Turner.

With tensions rising between the kingdoms of Westria and Austlind, Molly and Tobias accompany King Alaric to Cortova, where he hopes to form an alliance with the powerful King Gonzalo—an alliance that would be sealed by Alaric's marriage to Gonzalo's daughter, the beautiful princess Elizabetta. But the devious Gonzalo has plans of his own. Upon arriving in Cortova, Alaric is shocked to find that there is already another suitor vying for Princess Elizabetta's hand: his own cousin, Prince Rupert of Austlind.

As the days pass, Alaric, Molly, and Tobias find themselves trapped in a suspenseful game of courtly intrigue that soon takes a dangerous turn. For once, Molly's magical visions are little help—they reveal nothing beyond hazy threats. Everything turns around Princess Elizabetta, but is she truly a friend or simply another player in her father's crafty game?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jeanna Sciarrotta
In this last book of the trilogy that began with The Silver Bowl, Molly's story is temporarily suspended as Elizabetta's story is introduced. Elizabetta, the beautiful and witty princess of Cortova, is not about to let herself become a pawn in her father's game. The king has invited suitors from both the neighboring kingdoms of Austlind and Westria, unbeknownst to them, in order to create a high tension scenario resulting in what he hopes is a bidding war for his daughter's hand. Elizabetta has her own reason for cooperating with her father's shenanigans. Accompanying King Aleric of Westria to Cortova is his closest friend and confidante, series-favorite Molly, the scullery maid raised into nobility. Though Molly and the princess seem to strike up a friendship almost immediately, Molly cannot help but be wary of the princess and her scheming father. Molly's magical gift of seeing visions of the future keeps tugging at her and warning her of some imminent danger to King Aleric. Someone is plotting against him, but as they are surrounded by so many hidden agendas and possible enemies, it is impossible to tell just who she needs to be protecting him from. Young readers of the acclaimed novels The Silver Bowl and The Cup and the Crown will delight in this unexpected ending to the story. Even readers just joining in will have no problem keeping up, as Molly's visions frequently have her remembering events from the past that help to fill in the gaps. This is a fantasy adventure that embraces the role of "girl power" and the female heroine. Reviewer: Jeanna Sciarrotta
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
Molly, Alaric and Tobias return to share a final adventure that will intrigue, sadden and ultimately satisfy admirers of their earlier escapades (The Cup and the Crown, 2012, etc.). Having gained his throne (though it's still a bit precarious) and possession of a magical loving cup, Alaric has decided to strengthen his position by courting his brother's widow to create an alliance between the countries of Westria and Cortova. He's unhappy, to say the least, when he discovers that his uncle (and rival for the crown) seeks to marry his son to the princess. The return of this former adversary as well as the introduction of two clever and unpredictable characters whose intentions and alliances are unclear keeps the suspense high despite the length of the text and the fact that much of the action is relatively subdued. Flowing naturally from prior events, Stanley's complex plot allows her main characters to display their hard-won wisdom and maturity. Magical elements aren't woven in quite as seamlessly as before and are likely to seem as confusing to readers as they do to Molly. By contrast, using the game of chess as a framework succeeds splendidly, echoing the complex political maneuvering that is at the heart of the tale. Like the earlier volumes, this is an excellent blend of familiar fantasy tropes and original ideas and elements that will please readers while giving them plenty to ponder. (Fantasy. 10-14)
Booklist (starred review)
“Once again Stanley demonstrates her mastery of character, dialogue, and setting, and her fantastical world operates with both the logic necessary for plausibility and the imagination necessary for a successful fantasy. The result is an unforgettable entertainment.”
School Library Journal
11/01/2013
Gr 4–8—An ancient seaside villa is the setting for this follow-up to The Silver Bowl (2011) and The Cup and the Crown (2012, both HarperCollins). The previous books featured Molly, a commoner gifted with magic who became King Alaric's most trusted advisor, but this novel focuses on enigmatic Princess Elizabetta, the only daughter of King Gonzalo of Cortova. Her scheming father contrives to pit King Alaric and Prince Rupert, rivals from neighboring kingdoms, against one another for Betta's hand in marriage and an alliance with the Cortovan kingdom. Betta surprises her father by proving that she is not just beautiful, but is also a brilliant strategist. When Alaric and his court arrive, Molly immediately senses great danger and is on her guard, but finds she can't resist Betta's candid warmth. Their growing friendship is tempered by the political tension, but their cautious and clever conversations over chess are one of the book's delights. Each section begins with definitions of chess terms, all metaphors for the action that follows. Like a chessboard, the cast is large and the plotting takes precedence over characterization. Apart from Betta, a real understanding of the players must come from the previous books, and the writing labors a bit to get readers up to speed in this third book. Still, it's a story full of political intrigue, deep friendships, and undeclared loves that begins with the princess enjoying the solitary quiet of a morning and builds to a tumultuous, violent, and triumphant ending. This trilogy should be a staple in school and public libraries.—Martha Baden, Prescott Public Library, AZ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062047304
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 308,637
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Stanley is the author and illustrator of beloved books for young readers, including The Silver Bowl, which received three starred reviews, was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and Book Links Lasting Connections, and was an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice; The Cup and the Crown; Saving Sky, winner of the Arab American Museum's Arab American Book Award and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year; Bella at Midnight, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice; The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy; The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine; and A Time Apart.

Ms. Stanley has also written and illustrated numerous picture books, including three creatively reimagined fairy tales. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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